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rec.pets.dogs: Glen of Imaal Terriers Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/glen-imaals
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997

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                           Glen of Imaal Terriers

   Mary Brytowski
   GlenTyrs Kennels
   Via the Internet:
   Copyright 1995, 1996 by Mary Brytowski
   Thanks to Maura High and Rick McKinney for their help with this.
   These terrific little dogs are endearing and loyal companions that can
   fill your days with much joy. One hopes that they will be seen more
   frequently in this country.
Table of Contents

     * Table of Contents
     * Description
     * Care
     * Health Issues
     * Frequently Asked Questions
     * Resources
          + Books
          + Clubs
          + Online Resources

   One of the newest breeds to be introduced into the United States is
   the Glen of Imaal (pronounced E-Mahl) Terrier. This breed originated
   in Ireland, in the glen of Imaal of County Wicklow.
   The Glen was developed as a general purpose farm dog, to guard and
   work stock, eradicate vermin, and to hunt fox, badger, otter, mink,
   etc. For generations the farmers bred the characteristics of a large
   breed into a small frame. This scrappy terrier was developed as a game
   working dog to destroy vermin. The Glen of Imaal Terrier is quite
   fearless and impervious to pain when working. He is one of the few
   breeds of dog that is bold enough to face a badger in its den and
   bring it to ground.
   However, he does possess a placid temperament until his quarters are
   threatened. He will then let the enemy know that it is not welcome
   with a deep guttural bark that belies his small size. These dogs are
   not known for excessive barking or yappiness, and were disqualified
   for barking during terrier trials in Ireland.
   In spite of his tenacity and courage when called upon, this is a
   tenderhearted dog devoted to his family. He is intelligent, quick to
   learn, and quick to respond. The Glen is quite playful at times and
   this breed does not demand constant attention from its owner. This
   breed is known for its intelligence, quickly learning his lessons and
   perfecting his duties in short order. They tend to always be aware of
   the whereabouts of their owners and hate to be separated from their
   families. Like most terrier breeds, a few puppies will need to be
   discouraged from nipping and jumping up.
   Glen of Imaal Terriers grow only to fourteen inches high at the
   shoulder, yet should weigh around the standard maximum of thirty-five
   pounds. Their bone structure is one of the heaviest, they have a bowed
   front, very useful for digging, throwing dirt to the sides rather than
   between their legs as do most terriers.

