Irish Terrier

FCI standard Nº 139

Origin
Ireland
Group
Group 3 Terriers
Section
Section 1 Large and medium-sized Terriers
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 28 January 1955
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 13 March 2001
Last update
Monday 02 April 2001
En français, cette race se dit
Terrier irlandais
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Irischer terrier
En español, esta raza se dice
Terrier irlandés
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Ierse Terrier

Usage

Versatile farmyard dog, family pet, guard dog with utter contempt for danger or hurt, hunter and gundog.

Brief historical summary

Ireland has produced four Terrier breeds, all of which are markedly different from terriers on the continent and in England. The dog now officially called Irish Terrier is possibly the oldest of the Irish terrier breeds but records are so scarce that it would be difficult to prove this conclusively. Before the 1880s the colour of the Irish Terrier had not been settled. Apart from red they were sometimes black and tan and sometimes brindle. At the end of the 19th century efforts were made to breed out the black and tan and the brindles so that by the 20th century all Irish Terriers showed the red coat. The red coated Irish Terrier soon made its appearance on show benches in England and in the United States where it was enthusiastically received. The Irish Terrier’s reputation was enhanced during the First World War when they were used as messenger dogs in the terrifying noise and confusion of trench warfare, thus proving both their intelligence and their fearlessness. The first breed club was set up in Dublin on March 31st 1879 and the Irish Terrier was the first member of the terrier group to be recognised by the English Kennel Club in the late 19th century as a native Irish Breed.

General appearance

The dog must present an active, lively, lithe and wiry appearance; lots of substance, at the same time free of clumsiness, as speed and endurance as well as power is very essential. The Irish Terrier must be neither “cloddy nor cobby” but should be framed on the “lines of speed” showing a graceful racy outline.

Behaviour / temperament

The Irish Terrier, while being game and capable of holding his own with other dogs, is remarkably loyal, good tempered and affectionate with mankind, but once he is attacked, he has the courage of a lion and will fight to the bitter end. The dog’s reputation for getting into scraps with others, sometimes even in the showring, is undeserved. Though the terrier may be fierce when the circumstances call for it, the Irish Terrier is easily trained and a gentle pet, living up to his early description as “the poor man’s sentinel, the farmer’s friend and the gentleman’s favourite”.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Long, free from wrinkles.
Skull
Flat and rather narrow between the ears, getting slightly narrower towards the eyes.  
Stop
Hardly visible except in profile.

Facial region

Nose
Must be black.
Lips
Should be well fitting and externally almost black in colour.
Jaws and teeth
Jaw : Must be strong and muscular, of good punishing length.
Teeth : Should be strong, level, free from canker and the top incisors slightly overlapping the lower.
Cheeks
Not too full. There should be a slight falling away below the eye so as not to have a Greyhound appearance.
Eyes
Should be dark in colour, small, not prominent and full of life, fire and intelligence. A yellow or light eye is most objectionable.
Ears
Small and V-shaped, of moderate thickness, set well on the head and dropping forward closely to the cheek. The top line of the folded ear should be well above the level of the head. An ear hanging by the side of the head, like a hound’s, is not characteristic of the Terrier, while an ear which is semi-erect, is even more undesirable. The hair on the ear should be short and darker in colour than that on the body.

Neck

Should be of a fair length and gradually widening towards the shoulders, well carried and free from throatiness. There is generally a slight sort of frill visible at each side of the neck, running nearly to the ear.

Body

Body
Should be symmetrical, neither too long nor too short.
Back
Should be strong and straight, with no appearance of slackness behind the shoulders.
Loin
Muscular and very slightly arched. A bitch may be slightly longer in couplings than a dog.
Chest
Deep and muscular but neither full nor wide. Ribs fairly sprung, rather deep than round and well-ribbed back.

Tail

Should be set on rather high, carried gaily but not over the back or curled. It should be of good strength and substance and fairly long. Customarily the tail is docked so that two-thirds of its original length remains. The tail should be well covered with rough hair and free from fringe or feather. Only a natural tail (undocked) is allowed in countries where docking is banned by law.

Limbs

Both fore and hind legs should be moved straight forward.

Forequarters

Shoulders
Must be fine, long and sloping.
Elbows
Working freely clear of the sides.
Forearm
Moderately long perfectly straight with plenty of bone and muscle.
Pastern
Short and straight, hardly noticeable.
Forefeet
Should be strong, tolerably round and moderately small, toes arched and neither turned out nor in, black toenails most desirable. Pads sound and free from cracks or corny excrescence.

