The Irish Terrier

Buying a Pup
Before considering any breed you must determine if the breed is right for you. The Irish Terrier is a generally healthy breed. The life expectancy can be up to 13 - 14 years so this is a huge committment and one you should not enter lightly. You must consider not only the initial costs of purchasing your dog but the annual costs you will have with feeding, grooming, innoculations, worming and possibly kenneling if you are not fortunate to have a friend or family member that can take of your dog while you are away. You should gain an understanding of, and an appreciation for breed characteristics. You should: read as much material on the breed as you can, talk to as many people about the breed as you can, visit breeders if possible (the Secretary will be able to put you in contact
with Breeders recommended by the Club), ask questions, always have a list of questions ready, go to Dog Shows (The IKC website will have a list of forthcoming Shows, www.ikc.ie).

Health
The Irish Terrier is not an over-exaggerated breed in any way, therefore eye or breathing problems are rare. Most Irish Terriers do not show signs of allergies towards foods. The breed has a very low incidence of hip dysplasia. Historically there were problems with hyperkeratosis, a disease commonly known as Corny
Pads which causes severe pain. Today it is widely known which dogs carried the disease and breeders do not use those bloodlines. A health study conducted by the Irish Terrier Club of America showed a higher incidence of hypothyroidism and cataracts than would be expected. However there were not enough Irish eye-checked to draw any conclusions. If you wish to read some books on and about Irish Terriers please visit Lucy Jackson Books
at http://www.weloveirishterriers.com/books.html

Basic Information
Irish Terriers are red, but can also be red wheaten or plain wheaten. The way they are groomed can also affect the color. They stand about 18 inches at the shoulder. The coat is coarse and double jacketed to guard against bad weather. Irish can sometimes be tolerated by persons with allergies however you should check the bred out before committing to a new pup/dog. Irish Terriers are intelligent, athletic, personable, loving, sensitive, and attentive. They can also be feisty, they may be "same sex" aggressive and therefore we would recommend if the Irish is your second dog to introduce the opposite sex to your current dog. They are independent, curious, courageous, and avid hunters. An Irish Terrier's hunting expertise is not a major selling point but will need to be considered
by any potential buyer.

Living with Dogs
Living with any dog requires that you spend time with them. Your Irish will want to be with you. They are energetic dogs and require regular exercise. Irish always enjoy walks and jogging, but this should be done on a leash. Some of the best exercise that you can give a dog is biking as long as the dog is securely and safely attached to the bike they will get much more exercise than you could give them during the same time walking. Never feed your dog before heavy exercise. Irish Terriers, indeed all dogs, benefit from the socialization and education afforded by puppy training, agility and obedience classes. Remember that Irish Terriers are quick learners but very independent. You will need to find just the right mix of firmness and gentleness. Training is yet another opportunity to bond with your Irish, but takes your time and commitment. There are handling classes and obedience classes around the Country. Again the IKC will be able to direct you if there are any in your area. Grooming is another activity which will require your time. Regular brushing to maintain the coat, together with nail trimming and brushing teeth will help ensure a healthy and happy Irish Terrier. Many Groomers will use a clipper to trim your dog with, they should not be clippered, they are a harsh coated breed that require stripping in other to maintain the harshness of their coat. This is required several times a year. An Irish Terrier loves being with children and joining in their play. It is attentive and protective but children must be taught to respect their Irish and be kind to it. Very small children should never be left unattended with any breed of dog. If the Irish precedes children in the family, you need to make sure that you can accommodate both. Irish Terriers are very sensitive and need to be made a part of whatever is happening in the life around them. People may be attracted to the Irish Terrier because they heard that it is hypoallergenic. The harsh wiry Irish coat does seem to shed less than most so for this reason some allergy prone people can coexist with an Irish. However, even with careful grooming, sensitivities can be triggered. If you suffer from allergies, be sure to visit breeders and be with Irish Terriers several times before making the final decision. Not all Irish puppies are born with those perfectly folded triangular ears. It is often necessary
to assist the development of proper ear carriage. You will need help from an experienced Irish Terrier person to get this right. Your breeder will be able to help you in this matter.

