Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier
  • Category SizeMedium
  • SheddingLittle
  • Grooming RequirementsMore than once a week
  • Alone1 to 3 hours
  • Other PetsLow
  • VocalNot too noisy
  • AllergiesNo
  • Suitability As GuardMedium
  • Dog Group Kennel ClubTerrier


This medium-sized, elegant terrier has a wire coat that comes in red, red/wheaten or yellow/red. Adult male dogs are 48cm tall and females 46cm, and they weigh around 11-12kg.


Thought to be one of the oldest of Ireland's native breeds, used as a watchdog and for pest control, the Irish Terrier dog breed originates from the Cork area of the country. Once known as the Irish Red Terrier, to avoid confusion between other Irish terrier breeds, this dog is also known as the Red Devil and was used as a messenger dog in the First World War. His exact origins are not known, but he probably developed from the old black and tan terrier.


The' Red Devil' doesn't really deserve his nickname – yes, Irish Terriers can be reckless and mischievous, and he has a reputation for being feisty with other dogs on occasion, but with people, he's a good-tempered, fun and devoted companion.


Irish Terrier dogs are generally robust, healthy dogs. They do have a recognised hereditary condition called hyperkeratosis, where the footpads crack, however careful breeding means that this is now rare.


An hour's exercise is needed each day. If your dog is quarrelsome with others, then do keep him on a lead in public areas to ensure he is not a nuisance. Try and keep off-lead exercise for areas where he will not meet other dogs.


Your Irish Terrier's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.


The harsh, wiry topcoat is straight and lies flat, and there is a softer, finer undercoat. A brush through a couple of times a week will be needed, and the coat will also need to be handstripped (where the dead hair is plucked out) two or three times a year.