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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Glen of Imaal Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Glen of Imaal Terrier
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Glen of Imaal Terrier hails from Ireland and although at one time a very popular breed, today they have been placed on The Kennel Club's list of vulnerable native breeds and very few puppies are bred and registered with the club every year. Also known as the Wicklow Terrier, they are tough yet extremely gentle which has made them popular hunting dogs as well as great companions and family pets for many years.
With this said, The Glen of Imaal Terrier is slowly making a comeback thanks to their charming natures and the fact unlike many other terriers, they are not known to be “barkers”, but when they do it's impressive to say the least. They are great around children and other dogs although they do have a high prey drive having been bred to hunt. Because so few puppies are available every year, anyone wanting to share a home with a Glen of Imaal Terrier would need to register their interest with breeders for the pleasure of doing so, but the wait would be well worth it.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier was originally bred in Ireland to hunt and control vermin. It's thought the breed came about when settlers crossed their own dogs with local breeds and the first known record is thought to have been made in George Turberville’s book “The Noble Art of Venerie and Hunting” which was published in 1575. They were developed to be tenacious, high-spirited and dogs that excelled at the jobs they were bred to do. They were also known as Wicklow Terriers because they were bred in the valley of the same name. They were also used as fighting dogs and "spit dogs" which saw these little terriers walking on treadmills that powered cooking spits.
It was the Marquis of Huntly in 1798 who let the garrison’s mascot, an Irish Wolfhound roam around the region and he mated with local terriers and hounds. This led to the first of the Glen of Imaal Terriers we know and see today. These terriers were given specific tasks which was to hunt foxes and badgers being highly prized for their “silent” hunting abilities.
They remained popular throughout the ages, but it was only in 1933 when dogs were exhibited that the breed was finally recognised by the Irish Kennel Club but were granted full recognition the following year in 1934 being the third of the terrier breeds to be fully recognised. It was not until many years later in 1982, that the Glen of Imaal were exhibited in England. However, it was in the 1950’s that breed enthusiasts, Paddy Brennan and Willie Kane promoted the breed which ensured its survival.
The first of the Irish breed clubs closed, but in 1971 the Glen of Imaal Terrier Owners and Breeders Association was established with the first breed show being held in 1974 when thirty-one dogs were exhibited. They were one of the last of the terrier breeds out of Ireland to be officially recognised. However, it was not until 1975 that they were officially recognised by The Kennel Club and then ten years or so later, other major international breed organisations followed suit although they are a “rare vulnerable native breed”.
Today, the Glen remains less popular than many other native terrier breeds, although their numbers are rising albeit very slowly with more well-bred, pedigree puppies being registered with The Kennel Club every year. As such anyone wishing to share a home with a Glen of Imaal Terrier would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list, with the good news being the wait would be well worth it.
Height at the withers: Males 30 - 36 cm, Females 30 - 36 cm
Average weight: Males 16 kg, Females 16 kg
Glens are robust, tough looking medium sized dogs yet they have a nice gentle appearance about them too. Their bodies are longer than they are tall, and they have strong forefaces with their muzzles tapering to the tip of their noses which are black in colour. They have well defined stops and nice round, medium sized, brown eyes that are set well apart on their faces which adds to their endearing, kind looks. Ears are small and can be half pricked or rose shaped when dogs are excited or alert. Dogs hold their ears back when resting. The Glen has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
They have very well-muscled, moderately long necks and their shoulders are broad, well laid back and muscular. Front legs are short and nicely boned being slightly bowed. The Glen has a strong, moderately long body being slightly longer than tall at the withers. Ribs are well sprung and chests strong and wide. Their topline rises slightly to a dog's powerful loin and hindquarters are well muscled and strong with dogs boasting strong back legs with muscular thighs. Feet are strong, compact with nice round, firm pads. Their front feet turn slightly outwards. Tails are wide and strong at the base which dogs carry gaily when excited or alert, but low when they are resting or relaxed.
When it comes to their coat, the Glen of Imaal Terrier boasts having a medium length double coat with the outer coat being harsh to the touch whereas their undercoat is that much softer. The accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard which are as follows:
When a Glen of Imaal Terrier moves, they do so with a free and fast action covering a lot of ground when they do and showing plenty of drive from behind.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
Glens are high-spirited, tenacious and loyal dogs yet they are known to be gentle and placid characters by nature too which are just some of the reasons why they have always been so highly prized as hunting dogs and companions too. Unlike other terriers, they are not known to be vocal, but when they do bark it's quite impressive. They were bred to hunt foxes, badgers and vermin and their prey drive remains being deeply embedded in their psyche even in a home environment. With this said, these charming dogs are just as happy to relax and chill out with their owners once they have been well exercised on a vigorous walk.
They love digging which is another trait they need to chase down their quarry when it goes to ground. As such, when left in a garden they are very likely to dig up a few flower beds and the lawn just for the fun of it which is something that needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young and before it develops into a real problem whether indoors or out.
