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Irish Terrier

Country/Date of Origin: Ireland/16th Century

Originated in County Cork, Ireland in the 1700s as a farm dog. The dogs were jacks-of-all-trades; watching the barnyard, guarding the children, hunting for varmints, tracking larger game, retrieving water fowl, and warding off prowlers at night. The Irish Terrier breed, one of the oldest terrier breeds, was refined and standardized in the late 1800s in Ireland and England. The Irishman came to the US soon afterwards and was one of the original breeds shown in the American Kennel Club.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Irish Red Terrier, Red Devil, Daredevil

AKC Group: Terrier

Breed Club: Irish Terrier Club of America

Rescue Club: Irish Terrier Rescue Organization

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Body Type:

  • A wiry, sturdy, graceful, "all-of a piece" dog, with a moderately long body and straight, strong back
  • The head is broad and slablike and the jaws are muscular, but not full-cheeked
  • The teeth are strong and even
  • The dark eyes are small and full of a fiery intelligence
  • Height: 18 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 25 pounds (female), 27 pounds (male)
  • The medium length tail is carried low and is not altered
  • The small, V-shaped ears are set well on the head and are cropped short


  • The Irish Terrier's disposition is as fiery as its coat. Spirited, animated, plucky Nicknamed the "Daredevil" because of its tendency to rush headlong and blindly at an adversary, disregarding the consequences
  • Loving, gentle and playful with adults and children but not well disposed to other dogs or cats
  • Courageous and loyal in the extreme, often recklessly putting itself in harm's way to protect loved ones


  • Whole-colored shades of red are the only colors allowed
  • A rich, very dense, wiry, close-lying double coat free from curl, kink or softness
  • High maintenance grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Hypothyroid conditions
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • The "red devils" served as army dogs in both world wars acting as sentries and messengers
  • The stubborn nature of the Irish Terrier sometimes makes it difficult to housebreak

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