Country of Origin: The Irish Terrier originated from Ireland and is thought to be one of the oldest terrier breeds. It is believed that the Irish Terrier could date back as much as two thousand years, however, the earliest proof of the breed's existence dates back only to the 1700's. Due to the age of the breed, it is unknown what other breeds may have been involved in the creation of the Irish Terrier. The Irish Terrier have a great many talents, including: hunting, tracking, retrieving, guarding, watchdog, ratting, as well as police and military work. The breed was typically used to hunt small animals such as rats and otter, but were also used in war time as a messenger. The Irish Terrier is recognized by many kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club, which recognized the breed in 1885.
Size: The Irish Terrier will typically reach heights of around 18 inches and a weight of 25-27 pounds.
Coat: The coat of the Irish Terrier is very thick and wiry and will feel hard to the touch. The coat is very tough and lays close to the body, however, the undercoat of the Irish Terrier is much softer. There are several color variations of the Irish Terrier including, wheaten, golden red, red wheaten or a bright red. An Irish Terrier puppy can be born black, but will likely change color as they grow. Also, it is not uncommon for the Irish Terrier to exhibit a small white patch on the chest.
Character: The Irish Terrier is a loyal and courageous breed that is often referred to as “Daredevils” by those who love the breed. They are very friendly and playful, making the Irish Terrier and ideal pet for rambunctious children. The Irish Terrier is also very inquisitive, and will likely investigate any smell or noise out of place. This quality makes the Irish Terrier an ideal watchdog, but also means that the dog should never be left off the leash in an unsecured area. Should the Irish Terrier catch an interesting scent outside, they will likely chase after it without taking heed to your commands.
Temperament: The Irish Terrier, while loyal, is also willful and will require a firm hand. A passive pack master will result in the Irish Terrier believing it is his duty to take charge, making the dog difficult to control. The Irish Terrier should be watched carefully around other dogs, as they may be prone to fighting. It is imperative that the Irish Terrier begin socialization at a young age in order to assist in curbing dog aggression. It is not wise to trust an Irish Terrier with non-canine pets, as this breed was intended to hunt small game. The Irish Terrier, being the inquisitive type, will also enjoy digging and chasing. It is important to begin discouraging this behavior at a young age.
Care: The Irish Terrier is a fairly low-maintenance breed that requires regular brushing with a stiff bristled brush. A fine tooth comb should be used to remove the dead hairs after brushing. Hand-plucking of the hairs of the Irish Terrier is necessary twice a year. Excessive hair around the pads of the feet must be trimmed and the ears must be kept clean. However, an Irish Terrier that is intended to be shown will likely need more grooming.
Training: The Irish Terrier is a very willful and stubborn dog that will require a firm and consistent pack leader. The Irish Terrier is known to be quite a handful and will likely show difficulty with housebreaking. This is not the dog for the meek or passive owner.
Activity: The Irish Terrier will require a long, brisk walk daily and will benefit from regular outdoor play. The Irish Terrier is a working breed, and so will be very active. Lack of appropriate exercise may cause your Irish Terrier to become high strung or even destructive. Also, it is imperative that the dog is made to heel beside or behind you, as in the dog's mind, whoever is in front is in charge.
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