You rarely see an Irish Terrier on the street or in a park. The dogs are only known among enthusiasts and the breeding community has always been quite small and elite. There are many reasons that speak for an Irish Terrier as a farm and companion dog. He is intelligent and independent, keeps bugs away, and gets along great with children. Despite this, the breed is considered moody and not for beginners.
The Red One with the Distinctive Mustache
Irish Terriers look similar to other British terrier breeds such as the Kerry Blue Terrier, Airedale Terrier, and Scottish Terrier. They sport a distinctive red mustache and solid red fur, although originally they came in many colors. The ideal height at the withers for males and females is 45.5 cm, males are slightly heavier at 12 to 13 kg than females with an ideal weight of 11.4 kg.
The Irish Terrier from head to tail
- The long and narrow head appears almost rectangular and very flat due to the bushy mustache. Nose stop and cheekbones are only very slightly defined and are best seen in profile.
- The nose and lips are colored black, and the upper row of teeth is slightly in front of the lower one. The entire muzzle has long guard hair.
- The eyes are dark and relatively small, and they are set wide apart. Bushy eyebrows give the dogs their attentive and fiery expression.
- The V-shaped ears are set high on the skull and fold forward without touching the corners of the eyes.
- The body is athletic and strong without appearing broad. The neck and back are very strong and straight.
- Abroad, the tail is still often docked to two-thirds of its natural length. This practice is strictly forbidden in Germany! Naturally, the tail tapers slightly towards the tip and is covered with short, rough hair. no feathering can be seen.
- Legs are powerful and straight, with moderately angled stifles.
The striking fur
The Irish Terrier differs from other British dog breeds primarily in terms of its coat color and coat structure. The hair is dense and wiry, yet it lies relatively flat against the body. The body shape is easy to recognize because the coat grows very evenly and there are no longer sections on the neck or legs. Only on the eyebrows and muzzle does the coarse hair grow longer without frizzing. Soft hair is considered a breed fault, but it does happen occasionally.
Up until the 19th century, Irish Terriers came in three main colors: Red is the dominant breed, while there used to be black and brindle Irish Terriers. Today, with very few exceptions, the dogs only come in red, as other colors are not permitted for breeding according to the FCI breed standard. Literally, the colors “red, red-wheat-colored or yellowish-red” are desired.
The coat makes the difference: a comparison of similar terriers
- The Kerry Blue Terrier has a blue-grey coat and wears fine curls.
- The Scottish Terrier is black or (rarely) wheaten in color and significantly smaller.
- The Wire Fox Terrier is white with a black saddle and brown markings.
- An Airedale Terrier wears curly hair and a black saddle.
Dogs of Uncertain Pasts: The History of the Irish Terrier
As with all terriers, the genesis of the Irish Terrier cannot be traced exactly. It is clear that the Irish terriers differ significantly from the English terriers. Despite this, the now-extinct Old English Black and Tan Terrier are believed to be a common ancestor. This was widespread in Great Britain and is also considered the forerunner of today’s Fox Terrier breeds, as well as of the Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier.
The Oldest Irish Terrier Breed?
The first club for pure breeding of the breed was founded in Dublin in 1879. During the First World War, the dogs were used very successfully as messengers in war zones and thus gained a very good international reputation. In the USA they are quite popular, in this country, there are only a few purebred Irish Terriers.
A Brief History of European Terriers
Terriers have been widespread since the Middle Ages and were formerly kept in all social classes. Uniform breeds did not exist until the 18th century; rather, breeds were differentiated in terms of their abilities and their area of application. This is why the exact origins of individual breeds are so difficult to trace. It is undisputed that the ancestors of all of today’s European terrier breeds were used to hunt rats and mice indoors and to hunt small game in the fields or for hounds. Most terriers have retained their strong hunting instinct to this day.
The Fire of a Terrier: Nature and Character of the Irish Terrier
Irish Terriers are popular family and companion dogs in English-speaking countries. The active animals bring life and movement into the house. If you are getting an Irish Terrier for the first time, expect to burn off some extra calories in the future. Patience and stamina are required for an Irish Terrier – if you are looking for a loving playmate for you and your children, the red-haired Irishman with the mustache may be just the right companion. Before you buy a puppy, consider that your terrier still has a lot of power even in the two-digit age range.