Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is likely an unfamiliar name. These Irishmen have been hidden away on the Emerald Isle for years, and only recently made their debut in the U.S. They can make enjoyable and convenient pets for families and owners that don’t mind ample playtime. Read on to learn more about the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

Description of the Glen of Imaal Terrier

These dogs are sturdy and tough. They’re balls of muscle packed onto a stocky frame: a proper terrier. Glens had to be ready for their prey’s sharp teeth. They were usually used to catch badgers, which may be as large as they are!

The Glen looks like a scruffy old man, with plenty of wiry hair that partially hides his amiable expression. This dog comes in pretty shades of blue, brindle, and wheaten.

There are two things that make these terriers unique:

  1. Calm nature – They are much less likely to tear up the house than most terriers
  2. Comically short legs that turn out a bit at the bottoms.

Some say their short legs allowed them to perform duties as a spit dog. They were said to run on a large hamster wheel contraption attached to a spit. This would in turn rotate whatever was cooking! Even if it’s not true, it’s quite amusing.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Glen of Imaal Terrier has a wide range of life expectancies. They can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years old. Keeping these dogs healthy is best done through fitness and nutrition.

This breed has a very convenient size. They are larger than most terriers at 32 to 40 pounds. However, they stand only 12 to 14 inches tall.

Protective Ability

This breed is known for its spunk, but is by no means a protector. They can act as watchdogs, quick to bark at anything new. In fact, their voices are surprisingly deep! However, intruders may laugh at their long and low build if they decide to proceed any farther than the front door.


The Glen of Imaal Terrier thrives on positive feedback. For this reason, positive and rewards-based training is essential. Harsh words are counterintuitive to their learning style.

Treats can be helpful in motivating the Glen. As are most terriers, these dogs can be distracted easily. They prefer learning tricks to the nitty-gritty of obedience – or you can teach obedience in a fun way, as if it were a trick. Treats can provide a reason to listen. However, feed sparingly to prevent weight problems.

Energy Level

Terriers are very high energy. However, the Glen of Imaal Terrier does not have quite the same level of hyperactivity as many dogs in this group.

It is still important to provide them with adequate exercise. Ensuring that they have time to use up their energy productively will help to keep them out of trouble. These dogs can turn to destructive behaviors, like chewing and barking, if they are under-stimulated. Plus, they enjoy having a job!

What Living with a Glen of Imaal Terrier is Like

The Glen of Imaal terrier is a fun dog to own. They retain the spunk of the terrier without as much excess energy. This makes them the perfect versatile pet. They can play hard, and then come home to be an enjoyable family dog. Because of their long and short build, they may not be able to keep up with extremely active owners.

These dogs have fewer health problems than many other breeds. Their life expectancy is also quite high.

Care of the Glen of Imaal Terrier

As long these dogs get adequate exercise and social time, they should flourish.

Environmental Needs

These dogs are rough and tumble creatures. They can handle a variety of weather conditions quite well. The Glen was bred for the environs of Ireland, after all!

Exercise Needs

The easiest way to exercise a Glen of Imaal Terrier is to let him run and play outside or go for walks with you. This breed generally does not need too much directed exercise, and will happily tell you when he’s tired. Make sure that these dogs have a safely enclosed area, so they don’t get into too much trouble, though.

When this breed is young, it is important to be careful with their joints. Their strange build is susceptible to trauma, especially when they are growing. Limit the amount of time the Glen is allowed to exercise, and do not let them jump or climb stairs.

Shedding and Grooming

This shaggy dog needs to be brushed at least a few times a week. Although most of the Glen’s coat is wiry, some areas around the face and belly are soft. These areas are prone to matting.

Other than that, the Glen only requires the occasional bath. Some owners hand-strip these dogs occasionally. This is a tedious process that involves pulling out individual pieces of hair. Clipping is another option if the coat becomes unruly.

Ideal Home Environment

Owners should appreciate the Glen’s alert, perpetual happiness. They can’t keep up with extremely active people, like most terriers. However, they are much calmer, which can make them easier to deal with.

These dogs are not the best with children, who they often try to boss around or play rough with. This is typical of most terriers. Older kids should be fine as long as the dogs are properly socialized, starting in puppyhood.

Ideally, owners will be cautious to limit the Glen’s exercise during puppyhood. This will help him grow into a strong, healthy adult.

Health Concerns

This breed has limited health problems, despite their strange build. When cared for properly, they should not have too many issues. However, they can have hip and join pain. Eye problems, especially as the Glen ages, are not uncommon.

Behavior Problems

The Glen of Imaal Terrier’s behavior problems are similar to those of other terriers. If left alone in the yard, their hunting instincts can begin to kick in. This could mean digging, barking, or chasing.

Their behavior tends to improve when they receive adequate exercise. To avoid problems, socialize these dogs early and begin obedience classes to ensure that they still listen when there is something exciting to chase around.