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Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Other names: Glen of Imaal Terrier, Wicklow Terrier, Glen

Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier
Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

This tenacious, scruffy, yet docile creature is a native of the bleak Glen of Imaal, and was largely unknown beyond that area until recent times, when her pluck and individuality have marked her out as a dog for enthusiasts. The ‘natural selection’ of 17th-century dog fights and hard work pulling dog wheels resulted in a breed more strong, brave, and dedicated than she looks, although her social personality certainly matches her teddy-bear appearance. Despite the high regard in which she is held by those enthusiasts, and her suitability for family life, the Glen remains on the ‘vulnerable’ list, a term that certainly refers to the number of her population rather than the constitution of this robust little terrier. Known as a ‘big dog on short legs,’ she may not have much reach but just about qualifies as a medium-sized dog due to her weight.


Key facts about the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

  • Life expectancy : Between 11 and 13 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful, Hunter
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £450 and £750

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers


Section 1 : Large and medium sized Terriers

Physical characteristics of the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Adult size

Female dog Between 13 and 14 in
Male dog Between 13 and 14 in


Female dog Between 33 and 37 lb
Male dog Between 33 and 37 lb

Coat colour

Blue brindle or wheaten (light to reddish wheat colour). Puppies may be born with darker markings that will fade.

Type of coat

Double: a harsh outer and soft inner coat.


As the FCI standard puts it: “great strength with the impression of maximum substance for the size of the dog.” Brilliant! This tough shortie does indeed pack a lot of pup into its package, and is in fact an achondroplastic dwarf breed, meaning her genetics have led to her having shorter arms and legs for a more commonly-sized mid-length torso. But let’s talk about the outer layers! The Glen’s significantly weighty head is furnished with a tapered muzzle, rose or prick-category ears, and an expression of calmly intense dogliness. Her harsh, tousled hair adds impact to her tubular croquette of a torso, leading back to a pipe-cleaner tail that is often docked.



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This dog comes with plenty of affection per inch. She is a sweet and docile companion dog with an endearing personality.


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The Glennie is a keen player of games and mischievous tricks.


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She is calm compared to most terriers.


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The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is pretty intelligent and a fast learner.


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Although her work ethic has often been turned to less glamorous tasks, the Glennie is actually a born hunter and has frequently been used to hunt badgers, as well as being a useful deterrent of rodents.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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She is sociable towards humans; neither fearful or aggressive.


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She is very attached to her social group, but her terrier temperament could lead her astray.

Behaviour of the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Tolerates solitude

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She can tolerate alone time is she has been positively accustomed from a young age.

Easy to train / obedience

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She is keen and fast to learn and will appreciate this stimulating time with her people.


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Not really, and certainly much less than most terriers.

Tendency to run away

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She will make a bolt for it given the opportunity and the right distraction, so a garden should be made secure if it is to hold her.


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If not stimulated and exercised to the appropriate levels the Glen may well engage in acts of undisciplined deconstruction.

Greedy / Gluttony

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Treats are a welcome motivator for training.

Guard dog

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She is a poor guard dog because she doesn’t bark much, and isn’t very dissuasive.

First dog

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The Glen can make a great first dog for those with the energy to provide the lifestyle she needs.


Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier in a flat

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A Glen can do okay in a flat but she’d really prefer something with a garden. This short-legged tyke will also suffer if repeatedly made to climb stairs.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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She is a sporty little working dog and needs a fair amount of exercise to keep her fit and sane.

Travelling / easy to transport

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The Glen is quite a delight to travel with, but take her for a walk first to burn off some energy.


Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier and cats

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She will get on well with a cat with whom she is raised; any other cat will be considered a potential hunting object.

Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier and dogs

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Unfortunately, since she was once used as a fighting dog, she can be quarrelsome with others.

Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier and children

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She is kind, gentle and calm with the children. She also enjoys playing with them (under adult supervision of course).

Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier and the elderly

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The Glen can make a good companion for older people who are able to train and exercise her to the appropriate extent.


Between £450 for Non KC Registered dogs and £750 for KC Registered dogs.

Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £50 to £80 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


She needs to be brushed once a week and given the occasional haircut, in addition to dental, nail, and ear hygiene as standard.


Not too bad if the afore-mentioned grooming standards are upheld.

Nutrition of the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Quality dog food or well-prepared home meals will suit the Glen just fine.

Health of the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Life expectancy

Glens are generally known to be healthy dogs, although susceptible to a handful of genetic issues as detailed below.

Strong / robust

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This is altogether a sturdy little dog, but she can sometimes be injured if she goes hunting.

Withstand heat

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She can work in all weathers.

Withstand cold

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She doesn’t fear the cold, and can live outside if necessary.

Tendency to put on weight

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Not especially.

Common illnesses

Good to know

This dog has a special superpower: the ‘Glen sit,’ a patented sitting position whereby she perches on her tush with her forearms aloft, her body perfectly vertical, no different to a human toddler.

Origins and history

The Irish Glen is an authentic olde tyme dog, kept by Flemish and lowland soldiers on the land that they received in Ireland as a reward from Britain for quelling the 1570 rebellion. She seems to have been a result of crossing the little dogs they brought with them with the native Irish dogs. Since they were farm dogs, only the strongest thrived, and so she became the toughie she is today.


Good names for an Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier: Bob, Cailey, Maurice, Zoe

Find out more dog name ideas here


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