Breed Standard

Last updated October 2009

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

General Appearance

Medium-sized with medium-length coat, great strength with impression of maximum substance for the size of dog. Body longer than high.


Active, agile and silent when working. Native of County Wicklow and named after the Glen of Imaal.


Game and spirited with great courage when called upon, otherwise gentle and docile.

Head and Skull

Of good width and fair length with powerful foreface. Muzzle to taper towards nose. Well defined stop. Nose black.


Brown, medium size, round and set well apart. Light eyes undesirable.


Small, rose or half pricked when alert, thrown back when in repose. Full drop or prick undesirable.


Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth of good size.


Very muscular and of moderate length.


Shoulders broad, muscular and well laid back. Forelegs short, well boned and slightly bowed.


Deep and of medium length, slightly longer than height at withers. Well sprung ribs with neither flat nor barrel appearance. Chest wide and strong. Topline slightly rising to a strong loin.


Strong, well muscled, with good thighs and good bend of stifle. Hocks turned neither in nor out.


Compact and strong with rounded pads. Front feet to turn out slightly from pastern.


Docking previously optional.

Docked: Strong at root. Well set on and carried gaily.

Undocked: Strong at root. Well set on and carried gaily. In overall balance with rest of the dog.


Free in action. Covers the ground effortlessly with good drive behind.


Medium length, of harsh texture with soft undercoat. Coat may be tidied to present a neat outline.


Blue, brindle and wheaten (all shades).


35-36 cms (14 ins) at the shoulder is maximum height for dogs and bitches.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – the Kennel Club Breed Standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the Size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the Size measurements stated in the Breed Standard.

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