The Irish Terrier sports a beautiful red coat, an alert expression and trim outline with piercing eyes that reflect a rare intelligence. He is a gallant picture of authentic terrier type and character. The breed is good tempered, spirited and game. The breed’s coat is short and wiry in texture. He is a smart, quick dog that quickly adapts to new situations. He’ll guard his home and family members with determination and pluck. This breed is great with children when raised with them and is deeply loyal to his owner. Pups require firm boundaries so they will grow into respectful adults.
A Brief History of the Irish Terrier
The Irish Terrier was once known as the Irish Red Terrier and was first shown in Ireland in 1875. He was the first of the native Irish terriers to be recognized by the British Kennel Club. Ireland has produced four terrier breeds, all of which are markedly different from terriers on the continent and in England. The dog now officially called Irish Terrier is possibly the oldest of the Irish Terrier breeds, but records are so scarce that it would be difficult to prove this conclusively.
Before the 1880s the color of the Irish Terrier varied. Apart from red, they were sometimes black and tan or brindle. At the end of the 19th century efforts were made to breed out the black and tan and the brindles, so that by the 20th century all Irish Terriers showed the red coat. The red coated Irish Terrier soon made its appearance on show benches in England and in the United States where it was enthusiastically received.
The Irish Terrier’s reputation was enhanced during the First World War when they were used as messenger dogs in the terrifying noise and confusion of trench warfare, thus proving both their intelligence and their fearlessness.
The first breed club was set up in Dublin on March 31st 1879, and the Irish Terrier was the first member of the terrier group to be recognized by the English Kennel Club in the late 19th century as a native Irish breed.
The dog’s reputation for getting into scraps with others, sometimes even in the show ring, is undeserved. Though the terrier may be fierce when the circumstances call for it, the Irish Terrier is easily trained and a gentle pet, living up to his early description as “the poor man’s sentinel, the farmer’s friend and the gentleman’s favorite”.
The temperament of the Irish Terrier reflects his early background: he was family pet, guard dog, and hunter. He is good tempered, spirited and game. It is of the utmost importance that the Irish Terrier show fire and animation. There is a heedless, reckless pluck about the Irish Terrier which is characteristic, and which, coupled with the headlong dash, blind to all consequences, with which he rushes at his adversary, has earned for the breed the proud epithet of “Daredevil.”
He is of good temper, most affectionate, and absolutely loyal to mankind. Tender and forbearing with those he loves, this rugged, stout-hearted terrier will guard his master, his mistress and children with utter contempt for danger or hurt. His life is one continuous and eager offering of loyal and faithful companionship and devotion. He is ever on guard, and stands between his home and all that threatens.