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Glen of Imaal Terrier – History, Personality, And Training Tips

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is an independent breed developed as a badger hunter. Read on to discover why strength was before appearance when creating this breed.

Glen of Imaal Terrier is a small size dog with some spirit of a large dog.

This small dog was built to handle hard work and be brave. They are low-slung terriers standing no more than 14 inches at the shoulder.

Opposite to some breeds, there isn’t anything fancy about this breed – after only one look at this dog, it’s obvious that this is a sturdy and working farm dog.

In fact, it’s obvious that this breed was developed in a period when the dog’s appearance wasn’t relevant, but how strong he is. Still, they are adorably cute.

Quick Facts

Real name: Glen of Imaal Terrier
Other names: Irish Glenn of Imaal Terrier, Wicklow Terrier
Origin: Ireland
Common nicknames: Glen, Glennie
Breed type: Terrier Group
Weight: 32-40 pounds
Height: 12.5-14 inches
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Litter Size: 3 – 5 puppies
Color: Wheaten or blue followed with a range of shades
Coat: Double coat with a soft undercoat

Glen of Imaal Terrier History

Glen of Imaal Terriers, or simply Glens are tough terriers from rocky County Wicklow.

This dog was bred by old-time farmers who worked hard to make a living from the distant and rural landscapes.

Since people had to be creative about living and dealing with harsh conditions, they needed hard-working dogs.

Glens were developed as badger hunters, but they did an enormous amount of work around the farm.

Some claim that they were even used in kitchens to run in a hamster-wheel contraption that turned the meat over an open fire – this is why some call them ‘Turnspit Dog.’

It seems like they were indeed used for this because they have bowed front legs, powerful hindquarters, and well-padded loin.

For several hundred years, these dogs were used to perform the most unusual tasks in the most remote corners of Ireland.

Dog fanciers claim that this breed emigrated to America as early as 1930, however, the breed became popular in the 1980s when fanciers and breeders imported foundation stock from Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The very first Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America was founded in 1986.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Physical Appearance

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a medium-sized working terrier. This breed is longer than tall and possesses great strength and always presents the image of a well-built and compact dog.

The breed still possesses antique features: distinctive head with rose or half-prick ears, unique outline, and unique topline which are essential to the breed type.

The head must be powerful, eyes brown, and ears always small. The nose is black and teeth are set in a strong jaw. The neck is very muscular and of moderate length.

Overall, the body is deep, long, and fully muscled. The chest is wide, strong, and deep, while ribs are well sprung. The tail is docked to approximately half-length.

Forequarters are short and bowed, while the forearm should curve around the chest.

The coat is of medium length, of harsh texture with a soft undercoat. In dog’s show over trimming isn’t allowed. Hindquarters are strong and well-muscled.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Personality

You may believe that a small size dog has low energy levels, but in fact – these small terriers are packed with energy and rhythm.

They do tend to be even-tempered and easygoing, and they are less vocal than most other terriers, but they are still terriers.

They love being active, and thrive on their humans’ friendship. Their bark is often deep, like that of a much larger dog, and they are great as watchdogs.

They are famous for their ‘Glen sit,’ in which the dog sits on its hind end and holds its entire body vertical. This isn’t something that is often seen in other breeds no matter how willing they are to be goofy.

As terriers, they may be stubborn a bit, but they do respond well to a firm hand and experienced dog owners.

Glens are highly intelligent and quick learners, and they will demand extra treats during the training sessions.

Glens are loyal and fearless, often ignoring their size and acting as much larger dogs.

Some may be dog-aggressive, especially when provoked. By the time they reach their maturity, Glens develop a strong prey drive and will chase smaller animals, such as rats.

It’s crucial to socialize them from day one with other pets.

If you want to train your dog like a pro, think about participating in dog agility, because Glens will do amazingly in agility.

Since they have short legs and dense bodies, they aren’t particularly great swimmers, and some of them can work in water, while others were trained to herd cattle and sheep.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Training

Just like with any other dog breed – if you want a well-behaved dog you need to invest your time and energy into proper socialization and early training.

Glens are very smart and trainable dogs as long as you know how to organize training and treats. They thrive on positive reinforcement and treats.

Glens tend to be stubborn, so make sure that you start training your Glen as soon as you get him home.

Make training sessions fresh and short, and don’t hold them with repetition.

Checklist for training your Glen:

  • Positive reinforcement is the key
  • Keep training sessions short
  • Provide early socialization
  • Think about puppy training classes if needed

Glen of Imaal Terrier Exercise

To keep your Glens happy and healthy you should provide moderate exercise.

Since they have short and curved front legs, Glens shouldn’t be forced into strong exercise as hikes and long walks on a leash – however, it’s always good to start leash training by keeping walk short and fun.

Glen will love to run and chase the ball in a fenced area and inside the house. When tired, Glen will ignore you until he feels fully rested.

If you are getting a puppy make sure that he avoids jumping off couches, going down steep stairs, or anything else that can put stress on their growing legs and joints.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Grooming

The Glen of Imaal Terrier has a weather-resistant double coat, which is made of a rough outer coat and a soft undercoat.

This dog requires moderate weekly brushing to prevent matting and tangles and should be stripped two or three times a year.

By doing so you can actually achieve low shedding. Brushing this dog is fast and easy, but investing in a sturdy grooming table is a great option.

Nails shoudl be trimmed or grinded regularly, ears checked for wax, and gums checked weekly.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Health

Glen of Imaal Terriers are generally healthy dogs, and if you are dealing with responsible breeders you will get a healthy dog.

If you are not presented with medical documentation on the dog, or if you are not allowed to meet the dog’s parents and check facilities, the chances are that you are dealing with puppy mills. If that’s the case, just walk away.

As soon as you get your Glen home, take him to your veterinarian for a quick check-up. This way you will get him comfortable at the vets.

Ears should be checked regularly and cleaned, bathing should be done only when really needed, and skin should be checked for any sign of infection.

Recommended Health Tests for Glen of Imaal Terrier:

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

Is Glen of Imaal For You?

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a strong and highly independent dog with a strong need to please his owners.

Originally bred to hunt fox and badger and to keep homes free of rodents, the Glen is a highly skilled and cunning hunter.

When not chasing around they are devoted family members who love spending time with their humans.

If you are not sure if Glen of Imaal Terrier is for you think if you are willing to deal with dynamic terrier temperament, possible aggression toward other animals, digging holes, and stubbornness… If the answer is ‘no’ then the Glen of Imaal Terrier isn’t for you.

On the other hand, if you want a dog of small size, rough-coating, and a moderate temperament with above-average watching skills, then the Glen of Imaal Terrier is for you.

The Bottom Line

Getting a dog isn’t something that should be taken lightly.

Being a dog owner isn’t only about cute moments that you get to share with your canine, but about having a well-behaved dog who is a trained member of society.

So, unless you are 100% sure that you provide what needs for a dog (plus, there are always unplanned situations) wait a bit longer until you are sure that you can handle it.

On the other hand, if you know that you can provide and give everything that one dog needs to be happy, then think about adopting Glen of Imaal Terrier first.