The Irish terrier is a breed with distinctive proud appearance and unique personality. Today, more dog lovers than ever are discovering this wonderful dog.

Let’s look at why Irish terriers make such great family pets.

While Irish terriers are not as fashionable as some other terrier breeds, they have a loyal and devoted following and are becoming more popular as family pets.


The Irish terrier is an intelligent dog which is full of fun, but not hyperactive and has a steady even temperament.

Irish terriers are loyal, affectionate, free-spirited, and gentle with children and also make excellent watchdogs due to their courageous nature.

The Irish terrier is a free-spirited and strong willed dog. They will however respond to firm trainer with a relaxed authorative manner.

They will learn who is boss and have respect for their owner although they may never be totally obedient!

They are a dog full of mischief, which is part of their charm and that is why they are so well loved and cherished by their owners.


The Irish terrier has a distinct proud appearance with his head held high on a long, graceful neck; making this breed stand out in any crowd.

The face features folded ears, dark brown eyes and a piercing, intelligent expression.

An Irish Terrier is a compact sturdy dog and stands approximately 18 in (46 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs approximately 24 to 28 lb (11’12 kg).

The dense, wiry coat is close to the body and in terms of color is a solid red-wheaten, bright red or golden red.

The Irish terrier in terms of outline is very different from other terriers.

For example, it is longer than the fox terrier, having a more sleek appearance but still with a sturdy, solid look.

The Irish terrier (although much smaller) looks very similar to an Irish Wolfhound.


The Irish Terrier is believed to be one of the oldest Irish breeds originating from the districts around Cork in Ireland.

Very little history is known about the breed, although it is believed the Irish Terrier is probably descended from the old black and tan and wheaten terriers.

The breed was used as messenger dogs in the first World War, which attributed to their reputation as a courageous dog where they were affectionately called ‘daredevils’.

Originally bred to control vermin, the Irish Terrier was also the watchdog of the family home.

The Irish Terrier as a family pet

To function in their environment they need to show their intelligence, their independence, and courageous nature.

The modern Irish Terrier still remains a ‘ratter’ at heart.

While its independence pluck and courage contribute to its attraction, any owner must take into consideration that the Irish Terrier is a big dog in a small body.

New owners must make a commitment to provide early socialization and training to maintain the wonderful Irish spirit, and form a loving bond.

This will create a well-adjusted dog which will be a loving pet, who is full of fun, unpredictable and a joy and inspiration to their owner.

  • Bold, Dashing, Tenderhearted
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 116 of 191
  • Height: 18 inches
  • Weight: 27 pounds (male), 25 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

Irish Terrier Club of America

Club Website