Breed History / Description

Although the Irish Terrier is known for its bright red coat, the early specimens in the show ring – it was first shown in 1870 – were of mixed colours, predominately black and tan, black, grey and brindle. 

However, a bitch called Poppy, the product of two champions, and as her name suggests, bright red in colour, became a major influence in the breed as all of her progeny were the same attractive colour. Selective breeding was used to make this colour the identifying features of the breed. With the colour came the reputation of a fiery spirit and a daredevil nature. It is racier and streamlined, in its build then many of the terrier breeds. It was recognised as a pedigree breed in 1879, the first of the native Irish Terriers to receive Kennel Club recognition. The Irish Terrier is part of the terrier Breed Group.


There is a heedless, reckless pluck about the Irish Terrier which is characteristic. They develop a great devotion for their masters. 


Good-tempered, notably with humans, it being admitted, however, that he is perhaps a little too ready to resent interference on the part of other dogs.

Club, K., 2018. The Kennel Club's Breed Standards. 5th ed. London SW1V 2SA: Ebury Press.

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