Irish Terrier illustration
Terrier

Irish Terrier

A fiery spirit and daredevil nature match its bright red coat

Breed characteristics

Size
Small
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Small house
Grooming
More than once a week
Coat length
Medium
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 12 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Small/ medium garden

About this breed

Although the Irish Terrier is known for its bright red coat, the early specimens in the show ring – it was first shown in 1870 – were of mixed colours, predominately black and tan, black, grey and brindle.

However, a bitch called Poppy, the product of two champions, and as her name suggests, bright red in colour, became a major influence in the breed as all of her progeny were the same attractive colour. Selective breeding was used to make this colour the identifying features of the breed. With the colour came the reputation of a fiery spirit and a daredevil nature. It is racier and streamlined, in its build then many of the terrier breeds. It was recognised as a pedigree breed in 1879, the first of the native Irish Terriers to receive recognition from The Kennel Club.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Terrier breed group

Dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin. 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word Terra, meaning earth. This hardy collection of dogs were selectively bred to be extremely brave and tough, and to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground. Dogs of terrier type have been known here since ancient times, and as early as the Middle Ages, these game breeds were portrayed by writers and painters.

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Red
  • Red Wheaten
  • Rust
  • Wheaten
  • Wheaten Red

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Other health schemes and tests available

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Irish Terrier.

Breed watch

Category 2

Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard including current issues. In some breeds, features may be listed which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future.

Read more

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.

More information

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