ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen of Imaal Terrier
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Glen of Imaal is a known valley that is tucked away in Ireland and is the reason the Glen of Imaal Terrier has this name. This small but strong breed was made to hunt animals like rodents, foxes and badgers. This breed also makes a wonderful family dog due to its loving and caring nature. Very friendly and easy to train, this breed would make a loving addition to any home!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Terrier Dogs
Height:1 foot to 1 foot, 2 inches tall
Weight:Up to 35 pounds
Life Span:12 to 15 years

The Glen of Imaal Terrier was named after a lesser known valley in Ireland where their history started while Elizabeth I was in power. She hired mercenaries to rebel in Ireland and they brought their hounds which were bred with terriers in Ireland to get the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

They were then used to get rid of rats and other vermin, as well as foxes, badgers and otters, and were used for herding. They also like to dig, and it is in their nature to do so. This breed of terrier almost went extinct, but in the 20th century, Irish breeders set to save them from being no more. Even so, this breed is one of the rarest breeds of dogs found.

Irish folklore states that these terriers were used as meat that was cooked over fire. Scientists cannot find solid evidence of this, especially since the breed we know now is different than the breed of the 19th century. Despite the lore, this is sometimes laid out as fact when speaking of this specific dog breed.

Many feel like this small breed is really a big dog in a small dog’s body! This is because they act much more authoritative in a sense, especially with their bark, which sounds deeper than a normal small dog’s bark. This dwarf breed gets to about 35 pounds and can stand from a foot to 14 inches tall. Some award winning Glens, as they are nicknamed, can weigh up to 45 pounds, but either way, this breed can take about 4 years to reach full maturation.

They have a big head with short legs and a muscular build, along with a double coat that is harsher on top, and soft on the belly. Docking is usually done still and is the standard, but not something that must be done, plus the AKC does not disqualify for a tail that is not docked. Some countries have banned docking tails all together and Ireland is one of them.

What makes this dog great is that it has energy but knows when to relax. They have their own special way of sitting called the “Glen Sit” where it basically sits like a human, which is adorable! Not only are they great watch dogs but they are not as loud and vocal as other terriers, but will still alert you to possible danger. This dog could be great for you because they are smart, can train fast, and are great at socialization!

Main Highlights
  • The Glen of Imaal Terrier comes from the valley of the same name in Ireland and were bred when Queen Elizabeth I was in power and had started a rebellion.
  • They were developed to be a herder and hunter and were used to kill vermin like rats and animals like foxes and badgers. They have a great prey instinct and often dig underground to find their prey. They still today have a nature to dig, so the habit must be curbed through training and patience!
  • Still a terrier at heart, they love to not only dig, but they like to hunt or chase animals and they can have a bit of independence in them. They can also have a little fight in them if they feel threatened by another dog or animal, and they should be socialized with other dogs as soon as possible to give them time to interact and get along with other canines.
  • If you have pet rats, cats, rabbits, hamsters or other small animals, this breed may think of them as prey and kill them. So they may not be a good fit for your home. This is one reason they should be leashed when outside, because they could go after a squirrel or bird and be gone in a second!
  • Overall healthy, they are prone to some diseases such as Hypothyroidism, various Dysplasia and von Willebrand’s disease. They can also suffer from Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which leads to loss of vision.
  • This terrier dog is easy to train because they are very smart, so teaching commands will be a breeze. But you cannot be repetitive as they do get bored easily and will start to get stubborn. Keeping their brain active is key for this breed.
  • Their coat is harsh feeling on the top double coat and very soft on the bottom. It has a medium length and is easy to care for with a weekly brushing as they are said to be a low shedding breed. They come in colors of wheaten, blue, and brindle shades.
Breed History

Originated in the lesser known valley in Ireland called Glen of Imaal, this terrier breed was developed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who ran a rebellion into Ireland and brought along her dogs, which were bred with Irish terriers and formed into a herding and hunting dog called the Glen of Imaal Terrier. This breed was known for its keen hunting skills and killing of vermin, foxes, badgers, otters, and underground animals, for which they were bred to dig. At one point this breed was used in dog fights and nearly went extinct, but were brought back to life in the 20th century from Irish breeders.

Recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1933, this dog breed is a great family companion that is gentle, loyal and loving. The Irish folklore states that these terriers were used as meat that roasted over a fire pit, called Turn Spit Dogs. However, scientists have little evidence of this but this fact is always mentioned with the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

One of the rarest dog breeds known, they are also called the Wicklow Terrier because the Glen of Imaal valley is in Wicklow, Ireland. Many just call them Glens. In current times, they are less herders and hunters than they are family pets and companions. They still will seek out a prey from time to time, but they also get to be loved in a home that is warm and cozy.

Size

Both the females and males grow up to be 12 inches to 14 inches tall at the shoulder. Both of them generally weigh up to 35 pounds if healthy and exercised regularly. However, some show dogs of this breed weigh upwards of 45 pounds and are very healthy and talented. It is said that this breed can take 4 years to reach their full maturity point due to having three stages of growth.

