Glen of Imaal Terrier

"Smiling Irish Eyes"

Photo of Glen of Imaal Terrier


The Glen of Imaal has working-class roots. He comes from the rocky and relatively barren Glen area of Ireland, where he worked tirelessly as a ratter, badger and fox hunter, and also as a turnspit dog, turning the spit in the kitchen for hours on end to help prepare the family dinner. But the Glen didn't mind, and still doesn't mind a bit of hard work, as long as he's part of the family. Although he's never been very showy or very popular as a pet, the Glen was one of the first officially recognized Irish breeds in Ireland. United States dog fanciers didn't pay much attention to the Glen, however, until the 1980s, and the American Kennel Club didn't recognize him as a member of the Terrier group until 2004. Today, the Glen of Imaal Terrier ranks 162nd in popularity by registration with the AKC.


The Glen loves to be involved. He'll look into whatever you're doing and if you leave, he'll want to go, too. Gentle and playful with children, the Glen isn't so nice to other dogs—many can be dog aggressive. Their strong prey drive also makes them good hunters, but they won't necessarily see a car coming because they are so focused on the squirrel, so keep them safely contained or on a leash. Glens are wonderful companions in the home, however, and must live inside. They are quieter than many terriers and want to be with you, and while they can be stubborn when it comes to boring drills or training they think seems pointless, they will do just about any respectable work you ask of them (“Catch that mouse!” “Keep that squirrel out of the yard!” “Keep my lap warm!”).


A long terrier on short legs, the Glen has a relatively large head with big teeth and strong jaws, dark round eyes, a docked tail carried high, and a shaggy, wiry coat in wheaten, blue, or brindle. Glens stand about 12.5 to 14 inches tall and weigh an impressive 35 pounds or more, making them dense and heavy for their size. You will be surprised when you pick one up.


The Glen isn't exactly eager to please, but he does like your praise and adulation, so he can be motivated to follow the rules…especially with the occasional healthy treat. Keep training sessions short and fun, and don't expect the Glen to do something more than a few times in a row. Boring! Housetraining a Glen is easy if you employ crate training, but don't keep the Glen in a crate for more than a couple of hours at a time. He wants to be in on things, and if good manners gets him there, he'll learn quickly. Just don't expect to train him how to stop chasing squirrels.

Grooming & Care

The Glen's wiry coat should be stripped of dead hairs by hand several times yearly, or a professional groomer can keep the Glen trimmed down if you don't mind softening the coat texture a bit (show dogs must be hand stripped). Be aware, however, that your breeder probably won't know what a Glen of Imaal Terrier is supposed to look like, so be sure to bring a picture of how you want your dog groomed. Otherwise, Glens need brushing every few days with a slicker brush. They must also have clean teeth, short nails, and plenty of exercise to stay healthy and strong.

Health Concerns

There are so few Glens in the U.S. that it can be hard to say what health conditions they tend to develop. There have been a handful with degenerative eye disease and hip dysplasia, but only a very small handful—out of a very small group. Some may have skin problems including flea bite dermatitis and other allergies. Otherwise, the Glen is a healthy, hardy fellow. Ask the breeder what genetic tests have been performed on the parents of the litter.

Famous Glen of Imaal Terrier

Ch. Finnabair Rocket's Red Glare won Best Glen of Imaal Terrier at the 2007 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 10
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 61
Challenges Barks a lot; will chase small animals.
Height 12.5 to 14 inches
Weight 32 to 35 pounds
Life 13 to 15 years
Home Alone 20
With Kids 86
With Strangers 106
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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