Irish Terrier Dog Breed, The ‘Farmers’ Friend’

close up of irish terrier in grass

These dashing, stout Irish terriers are instantly recognizable by their dignified, almost gentlemanly, appearance. The Irish terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds, as the first breeding club was formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1879. They were bred for guarding livestock, hunting, and acting as watchdogs. Being versatile and intelligent, the Irish terriers became famous for acting as both watch dogs and rat hunters during World War 1. Today, the Irish Terrier dog breed is known as a fantastic show dog and family pet because of their intelligence and cheerful demeanor.

Do Irish Terriers Bark a Lot?

Irish terriers are territorial by nature and vigilant to anything they may see as a threat. Therefore, yes, they will naturally tend to bark a lot. However, this isn’t the end of the story, as there are many things you can do to reduce an Irish terrier’s barking levels. The Irish terrier’s temperament is protective and dominant, but they are highly trainable.

Irish terriers make great watch dogs, but they may struggle to tell what is and isn’t a threat to their homes. Check out our article on helping dogs differentiate between a “friendly” and “unfriendly” stranger. Their temperament is prone to alarm barking, but they are easily won over by strangers; therefore, they may not make the best guard dog!

The Irish terrier is an intelligent breed that will respond well to early training with positive reinforcement of good behavior. While you may find the barking to be annoying, your terrier is just trying to help. A good strategy is to thank/reward them when they alert you to a threat, and then distract them with a new activity or command to curb the extended barking.

Because of their tendency to bark, Irish terriers may be less suitable in urban environments like apartment living where neighbors live close by. Terriers also can develop separation anxiety if left alone for longer than about 5 hours, which will lead to even more barking. Click here to learn more about separation anxiety in dogs. Irish terriers do well with The BarxBuddy ultrasonic training device, because they are intelligent and eager to please.

You can reduce Irish terrier barking by ensuring they’re getting proper exercise. They are bred for hunting and guarding on a farm; therefore, they’ll have high energy levels that will need to be expended every day. Plan on daily long, fast walks and interesting activities for them to work on in between play sessions.

Facts About Irish Terriers

Irish terriers are nicknamed The Daredevil for their courageous and fearless personalities. During World War 1, the Terrier trainer Lieutenant Colonel Richardson said that “no creature on Earth could go further on a bowl of army biscuits than an Irish Terrier.” While they made for excellent watchdogs and hunters, the one thing that Irish terriers weren’t good at was carrying messages during WWI. This is because the terriers were far too friendly and liked to stop and say hello to other soldiers! Irish terriers were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

  • Irish terrier weight and height: Irish Terriers usually weigh between 25 and 27 pounds. Their average height is about 18 inches.
  • Irish terrier life expectancy: Their lifespan is about 13 to 15 years.
  • Irish terrier coat: Stiff, dense, and wiry outer coat that’s highly water-resistant and an undercoat of softer, fine hair to stay warm. Signature reddish-brown color.
  • AKC group: Irish terriers belong to the AKC terrier group.

Are Irish Terriers Easy to Train?

Irish terriers are not easy dogs to train. They’ll need high maintenance early in life, as all terriers need very early training and socialization to stop them from being too mean. This means exposing them to outside sights, sounds, and other dogs. That said, terriers may still not get along well with other dogs, as they have aggressive tendencies toward other dogs, especially of the same sex. An Irish terrier will behave best in a single-dog household.

The Irish terrier can be stubborn and independent, so obedience training is a must. Irish terriers will need fun training activities with positive reinforcement like praise and food; otherwise, they’ll just ignore any and all of your attempts. Trick the Irish terrier into thinking the training was their idea, and they’ll respond very well.

irish terrier stretching outside

Do Irish terriers make good pets?

Irish terriers make excellent family pets, as they have high energy and enjoy a lot of attention, which makes them a natural companion for children. That said, you shouldn’t leave any dog alone with very young children, and you’ll need to train both parties to not be too rough with one another. Raising a Terrier in a family household can be a great way to ensure they’re not alone for long periods of time. Keep in mind that an Irish Terrier does best in a house, not an apartment, as they will want a yard to play around in.

Is the Irish terrier a good watch dog or guard dog?

Yes and no. Irish terriers were bred to guard flocks and livestock on farms and make excellent watch dogs. Their acute sense of hearing allows them to spot perceived threats immediately. Many of the attributes that make them so good at their job can become a nuisance if not regulated, so don’t expect your Irish terrier to be a naturally perfect guard dog. Also, as we’ve said earlier, Irish terriers are easily won over to strangers.

Do Irish Terriers Need Grooming?

Irish Terriers will need weekly brushing with a bristle brush to stay clean, but they tend not to shed very much. An Irish terrier’s coat should be hand-stripped rather than clipped a few times every year. This means physically pulling the hair from the root, so new hair can grow. Consult an Irish terrier breeder on how to do this! It’s not necessary, but they’ll look a bit more scruffy if you don’t hand-strip their coats. Terriers aren’t completely hypoallergenic, but some people with dog allergies have an easier time around Irish terriers than other dogs.

Trim their nails once or twice a month. Nail clippers can work well enough, but nail grinders are better for Irish terriers with dark nail colors, as the quick can be difficult to see.

Irish Terrier Breed Mixes

Some breeds are mixed with the Irish terrier for unique characteristics and personality traits not found in other dogs. The intelligent, loyal, and people-loving characteristics that Irish terriers are known for mix very well with other breeds that are less aggressive and territorial.

Here are some popular mixes with Irish terriers:

Resource Links for More Irish Terrier Breed Info

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top