Irish Terrier the Daredevil
A dog of courage
The Irish terrier is a very courageous dog. Because it is such a dog of courage it became known as the daredevil. It got this reputation as a sentinel in World War I and in World War II. That courage also suited this dog for carrying messages on the battlefield. The Encyclopedia of Dogs by Claudia Long and Britt Stader states that the dog retains a bold and courageous spirit and is “…considered one of the best guard dogs in the world.” For many years the breed worked as guard dog, a farm dog in Ireland.
Although the exact origins of the breed are not known it apparently is not indigenous to Ireland. It is known that it is one of the oldest Terrier breeds and it was used in Ireland as a ratter and to hunt and retrieve game. It was first exhibited in England in 1870 and achieved popularity in Britain and later in North America. Possibly due to Boston’s large number of Irish immigrants it became popular in Boston. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) the breed had a variety of colors in its early stages of development. However, by the 19th Century the solid red color became a “fixture” of the breed.
Documentation of the Irish terrier history is somewhat sketchy and “…the earliest painting of this breed dates back as far as the 1700s,” according to the Irish-terrier.info website. They speculate that it might have descended from the black and tan terrier or the Irish wolfhound, both of which have been in Ireland and both are known for hunting skills. In the late 1800s the breed became very popular in England. It was stylish at the time to crop their ears. That practice was banned by the Irish terrier Club of England in1889, according to the Irish-terrier.info website. This had the influence to eliminate the practice with other breeds.
The 1873 Dublin Dog show was the first to have separate class for the Irish Terriers. By the 1880s it was the fourth most popular breed in Ireland and Britain. It was introduced to the United States in the late 19th century. The Irish terrier became the 13th ranking breed in American popularity in the 1920s.
Among terriers, the Irish terrier is considered the “raciest” breed with its longer legs and longer body than of dogs in the group. These characteristics give it a ‘lithe, athletic yet sturdy appearance,” according to Irish-terrier. Info.
Appearance and qualities
The Irish terrier is built like a Fox terrier with racier lines than other terriers. Has a longer body. AKC specifies:
· Beautiful red coat
· Alert expression
· Trim outline
· Be of authentic terrier type and temperament
Irish-terrier.info site adds:
· The body and legs show power, strength and speed
· Assertive and bold bushy eyebrows
· Often a loyal protector of children
· Often aggressive with other dogs and small animals
· Strong willed and independent
· Often reserved with strangers
· Sometimes “challenge to housebreak”
· Exercise daily. Can live in an apartment if it gets adequate exercise and not left alone too much.
· Life span of 12 to 15 years
The breed has a wiry and dense coat which does not shed a lot. Should be brushed and combed about once or twice a week. . It is not recommended to bath the dog too often, but only when necessary.
Wikipedia article on the Irish terrier
AKC Meet the Breeds®
Encyclopedia of Dogs by Claudia long & Britt Stader
Irish Terrier Club of America website
Copyright 2012 Don Hoglund