Personality and Character

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a smart dog that learns commands and tricks very quickly. Not one to bark too much, they will alert you if there is a danger or something they are concerned about. They do have a lot of energy and should be walked and exercised every day but they do have a relaxed energy about them and they will cuddle up to you and rest quietly without issue.

They do have a bit of independence about them and will do their own thing, especially if they are bored mentally. Keeping your dog mentally healthy and occupied is key with this breed, that is otherwise a great companion and family pet. If they feel threatened, they will usually not start a fight but they will end it quickly if they feel the need to defend themselves or protect their loved ones. That is why they are known as a big dog inside of a small dog’s body!

One quirk about them is they have their own way of sitting, which is called the “Glen Sit” and it basically looks like a human sits down, and their paws stick straight out. They are known for going into agility trials and training, and while not great at swimming due to their short legs, some of them can swim fairly well, besides herding and hunting.

Health and Potential Problems

These Glens are not particularly unhealthy, but they do have some diseases that they are prone to, which is why exercise daily and proper nutrition is very important. They tend to gain weight if they are given access to too much food.

  • Ear infections are common in all dogs and can be prevented by proper and regular checking of the ears. Using cotton swabs and ear cleaner can be beneficial. The most common ear issues are from allergies, mites, yeast and deep hair growth. If the dog keeps messing with their ears and you see redness, smell an odor, and see swelling, then your dog may have an infection.
  • Hip Dysplasia is a condition in which the bone in the thigh does not fit correctly into the hip joint. One way to tell if this is hurting your dog is to check for pain and lack of use of that area. While this condition is hereditary, it can be attained from other factors like diet, falling, or any injury. A veterinarian can help to provide comfort for a dog with hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that is also common in dogs, and it occurs when the cartilage does not naturally develop, which then leads to terrible arthritis and overall pain in the affected area.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy means loss of vision, which is when the retina is losing the ability to process light. Most dogs who begin to suffer from retinal atrophy will first have a hard time seeing at night, and over time their vision will suffer when the sun is out. This can and does lead to full blindness, and is not treatable currently.
  • Hypothyroidism in dogs happens when there is little to no hormones produced by the thyroid gland itself. Dogs can be put on medication to make up for the lack of production, which the dog will have to take for life. Hypothyroidism mostly occurs after the age of 4 years, and symptoms include lethargy, hair loss, skin infections, weight gain, seizures, and more.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease is one that can affect all breeds of dogs. This is where blood cannot clot properly and thus bleeding occurs in one or more various areas for the dog, such as a nosebleed, bloody gums, and blood in the stool. There is a way to help this disease, which can mean blood transfusions for the Manchester Terrier, and cauterization. If the dog is taking any medication, this should be discussed with the veterinarian before surgery.
  • Cataracts, which occurs in the lens of the eye, causes cloudiness and therefore will give your dog blurry vision. When they become thicker, the dog can go blind if surgery is not an option. Most times, genetics are the cause of this but injury, age, and other diseases can inhibit this type of degeneration.
  • Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to process sugars correctly. Check for the symptoms which include increased appetite, being really thirsty, and going to the bathroom a lot. A dog will live with diabetes for the rest of its life so it is important to get them on insulin shots and control what they eat.
Care Features

This breed needs plenty of exercise, including every day walks because they have a lot of energy. If you notice them digging, try to discourage the behavior, train him to not do so, or possibly put up fencing around your garden or flower areas to prevent their digging in those areas.

One thing to remember is to not let them get bored or they will find their independence and do their own thing. Keeping them active, mentally and physically is important in this breed. One good thing about them is they are happy wherever their loved ones are and can live in homes or apartments with ease.

Feeding Schedule

Your Glen should eat twice per day, once in the morning and once at dinner time, with 3/4th to 1 cup at each meal. Using dry kibble with high protein and important vitamins will keep them healthy. Provide fresh water for each meal as well.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Their coat is of a medium length with the top double coat being harsher feeling than the bottom soft coat, and they come in colors of wheaten, blue, and brindle and are known to be low shedding and some do not shed at all.

They are very easy to groom and usually need a weekly brushing, along with weekly body checks for rashes, ears, mouth and other areas. They should be bathed every 3 months or as needed because they do not generally smell. Also, their nails should be trimmed once or twice per month.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The great thing about this breed is that they love having a family and get along great with children. They are very gentle with kids, though smaller children should be supervised, and all children should be told to not pull on the dog’s tail, pinch him, poke or provoke him in any way to attack.

For the most part, if you have a cat, small rodent like rats, hamsters, rabbits or any small animal, the dog will think it is prey and will chase and possible harm or kill the animal. They can get along with other dogs if raised with them early on. Overall, a home with just this dog or other dogs would be ideal.

Overall, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a great dog breed that is smart, loyal, gentle, and extremely loving. They can be raised around children, and in nearly any environment as long as they are exercised daily. While they may see small animals as prey, they are not ideal for homes with these types of pets, but having other dogs in the home is fine as long as they are raised with them and trained properly.

This Italian breed of dog does have a stubborn and independent streak and should be kept from getting bored and digging up your beautiful garden! If you want a small dog that is loving, affectionate, and will protect you, then the Glen of Imaal Terrier could be the perfect dog for you and your family!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

0
0
Total
0
Shares