Brief Historical Summary
Like many dogs in the Terrier group, not really appreciated by gentlemen sportsmen before the middle of the 19th century, the Irish Glen Of Imaal is an old breed which was simply ignored for a long time, rather than a result of later experiments.
He is very much a local dog, confined to the bleak area of the Irish Glen of Imaal. The farmers of this area, who were descended from soldiers given the land in the 16th and 17th centuries as payment for services rendered to the British crown, had to utilize their natural cunning and dexterity to survive in this harsh terrain.
A dog, which could not pull his weight in the day-to-day struggle for existence could not be tolerated. So he had to spend long hours propelling dog wheels and was often pitted against other dogs in the dubious sport of dog fighting, customs which have now disappeared.
Before the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier became known at dog shows, he had evolved through generations of hard work into the strong sturdy dog we know today. The Irish Kennel Club gave official recognition to the breed in 1934 and a club to promote it's interests was soon formed.
The Breed Standard
Medium sized with medium length coat, great strength with the impression of maximum substance for the size of the dog.
Body longer than high and low to the ground.
Active, agile and silent when working. Game and spirited with great courage when called upon, otherwise gentle and docile, who oozes personality; his loyal and affectionate nature makes him a very acceptable house dog and companion. The Irish Glen of Imaal is said to be less easily excited than other terriers, though he is always ready to give chase when called on.
Cranial region Skull: Of good width and of fair length. Stop: Pronounced.
Facial region Nose: Black. Muzzle: Foreface of power, tapering to the nose. Jaws/Teeth: Strong. Teeth sound, regular, strong and of good size. Scissor bite. Eyes: Brown, medium size, round and set well apart. Light eyes should be penalised. Ears: Small rose or half pricked when alert, thrown back when in repose. Full drop or prick undesirable.
NECK Very muscular and of moderate length.
BODY Deep and long, and longer than high. Topline: Level. Loin: Strong. Chest: Wide and strong, ribs well sprung.
TAIL Docked. Strong at root, well set on and carried gaily. Pups tails docked to half length. A natural tail (undocked) is allowed for in countries where docking is banned by law.
Forequarters: Shoulder Broad, muscular and well laid back. Forelegs Short, bowed and well boned. Feet Compact and strong with rounded pads. Front feet to turn out slightly from pasterns.
Hindquarters: General appearance Strong and well muscled. Thigh Well muscled. Stifle Well bent. Hock joint Turned neither in nor out. Feet Compact and strong with rounded pads.
GAIT MOVEMENT Free, not hackneyed Covers ground effortlessly with good drive behind.
Hair: Medium length, of harsh texture with soft undercoat.
Coat may be tidied to present a neat outline.
Colour: Blue brindle but not toning to black. • Wheaten, from a light wheaten colour to a golden reddish shade. • Puppies may be born coloured Blue, Wheaten, or Reddish. Lighter coloured pups usually have an inky blue mask, and there may also be a streak of Blue down the back, on the tail, and on the ears. The darker markings will clear with maturity.
SIZE (Height and Weight) Height at the withers Dogs 14 inches (35,5 cm) is the maximum. Bitches accordingly less. Weight Dogs 35 lbs (16kg). Bitches accordingly less.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. • Hound ears. • Undershot bite, overshot bite. • Too short in body. • Straight front.
• Aggressive or overly shy dogs. • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified. • Black & Tan colour. • Narrow foreface.
N.B: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles, fully descended into the scrotum.
When you are judging a Glen, the exterior and temperament, you have to keep in mind their background and for what purpose the dog was primarily used. In hunting the Glen was used especially as an earth dog, with badgers as a specialty. The breed was also used for hunting otters which developed skills for hunting in water. It is against this background that the breed details should be considered.
The breed is a low set build but belongs, in spite of this, to the section for large to medium sized terriers. The glens are included together with other domestic terrier breeds. One explanation for this could be that the Glen was performing the same hunting trial "Teastas Misneac Certificate" as the other domestic terrier breeds to achieve the champion title.
The Glen is a dog with a typical terrier temper. A fearless dog that could put eventual enemies in place, so there was no doubt about who was the strongest. The breed is an excellent family dog, and could be described as a dog with peaceful and friendly temperament and with a gentle and docile character.