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  • Temperament: Gentle, Spirited, Bold
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 180 of 192
  • Height: 12.5-14 inches
  • Weight: 32-40 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Glen of Imaal Terrier standing in three-quarter view
Glen of Imaal Terrier head and shoulders facing left
Glen of Imaal Terrier standing sideways facing left
Glen of Imaal Terrier coat detail
Glen of Imaal Terrier

Find a Puppy: Glen of Imaal Terrier

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, named for the region in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland where it was developed long ago, is a medium sized working terrier. Longer than tall and sporting a double coat of medium length, the Glen possesses great strength and should always convey the impression of maximum substance for size of dog. Unrefined to this day, the breed still possesses “antique” features once common to many early terrier types; its distinctive head with rose or half-prick ears, its bowed forequarters with turned out feet, its unique outline and topline are hallmarks of the breed and essential to the breed type.

HEAD

The head must be powerful and strong with no suggestion of coarseness. Impressive in size yet in balance with, and in proportion to, the overall size and symmetry of the dog. Eyes – Brown, medium size, round and set well apart. Light eyes should be penalized. Ears – Small, rose or half pricked when alert, thrown back when in repose. Set wide apart and well back on the top outer edge of the skull. Full drop or prick ears undesirable. Nose – Black. Teeth – Set in a strong jaw, sound, regular, and of good size. Full dentition. Scissors bite preferred; level mouth accepted.

BODY

Neck – Very muscular and of moderate length. Topline – Straight, slightly rising to a very strong well-muscled loin with no drop-off at the croup. Body – Deep, long and fully muscled. Longer than high with the ideal ratio of body length to shoulder height approximately five (length) to three (height). Chest – Wide, strong and deep, extending below the elbows. Ribs – Well sprung with neither a flat nor a barrel appearance. Loin – Strong and well muscled. Tail – Docked to approximately half-length, in balance with the overall dog and long enough to allow a good handhold. Strong at root, well set on and carried gaily. Dogs with undocked tails not to be penalized.

FOREQUARTERS

Short, bowed and well boned. Forearm should curve slightly around the chest. Upper arm (humerus) nearly equal in length to the shoulder blades (scapula). Feet to turn out slightly but perceptibly from pasterns. Feet – Compact and strong with rounded pads.

COAT

Medium length, of harsh texture with a soft undercoat. The coat may be tidied to present a neat outline characteristic of a rough-and-ready working terrier. Over trimming of dogs is undesirable.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and well muscled, with ample bone and in balance with forequarters. Good bend of stifle and a well-defined second thigh. Hocks turn neither in nor out, are short, well let down and perpendicular from hock to ground. Feet – As front, except they should point forward.

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About the Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glens are scruffy, sturdy, low-slung terriers standing no more than 14 inches at the shoulder. There’s nothing fancy or fussed-over about Glens.

Rather, their wiry no-frills coat, broad head, and bowed front legs suggest a working farm dog from a time and place where substance was more important than style. And yet, they’re also ridiculously cute. It takes a heart of stone to resist reaching down to give a Glen a scratch behind the ear and a pat on the well-muscled rump.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Glen of Imaal Terrier

Find a Puppy: Glen of Imaal Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Glen of Imaal Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Glen of Imaal Terrier should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet or the dog’s breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.

GROOMING

The Glen of Imaal Terrier’s weather-resistant double coat, consisting of a rough outer coat and a soft undercoat, requires moderate brushing weekly to prevent matting of the furnishings (the soft hair around the ears, neck, legs and belly) and should also be stripped two or three times a year. They shed very little as a result of this effort. It does not take a great amount of time, and the bonding you achieve with your pup is well worth the time involved. Since Glens are a dwarf breed, a small but sturdy grooming table is a very good investment. It will make the process much easier on both of you. The nails should be trimmed regularly, and the ears checked weekly for debris or excess wax buildup.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

A little more laid-back than the typical terrier, Glens require moderate exercise to stay healthy and happy. As a dwarf breed with slightly curved front legs, Glens should not be rushed into strenuous exercise such as long walks on leash—it’s good to start leash training, but keep the walks short and fun. A small handful of the pup’s regular kibble can be used to reward him for staying close while on leash. Let him run around the house or a fenced yard, perhaps chasing a toy or ball. He will flop down for a rest when he has had enough. Owners should prevent puppies from jumping off couches, going down steep stairs, or engaging in anything that might put undue stress on their growing front legs and joints. Pups need time for the growth plates in their legs to close before they do any jumping or start climbing or descending stairs. Going down stairs is more stressful on the front legs than going up. Some breeders have pups avoid stairs and jumping as much as possible until they are at least 9 months of age, as the growth plates will close sometime between 9 and 12 months. This is a normal part of the developmental process but especially important in dwarf breeds whose legs are short in relation to their body weight.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Glens are versatile, trainable, and very smart. They love people but normally won’t get chummy with other dogs. They are quieter and less spiky than other terriers—but, still, they’re terriers: brave, sometimes stubborn, and keenly interested in the doings of small furry critters, their natural prey. Like most terriers, they have a great deal of character and learn quickly, which can make training a joy, although they may get bored with repetition. Positive reinforcement is the key. Keep training sessions short: Five minutes of training two or three times a day is much better than one 30-minute session. Early socialization and puppy training classes puppy training classesare recommended.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Glen of Imaal Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but there are several health and genetic screening considerations specific to the breed. These include hip dysplasia and eye disease such as cone rod dystrophy. Responsible breeders will screen their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to. Caution should be taken to avoid unnecessary stress on the front legs during their first nine months of life. As with all breeds, the Glen’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

