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Sometimes called the Wicklow Terrier, this little dog of Irish origin has its name shorted to 'Glen' by keepers of the breed. Named for the beautiful area of Ireland from which it hails, it was recognised by the Irish KC in the mid 1930's.
True to the roots of all terriers, the Glen was bred to be an adaptable, tough little dog used on farms and homesteads to control vermin including foxes, otters and badgers. In addition to this task, they were also tough enough to herd stock and brave enough to be used as a watchdog.
Nothing solid is known about true history of this breed, but it is thought to extend back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. During the time of civil unrest in Ireland, Queen Elizabeth sent hired mercenaries to control the local people. When the conflict was over, the soldiers stayed and with them their low slung dogs who then bred with the local terriers, eventually descending into the Glen Terrier known today.
The Glen remains much today as it was then, and is quite a rare dog outside of Ireland and the US, where it has a band of loyal keepers.
Average height to withers: Males stand between 12-14 inches with females being somewhat smaller.
Average weight: Up to 16kg in weight for adult males, with females being lighter.
A stand out feature of this dog is its short legs and low slung body, making it the perfect shape for going to ground while hunting its quarry. The coat of this dog is harsh on top, with a soft and quite fluffy under coat which helps to give it weather resistant qualities. The coat can be either wheaten, blue or brindle in colour.
Quite slow to grow, it can take up to 4 years to reach complete maturity. Once grown, the body of this little dog is quite muscular, with a deep chest and sturdy legs. The head is quite large compared to the body, with half erect ears, dark eyes and a dark nose.
While quite quiet for a terrier, the Glen is a still energetic and very active. They are noticeably less vocal than all other terriers as one of their character traits is complete silence when they go to ground. When they do bark, however, people are often surprised by the loud and deep bark that emits from them, something that is normally associated with a much larger dog. They have the usual terrier intelligence and stubbornness, meaning that while they are more than capable of learning new commands, if they don't want to, they won't! While they are superb with people, they can have aggressive tendencies with other dogs if they have not been properly socialised as a youngster - a trait that needs to be discouraged by its owner. As a hunting dog, it is essential that they are introduced to other pets such as small furries and cats from being a pup and even then they may not be suitable for living in a house with smaller pets.
That said, they are good with children, but have their limits when it comes to rough house play - children must be taught to respect this tough little dog. More often than not, the Glen will simply avoid children if it does not want to play, but children and dogs should always be supervised.
Even as a small dog, it has a high energy drive and as such cannot be housed with little to stimulate its body and mind. Daily walks and other activities are a must, otherwise it can become easily bored and destructive (it will try to dig anything!). A good recall is an absolute necessity if this dog is to be let off the lead, as its nose will soon discover new scents and possible quarry to hunt. It is determined, and once a scent has been caught, it will not rest until it has reached its goal.
This little terrier can live a long and healthy life, with some recorded living into their twenties, however, more usually they live up to around 15 years of age. The main condition to affect the Glen is PRA. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is late in onset in this breed and can present up until the age of 6 years. It can be serious in nature causing permanent blindness. Seek advice from your vet if you suspect this may be the case. Other issues that can cause discomfort is skin allergies in this breed, with them often having allergic reactions to flea and tick bites, meaning that the owner must have an effective schedule of treatment in place to minimise this risk.
A large amount of exercise is needed to keep this breed in tip top condition both mentally and physically - it simply is not suited to a person or family who lead a sedentary life. The coat does require attention, and will benefit from hand stripping on occasion. This is something that a professional dog groomer can do if you have not mastered the technique yourself.