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Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is one of the world’s rarest dog breeds. We’re going to take a look into this breed’s temperament, history, exercise needs and more!

Glen of Imaal Terrier Breed Standards:
Kennel Club Member?: Yes
Glen of Imaal Terrier Lifespan: 10-15 years
Glen of Imaal Terrier Exercise: Up to 1 hour each day
Height: 12.5-14 inches
Weight: 14.5-18 kilograms
Hypoallergenic?: No

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is an achondroplastic breed. It’s a genetic disorder also described as short-limbed dwarfism. Whilst most wiry coated Terrier breeds are hypoallergenic, the Glen of Imaal Terrier isn’t one of them.

This hardy and robust canine isn’t easily scared. In fact, they’re fearless just like the other members of the Terrier family! They are one of four Irish Terrier breeds and also go by the name the Wicklow Terrier.

glen of imaal terrier


Check out the pros and cons of the Glen of Imaal Terrier dog breed below:


  • Quieter than other Terrier breeds
  • Independent, can be left alone
  • Low shedder and easy to groom
  • Easy to train and intelligent
  • Alert, makes an ideal watchdog


  • Not a hypoallergenic Terrier
  • Strong prey drive
  • Vulnerable Native Breed, harder to find Glen of Imaal Terrier puppies
  • Prone to weight gain

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is described as a ‘big dog with short legs’. This achondroplastic breed is remembered for its bowed legs and half-pricked ears. Their wiry coat is found in the colours Wheaten, Brindle and Blue (all shades).

Glen of Imaal Temperament

These energetic canines are much easier than other Terriers and tend to be more relaxed. Glens are independent so can be left alone without much risk of separation anxiety. These loyal dogs are fairly quiet and are placid in the home.

This dog wouldn’t be a Terrier if it didn’t like to dig! Avoid placing out any nice flower beds until this trait can be suppressed! Due to their independence, this breed does have high wanderlust potential so it’s important they have a securely fenced garden.

Glens are great watchdogs but not guard dogs. They’ll bark to alert their owner to any strangers entering their territory. Socialized Glens may be wary at first but are typically polite to new visitors.

When it comes to children, this dog is a great companion and playmate. Due to their fragile body, they should only be around children that know how to handle them. Despite its size, this dog plays rough so keep younger children at bay.

Glens aren’t the friendliest with other dogs. It’s not uncommon for them to get into a scrap at the dog park! These little dogs just won’t back down. Avoid cats and smaller household pets due to the breed’s strong prey drive. They can live alongside other dogs.


Hailing from County Wicklow, Ireland is the Glen of Imaal Terrier. The breed is believed to share its ancestry with the Kerry, Soft Coated Wheaten and Irish Terrier. They were developed in the Glen of Imaal and have resided in this area since the 17th century.

These canines were primarily used as badger hunters but could also do other jobs on farms. In the old days, Glens were called the Turnspit dog. This is because they would turn the meat over in the kitchens by running inside a wheel (like a hamster).

Glens had to be quiet when going to ground so they wouldn’t scare off their prey. In Kennel Club championships a Glen would be disqualified if it made noise at the quarry. This silent trait has stayed with them, making the breed one of the quieter Terriers.

In 1966 badger trials were banned in Ireland. So it’s no surprise that during the 20th-century breed numbers dropped significantly. Two breeders in particular Willie Kane, Tipperary and Paddy Brennan Tinahely, Co Wicklow are attributed to reviving the breed.

Glens were recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934 but the Canadian Kennel Club kept Glens on the miscellaneous list until 2017! Today this Terrier is rare and is listed as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the UK Kennel Club.

Exercise & Grooming

Spend up to one hour each day exercising the Glen of Imaal Terrier. Don’t be surprised if they can go on for longer! This energetic breed will need some form of vigorous play throughout the day. But don’t be too harsh on their short legs as this can be damaging.

Glen Imaal Terrier puppies should avoid jumping, climbing stairs, and even getting on a couch. It’ll be too much stress for their growing joints. Allow the growth plates to close. This will take place around the age of 9-12 months.

Mental stimulation is important for this exceptional working breed, especially if they’re used for companionship. These canines are intelligent and can become destructive if bored. Glen of Imaal Terriers excel in agility, earthdog trials, obedience, barn hunting, and tracking.

Brush their coat every few days with a pin or slicker brush. Combs may also be used too. The fur is water-resistant and has a shaggy look to it. Keep the ears cleaned weekly and trim their nails fortnightly.

Their outer coat is rough and requires hand stripping 2-3 times a year. As opposed to clipping, hand stripping will remove the dead fur from the root completely, allowing a new coat to grow through.

Bath the Glen of Imaal Terrier every 3 months, unless he gets dirty before then! Frequent bathing will result in a softer coat and will strip the fur of its natural oils. If necessary use a blow dryer to dry the coat.


Find out the breed-related health conditions of the Glen of Imaal Terrier below:

Hip Dysplasia: The hip joint grows abnormally resulting in the ball and socket of the joint not fitting together correctly. This will cause pain, lameness and eventually arthritis.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (crd3): A degenerative health condition targeting the photoreceptor cells. Over time this will cause blindness.
Allergies: Skin issues, particularly with the paws can affect the Glen of Imaal Terrier.
PCDU: Premature Closure of the Distal Ulna is a limb disorder causing the distal growth plate to close prematurely.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Training

The Glen of Imaal Terrier can be a little stubborn so they’re better suited to experienced owners. They need a firm leader that won’t let them push the boundaries. Despite their small size, these canines can be very dominant just like the rest of their Terrier family!

Glens pick up commands quickly so be careful they don’t pick up bad habits just as fast! They have a special character and are versatile by nature. These dogs learn better in short 5-minute training sessions. Anything longer will begin to bore them.

Early socialization is important in order to raise a well-rounded dog. Try some local group training classes. Here, the Glen of Imaal Terrier puppy can interact with humans, dogs and learn new commands!

Be positive as harsh corrections won’t work on the Glen! Avoid dishing out too many food treats as they’re prone to weight gain. It’s important this dog acknowledges its owner’s authority so focus on respect training first.

glen of imaal terrier UK

Glen of Imaal Terrier Interesting Facts

  • The Glen Sit is a term to describe the odd way the Glen of Imaal Terrier sits down. They sit on their backside so their back is vertical and upright!
  • In 2020 only 36 Glen of Imaal Terrier puppies were registered with the Kennel Club. For more than a decade this breed has been rare and in 2008 it was reported that there were less than 1000 Glens left in the world!
  • It is thought the beginning of the Glen of Imaal Terrier started during Elizabeth I reign. They’re the product of the Irish Rebellion. French mercenaries were sent to Ireland to quash the rebels. Soon after they settled in Wicklow it’s thought their hounds with low-slung bodies bred with local Terriers thus creating the Glen!

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