Hindquarters

Generality
Should be strong and muscular.
Upper thigh
Powerful.
Stifle
Moderately bent.
Hock
Near ground
Hind feet
Should be strong, tolerably round and moderately small, toes arched and neither turned out nor in, black toenails most desirable. Pads sound and free from cracks or corny excrescence.

Gait and movement

Fore and hindlegs carried straight forward and parallel, elbows move parallel to the axis of the body, working free of sides, stifles neither turning in nor out.

Coat

Hair
Should be dense and wiry in texture, having a broken appearance but still lying flat, the hairs growing so closely and strongly together that when parted with the fingers, the skin cannot be seen, free of softness and silkiness and not so long as to hide the outlines of the body, particularly in the hindquarters and free of lock or curl. Hair on face of same description as on body but short (about three-quarters of a centimetre long), almost smooth and straight, a slight beard is the only long hair (and it is only long in comparison with the rest) that is permissible and is characteristic. A “goats” beard is suggestive of there being silky and bad hair running through the coat generally.
Legs : Free of feather and covered, like the head, with as hard a texture of coat as body but not so long.
Colour
Should be “whole coloured” being red, red-wheaten or yellow-red. White sometimes on the chest. A small amount of white is frequently to be seen in all self coloured breeds.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Approximately 18 inches (45.5cm).
Weight
Dogs 27lbs (12.25kg). Bitches 25lbs (11.4kg).

Faults

• 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 and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggresive or overly shy.
 Nose : Any colour other than black.
 Jaws : Decidedly undershot or overshot.
 Colour : Any other than red, yellow red or red wheaten; A small patch of white on chest is permissible as in other whole-coloured breeds.
 Feet : Corny excrescence or cracks on pads.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

It is probably to better contrast with the green pastures of his country that the Irish Terrier has donned a red fur coat. This proud "redhead", who happens to be the "daredevil" of the canine species, has certainly never claimed discretion, and it may seem surprising that he did not reveal his origins. Indeed, if it is generally considered as a very old dog "having always lived in Ireland", this thesis is not accompanied by any precise historical element.

It is true that we do not know more about most Terriers. The aristocracy, in the British Isles as in many other places, having arrogated to themselves the possession of the common dogs, the Spaniels, the Greyhounds and the mastiffs of strong race, there remained to the people, to hunt, only the Burrows , dogs "good to do everything", little bulky, costing little, brave and solid. Of course, the annals of history have not, with some exceptions, been concerned with passing on the exploits of these modest dogs to posterity.

As for the first English cynophiles, they knew almost nothing about Irish canine wealth. Thus, Thomas Pearce, who wrote in 1872 under the pseudonym of Idstone the most complete treatise of his time on the different breeds of dogs, did not mention the Irish Terrier. Apart from the gigantic and legendary Irish Wolfhound, which obviously could not be ignored, it was considered that the green Erin sheltered only a crowd of bastard dogs. It will also be necessary to wait until 1922 for the Kerry-Blue Terrier to appear in the English exhibitions, 1943 for the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to cross the Irish Sea. As for the Glen of Imaal, although recognized by the British Kennel Club since 1975, it is hardly out of his country of origin.

All these typical Irish dogs hunted for centuries foxes and other animals called "harmful", rabbits or even wild boars. It is very difficult, even today, to specify the kinship ties between these races, and even more to decide which one, the closest to an original type, is the ancestor of the others. The Irish Terrier, however, is thought to have originated in the south-east of Ireland, particularly Cork County, as well as the area around Ballymena in the north.

It was not long after 1870 that it was decided to select the first Irish Terriers, a task quite necessary to the approach of the exhibition to be held in Dublin in 1874. No less than one Fifty subjects were presented, but they were of very different types, and many even had no doubt usurped the denomination of Terriers. It should be noted that cynophilia stammered then, and not only in Ireland, which explains that everything concerning the names of races, pedigrees, classes of exhibitions seems today rather fanciful. In Dublin, therefore, the group of Irish Terriers had been divided into two classes: on one side those weighing less than 4 kilos (9 pounds), on the other those weighing more. The winner of the open class accused, meanwhile, 14 pounds on the scale. In the field of colors, there was a similar diversity, since it was possible to note for example the presence of a specimen entirely white, but there were also roux, wheat, black and fire, brindle.

