Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen Of Imaal looking forward

Quick Facts


32 to 40 pounds


12.5 to 14 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

10-15 years

Known For:

Sturdy, yet gentle, built for hard work, but yet very cute and cuddly dogs.


Ah, the Glen of Imaal Terrier! An unassuming yet rugged breed that captivates hearts with its spirited nature. Originating from the remote and mountainous Glen of Imaal region in County Wicklow, Ireland, this breed has a storied history as both a tenacious worker and a delightful companion.Β 


Though they might not be as popular or widely recognized as some other breeds, the Glen of Imaal Terrier holds a special place among dog enthusiasts who appreciate its unique qualities and endearing disposition.

History and Origin

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, fondly referred to as the “Glen”, traces its roots back to the remote valleys of the Glen of Imaal in Ireland. The region, known for its rough terrain and mountainous landscapes, required a dog that was both sturdy and versatile.Β 


Enter the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

Initially, the breed was used for a variety of tasks, including herding and guarding livestock. But their claim to fame was their role in “turnspit” work. Households back in the day had a contraption wherein a dog would run in a wheel that turned a spit over a fireplace, ensuring meat was cooked evenly. The Glen’s strong legs and tireless nature made them ideal for this task.


While they were excellent workers, it was their charming personalities and resilience that made them beloved family pets. And though they might not have reached the celebrity status of some other breeds, the Glen has had its moments in the spotlight. While there might not be any Glen of Imaal Terriers that rival the fame of Hollywood star dogs, they remain stars in their own right to those who know and love the breed.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

When you first lay eyes on a Glen of Imaal Terrier, you’ll notice its robust and sturdy build. The breed boasts a proportionate and solid physique, standing about 12.5 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 32 to 40 pounds when fully grown.


One of the Glen’s distinctive features is its unique head, which is broad and slightly domed. Their eyes, medium in size and brown in color, exude an intelligent and gentle expression. The ears of the Glen are rose or half-pricked, adding to its characteristic look.


Coat-wise, the Glen of Imaal Terrier has a medium-length double coat that is harsh to the touch. This serves as protection against the elements. Common colors include blue, brindle, and wheaten. While they may occasionally have a slight wave, their coat is generally straight.

When observing a Glen move, you’ll be struck by their agility and strength. Their movement is free and covers ground effortlessly, a testament to their heritage as working dogs in challenging terrains.

Personality and Temperament

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, despite its working roots and strong physique, is a dog full of charm and charisma. This breed is known for its gentle, affectionate nature. Owners often describe their Glens as spirited and courageous, yet undeniably lovable and affectionate.


While they can be tenacious when on the job, in the home they’re often content to be your loyal companion, always seeking a warm lap or a cuddle spot beside you.Β 


Their even-tempered nature makes them adaptable to various living situations. However, don’t let their calm demeanor fool you; the Glen is also known for moments of playful zest. They adore play sessions, and toys might just become their treasured possessions.


One thing to note is the Glen’s strong prey drive, inherited from its hunting days. This means they might chase after smaller animals, so it’s essential to have a secure yard or keep them on a leash during walks.

Health and Lifespan

Every dog breed has its own set of health considerations, and the Glen of Imaal Terrier is no exception. Fortunately, with good care, these terriers often enjoy a long and healthy life, typically living between 12 to 15 years.


There are, however, a few health conditions that potential Glen owners should be aware of:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is an inherited condition that can lead to blindness. Regular eye check-ups are essential to detect early signs.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Common in many breeds, this condition affects the hip joint. Responsible breeding and early detection can manage the condition effectively.
  • Ear Infections: Their folded ears can sometimes trap dirt and moisture, leading to potential infections. Regular ear cleaning can mitigate this risk.

Always ensure you’re getting your Glen from a responsible breeder who conducts necessary health screenings. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise will go a long way in ensuring your Glen lives a long, healthy life.

Care and Maintenance

Glen Of Imaal grooming

Owning a Glen of Imaal Terrier is indeed a joyful journey, but like all breeds, they have specific care needs to keep them at their best.

Exercise: While they aren’t as hyperactive as some terrier breeds, the Glen still needs its share of daily exercise. A brisk walk, combined with some playtime, usually suffices.Β 

Remember, their hunting instincts are strong, so it’s always best to have a fenced area if they’re off-leash.

Grooming: Their medium-length coat requires regular brushing, about once or twice a week, to keep it free from mats and tangles. Their harsh coat sheds moderately, so regular grooming can also help manage loose hair.Β 

Don’t forget those regular ear checks and nail trims!

Diet: A balanced diet is crucial. Always consult with your vet to determine the best dietary plan, ensuring they get all the nutrients they need without overfeeding, which can lead to obesity.

Caring for a Glen is indeed a rewarding experience. Their minimal grooming needs combined with their easy-going nature make them wonderful companions for both novice and experienced dog owners.

Training and Behavior

Glen of Imaal Terriers are intelligent and keen learners. With a history of working closely with their human companions, they respond well to consistent, positive reinforcement-based training methods. Begin socialization and basic obedience training early on to ensure they grow into well-mannered adults.


Though they are generally amiable, the Glen’s strong prey drive and terrier tenacity can sometimes make them a bit stubborn. Hence, patience is key. Engaging, short training sessions can keep them interested and motivated.


It’s also worth mentioning that their hunting background can make them more prone to digging or chasing smaller animals. This behavior can be managed with proper training and providing them with adequate outlets for their energy.

Glen of Imaal Terrier and Families

Glen Of Imaal with people

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, with its affable nature, can be a joyous addition to families. They are generally good with children, especially when introduced at a young age. Their sturdy build means they’re less fragile than some smaller breeds, but as always, it’s essential to teach children how to approach and handle dogs properly.


When it comes to other pets, while they can coexist peacefully with other dogs, their strong prey drive might make them chase after smaller animals like cats or rodents. Proper introductions and supervision are necessary.

Adopting a Glen of Imaal Terrier

So, you’re considering bringing a Glen of Imaal Terrier into your home? Wonderful choice! These lovable terriers can make fantastic companions. If you’re looking to adopt, check with breed-specific rescue organizations or local shelters.

Before making the decision, consider your living situation, lifestyle, and the needs of the Glen. Remember, they require regular exercise, training, and grooming.Β 


Always do thorough research and even consider meeting with breeders or current Glen owners to get a firsthand understanding of what it’s like to live with one of these charming terriers.

Ensure your home environment is safe and suitable for a Glen. A secure yard, access to vet services, and the time commitment to train and socialize them are crucial factors to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is unique about the Glen of Imaal Terrier's temperament?

Glens are known for their quiet, gentle nature contrasted with their toughness and determination. They are less yappy than other terriers but still possess a strong terrier personality.

How much exercise does a Glen of Imaal Terrier need?

They require moderate exercise. Daily walks and opportunities for off-leash play in a securely fenced area are sufficient to keep them happy and healthy.

What grooming needs does a Glen of Imaal Terrier have?

Their wiry coat needs regular brushing to prevent matting, and they should be stripped a few times a year to maintain the coat’s texture.

What health issues are Glen of Imaal Terriers prone to?

They are generally healthy but can be at risk for conditions like hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular health screenings are advised.

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