   Of all the indigenous Irish breeds of terriers seen today, the Glen of
   Imaal Terrier is the least identified, still it is the single type
   bred out of Ireland that is low enough to the earth to enter and
   challenge the badger in his den.
   Whatever the precise date of the inception of the Glen of Imaal
   Terrier, he always has been typically portrayed as a working terrier,
   and has been bred for this purpose.
   Part of his history is also known to have been spent with numerous
   hours at the dog-wheel as the turnspit. This contraption was a
   treadmill that rotated the meat on a spit as it cooked. It was
   propelled for hours by this energetic little dog. Their small size,
   low fronts, and strong rears made them ideally matched to this chore,
   and earned for them the nickname the 'Turnspit Dog'.
   In _Dogs in Britain_ by C.L.B. Hubbard, there is photograph of a group
   of Glen of Imaal Terriers and their owners taken in 1933. The animals
   in this picture are surprisingly similar to the Glens that are found
   In the years when tests of gameness were still being given in Ireland,
   the Glen of Imaal Terrier contended for the Teastas Mor, which was the
   criterion for gameness, along with the larger Irish Terrier, the Kerry
   Blue Terrier, and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, he also competed
   for the Teastas Misneac, the certificate of dead gameness, and
   positively no member of the terrier breeds could become a champion
   without this certificate.
   During the trial for the Teastas Misneac, after the game, the badger,
   was sent in, the terriers were released into a winding tunnel. The dog
   had to find the badger within one minute. He then had six minutes to
   pull the badger from the hole with the badger frantically defending
   the other end of the tunnel. The dog that held the badger and worked
   it for six minutes without a sound was allowed the certificate of
   Teastas Misneac. Extensions for time were given if deemed necessary by
   the judges under the existing circumstances. Trials with badgers have
   long been outlawed and since 1966 the test was no longer required to
   make up a champion.
   Today the Glen of Imaal Terriers' main sporting is in the back woods
   when his master takes him for a romp and he spots some movement in the
   bushes. Woe for most small and medium sized game, for the Glen is
   quick with his strong forefront and powerful jaw and is not likely to
   give up when being defended against.
   Nowadays the dogs are mostly housed as domestic family pets, although
   there are quite a few are still working terriers keeping the farm and
   hearth clear of all vermin. They are today still endowed with the many
   traits with which they served their owners long ago.
   Before the Glen of lmaal Terrier became recognized at dog shows, he
   had already developed into the tough, strong, sturdy dog that we know
   today. This stout hardy breed had to hunt badger, fox, and rat. It has
   not been unheard of for the Glen to head into the water after otter or
   The Glen of Imaal Terrier was certainly the last of the four terriers
   to gain recognition upon his native soil. The Glen was first
   recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1933, making it into the show
   ring in 1934. The current I.K.C. standard was approved in 1995 and
   they are now known as 'The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier' there. He was
   next recognized by the Kennel Club of England in 1975, and the States
   Kennel Club of America in 1987. The Glen is now recognized by kennel
   clubs in quite a few countries. In the United States, shows and
   registrations are done by the Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of North
   America, the States Kennel Club, and the United Kennel Club which
   recognized them in 1994. They can also be seen at American Rare Breed
   Association's shows, however, they do not register them.

   Grooming is minimal. Glens have a double coat with a harsh outer coat
   and a soft under coat that is easily cared for with occasional
   brushing. If you are not going into the show ring, simply give them a
   good brushing once a week or so. The coat grows to 3-4 inches in
   length. This is a breed that does not shed, when the hairs reach their
   maximum length, they will be removed during regular grooming sessions.
   You must however, keep an eye on the ear canal as this breed does grow
   hair down the ear channel. This hair needs to be plucked out regularly
   or you will be troubled with ear infections.
   Preparation for the show ring is also minimal. To keep a nice harsh
   coat you should not scissor the coat, it should be stripped out on the
   average every nine to twelve months, depending on the length you want
   to keep it at. Always remember that a Glen should NEVER be
   over-groomed and should keep the natural rough-and-ready appearance.
   The Glen of Imaal Terrier loves to exercise, yet they are usually calm
   inside the smallest of apartments, provided they are regularly allowed
   to stretch their legs. They can easily go for very long walks.
Health Issues

   The Glen does not have any known genetic disorders. However, there are
   some Glens who suffer from 'terrier skin'. This will result in hot
   spots or extreme scratching. This does not usually show up until the
   dog is sexually mature. As this can also be attributed solely to the
   dog's environment, it is difficult to track it or classify it as
   genetic. In the event of a problem with itching, a diet of a dry lamb
   and rice food is first recommended, followed by a biotin supplement,
   with a last resort of cortisone treatments. This is NOT found in the
   majority of Glens.
   Since this a long backed breed, in considering a puppy purchase, they
   should not be over long, nor sway or roach backed. The crooked front
   refers to the front legs. They should turn out only slightly and
   should not be exaggerated.
   Glens like to eat and get fat easily. Keep treats to a minimum and
   give them lots of exercise to keep them in shape.
Frequently Asked Questions

