Irish Terrier Breed Guide

Irish Terrier's are active, plucky pooches, recognisable by their distinctive wiry red coats. You can probably figure out where they come from (Ireland duhh), so today we're going to delve a little deeper, uncovering everything from their role in World War 1 and how to groom them, to their training ability and physical needs.

This is the perfect guide if you're trying to work out if you're the right fit for an Irish Terrier, or simply looking to broaden your four-legged knowledge. All seated? Let's begin...

The Dare Devils Breed History

Irish Terriers are thought to be one of the oldest Terrier breeds around. Supposedly descending from a black and tan Terrier and larger wheaten-colored Terrier, both of which are now extinct. They were officially recognised as a breed in 1975 in a dog show in Scotland (plot twist). Getting their Terrier breed name from the word "terra", meaning "earth", due to their brave and tough nature.

During the the 80's the breed soared to fame, becoming one of the most popular breeds in the UK. As a result of their popularity, the breed went on to play a pivotal role in the changing of law, which made cropping all dogs ears illegal.

Their historical importance doesn't stop there. During WWI Irish Terriers acted as everything from messengers to sentinels, and even rat catchers in the trenches. It was also during this time that they got the nickname 'Dare Devil' or 'Red Devils', which whilst sounding a tad scary, was meant as the highest of compliments. You can find out more about this part of their history in this video:

Their close association with war meant the bread dropped in popularity post-war time, but today are much sought after and considered a 'Heritage Breed'.

Other Nicknames

Irish Terriers have earned a fair few nicknames since their breeds creation. We've already mentioned one they gained during war time, but others include the 'poor man's Wolfhound', as peasants weren't allowed to own hounds. As well as  ‘poor man’s sentinel, the farmers’ friend and the gentleman’s favourite’. Perfectly summarising their adaptability and suitability to most environments.

How much do Irish Terrier's cost?

Irish Terriers can cost anywhere between £250 to £2000 for a healthy pooch from a safe home. 

Don't forget to check out rehoming charities for floof's in need of a loving home!


Physically, Irish Terriers are on average around 18-20 inches tall, weighing between 25-27 pounds. Their coat typically contains several different colours, the main being; Red, Red Wheaten, Rust, Wheaten, and, Wheaten Red. As shown here, in one we made earlier:

irish terrier

Their life expectancy is over 12 years, with the oldest Irish Terrier's living to around 16. If you're wondering what that equals to in human year, you can find out how old your dog is in human years here.

In terms of personality they are intelligent, lively, and fearless pooches. Their inner terrier can give them a bit of an edge with other pups, and any smaller pets should be kept well away. Unless you want to come home to a nasty surprise... But despite this they make great family dogs, as they get on well with children, because they basically are just four-legged versions themselves. Although of course, we'd never recommend leaving any child and dog alone without supervision.

Their intelligence means they react well to training, and can pick up new skills easily. Although their stubbornness can get in the way, so consistency is key.

What should I feed an Irish Terrier?

Irish Terriers are a small to medium breed, so as long as you feed a nutritionally complete recipe, most of the delightful choices of dog foods out there should be appropriate. Whilst you're here, we might as well mention our own range of delicious recipes if you're on the hunt. This includes dry food, wet food, and treats, that are all designed to be easy on sensitive tummies and the planet. All our dry and wet dog food recipes are complete, packed with responsibly sourced meat like Organic Salmon, and never any nasties like added sugar or salt. Our dry dog food is also packed with billions of live bacteria (probiotics), coming in 3 flavours; Puppy Chicken, Adult Chicken or Salmon. Or for pups that prefer wet food, take your pick of our Salmon, Chicken or Turkey grain free wet dog food recipes. These are our most sensitive recipes too, containing only four natural ingredients, no grains, and single-source protein.

Last, but definitely not least, our range of nutritious and delicious treatos has something for every pup. Whether you’re after a calming treat to serve before bedtime, a training treat for your Irish Terrier puppy, or a dental stick to keep their pearly whites, white; we’ve got something for you!

Don't forget that if you do feed treats, you need to reduce their main meal accordingly, as obesity is one of the greatest issues affecting our four-legged friends. Here’s how to tell if your pup is fat or floofy.

Caring for an Irish Terrier

Irish Terriers are considered a hypoallergenic breed, as their short coat doesn't shed much. Despite this it's still recommended to brush them 1-2 time a week to remove dirt, dead hair, and skin, and to keep their coat in tip-topety condition. As their outer coat is thick and oily, it's best to hand-strip them rather than to trim.

Their relatively long legs require a good run about, so up to an hour's exercise a day is enough, and a small to medium sized garden is recommended for their favourite activity = zoomies.

Health Issues in Irish Terriers

Irish Terriers are not known for having many health issues, with the Kennel Club only recognising one in particular; cracked and corny pads. The medical term for this is Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis, which appears from 4-5 months, on all footpads. Typical symptoms include your pooch refusing to walk, particularly on uneven surfaces, or even going lame. Whilst there is no easy-fix cure, treatment typically includes your vet removing the hardened skin, or applying a moisturiser or dog paw balm regularly.

How much do Irish Terriers cost?

Irish Terrier tend to have litters of 4-6 puppies, and yes you guessed it, Irish Terrier puppies are incredibly cute. The price might not be quite so cute, with the average pup costing over £1000, with prices surging up to £2000 post-pandemic. As the breed isn't as common as others, you'll typically need to reach out to reputable breeder, and put yourself onto a waiting list, or reach out to your local Rescue Dog Home.

irish terrier pup

A Fun Fact To Finish

Did you know that Tramp from 'Lady and the Tramp' was drawn to resemble an Irish Terrier?

What do their Owners say?


"We love the Irish Terrier, because he is the perfect middle sized dog, with an amazing character, lots of temperament and always good for a laugh. Furthermore his colour of fur is extraordinary.“

Whilst you're here why not read:

  1. Border Terrier Breed Guide
  2. Slippery Elm for Dogs
  3. Dog Calming Products for a Stress-Free Pup

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