The Irish Terrier "Daredevil Dog"
(Irish Red Terrier)

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Dog breed info
Irish Terrier
(Irish Red Terrier)
Weight 25 — 27 lbs
Height:17” — 18”
AKC Rank 2008 #128
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group Terrier
Origin: Ireland

Dog Breed Info - The Irish Terrier

Frisky Terrier with a rope.
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Breed Overview

Origin: 1700’s. Original function: Hunting fox, otter, vermin. Today, Hunting vermin.

The Irish Terrier is one of the oldest of all terrier breeds, dating back several thousand years. It supposedly has come from various terrier stock such as the Black and Tan Terrier and a larger Wheaten Colored terrier as well as the Irish Wolfhound. The breed has served un police security work, military, and in tracking work. The dog was also used for hunting otter, vermin and fox. The first of the breed was shown in 1875. By the 1880.’s, the breed was the fourth most popular in England. It was common to crop the ears at that time but in 1889 the Irish Terrier Club of England did away with ear cropping. The breed also became popular in America, ranking thirteenth of all breeds by the 1920’s. At one time this was a very popular terrier but that has not lasted and the dog is somewhat rare today.

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Fairly easy to train but it must be done with a dominant trainer with a firm voice. This little “daredevil” is eager to please and do the right thing, but has a stubborn streak. One of the best methods is clicker training and positive reinforcement for obedience and commands. You have to be careful, as this dog tends to pick fights with other dogs so must be kept leashed if out in public.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Irish Terrier ? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Irish Terrier puppy can be stubborn and difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.



Irish Terriers have gained the reputation of being bold, courageous, assertive and very very playful. They are great little watch dogs and guard their family well too. They don’t get along with other (strange) dogs, people or pets very well, but if heavily socialized at a young age ( starting 4 or 5 wks) the dog does fine with family members. He is an independent, strong-willed and inquisitive dog, full of adventure and fun, but not very affectionate. Often called a “daredevil,” he loves to run, hunt, explore and chase anything that moves. The breed is good with older, highly active children, loves to play and run with them, and makes a great jogging partner. As with terriers, he likes to dig holes in the yard when bored. If well socialized as a puppy, this breed makes a good house pet.

If you happen to get an Irish Terrier with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Will pick and choose his dog friends. He can become aggressive toward strange dogs and will go out of his way to pick a fight.


Friendly Toward Other Pets

Possibly if raised with them. Otherwise, no, especially anything that looks like a rodent.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary of strangers, reserved. It’s that “terrier” guardian instinct but he does warm up quickly.


Extremely playful. A real handful of energy and bounce.


No. Not too affectionate. Too busy running and playing.

Good with children?

Good for older kids, 6 or 7 and up. Very active dog, needs to run and play hard with children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No—not affectionate enough and needs too much exercise.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, farm, ranch all okay as long as the dog gets out for daily exercise and play time.


Energy level

Moderate. Rate 5 bars out of 10. Enough energy to keep you busy!

Exercise needs, daily

Needs room to run and explore. The Irish Terrier is a good jogging partner. He needs at minimum a long walk or two daily plus an hour of hard play time. Some jogging and a walk is even better.


Excellent watchdog.

Guard dog

Pretty good guardian. Very protective of his family but not large enough to do much damage.


Very little shedding.


Get a stiff bristle brush and a metal comb.


Irish Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Irish Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training. We don't offer a breeder referral page on this site, but if you check the web, there are plenty out there. It's not often that these puppies turn up in dog pounds and shelters but you might check anyway.
Irish Terrier Breeders in the USA with puppies for sale. NOTE - As I writer this, the site is showing only 1 breeder in the USA. Go online and search for Irish Terrier Breeders or puppies. They are scarce.
PupCity Breeder Connection This site has puppies available worldwide.

Irish Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for an Irish Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Irish Terrier Rescue - (Nationwide) At the time of this writing, Petfinder is showing only 42 of this breed available for adoption in the USA. That number is subject to change, but it is an indication of how rare this breed is. Try an online search for Irish Setter Rescue groups, shelters or kennels. In the event you do find one to adopt, try to locate dog health records and save for possible future reference.

Dog Health Issues For The Irish Terrier
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the Irish Terrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Urolithiasis—Urinary problems/Urinary Stones. Excessive crystals (urinary stones or bladder or kidney stones) can form in the urinary tract or kidney, bladder or urethra, blocking the flow of urine. The crystals or stones irritate the lining of the urinary tract. They cause blood in the urine and pain and in severe cases make urination impossible. Symptoms are frequent urination, urinating in odd places, blood in urine, dribbling, depression, weakness, straining, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. Dogs can be treated by diet, medications and surgery, depending on the dog, severity and other circumstances of the individual case.

  • Retinal dysplasia—Caused by trauma, hereditary or damage from an infection.. Abnormal development of the retina with folds in the outer layers.. The folds are small and may not bother the dog, however, larger obstructions can lead to blindness. Retinal dysplasia is a congenital problem that does not necessarily worsen with age.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision which if not treated can cause total blindness.

  • Malignant Melanoma—A tumor in the cells that produce pigment, and probably hereditary. The source is commonly the mouth, around the toe nails back of the eyes and skin . The oral cavity is most common. These tumors are most likely to be found in dogs with dark skin. How fast the tumor develops, the probability of metastasis and how quickly it spreads (metastasizes) in the body depends on ‘where the tumor is located. A metastatic melanoma (a tumor that has spread) more often occurs in middle age and older dogs. Symptoms: Seizures and problems breathing as the cancer spreads. The death rate is high, even with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. This is a serious disease.

Other health problems could occur with your Irish Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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