Irish Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: April 16, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

An average 300 Irish Terrier puppies are born each year in the United States.

Irish Terrier Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Irish Terrier Conservation Status

Irish Terrier Locations

Irish Terrier Locations

Irish Terrier Facts

Fun Fact
An average 300 Irish Terrier puppies are born each year in the United States.
Intelligent, lively, dominant

Irish Terrier Physical Characteristics

  • Red
  • Caramel
Skin Type
11-13 years
27 lbs

Irish Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Seperation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
22-27 lbs
Female weight
20-25 lbs

Irish Terrier Images

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One of the nicknames of the Irish terrier is “d’Artagnan.” It refers to his winning ways and cool confidence. Another nickname is “Daredevil,” a nod to the pooch’s knack for running into danger.

Stouthearted and rugged, the Irish terrier is one of the original terrier breeds. With her fiery, typically red wiry coat, the dog’s a mid-sized creature that’s suited to her roots in Ireland. The coat can also be dark or black.

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She has the great ability to be graceful, agile, and fast. She definitely has more energy than you. And this dog is mischievous! She’ll dig up the garden or claw through your shoes.

The dog’s noted for being stubborn and intelligent. She wants to play, run and chase. The Ireland dog’s going to go after squirrels and rodents. While they take cues from their owner, in general, the Irish terrier is suspicious of strangers.

With early socialization, she’s great with kids. Expect your Irish terrier to enjoy life.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning an Irish Terrier

You’re going to love your Irish terrier, but trust she’s going to be a handful. Here are three great things and three not-so-great things to take into account about having this dog in your home.

Doesn’t shed too much
Shed hairs get trapped in the dog’s wiry coat until you brush them out. That makes the Irish terrier as close to hypoallergenic as it gets. You minimize pet dander in your spaces. This is a good pet for homes with people who suffer from respiratory problems.
The infamous terrier temperament
When it comes to temperament, this doggy tends to be similar. Quick to chase, persistent, quick to bark, feisty, lively, bossy, clever, independent, scrappy, stubborn, intense, impulsive.
Makes for a great family pet and watchdog
Despite a strong streak of independence, this is a dog that loves being around family. A vocal pet, it’s guaranteed you get a nice round of doggy alerts to any odd activity in your family’s perimeter.
Can be hard to find
The waiting lists for the Irish terrier are lengthy. Breeders can’t keep up with the demand. This trend tends to lean toward high price tags. Puppies are going to cost you a pretty penny. You may need to consider an adult dog from a shelter or rescue.
Dog’s Comfortable With Being Alone
These puppies are not prone to separation anxiety. So, unlike a lot of dogs, you won’t have to worry about them while you’re gone for the day. But you want them trained well before you start leaving the Irish terrier alone. Otherwise, expect your dog to get into trouble.
This terrier’s known for digging in gardens, clawing through closets, and just being plain busy. Stubbornness can make training difficult. It’s why early socialization and training of Irish terrier puppies is importan
Irish terrier playing with ball

Irish Terrier Size and Weight

Most breeders will tell you all the rumors about Ireland’s most popular dog’s large size are an exaggeration. They are big dogs, but only when compared to other terriers. In the world of dogs in general, the Irish terrier is only medium-sized.

Health and Entertainment for your Irish Terrier

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Fully grown male and female Irish terriers will max out at 18 inches tall. In terms of weight, the male tends to be slightly heavier than the female. Males can weigh around 27 pounds. The female Irish terrier will top out at 25 pounds.

Height (Male)18″ tall
Height (Female)18″ tall
Weight (Male)27 pounds
Weight (Female)25 pounds

Irish Terrier Common Health Issues

There’s the possibility of any dog inheriting genetic health problems. Be wary of breeders who cannot offer a healthy prospect on their puppies. Reputable breeders will be open and honest about any issues you can expect from a breed.

In general, your Irish terrier is healthy but not completely safe from genetics. Here are the more common issues you might encounter.

  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hyperkeratosis
  • Obesity

Irish Terrier Temperament

The Irish terrier was bred to be a guard dog, companion, and hunter. Among his better qualities are being spirited, good-tempered, adaptable, and alert. He’s also known for his pluckiness, devotion, and curiosity. Of course, with the good comes the bad. The dog can be reckless, stubborn, strong-willed, and scrappy with other animals.

Your dog is extremely intelligent and will need mental challenges. Engage him through play and training, physical exercise, and firm, loving discipline. These dogs love people and will follow their cues when it comes to strangers or strange situations.

Training, heredity, and socialization influence the animal’s temperament. Early exposure to sights, experiences, sounds, and different people is the best way to develop a well-rounded dog.

Puppies can be playful and curious, willing to interact with people. Your best bet is middle-of-the-road puppies. When talking with breeders, shops, or rescue staff, ask about a dog’s aggressiveness and how he behaves with other animals.

How To Take Care of Irish Terrier

Once trained, this dark, black or red dog doesn’t need a lot of attention. (Doesn’t mean poochy won’t want the attention, so don’t overlook her.) She’s a healthy and strong animal, both mind- and body-wise. The Irish terrier needs playtime and exercise. Someone will have to groom her regularly.

