Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier

Group: Terrier Group

Origin: Ireland

Height: 18 inches (46 cm)

– Males: 27 lbs (12 kg)
– Females: 25 lbs (11 kg)
These are the most desirable weights for show condition.

Irish Terrier
Kenwood’s Legacy “Erin”
Photo: Irish Terriers of Kenwood

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Breed Profile

The Irish Terrier, once known as the Irish Sporting Terrier, is the only all-red Terrier and one of the oldest of the Terrier breeds. As his name suggests, he originates from Ireland, and was used as a ratter and guard dog as well as a soft-mouthed retriever. During World War I, Irish Terriers worked as messengers and sentinels displaying their courage, spirit, intelligence and faithfulness. The Irish Terrier was first registered in Canada in the years 1888-1889.

Known as the “dare-devil” of the dog world, the Irish Terrier is an active breed always appearing self-assured, intelligent and fearless. He is charming, curious, and adaptable to most types of home environments. He is affectionate, loyal and good-tempered, gentle and easygoing with his family members and an excellent playmate and companion to children. Like many of the Terrier breeds, he does not usually get along well with other dogs of the same gender and this is especially true of males. He is generally reserved and cautious of strangers and this, together with his devotion to his family, his courage, and natural instinct to protect, makes him an excellent watch and guard dog.

Being an active dog, the Irish Terrier enjoys being kept busy and does well in such activities as agility and obedience competition. In addition, the Irish Terrier is also sometimes seen working as a Therapy Dog.

The physical appearance of the Irish Terrier is of a sturdy and strong dog with no signs of clumsiness. He gives an overall impression of gracefulness, power and endurance. His coat is dense, wiry and lies close to the body with a broken appearance. He also has an undercoat which is finer and softer. His colour is either a bright red, red wheaten or golden red and he may or may not have a small patch of white on the chest. He has dark brown eyes with a very intelligent expression.


Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Irish Terrier puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing