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Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen of Imaal Terrier in the Snow

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The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a breed of dog of the terrier category and one of four Irish terrier breeds. It is sometimes called the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier or the Wicklow Terrier. It originates in the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow, Ireland. The breed was recognized first by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934 and most recently by the American Kennel Club in 2004.

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The breed came into existence during the reign of Elizabeth I, who hired French and Hessian mercenaries to put down civil unrest in Ireland. After the conflict, many of these soldiers settled in the Wicklow area. They brought with them their low-slung hounds, which they bred with the local terrier stock, developing the Glen of Imaal Terrier as a general working dog used for herding and hunting. When hunting Glens work mute to ground as they are a strong dog not a sounding terrier.

Some descriptions of the breed claim that it was used as a turnspit dog to turn spits of meat over a fire for cooking.

Description

Appearance

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is more substantial than many other dogs of similar height; the average adult Glen weighs approximately 36lb and stands 14in tall at the withers.

The breed has a medium-length double coat that is harsh on top and soft below. The coat may be wheaten, Blue or brindle in colour. The Glen of Imaal terrier does not moult.

Glens have a large head with rose or half-prick ears and short, bowed legs, with a topline that rises from the shoulder to the tail. The shoulders, chest and hips are sturdy and muscular and feet should be turned out. With three growing stages a Glen can take up to four years to reach full maturity.

Wheaten Glen of Imaal puppies often have black highlights in their fur. Usually, the black will fade and their full wheaten coat will come in as they mature.

Historically the breed's tail was typically docked. This is still common in the United States, but is no longer the practised by some people in Europe but working people in the UK and Ireland still dock as working terriers can still be docked and shown there some countries ban docking for showing completely.

Health

Generally very strong and healthy. A genetic test is available for PRA, and breeders are now using this test to evaluate potential breedings, though numbers affected are very low. Heart problems are rare with only one recorded case. Skin allergies are occasionally seen and may be caused by diet or allergies to flea or mite bites (the breed does best on a low-protein diet after the age of twelve months). Glens can live for 15 years or more.

Temperament

Glen of Imaal terriers are energetic and highly intelligent they need a good strong ownership and discipline. They are typically fearless and loyal and are superb with people but can be aggressive if not properly trained.

Though normally docile and quiet for a terrier, glens can sometimes be aggressive if provoked. There have been no reported serious injuries caused by the breed, but as a working terrier they are a strong dog used for drawing prey from the ground.

They must be silent to ground. They can also be used to ground vermin and have a super nose and will work on mink, rats, etc. and can work well in water. They have a high prey drive and might take domestic pets such as cats, rats, or gerbils for prey. However, Glens are highly intelligent and quite easily trained, so this is generally not a problem with properly trained dogs.

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