The Irish Terrier is a very popular breed in many parts of Europe, but they are less popular in the US. The Irish terrier is a medium sized terrier breed that was originally bred as a hunting dog, like so many other varieties of terrier. Following are some interesting facts about the Irish Terrier.
The exact origin of the breed is not known, though it is one of the oldest terrier breeds. It is believed to have descended from the black and tan terrier-type dogs of the British Isles, just like the Kerry Blue and Irish Soft-haired Wheaten Terriers in Ireland or the Welsh, Lakeland and Scottish Terriers in Great Britain. What is known is that the breed was developed specifically for fox hunting and the standard was honed until the breed took on the precise size and hunting characteristics required for this sport.
The first Irish Terrier breed club was established in Dublin, Ireland in 1879.
Irish Terriers have excellent noses and can easily be taught to track blood scent or human scent.
Though they were originally bred to be hunting dogs, today the vast majority of Irish terriers are used as companion dogs or show dogs.
The dog Tramp from Disney's popular animated feature "Lady and the Tramp", though gray in color, was drawn to resemble an Irish Terrier.
The title character in the film "Firehouse Dog" was an Irish Terrier.
During World War I, Irish Terriers served as messengers for the military. They were the perfect breed because of their fearlessness in the face of danger.
Once Irish Terriers were introduced to the United States, they gained popularity quickly. In 1929, the Irish Terrier was the 13th most registered breed with the American Kennel Club. They are far less popular in the US today, with only 263 dogs shown as registered with the AKC in 2006.
The Irish terrier is the only all red terrier. Early dogs of this breed contained other colors, but over time the dogs were bred to be only varying shades of red.
The Irish terrier has longer legs and a longer body than other terriers, making it the best runner of the terrier group.
Only about 300 Irish Terrier puppies are born in the US each year. Breeders can be hard to find and puppies can be quite expensive.
Irish terriers are reported to be hypo-allergenic dogs. There is no definite proof that this is true, but much anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that many people who suffer from dog allergies are not affected by the Irish terrier's coat.
Irish terriers are more prone than other breeds to kidney stones. Otherwise, however they are quite healthy and typically live long lives free of major health concerns.