Let's talk Glen of Imaal Terriers

The tenacious and trustworthy Glen of Imaal Terrier is a hardworking and loyal dog in a pint-sized body. This native Irish breed epitomises conviviality as well as diligence. Their small size packs a heft (don’t underestimate those legs—they’re powerful). They are a working dog who relishes any task, whether it’s carrying out true farm duties or leaping a fence in agility competitions. As skilled as they are in the field, the Glen of Imaal Terrier also makes for an affectionate family dog, content to join the gang whether in city or country.

Official name: Glen of Imaal Terrier

Other names: Irish Glenn of Imaal Terrier, Wicklow Terrier

Origins: Ireland

Black and white portrait of a Glen Of Imaal Terrier
 Drooling tendencies:

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level:
Suited to apartment living?  Medium
 Energy level (high, low, moderate) *: Moderate Family pet? *
 Compatibility with other pets:
Can stay alone? *

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this..

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Illustration of a Glen Of Imaal Terrier
32 - 36 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
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32 - 36 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
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 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 12 months
 Adult age:  1 to 7 years
 Mature age:  7 to 10 years
 Senior age:  From 10 years

Glen Of Imaal Terrier speeding along through grass


Get to know the Glen of Imaal Terrier

All you need to know about the breed

One of Ireland’s best-loved and most rustic breeds, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is as endearing as they are hard working. That wiry terrier coat and set of stout legs has produced fans far and wide, for those lucky enough to have encountered the breed.

Indeed the Glen of Imaal Terrier is fairly little known. They hail from a remote area of Ireland, originally raised as scrappy hunters of badger and fox and to perform ratter duties. Watch out for your begonias though, as even though they are now known as top notch companion pets, digging is still second-nature for them as well.

That said, this is a dog who will easily obey if steered away from destructive behaviour. Although at times stubborn, it’s more that the breed is used to working independently, not that they are averse to listening. The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a wonderful family dog too though, and gets along with children once trained but is most suitable for older ones, whom they may be less inclined to knock over with their fairly frisky manner. Remaining cautious with the Glen of Imaal Terrier around other animals is wise as they have a strong prey drive. That terrier verve is ever-present!

Black and white portrait of a Glen Of Imaal Terrier


2 facts about Glen of Imaal Terriers

1. Prey on one’s mind

Small but mighty, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a dog with a strong prey drive. Originally bred to hunt by burrowing for small animals, they may go after more junior critters while on walks or in the home. Keep that determined nature in check with obedience training and a firm hand while they grow.

2. Sit up and take notice

A petite stature is only part of the charm given off by the Glen of Imaal Terrier. The breed has a very funny habit of sitting up on their hind end – for extended periods – with front legs outstretched. Commonly called the “Glen Sit,” it’s downright humorous to see, their small body seemingly perfectly balanced and relaxed perched upright.


History of the breed

A dog from deep in the Irish countryside sounds as unaffected as their milieu, which sums up the Glen of Imaal Terrier. The breed started life in the remote region that bears their name, a glen, or valley, in County Wicklow on Ireland’s east coast. It’s said they were brought by settlers given land by Queen Elizabeth I in exchange for military service. This tenacious terrier was soon put to work in pursuit of small animals and for ratting—rooting out vermin of all kinds, which they’re naturally good at.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier made their way to the U.S. in the 1930s, coming into their own finally in the 1980s when a group of dedicated breeders brought foundation stock over from abroad. The Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America was then founded in 1986.

Recognised by the Irish Kennel Club in 1933, the breed wasn’t given official status by the U.K.’s Kennel Club until 1975, with the American Kennel Club following in 1987.

Black and white portrait of a Glen Of Imaal Terrier


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Glen of Imaal Terriers

1. Ears

Small, pert, triangular ears, carried backwards at rest.

2. Body

Small but strong body, longer than high, stocky legs.

3. Coat

Medium-length double coat, harsh overcoat, soft undercoat.

Glen Of Imaal Terrier with wind blowing fur back over its face


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Glen of Imaal Terrier
Glen Of Imaal Terrier bounding over grass


Caring for your Glen of Imaal Terrier

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Good grooming is essential to keep your Glen of Imaal Terrier looking their best. A soft undercoat lies beneath the weather-resistant outer coat, both of which should get a good weekly brushing, and the outer coat a yearly stripping with a hand-stripper—and don’t miss the soft hair around ears, neck, belly, and legs, too. Trim their nails and clean ears regularly, and brush teeth often to prevent tartar buildup.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier revels in any kind of exercise, whether it be in the yard or something more serious. The breed is a very willing competitor, especially in agility and obedience. As energetic as they are, they don’t benefit from super long walks but ironically prefer brief bursts of activity.
Training your Glen of Imaal Terrier is downright fun. This is a vigorous dog who takes commands easily. Note they can be diggers (it’s that terrier thing) so designating an area in the yard where they can do so could give an outlet for their natural inclination. Socialise them from puppyhood for a well-balanced dog.


All about Glen of Imaal Terriers

The Glen of Imaal Terrier possesses a terrier mindset—one that is not terribly subdued, though this breed is calmer than most. Terrier dogs have been bred over the ages to raise the alarm out in the field, thus will bark if they see something or someone new in their line of vision. Otherwise, they aren’t known to be a very vocal breed.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a treasured breed in their home country of Ireland, registered with the Irish Kennel Club and some of the world’s prestigious kennel clubs. They even have their own club, the Glen of Imaal Club of America. Having said that, there are only approximately 600-700 Glen of Imaal Terrier registrations stateside.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/