Breeders
Responsible breeders are protective of their dogs. They ask a lot of questions and they want to know all about you. This may seem intrusive, but it is necessary to ensure that puppies go to households that have a good understanding of the breed so that the puppy will be loved and appreciated. Their aim is to ensure you understand the breed and the commitment you are undertaking. Always contact your Breed Club before considering buying a dog. The Secretary will put you
in contact with responsible breeders who have the health and safety of the breed at heart. Always ensure your Pup is IKC registered, this is the only recognised Registration Body in Ireland. The Irish Terrier is so much more than a pretty face in a beautiful red coat. Many Irish compete in obedience and agility showing that the breed is healthy and active. Your dog can also be involved in Mountain Rescue, in Dogs for Therapy or Peata. They can be whatever you want them to be if you are willing to put the time and energy in them!

Grooming
By 5 months of age the coat will need to be stripped It is important to pull the hair out rather than to cut it. Cutting the coat will diminish the red colour and will soften the texture of the coat. Your breeder should describe to you the different techniques involved in the stripping process. With patience and tenacity you and your Irish will learn the art of grooming. The daily grooming of your Irish is very important for good health and appearance. In addition to proper exercise and food, regular grooming of the coat and nail trimming are essential. There are several methods for grooming the Irish Terrier coat based on the desired end result. Here is one of the recognized methods for hand stripping and coat maintenance as the jacket grows back. You will need to plan ahead if you have a special date in mind for your dog¡¦s coat to look at its best. The Irish Terrier coat is the combination of a hard, wiry outer coat and a softer under coat. A good coat is so dense that, when parted, it is difficult to see the skin beneath. The red colour is at the tip of each strand of the outer coat hair, the longer the hair grows the less vibrant the colour becomes. In order to display the proper colour, the coat should be about one inch in length. The proper grooming of an Irish Terrier is not complicated though it requires patience and persistence. Investing in the correct tools and grooming yourself will create a bond with your dog and reduce your yearly outgoings. Grooming your dog each day will prove invaluable for increasing your skills and your dog¡¦s tolerance. You will need the following tools:
medium dull stripping knife;
fine stripping knife;
scissors;
a bristle brush;
a palm brush;
a quality steel comb; and
a good strong thumb and forefinger
After exercising the dog, wash the face and legs. Beginning at the withers, remove all the topcoat, leaving the undercoat undisturbed, from the withers, the back, hindquarters, rib cage and chest (see diagram below). Remove all the coat from the hind legs, leaving only enough furnishings on the front of these legs to provide a finished look. Do not leave so much furnishings as to create the appearance of chaps. From the hock down, you may scissor trim to neaten the appearance. Next address the front legs. Begin by combing up the hair on the front legs. Then, using your fingers, pull out the longest hairs so as to give the legs a more symmetrical appearance. With an Irish Terrier, the appearance you are looking for is finished, not fluffy. Next, comb the face hair back toward the skull. If there is an abundance of hair, pull out the longer hairs closest to the eye and corner of the mouth. Work toward the nose, pulling only small amounts at a time and comb the hair forward. Check the outline constantly. You want to accentuate the length and wedge shape of the head. You do not want to create the
cylindrical appearance seen in Wire Fox Terriers, where excessive furnishings may be desirable. In grooming Irish, excessive furnishings are to be avoided.
Approximately a week to ten days after the initial stripping, you should trim the tail; then from the occiput, trim down the sides and back of the neck, the withers and the shoulders. Leave the head, ears, front and rear for stage 3. Approximately a week to ten days after stage 2, trim the head from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth. Trim the skull, leaving just enough eyebrow to accentuate the hard expression. Trim under the jaw. Pull coat from the underside of the neck and the forechest. Strip hair from the inside and outside of the ears. Next, trim the back of the tail and the dogs rear. Carefully pull the hair in the direction in which it grows. Then, taking a fine stripping knife, remove the coat by pulling off all of the undercoat over the entire dog. Now, reshape the head, legs and feet. Moderation in this phase is best. Trim the feet round and tight, removing the hair between the pads with scissors.

Daily
Rub the body down with a hound's glove to encourage blood flow to the surface of the skin This stimulation feeds the hair follicles, conditioning both the skin and coat. With a palm brush, massage the face and leg furnishings. Trim the nails as needed. As the new coat grows in keep the coat looking tight, by brushing the body and pulling out the loose hair that develops.

Weekly
Go over all the flat work: ears, head, shoulders and rear. Keeping it tighter looking in
appearance than the body coat, but making sure that it blends together into the body coat.
Bathe the legs and face.
If you still think an Irish is right for you, you should continue your research. You will find
that this is a very special breed