   _Is that a purebred?_
     Yes, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a purebred terrier from Ireland.
     They have been referred to as 'short legged terriers' as far back
     as 1575.
   _Do they shed?_
     Technically, yes, in reality, no. A well-groomed Glen will not
     shed, the hair stays in the follicle until it is combed or pulled
     out. If the dog is not combed at least once a month, small amounts
     of hair will be left on the furniture. Excessive scratching will
     also leave traces of hair behind.
   _Are they good with kids?_
     Yes, they're great with kids, although they will jump up and some
     can be nippy. They are better with school age kids because they
     like to play rough and will knock smaller ones over. They love to
     chase balls and sticks and wrestle. They are not delicate and love
     to roughhouse.
   _How are they with other dogs?_
     Typically they get along well with other dogs, however they do not
     like to be dominated too much. They will take some domination,
     preferring to just get along, but they will fight with over
     aggressive dogs.
   _How are they with cats and other household pets?_
     Remember, they are terriers and it is their natural inclination to
     chase and kill small rodents. They can get along with cats, IF the
     cat was there first and IF they are constantly watched and
     disciplined if they show any intention of harm. I also recommend
     that the cat has an area accessible to it to get away from the dog.
     As for other pets, the dog should not be trusted alone with them.
   _Do they dig?_
     Absolutely, yes. It is natural for them to do so and it would be
     difficult to suppress that.
   _Do males or females make better pets?_
     Either is fine. The temperament is the same in either, males tend
     to be larger.
   _How difficult is it to find a puppy?_ 
     Not too bad, of the few breeders in this country, waiting tends to
     be less than a year.
   _What should I look for in a breeder?_
     References, mainly. Most of the time you will have a pup shipped
     sight unseen since there are only a handful of breeders in this
     country. Ask for photos of the sire and dam, photos of other
     progeny if available. Watch out for 'puppy mill' mentality, where
     there are lots of pups available all the time.
   _What should I expect to pay for a Glen?_
     Usually not less than $500.00 for pet quality, not more than
     $1000.00 for show.
   _What makes a Glen 'pet quality'?_
     Too much white, or white on the head or back. Yellow eyes, pink or
     brown [instead of black] nose. Square silhouette, or the
     anticipation they will be too tall.
   _Are they good watchdogs? _
     Yes and no. They strive for your approval. If you praise barking,
     you'll get it. If you discourage it, you won't. Generally though,
     they will protect you if they believe you are being harmed.
   _Are they good in obedience?_
     Yes, again, they want to please you and receive affection. Choke
     chains are not really effective, but profuse praise is. They are
     highly intelligent and if you are not persistent and consistent,
     the training will show it.
   _Are they registrable with the AKC?_
     No, not at this time, and it is not something that is being pursued
     by fanciers of the breed at this time.

   _The Glen of Imaal Terrier_ by Mary Brytowski
          110 pages, 46 photos, with chapters on history, temperament, &
          character.] To order, send $11.95 includes shipping [U.S. FUNDS
          ONLY] to: MARY BRYTOWSKI, 21 B. Chrome Street, Worcester, MA
          01604-3730, United States.
   _Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World_ by Walcowicz and Wilcox
          2 pages, 3 photos.
   by Cathy J. Flamholtz
   2 pages, one drawing.
   _Simon & Schuster's Guide to Dogs_ edited by Elizabeth Meriwether
   Half page, one photo.
   _Terriers of the World_ by Tom Horner
   One chapter, one photo.
   _Your Purebred Puppy: A Buyer's Guide_ by Michele Lowell
   One page, one photo.
   The Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of North America
          P.O. Box 411263, KansasCity, MO 64141, Attention: PAT
  Online Resources
   This FAQ is the only known online resource for this breed. If you know
   of any others concerning the Glen of Imaal Terrier, please contact the
   author below. Other resources of interest include:
     * The Terrier-L mailing list. Send email to with no subject line and SUBSCRIBE
       TERRIER-L yourfirstname yourlastname in the body of the message.
       This is a mailing list for all people interested in Terriers in
       Earthdog/Squirrel Dog Hunting Homepage
     * Glen Quarter
   , quarterly newsletter.
    Glen of Imaal Terrier FAQ
    Mary Brytowski,

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