It's important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life, so they understand what is expected of them.
A Glen is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who the alpha dog is in a household, they may quickly take on the role of a dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle. They naturally have a bit of an independent streak in them which sees dogs wander off if they are not well supervised when out on a walk especially if they’ve spotted something interesting in the distance.
They are very intelligent dogs and they form strong ties with their owners enjoying nothing more than being part of a family and included in everything that goes on around them. These are just some of the reasons why these charming terriers make such a great family pets and companions, especially for people who lead active, outdoor lives. They are a good choice for first time owners providing they have the time needed to dedicate to a smart and active canine companion.
A Glen of Imaal Terrier is a good choice for first time dog owners providing they have the time to dedicate to an intelligent, energetic canine companion that likes to be kept busy and occupied.
Having been bred to hunt for centuries, a Glen of Imaal has a very high prey drive and would happily chase anything they spot that tries to run away. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when a dog can run off the lead more especially if there is wildlife or livestock close by.
Glens have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever they quickly learn how to please and owner and how to get their own way.
Although Glens are highly adaptable dogs, they are better suited to people who lead active, outdoor lives and who would like to have an energetic, loyal and intelligent terrier at their side.
Although Glens form strong ties with their families, they are not known to suffer from separation anxiety although no dog should be left on their own for extended periods of time which could result in a Glen developing unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home.
Unlike other terriers, Glens are much quieter and not known to be “barkers”. They were bred to be “silent” hunters and even in a home environment, a Glen only barks when they think it necessary to voice an opinion about something rather than for just the sake of it.
Most Glens love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Glen off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in or they accidentally fall in and then need rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Glens are natural watchdogs because they are always on the alert to what is going on around them. However, rarely would a Glen show any sort of aggressive behaviour, preferring to stand their ground and bark to alert an owner that something they don’t like is going on.
Glens are intelligent, and they are fast learners loving nothing more than to be doing something which means in the right hands and environment, they are easy to train. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good which is why their training must start as soon as puppies arrive in their new homes. Puppies need to be taught the basics and the boundaries before their training starts in earnest once they have been fully vaccinated. Their training also must be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life, so they understand what owners expect of them. As previously mentioned, Glens are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things.
It's best to channel a Glen's energy into the things they love doing best which is to track and chase things down. They thoroughly enjoy training sessions and the one-to-one contact they are given when they are competing or when they are out and about with their owners. The key to successfully training a Glen is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions that much shorter which helps dogs stay more focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored.
They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick-witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved.
Like all puppies, Glens are incredibly cute, and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in a new home. However, as soon as a puppy is nicely settled in, owner should start out as they mean to go on which means laying down rules and boundaries, so they understand what is expected of them. It teaches puppies what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. It also helps establish a “pecking order” and who the alpha dog is in a household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
The Glen of Imaal Terrier makes for a great family pet because they are known to be so kind around children of all ages. However, they can play rough more especially when still young which means they could accidentally knock a smaller child over. As such any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things don't get too boisterous which could result in a child being frightened or hurt, albeit by accident.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet although if a Glen ever feels threatened, they would think nothing of taking on another dog no matter how big or small and would stand their ground with vigour.
If they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Glen would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care must be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets because of their high prey drive as such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Glen of Imaal Terrier is between 10 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good-looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
It is worth noting that the average COI for the breed with the Kennel Club currently stands at 7.6%.
Glen puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Like other breeds, some Glens gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart.
Glens are prone to suffering from skin allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Glen of Imaal Terrier breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions that are in place for all Kennel Club registered breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Glen of Imaal Terrier.
It is mandatory for all KC Assured Breeders to use the following test on their dogs and all other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club strongly recommends that all breeders use the following test on stud dogs:
As with any other breed, Glens need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Glen puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Glen puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Glen of Imaal Terrier puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Glens need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Glen of Imaal Terrier in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Glens need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Glens don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Glens boast having double coats that consist of a harsher outer coat and a softer undercoat. They are low maintenance on the grooming front and only need a once or twice weekly brush to keep things tidy and their coats in good condition. The good news is they are known to be low shedding dogs, but it's good idea to have their coats hand-stripped several times a year which makes keeping it in good condition that much easier in between visits to a grooming parlour.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a pretty high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need anything from 30 to 40 minutes a day with as much off the lead time as possible, but only in safe and secure environments. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Glen would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble, bearing in mind that Glens are expert diggers.
With this said, Glen puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Glen puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise, so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Glen puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Glen of Imaal should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Glen, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Glen of Imaal Terrier in northern England would be £19.98 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £42.37 a month (quote as of May 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, veterinary costs must be factored in for anyone wanting if you to share a home with a Glen and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Glen of Imaal Terrier would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Glen of Imaal puppy.