It was thus necessary to put order among this multitude, and the following year, in particular with the exposure of Lisburn, these efforts proved to be beneficial. That year, too, the performance of the best subjects was noticed in Glasgow, and in 1876 the race was considered worthy of a separate inscription in an English exhibition (in Bristol). From 1879, this dog was definitively launched into the dog world with the creation of the Irish Terrier Club. The selection of the most typical subjects, of the desired color, then progressed quickly, and, even if there were still some controversies, especially about their size, the first standard was soon defined.

The first supporters of the Irish Terrier certainly appreciated the publication, in 1881, of Vero Shaw's The Illustrated Book of the Dog, which contributed to his fame by portraying him in the most flattering manner. To read this portrait, drawn by Mr. W. Krehl, the Irish Terrier was really an almost universal dog, able to match many breeds in their specialty. Naturally, as a burrow, he was a daredevil, a valiant hunter of otters, badgers, foxes, but he also proved to be very useful to any rifle hunter, brushing as vigorously as Spaniel, an outstanding rabbit-tree, but still retriever, equally at home on land and in the water. In the farmyard or in the garden, this vigilant guardian was incorruptible and inaccessible to fear. Finally, in the house, he became a very gentle dog, deeply attached to his masters. The author; English; Such high praise could be contradicted by his compatriots, who, big Terriers lovers, might not show the same enthusiasm for the Irish dog, but the growing popularity of the Irish Terrier was enough to justify these claims.

The race, in fact, has given examples of the multiplicity of its merits. Irish was successfully employed as a shrubber and retriever in the Kerry Mountains, he was hunted big game in Africa, he helped British soldiers during the First World War by acting as a rifleman. Moreover, the attachment of this dog to man became proverbial, so to speak, after several subjects, on different occasions, had found their master and their house by traversing considerable distances.

The Irish Terrier is really not suited for supporting roles or figuration. It has been one of the most popular Terrier breeds since the beginning of the century until the 1920s. Remember that it was at this time that the groomers British, past masters in the art of trimming, have developed the silhouettes particular to each Terrier; thus, they carved and refined their lines according to the strengths of their respective morphologies, bringing to these rustic and boiling hunters an undeniable chic and distinction.

As you might expect, this vogue did not fail to have its downside. A growing number of Terriers found themselves in inexpert hands, in homes that did not allow them to flourish. Terriers, and Irish in particular, have the flaws of their qualities. These impetuous but frank dogs are not at ease if they are asked to be discreet, and urban life, idle or overly sedentary, is not their forte. If they play the proud-haired, it is that, not demonstrative, they do not want to display their need of tenderness. The public, who did not bother to understand the deep nature of the Terriers, ended up turning to other breeds more boilerplate, and this before the outbreak of the Second World War, which decimated number of farms of Terriers. Since then, thankfully, the Irish Terrier has used all its obstinacy to regain some of its past luster.

It is true that this dog is the "daredevil" of Terriers; which is not saying a lot. Daredevil, this is his nickname in his country, and the English word is not too strong: the Irish would be able to face the devil in person. This dog is therefore a touch a little rough, literally as well as figuratively, and yet we should not be afraid to rub it. With great firmness imbued with a benevolent patience, one can overcome his stubborn and independent temperament, but brutality is not indicated, because it would rather strengthen the toughness of his character. An energetic master, careful to be fair in his rewards and punishments, is the ideal for this dog who, in turn, will be the surest and most devoted companion.

Naturally, this influxed animal needs a lot of exercise, and, if it has the ability to spend all its energy at leisure, it will be balanced and calm in intimacy. Nice with children, he gets on well with seniors, focusing on their safety and that of their belongings. We must not be mistaken: this "tough" feels an immense tenderness for those around him.

The Irish Terrier is a born hunter, and it is unfortunate that we do not use these provisions more often. If he is a little tall to penetrate all the burrows, he is nonetheless able to assist the nimrod in the hunt for the most diverse game, thanks to his endurance, his courage, his vivacity and his flair. With regard to other dogs, you should not ask the Irish for much leniency. He can not bear to be encroached on his territory and does not hesitate to respond to any sign of aggression, whatever the size of his "adversary".

Regarding his grooming, like all the hard-furred Terriers, called "broken", the Irish must be epilated regularly, and this, by a specialist. Terriers are not bulky dogs, and the Irishman is no exception, but this dog takes a lot of space by his extroverted and assured temperament, and even more in the heart of the master who knew how to understand it.

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