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Irish Terrier - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Irish Terrier


The Irish Terrier is a medium-sized, well-proportioned terrier who gives an air of power without being heavy. The skull is flat and the muzzle long. The jaws are powerful, but the expressive, whiskered face softens the appearance of the dog and gives him a bit of character. The nose is black, the V-shaped ears fold forward and the eyes are small, dark, and capped with bushy eyebrows. The forelegs are long and straight and the chest deep and muscular. The tail is customarily docked to ¾ the original lengh. The wiry coat comes in solid colors of red, golden red or wheaten.

Size and Weight

Irish Terriers stand about 18 inches at the shoulder and males weigh around 27 pounds, females 25. In the show ring, the height and weight are not the last word in judgment, the dog's overall appearance and proportions are all taken into consideration.

Coat and Color

The Irish Terrier wears a coat of dense, wiry hair. It is so dense, in fact, that it is difficult to see the dog's skin when parting hairs with fingers. Though it is dense, it is short enough that the outline of the body can still be seen. Under the crisp outer coat is an undercoat of fine, soft hair. This double coat is designed to protect the dog from rain, cold and rough brush that are encountered outdoors.

The coat comes in either bright red, golden red, red wheaten, or wheaten which is a pale yellow shade. Some dogs sport a patch of white on the chest. At birth, some Irish Terriers are black, which lightens as they mature.

Grooming Needs

Irish Terriers shed very little and are considered a hypoallergenic dog. Even though shedding is minimal, the coat should be brushed every week with a natural bristle brush to keep it healthy and clean. The proper texture and color of the coat can only be maintained through stripping, and show dogs should never be clipped. Family companion dogs, however, can be trimmed to save the time and energy that goes into stripping. Other people prefer to neither strip nor clip the coat, and simply leave it to grow naturally.

Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

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