Thursday, March 17, 2011


Today is St. Patrick's Day, and I am going to celebrate by telling you about a dog breed from Ireland. There are actually a bunch of Irish dog breeds, but the one I chose for today is the Irish Terrier.

Nobody knows when or how the Irish terrier got its start, but everybody agrees that it is one of the earliest terrier breeds.  At first, Irish terriers could be any color, such as black-and-tan, gray, or brindle.  But later the only possible colors got to be bright red, golden red, red wheaten, and wheaten.

Terriers are all very good at killing vermin such as rats and mice, and at first people just liked having Irish terriers because they were good at their job.  So as long as they killed the vermin, it didn't matter what color the dogs were.  But by late in the 19th century, people started wanting to put Irish terriers into dog shows, and then the terriers had to look a certain way.  The first Irish terrier breed club began in Dublin in 1879, and this breed was the first one in the terrier group to be recognized by the English Kennel Club as a native Irish breed.

Irish terriers first went to the United states in the late 1800s, and they became sort of popular, at least for a while.  But this breed has never been as popular to own as some other breeds, like for example chihuahuas or golden retrievers or dalmatians.  The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1884, and the U.S. breed club started in 1896.

The average height of an Irish terrier is 18 inches, and the average weight is 25 to 27 pounds.  These dogs do not have many health problems, but sometimes they can get cataracts or hypothyroidism.  They usually live to be about 12-15 years old.

Irish terriers have a wiry overcoat and a softer undercoat.  They also have long whiskers and a beard.  If their ears are correct, according to the breed standard, they are V-shaped and a little darker in color than the rest of the dog's hair.  The ears should fold toward the outside corners of the eyes.  If a puppy's ears don't do this, they are glued to the top of its head so that they will have the right shape when the cartilage grows in.  When Irish terriers are born, their tails get docked by about 1/4 of their length.  In places where it is illegal to dock tails, they are left at the full length.

There are lots of things that Irish terriers can be used for, such as hunting, tracking, retrieving, ratting, guarding, police work, and military work.  Also they are good at agility and obedience.  They make nice family dogs, but they need plenty of exercise.  Sometimes they don't get along with other dogs in the house -- especially dogs of the same sex -- or with cats.  But usually they like to play with children.

Irish terriers are brave, energetic, and loyal.  Also they are curious about stuff, and they are always ready for adventure.  They like to dig, and they chase anything that moves, so they should not be off-leash in an unfenced area.  Of course, the same is true for basenjis and greyhounds.

So that's your St. Patrick's Day dog breed for today.  And now I will finish with an Irish blessing.

May your dish always be full of food,
Your yard be full of squirrels,
And your bed be soft and warm.
May your person pet you lots and lots,
And not make you go to vet very often!


  1. Great blog! Fascinating information. You basenjis are quite erudite! Mary MirĂ³

  2. Dear Aunt Mary,
    Thanks for reading my blog and for liking it, too! I had to get Mom to tell me what "erudite" means because I usually just use smaller words. But now that I know what it means, I agree that it totally describes basenjis, especially ones like me!
    Your friend, Piper

  3. Dear Piper,
    I didn't know DOGS chased after MICE! But it is logical, though. Seeing as how squirels are rodents as wel, and dogs love chasing them. But do all dogs chase them... BTW if you need help with a word just go to it has alnost everything about words except rhymes☺... About the Irish terrier dog... It is weird that people glue their ear to their head! What is wrong with a different shape? It is not anything bad to have a not folded ear...umm... Is it? I think this is the most important question ever... I NEED to know the answer!! So does it matter how the ears bend? Does the cause of not having their ears in the correct position even matter? Does it effect the dog? There are so many things I need to know!!! And only you know the answer!
    You probably know who,
    You #1 Fan Tas!!!!!!!!!

  4. Dear Tas,

    Yep, dogs chase mice, but mostly we like bigger things such as rats and squirrels and bunnies, because they make a more filling meal. Ha!

    And about the Irish terrier ears -- yes, I do know the answer to your question, so you are in luck! The shape of the ear and how it hangs down is only important if you are a show dog, and then it is VERY important. So if a dog is going to be shown, he or she needs to have every part as perfect as possible, including the ears. If the dog is just going to be a pet, then it doesn't matter how the ears look. Every breed has what's called a "breed standard" that describes the ideal dog for that breed. And then the breeders try to breed dogs that meet that standard. If you go to the AKC site, which is probably, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now, you can read the standard for each breed that the AKC recognizes. So I hope this answers your question!

    Love, Piper

  5. This is the most beautiful post ever. Thank you for sharing this .In our city there is a man with a beautiful website advertising home raised designer breed puppies. He lives in a beautiful neighborhood and lives in an expensive home. He gets the pups from a puppy mill and resells them to the locals, splitting the profits with the mill owners. He only incriminated himself when he bragged to coworkers how it played for his yearly vacations. Looking for large dog breeds for families Wondering what large dog breeds are good with kids or would be good for apartments Find out here A complete list of large dog breeds

  6. Dogs that look deformed are often breeds that don’t have any more working lines and the show line breeders completely took over. Working lines in breeds are healthy and look similar to their ancestors. For example many show line German Shepherds are very different from working line and Czech German Shepherds that I think they should eventually be considered different breeds. If you want to preserve a breed and keep dogs looking like dogs, the working lines have to be preserved. Looking for large dog breeds for families Wondering what large dog breeds are good with kids or would be good for apartments Find out here A complete list of large dog breeds