Breeds 101

Glen of Imaal Terrier


One of the four Terrier breeds native to Ireland, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is an ancient breed of unknown origins and is named after a valley in Country Wicklow, in eastern Ireland.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier was a working Terrier, able to survive in a difficult terrain and conditions; It is tough, sturdy, and adaptable, and was ideal for fox, rats and badger hunting in the rough terrains of the Glen.

This is the rarest of Ireland’s terriers, and it shares with that island’s other “peasant dogs” an intense tenacity of spirit. Before selective breeding improved the Glen’s social manners, it was a fierce fox and badger hunter, compact enough to go underground after its quarry and fight it to the death.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier was used in dog fights, but in contrast to Great Britain, where the fight was staged indoors, in Ireland it took place in open fields. First exhibited in 1933, today’s Glen is relatively relaxed, and makes an affectionate companion, although it certainly will not back down from a fight.

Even though the breed’s numbers dwindled for a time, the Glen’s charm and spirit ensured its survival into modern times.


Small to medium: 14 inches; 35 pounds.


Wheaten, blue, or brindle.


Spirited, inquisitive, ready for a chase; docile and content with plenty of exercise; good with older children; can be aggressive with other dogs.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Active owner able to train a strong-willed dog.


Daily exercise (brisk walk or off-lead romp in a secure area); leash; fenced yard, involvement in family activities; regular combing and stripping twice a year.

Life expectancy:

10 to 15 years.