Glen of Imaal Terrier

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Key Breed Facts
Breed Characteristics
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Glen of Imaal Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Glen of Imaal Terrier

Key Breed Facts

Popularity #194 out of 241 Dog Breeds.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier breed is also commonly known by the names Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier, Wicklow Terrier, Glen, Glennie.
10 - 14 years
Pedigree Breed ?
Yes - KC Recognised in the Terrier Group
Males 30 - 36 cm
Females 30 - 36 cm at the withers
Males 16 kg
Females 16 kg
Average Price (More Info)
£850 for KC Registered
£350 for Non KC Registered

Breed Characteristics


The Glen of Imaal Terrier hails from Ireland and although at one time a popular breed, today they have been placed on The Kennel Club's list of vulnerable native breeds. 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. 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 pretty impressive to say the least.


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. 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.

They remained popular throughout the ages, but it was only in 1933 that the breed was finally recognised by the Irish Kennel Club. 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.

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 for the pleasure of doing so.


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 are as follows:

  • Blue
  • Brindle
  • Wheaten


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 really important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation has to 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 has to 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 is the alpha dog 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 as long as they have the time needed to dedicate to a smart and active canine companion.

Intelligence / Trainability

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 has to 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 has to 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.

Children and Other Pets

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 has to 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.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Health

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:

Caring for a Glen of Imaal Terrier

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.


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 handstripped 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 is allowed to build 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.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Glen of Imaal Terrier

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 £18.35 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.75 a month (quote as of August 2016). 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 or not 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 all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your 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 well-bred pedigree puppy.

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