Irish Terrier Food and Diet

The recommended feed for the Ireland terrier is one to 1.5 cups of quality dry dog food. You should divide this into two meals over the day.

What and how much your dog eats is dependent on age, size, build, activity level and metabolism. Not all dogs need the same amount of food. A highly active dog like your Irish terrier will require more energy than an older, couch potato pet.

Avoid overfeeding. If you need to check her weight, place your hands on her back. Keep the thumbs along the spine and spread your fingers downward. If you can’t feel her ribs without pressing down, you may want to reconsider how you’re feeding her and get a little more exercise in.

Irish Terrier Maintenance and Grooming

The short dark, red or black coat of the hypoallergenic Irish terrier needs stripping, brushing and trimming regularly, perhaps twice a week. This will remove loose hair and dirt. He has a dense, wiry coat that hugs him, creating a tight jacket. There’s a softer coat beneath that keeps him warm on unpleasant days. Trim his nails too. Long nails can make the dog uncomfortable.

Brush the teeth several times a week to remove tartar and bacteria. Also, the terrier has a unique set of ears. The puppies may need “training” to achieve the V-shaped fold of the ears that give these dogs that Irish rogue demeanor. That entails gluing and taping the ears down until they fall right. This best takes place between four to eight months of age. Have a consult with your breeders to learn how to do it.

Irish Terrier Training

Your Irish terrier is a tough nut to crack. Independent and strong-willed, she’ll dismiss training as if there are other things to do. This is why training needs to start early, hopefully when they’re puppies.

The Irish terrier picks up on commands and tricks easily as she’s very clever. Positive reinforcement helps. But avoid long training sessions. She’ll get bored and simply stop paying attention.

Irish Terrier Exercise

Healthy Irish terriers need at least an hour a day of physical activity. He can run with you or have a great time at all varieties of dog sports. Doggy can run for hours and manage half-day hikes with no stress.

These are not necessarily apartment dogs. He’d be comfortable with an enclosed yard for burning off steam. The dog’s flush with energy, but once burned off, he can relax on the couch.

Irish Terrier Puppies

They are hard to find but locating an Irish terrier isn’t an impossible mission. You might find these puppies at (i) a public animal shelter ready for adoption, (ii) a dog rescue operation, or (iii) a reputable breeder. Once you find a dog, look for online reviews to find out if the breeders have a rep for healthy puppies.

As these terriers are prone to expensive eye conditions, breeders should have a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that’s no more than a year old.

Irish soft coated wheaten terrier puppy

Irish Terrier And Children

A legend says leprechauns give Irish terriers to children. The dog’s energy level and size do make them great companions for kids. But if children are young, supervise all interactions.

Training should include puppies not be mouthy and rough. Teach children to not hit the dog, or pull on the ears or tail. Children must never approach a dog while he’s sleeping. They need to know to never disturb an eating dog or try to take the dog’s food away.

Dogs Similar to Irish Terrier

As stated, the Irish terrier is going to be a tough find. Here are three similar dogs you can consider making a family member.

  • Welsh Terrier – The Welsh terrier has the same spirit and alertness as any member of the terrier family. Breeders say what distinguishes the Welshman is the dog’s a little calmer and game but not necessarily as stubborn.
  • Airedale Terrier – This one’s referred to as “The King of Terriers.” It does have a regale stance and has earned the titles of athlete, hunter, and trusted companion.
  • Lakeland Terrier – These are big dogs in small bodies. The Lakeland terrier is famous for being confident, bold, and friendly. She’s named for her native England’s Lake District. A farmer’s work dog, she was bred to work in packs against sheep-attacking foxes.

Here are some of the more popular names for Irish terriers, male and female.


  • Anrai
  • Connor
  • Chase
  • Dagda
  • Dingle


  • Aine
  • Bailey
  • Brigid
  • Casey
  • Cassidy

View all 23 animals that start with I

Irish Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is an Irish terrier?

A purebred, the Irish terrier originated on the Emerald Isle as a worker dog. They’re called the farmer’s friend, the poor man’s sentinel, and the gentleman’s favorite. The dog’s rugged, stout, loyal, and makes an excellent companion.

How much do Irish terrier puppies cost?

If you’re looking enough to find one, these puppies can range between $600 and $1,000. Depending on the location, adults may cost less. Lifetime expenses can vary, but on average, you’ll spend $145 annual on food, $535 a year for things like grooming, training, and miscellaneous.

Are Irish terriers aggressive?

They can be if left untrained. Even then, the dog may be unfriendly with other animals and suspicious of strangers.

Can Irish terriers be left alone?

They’re independent but also mischievous. They will look for trouble. But you can train them to be comfortable with solitude.

Are Irish terriers smart?

These animals are extremely intelligent.

Is the Irish terrier good with kids?

The dog has to learn to curtail its aggressiveness and children need to know how to interact with the dog.

How long does the Irish terrier live?

The Irish terrier has a lifespan of 10 to 13 years.

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