The Irish Terrier

IMG_5784 Terriers derive their name from the Latin word terra meaning ‘earth’. Documented and classified as a group by the Greeks and Romans, they were dogs of any size that hunted by digging into the earth to catch rodents, badgers, foxes, rabbits or any other small animal on which they could feed.


The Irish Terrier is the red daredevil of the terrier group. The color of an Irish coat can range from a wheaten shade to bright red. The Irish should never be judged on the depth of color of its coat as all shades are equally acceptable. However, the coat must be a whole color. A small patch of white on the chest is permissible, but more than a small patch is highly objectionable.



IMG_5678The Irish Terrier has a graceful, racing outline with a slightly longer back than is found in other long legged terriers. It should be a picture of power and elegance. The rugged constitution and hard coat prepare the Irish Terrier for all kinds of conditions. An Irish is always ready to meet a challenge of another dog but will interact well with friendly humans. It can be stubborn, but underneath it all, it is a sensitive breed that really wants to please. With a natural wit and full of affection, it is the greatest of companions, loyal to its family and always prepared to guard those it loves.


One of the most noted points in the Irish Terrier history is its use as a “War Dog” during World War I. The dog’s war time contributions are best described in this way:

‘It is not surprising that the Irish Terrier has a record as a war dog and a combat messenger. Lt. Col. E H Richardson of the British War Dog School, writing about Irish Terriers in World WWI TerriersWar 1, is quoted as follows: “I can say with decided emphasis that the Irish Terriers of the service more than did their part. Many a soldier is alive today through the effort of one of these very terriers. My opinion of this Breed is indeed a high one. They are highly sensitive, spirited dogs of fine metal, and those of us who respect and admire the finer qualities of mind will find them amply reflected in these terriers. They are extraordinarily intelligent, faithful and honest, and a man who has one of them as a companion will never lack a true friend”.’


Brochures about the Irish Terrier (click to view):  

1) Congratulations on Your New Irish Terrier

2) An Introduction to Owning an Irish Terrier

3) The Irish Terrier – A joy and a responsibility

Books about Irish Terriers:

  1. Irish Terrier by Lucy Jackson.

  2. The Irish Terrier: a Complete Anthology of the Dog published by Vintage Dog Books

  3. Irish Terriers by Edna Howard Jones.

  4. How to Raise and Train an Irish Terrier by Drusilla and George Kidd

  5. Irish Terriers by E.S. Montgomery

  6. Irish Terrier by Helga Richter-Lonnecke and Andrea Gasch (written in German)

Most of these books can be purchased through online sources.