 

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Glen of Imaal Terrier
Glen of Imaal Terrier

History

Glens are tough terriers from tough country, the remote and rocky Glen of Imaal in mountainous County Wicklow. Old-time farmers worked hard to scratch a living from the desolate landscape, and their dogs were expected to work just as hard.

Glens were developed as badger hunters, but they also did various odd jobs around the farm. Glens carry the nickname “Turnspit Dog” because, according to some, they were used in kitchens to run in a hamster-wheel contraption that turned meat over an open fire. The Glen’s highly individualized bowed front legs, well-padded loin and powerful hindquarters were ideally suited for this. For several hundred years, these hearty dogs performed their chores in this remote corner of Ireland unnoticed by all except those who treasured them.

There are sporadic reports of Glens emigrating to America with their owners as early as 1930; however, the breed did not gain a foothold in America until the 1980’s when several dedicated breeders and fanciers imported foundation stock from Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 1986, these same pioneers founded the Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America.

Did You Know?

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is AKC's 153rd breed.
The turnspit was a large wheel paddled by the dog turning a spit over the hearth - a canine propelled rotisserie, if you will.
In 1934, the Glen of Imaal Terrier was given full recognition by the Irish Kennel Club. It was the third of four terrier breeds of Ireland to be so acknowledged. The Kennel Club of England followed suit in 1975.
There is a glen, Imaal, in the Wicklow mountains that has always been, and still is, celebrated for its terriers." This 19th-century reference is to the beguiling Irish breed we now know as the Glen of Imaal Terrier.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier was initially bred to rid the home and farm of vermin, and hunt badger and fox; these rugged dogs also had a unique task for which they were expressly designed to perform (they were turnspit dogs).
With the advent of dog shows in the latter half of the 19th century, the breed began to emerge into the public eye. There are documented reports of Glens at Irish dog shows as early as 1878.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, named for the region in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland where it was developed long ago, is a medium sized working terrier. Longer than tall and sporting a double coat of medium length, the Glen possesses great strength and should always convey the impression of maximum substance for size of dog. Unrefined to this day, the breed still possesses “antique” features once common to many early terrier types; its distinctive head with rose or half-prick ears, its bowed forequarters with turned out feet, its unique outline and topline are hallmarks of the breed and essential to the breed type.

HEAD

The head must be powerful and strong with no suggestion of coarseness. Impressive in size yet in balance with, and in proportion to, the overall size and symmetry of the dog. Eyes – Brown, medium size, round and set well apart. Light eyes should be penalized. Ears – Small, rose or half pricked when alert, thrown back when in repose. Set wide apart and well back on the top outer edge of the skull. Full drop or prick ears undesirable. Nose – Black. Teeth – Set in a strong jaw, sound, regular, and of good size. Full dentition. Scissors bite preferred; level mouth accepted.

BODY

Neck – Very muscular and of moderate length. Topline – Straight, slightly rising to a very strong well-muscled loin with no drop-off at the croup. Body – Deep, long and fully muscled. Longer than high with the ideal ratio of body length to shoulder height approximately five (length) to three (height). Chest – Wide, strong and deep, extending below the elbows. Ribs – Well sprung with neither a flat nor a barrel appearance. Loin – Strong and well muscled. Tail – Docked to approximately half-length, in balance with the overall dog and long enough to allow a good handhold. Strong at root, well set on and carried gaily. Dogs with undocked tails not to be penalized.

FOREQUARTERS

Short, bowed and well boned. Forearm should curve slightly around the chest. Upper arm (humerus) nearly equal in length to the shoulder blades (scapula). Feet to turn out slightly but perceptibly from pasterns. Feet – Compact and strong with rounded pads.

COAT

Medium length, of harsh texture with a soft undercoat. The coat may be tidied to present a neat outline characteristic of a rough-and-ready working terrier. Over trimming of dogs is undesirable.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and well muscled, with ample bone and in balance with forequarters. Good bend of stifle and a well-defined second thigh. Hocks turn neither in nor out, are short, well let down and perpendicular from hock to ground. Feet – As front, except they should point forward.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Blue Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 056
Wheaten Check Mark For Standard Color 224
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