Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier

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.

Irish Terrier
  • Category size: Medium
  • Grooming requirements: More than once a week
Irish Terrier
  • Shedding: Little
  • Allergies: No
  • Noise: Not too noisy
  • Dog Group Kennel Club: Terrier
Irish Terrier
  • Alone: 1 to 3 hours
  • Other pets: Low
  • Stability as a guard: Medium


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.

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Is this the right dog breed for you?

All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.


What to Consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information