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Glen of Imaal Terrier

The sturdy Glen of Imaal Terrier is a spirited hunter and dedicated companion.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Breed Photo

Vital Stats

Dog Breed Group
Terriers
Height
Weight
Life Span
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics

  • Details

    Adaptability

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    Trainability

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    Health & Grooming

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    All-around friendliness

    based on 4 ratings
  • Details

    Exercise needs

    based on 4 ratings
  • See All Characteristic Ratings


Summary

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a strong, independent dog breed named for the remote valley in Ireland where he originated. Bred to hunt fox and badger, and to keep homes free of rodents, the Glen is a skilled and cunning hunter. He's also an affectionate family dog, gentle and loving with his people.

Additional articles you will be interested in:

Adoption
Dog Names
Bringing Home Your Dog
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Housetraining Puppies
Feeding a Puppy
Dog games
Teaching your dog tricks
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  • Overview

    This powerful terrier was originally bred to be a tenacious hunter of fox, badger, and rodents, even pursuing his prey underground. Although the modern Glen is more likely to spend his days relaxing with his family, he still has a hunter's heart. Nothing is more enjoyable to him than a good chase after a pesky squirrel or the neighbor's cat — other than, perhaps, a good dig. A Glen will happily dig up your flower garden if you let him.

    You can put his hunter's smarts to good use with training, so long as you keep it fun for him; otherwise, he's likely to show his independent streak, and wander off in search of something more interesting. And you can channel his energy and athleticism into dog sports such as agility and obedience competitions.

    If you're not interested in dog sports, you'll need to find another way to help him burn off energy; Glens need daily exercise. And you'll have to lock up the kibble and keep tempting people food out of reach; this dog has a hearty appetite, and can pack on the pounds very quickly if he's allowed to overeat.

    The courageous Glen will defend his family if needed, and his loud warning bark will alert you whenever someone approaches the house, making him an excellent watchdog. But that same scrappy spirit can sometimes get him into trouble with other canines. He's unlikely to start a fight, but you can be sure he won't back down from one if challenged. Given enough time to interact with other dogs and practice his canine social skills, however, he can learn to get along with them.

    It's not hard to fall in love with the affectionate nature and intelligence of this breed. But before you rush out to buy or adopt a Glen, consider that he has many traits common to terriers: a love of digging, an independent streak, and a inborn tendency to chase cats and other small animals. Whether these qualities make him your dream dog or last on your list, take them into account when considering a Glen.

  • Highlights

    • Glens need daily exercise. Canine sports such as agility are a great way to let them burn off energy, but a brisk 30-minute walk around the neighborhood will do the trick, too.
    • Originally bred to pursue their prey underground, the Glen was designed to dig and still has that drive today. If you want to save your flowerbeds, it's wise to train your Glen to use a designated digging area in the yard.
    • Glens enjoy playing and roughhousing and can be wonderful companions for children, although they're strong and rambunctious enough to knock over small or young kids.
    • Although they're not known to be barkers, the Glen will bark a lot if you accidentally encourage him. Don't run over to a barking Glen to see what the fuss is about — you'll teach him that if he makes a ruckus, he gets your attention. Teaching the "quiet" command is also helpful.
    • The Glen can be aggressive to other dogs and needs plenty of time with other canines to learn how to get along with them, ideally beginning in puppyhood. Puppy kindergarten classes that give the pups time to play with each other, in addition to the obedience training, are an excellent way to help your dog hone his canine social skills.
    • His strong prey instinct makes the Glen a poor fit for homes with other small pets that he may consider prey, such as cats, rabbits, and hamsters. It also means you'll need to teach him good leash manners, so he doesn't drag you halfway down the block when he spots something he wants to chase.
    • The Glen was bred to be a hunter of small animals and has a strong inborn drive to chase. If you've got a yard, you'll want a sturdy fence to keep your Glen from taking off after anything that wanders by that looks like prey.
    • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
  • History

    The Glen of Imaal Terrier comes from Ireland and takes his name from the remote valley in County Wicklow where he originated. Fans of the Glen believe the breed is descended from dogs brought by settlers — who were awarded land in the valley in exchange for serving in Queen Elizabeth I's army — who mixed with the local canines.

    The breed was developed as a multi-purpose hunter, and was used to hunt fox and badger and rid the home of rodents. Because of his tenacious spirit, he was also used in organized dogfights. One of his most interesting jobs was the role of spit dog, in which the dog worked a treadmill-like contraption that powered the rotation of a cooking spit.

    The Glen was recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1933, one of the last of the Irish terriers to gain official recognition in Ireland. The Glen then had to wait 42 years before the British Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1975, and another 12 years before the American Kennel Club followed suit, in 1987.

    The breed is still rare today, although the Glen is gaining popularity every year. He's proving to be an excellent family dog and, for some owners, he carries on his traditional role as a capable hunting companion.

  • Size

    Males and females stand 12.5 to 14 inches tall, and weigh approximately 35 pounds.

  • Personality

    The phrase "large dog in a small body" aptly describes this terrier. He's brave and feisty and, although he rarely starts a fight with other dogs, he's most likely to finish it. He will also protect his family if the need arises.

