Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen Of Imaal Terrier Dog Breed

Other names:
Glen De Imaal Terrier
Irish Glen Imaal Terrier
Wicklow Terrier

Pronunciation: [ Glen uhv EE-mahl TAIR-ee-uhr ]

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a dog breed that has been around for a few centuries. They were said to have been conceived in the late 16th century when mercenaries — hired by England's Queen Elizabeth I (to put down the rebellion in Ireland) — settled down in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland. They apparently had their hounds breed with regional terriers, and thus was born the Glen of Imaal Terrier. The breed was recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934, by The Kennel Club in 1975 and by the American Kennel Club in 2004.

Glen Of Imaal Terrier Breed Details

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, or Wicklow Terrier, is as brazen a small game hunter as its name may seem odd to most people. These scruffy little dogs are not for most people, however, as they are incredibly energetic hunters and vermin exterminators who need a lot of exercise, attention, and room. They can be wonderful companions to those who know how to handle them. They don't get along very well with other dogs or young kids, and they certainly don't tolerate small, furry, non-canine pets.

Here are some of the things about Glen of Imaal Terriers to help you understand the breed:


  • Very strong
  • Low shedder
  • Skilled hunters
  • Great for rural life
  • Great working dog
  • Low grooming needs
  • Few health problems
  • Very high intelligence
  • Can tolerate hot weather well
  • Perfect for highly active people
  • Easy to train for the right person
  • Has a mild tolerance to cold weather


  • Stubborn
  • Very dominant
  • Dog-aggressive
  • Will dig constantly
  • Barks a fair amount
  • Supreme escape artist
  • Extremely high prey drive
  • Not good for apartment living
  • Somewhat sensitive to being handled
  • Needs an extraordinary amount of exercise
13 - 17 yrs.
14 - 16 in.
30 - 35 lbs
OverallFamily FriendlyChild FriendlyPet FriendlyStranger Friendly
Easy to GroomEnergy LevelExercise NeedsHealthShedding Amount
Barks / HowlsEasy to TrainGuard DogPlayfulnessWatch Dog
Apartment DogCan be AloneGood for Busy OwnersGood for New OwnersIntelligence

Glen Of Imaal Terrier Breed Description

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a dog with no-frills-- a small game hunter, fervid ratter and great rural working dog. This is a remarkable breed despite the plain look and basic Terrier head and face. Virtually all sources of Glen of Imaal Terrier information are in agreement that they are the least noise, least needy and calmest of all Terrier breeds. Still, they can stubborn dogs who must be kept working or they will quickly get into trouble. They are loving and cute, and can be wonderful companions to the right people, and they demand a master who's just as strong as them.

These Terriers enjoy a full-frontal challenge: physically and mentally, they are ready to get the job done, the hole dug and the vermin caught. They are great at the most intense agility games, and they excel at most every type of competition.

Easily the most noticeable aspect of the Glen of Imaal Terrier breed is the short, independently bowed front legs. These legs can dig through a lot of dirt, and they are the primary tools that lend to this little dog's great escape artist capabilities.

They are constantly on the move, and these Terriers need a purpose or they will practically burst. Glens need a moderate amount of outdoor exercise each day to be on their best behavior, but indoors will be calm couch potatoes!

Glen Of Imaal Terrier Temperament

The temperament of a Glen of Imaal Terrier is unique. Even among a single litter each puppy will likely have personality differences. Glens are the quietest and calmest of the Terriers. This isn't to say they don't bark and can't make OK watchdogs, however, they are much quieter than many other breeds. Likewise, they may work spiritedly at whatever task they are given but are often calm and gentle indoors. They can live comfortable in apartments and many experts describe them as couch "potatoes". Members of this breed are excellent choices for those that spend hours away at work or school each day; they adore attention but, unlike other Terriers they know how to wait for it.

Glen of Imaals are patient and gentle with children. They can do fine with other dogs if raised with them but cats may be more tricky; Terriers often retain a high prey drive to small, furry non-canines. Experts also say that although they don't go looking for fights they will finish one if necessary. These smart little dogs are easier to train than some Terriers but may take a while to housebreak-- they thrive off praise and love more than treats.

Glens love walking, hiking and traveling with you but must be kept leashed at all times, as that powerful nose and strong prey drive can get them into dangerous situations.

Living Requirements

Living with an Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier may come with its challenges but will be much simpler than with most Terrier breeds. They are less noisy and demanding, adapting easily to apartment life. They will need a couple daily walks or playtime in a fenced yard-- make sure to keep them on leash when not in an enclosed area.

Training won't be too difficult, even for a first time owner. The breed is more patient and less fiery than some Terriers; praise and affection go a long way in motivating them.

Likewise, grooming will be fairly simple. The Glen of Imaal Terrier is hypoallergenic because the wiry coat sheds very little. This means they will need to be stripped or plucked a couple times per year. Many owners choose to let a professional groomer do this; some choose to simply clip the dog but this not only takes away from the Glen's charm but also leaves them vulnerable to the weather.

Glen Of Imaal Terrier Health

Although the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a generally healthy breed, they do have two heritable ailments that may never be rooted out. One, PRA, was well established before the testing for it was available, and the other is a result of the breed's bowed legs: growth plate injuries that can occur during the dog's puppyhood when they are especially rambunctious. Otherwise, these dogs tend to not have any heart concerns or back problems, and breeders have and are working diligently to improve the breed's health profile.

Here are some of the concerns that may affect a Glen of Imaal Terrier:

  • Allergies
  • Skin itching
  • Eye problems
  • Thrombopathia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Skeletal injuries
  • Mild hip dysplasia
  • von Willebrand's disease
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA type crd3)

The Glen of Imaal Terrier has an average lifespan of 13 to 17 years.

Glen Of Imaal Terrier Health Concerns

Below are potential health concerns associated with Glen Of Imaal Terriers.

Hip dysplasia
Progressive retinal atrophy
Skin irritation
Eye problems

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:February 1, 2019