Glen of Imaal Terriers

Be ready for a thousand "What kind of dog is that?" inquiries about your Glen of Imaal Terrier from strangers if you do manage to find this least-known of the Irish dog breeds. Somewhat similar in look to a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier with short legs, he's a scrappy little dog who started his history as a farm and hunting dog and is now primarily a companion and family pet.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

The Glen of Imaal Terrier usually weighs somewhere under 40 pounds, but he carries himself very much like a big dog on his short legs. When it comes to barking, he's one of the quieter terriers -- remember, that's a relative term for this noisy lot -- and that, along with his medium size and moderate exercise needs, makes him a great city and apartment dog.

"Moderate" doesn't mean "low," however. If you don't give your Glen regular walks on the leash and a chance to run and play, he's going to find ways to amuse himself that won't necessarily be to your liking. But he's not a good candidate for the dog park, as he considers other dogs -- as well as cats, small pets and furry wildlife -- to be the very vermin his genes are telling him he needs to eradicate. It can be challenging to give him enough play time within those constraints, so consider your circumstances carefully before bringing a Glen into the family.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier definitely requires training and the setting of limits from puppyhood on, and it also helps to have a sense of humor and a lot of patience because he'll put both to the test. Make sure that early training includes socialization with children, and you'll be rewarded with a very kid-friendly dog who can withstand a fair amount of roughhousing -- with the caution that adult supervision of dog and child interaction is still required. But in most cases, kids and Glen of Imaal Terriers make a great match.

While the show dogs require more careful attention to their coats, the grooming needs of pet Glen of Imaal Terriers are modest. The rare bath, weekly combing or brushing to get rid of his dead hair and the occasional professional or home clipping are all that's required. An added bonus, they shed very little.

Glen of Imaal Terriers don't do well if they're left alone for long periods of time, and are not happy as backyard dogs. Let him live as a member of your family, or you might find yourself with a lonely, bored, noisy, and destructive nuisance instead of a happy, well-behaved companion.

Health Issues Common to Glen of Imaal Terriers

Glen of Imaal Terriers are generally very healthy, but they can be affected by a few genetic health problems affecting the eyes and hips.

Glen of Imaal Terriers also suffer from allergies, skin itching, and related ear infections. There are no screening tests for these conditions, but your puppy's breeder should be willing -- in fact eager -- to go over the health histories of his parents and their close relatives and to discuss how prevalent those and any other health concerns are in his lines.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Allergies Medium $600-$2,000
Progressive Retinal Atrophy Medium $200-$500

8 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Glen of Imaal Terrier Puppy

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questioned asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you'll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Start your search for a good breeder on the website of the Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America, which maintains a referral list for breeders; choose one who has agreed to be bound by the club's Code of Ethics, which prohibits its members from breeding solely for profit and outlines the responsibilities of its member breeders to the dogs they produce and the people who buy them.

Ask your puppy's breeder for written documentation from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) that her breeding dogs have had their eyes tested within the last year along with Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) clearances on their hips.

Because temperament is so important in companion dogs, look for a breeder who has American Temperament Test Society (TT) certification on her dogs.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing, and any breeder who says her lines are free of all these problems, or that they're not a concern, is either lying or knows almost nothing about Glen of Imaal Terriers. Look for your puppy elsewhere.

It's not likely you'll find one, but if you do, don't hesitate to consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health and behavior problems in Glen of Imaal Terriers aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Glen of Imaal Terrier can live to be 13 years of age or older, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.

Puppy or adult, take your Glen of Imaal Terrier to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues, and in particular to watch out for the early signs of skin problems.'

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Glen of Imaal Terriers

Pet insurance for Glen of Imaal Terriers costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Glen of Imaal Terriers are slightly more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Glen of Imaal Terriers are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Glen of Imaal Terrier is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.