Brief Historical Summary

Like many dogs in the Terrier group, not really appreciated by gentlemen sportsmen before the middle of the 19th century, the Irish Glen Of Imaal is an old breed which was simply ignored for a long time, rather than a result of later experiments.

He is very much a local dog, confined to the bleak area of the Irish Glen of Imaal. The farmers of this area, who were descended from soldiers given the land in the 16th and 17th centuries as payment for services rendered to the British crown, had to utilize their natural cunning and dexterity to survive in this harsh terrain.

A dog, which could not pull his weight in the day-to-day struggle for existence could not be tolerated. So he had to spend long hours propelling dog wheels and was often pitted against other dogs in the dubious sport of dog fighting, customs which have now disappeared.

Before the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier became known at dog shows, he had evolved through generations of hard work into the strong sturdy dog we know today. The Irish Kennel Club gave official recognition to the breed in 1934 and a club to promote it's interests was soon formed. 

The Breed Standard

General Appearance Medium sized dog with medium length coat, great strength with impression of maximum substance for the size of the dog. Body longer than high.
Characteristics Active, agile and silent when working. Native of County Wicklow and named after the Glen of Imaal.
Head and Skull Of good width and fair length with powerful foreface. Muzzle to taper towards nose. Well defined stop. Nose must be black.
Ears Small, rose or half-perked when alert, thrown back when in repose. Full drop or prick undesirable.
Mouth Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissors bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth of good size. Level bite is acceptable.
Neck Very muscular and of moderate length.
Forequarters Shoulders broad, muscular and well laid back. Forelegs short, bowed and well boned.
Body Deep and of medium length, slightly longer than high at withers. Well sprung ribs neither flat nor barrel appearance. Chest wide and strong. Topline straight.
Hinquarters Strong well muscled, with good thighs and good bend at stifle. Hocks turned neither in nor out.
Feet Compact and strong with rounded pads. Front feet to turn slightly from pastern.
Tail Strong at root, well set on and carried gaily. Tail is docked.
Gait / Movement Free in action. Covers ground effortlessly and with good drive from behind.
Coat Medium in length, of harsh texture with soft undercoat. Coat may be tidied to present a neat outline.
Size 14 inches at the shoulder is the maximum height for dogs and bitches.
Colour Blue, Blue Brindle and Wheaten (all shades).
Faults Any departure from the foregoing should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded in exact proportion to it's degree.
Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles, fully descended into the scrotum.


When you are judging a Glen, the exterior and temperament, you have to keep in mind their background and for what purpose the dog was primarily used. In hunting the Glen was used especially as an earth dog, with badgers as a specialty. The breed was also used for hunting otters which developed skills for hunting in water. It is against this background that the breed details should be considered.

The breed is a low set build but belongs, in spite of this, to the section for large to medium sized terriers. The glens are included together with other domestic terrier breeds. One explanation for this could be that the Glen was performing the same hunting trial "Teastas Misneac Certificate" as the other domestic terrier breeds to achieve the champion title.

The Glen is a dog with a typical terrier temper. A fearless dog that could put eventual enemies in place, so there was no doubt about who was the strongest. The breed is an excellent family dog, and could be described as a dog with peaceful and friendly temperament and with a gentle and docile character.