    He's intelligent, loyal, and patient, traits that can make for a wonderful companion dog. As a family pet he gives his people plenty of affection, but he's got an independent streak that's led many people to label him stubborn.

  • Health

    Glens are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Glens will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.

    If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Glens, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).

    Glens are also prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degenerative eye disorder involving the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. It causes a gradual loss of vision and eventual blindness. Vets can detect PRA years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. If you're buying a puppy, look for a reputable breeder who has her dogs' eyes tested and certified on a yearly basis.

  • Care

    The Glen is fairly low-maintenance. He enjoys the company of his human companions, and does best living in the house with them.

    Training is generally easy with this breed since he's intelligent and enjoys learning. The key to making training a breeze is to keep it fresh and interesting; do not bore the Glen with repetitive training. When bored, he'll show his stubborn streak by ignoring you, playing around, or wandering off to sniff his surroundings.

    The Glen is not an overly noisy breed, but if you accidentally encourage him, he'll bark and bark and bark. Don't ever run over to see what the fuss is about when he barks — you'll teach him that if he makes a ruckus, he'll get the attention of his favorite person. Teaching a "Quiet" command as part of his basic canine manners is a good idea.

    The Glen needs daily exercise; a brisk, 30-minute walk in the neighborhood will satisfy his need to move. Glens give themselves plenty of exercise too, playing and romping around the house. The breed can be just as happy in an apartment as in a home with a large yard.

    One word of caution: the Glen, like many other terriers, enjoys — no, loves — digging, and this trait isn't as easy to deter as barking. You can save your flowerbeds by training your Glen to dig only in one designated spot in your yard.

  • Feeding

    Recommended daily amount: 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

    NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

    Keep your Glen in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.

    For more on feeding your Glen, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

  • Coat, Color and Grooming

    The Glen coat is medium length, with a harsh-textured topcoat and shorter undercoat. The coat comes in several shades of wheaten, from cream to red; any shade of blue, from silver to slate; and brindle, a tiger stripe-like pattern that mixes one dominant color with darker streaks or patches. The Glen is considered to be a non- to low-shedding breed.

    Grooming the Glen is easy. This isn't a fussy breed, and there's no need to make too much fuss over his coat. Brushing once or twice a week keeps the coat from tangling, and a bath every three months or so — or whenever he's rolled in something smelly — keeps it clean.

    Glens who compete in the show ring have trimmed coats, but it's fine to let a family dog go au naturel. Show Glens aren't trimmed with clippers, like other breeds, but stripped — the coat is thinned and shortened with a sharp, comb-like tool called a stripping knife. Stripping helps Glens maintain the coarse coat that show judges like to see in terriers.

    Brush your Glen's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

    Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Glen enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.

    His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

    Begin accustoming your Glen to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.

    As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

  • Children and other pets

    The Glen is a great family pet, playful and kind with children. He's an extremely strong and muscular terrier, though, and can play too rough for very young and small children.

    As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

    If he's spent plenty of time around other dogs, especially in puppyhood, the Glen can get along with other canines. He does have a strong personality, however, that can lead to quarrels. And because he was bred to hunt small prey, the Glen isn't recommended for homes with small furry pets that are allowed to roam free. He'll chase, and possibly kill, cats, mice, gerbils, hamster, rabbits, and other small animals.

  • Rescue Groups

    Glens are sometimes bought without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. These dogs may end up in need of adoption and or fostering.

  • Breed Organizations

    Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Glen of Imaal.

  • All Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability

    Measures how well this breed potentially adapts to different environments

  • Trainability

    Measures the amount and difficulty of training potentially required for this breed

  • Health & Grooming

    Measures how much effort this breed potentially needs to keep a tidy hound and home

  • All-around friendliness

    Measures this breed's potential to get along with other dogs and humans

  • Exercise needs

    Measures this breed's potential to require lots of physical activity

  • Sometimes

    Adapt well to apartment living

    Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make -- plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

  • Very

    Affectionate with family

    Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

  • Moderate

    Amount of shedding

    If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

  • Sometimes

    Dog friendly

    Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

  • Moderate

    Drooling potential

    Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog that rates low in the drool department.

  • Somewhat

    Easy to groom

    Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

  • Very

    Easy to train

    Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

  • High

    Energy level

    High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

  • High

    Exercise needs

    Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

  • Sometimes

    Friendly toward strangers

    Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

  • Fairly good

    General health

    Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.

  • Sometimes

    Good for novice owners

    Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

  • High

    Intelligence

    Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

  • High

    Intensity

    A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

  • Sometimes

    Kid friendly

    Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.

    **All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

  • Medium

    Potential for mouthiness

    Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

  • High

    Potential for playfulness

    Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

  • Moderate

    Potential for weight gain

    Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

  • Low

    Prey drive

    Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by -- cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars -- can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

  • Moderate

    Sensitivity level

    Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

  • Medium

    Size

    Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space.

  • High

    Tendency to bark or howl

    Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?

  • Not particularly well

    Tolerates being alone

    Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

  • Quite well

    Tolerates cold weather

    Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

  • Quite well

    Tolerates hot weather

    Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

  • Moderate

    Wanderlust potential

    Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.

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