Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Glen Of Imaal Terrier: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Glen Of Imaal Terrier

Height: 12.5 – 14 inches
Weight: 32 – 40 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Colors: Tan, wheat, gold, black, grey, white
Suitable for: Families, individuals, hunters
Temperament: Gentle, bold, calm, hard-working, brave, docile, independent

Though less excitable than most Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers are still spirited animals with bold personalities. They look more like the hard-working dogs they are instead of the fancier appearances taken on by some of their cousins. Still, they manage to be a certain type of adorable, even if they’re not the cutest dogs ever.

With long bodies that are slung low to the ground thanks to short, stubby legs, these dogs have a very unique look. They’re covered in a rough double coat of curls all over; one that’s water-resistant and sheds very little.

One great trait about these little Terriers is that they’re much quieter than most of their cousins. Many people even go so far as to call the breed stoic. But this isn’t by accident. In truth, this trait was developed in the breed so they’d be quiet while they worked.

Another trait was also developed in this breed that’s not quite as beneficial for many owners today; independence. This can make them a bit harder to train. Worse, it can prevent them from getting along with other pets. So, you’ll need to make sure you socialize them early and often.

Divider 1

Glen of Imaal Terrier Puppies

Glen of Imaal Terrier puppy
Image Credit: KRNaturalPhoto, Shutterstock

Purebred dogs are often pretty expensive, especially when they have proven pedigrees or champion bloodlines. But Glen of Imaal Terriers are more expensive than most other breeds, even when they don’t have special bloodlines to warrant the price. Moreover, they’re not even one of the more popular breeds. Out of 196 breeds that the AKC recognizes, Glen of Imaal Terriers are ranked 174th in popularity.

A major contributing factor to the high price of Glen of Imaal Terriers is their rarity. This breed comes from an extremely remote area of Ireland and most of the breeders of these dogs are there as well. You can still find breeders in other locations, but they’re rare.

That said, there is another way to add one of these great dogs to your family for considerably less. Despite their rarity, you can find Glen of Imaal Terriers available for adoption in shelters and clinics. To be fair, this is probably going to require a good deal of searching, but the payoff could be great.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Glen of Imaal Terrier

1. They were originally bred to hunt.

Like most breeds of Terrier, these dogs were bred to hunt. If you look closely at their small frames, you’ll notice that they’re layered with muscle, particularly on the hindquarters. This helps them to be fast and durable, making them better adapted to catching their prey, which included such animals as foxes and badgers that can be even bigger than these Terriers.

2. They love children, just not other pets.

Glen of Imaal Terriers are known for being loving with children. They seem to have a natural affinity for kids, especially kids that love to play. These dogs want to play all the time, and a child’s boundless energy is a great match for the energy of a Terrier. But make no mistake, these dogs are strong and they can be rough. When playing with little kids, it can sometimes be too much.

3. They don’t need much exercise.

Many smaller dog breeds, including other breeds of Terrier, need lots of exercise to expend all the energy from their little bodies. But the Glen of Imaal Terrier is an exception. These dogs need only a moderate amount of exercise. And unlike many similar breeds, they don’t like vigorous exercise, so don’t expect them to become your new jogging partner. Instead, these dogs would prefer 30 minutes of playtime each day to help keep them calm and healthy.

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Glen of Imaal Terrier 🧠

Reserved but still full of personality, these small dogs are a calmer version of their Terrier cousins. But don’t let that fool you, they’re still bold and full of spunk. They’re full of energy, even though they don’t need as much exercise as other small dogs. These bold personalities are why they make such excellent companions.

But these dogs are also independent. They were bred that way so they’d be able to hunt well on their own without oversight. But that can make them more difficult to train and more difficult to deal with, especially for first-time dog owners.

Despite their independent streak, these dogs are highly intelligent. They’re very trainable if you can make it past that pesky independence.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Since they’re known for being great with kids, Glen of Imaal Terriers are excellent family dogs. They can bond closely with every member of the family. And since these dogs love to play, having multiple family members around to play with is great for them.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Even though they get along great with kids, Glen of Imaal Terriers don’t do quite as well when it comes to other pets. They have a naturally strong prey drive, bred into them so they’d excel as hunters. But that’s a problem when your Terrier is around other pets. That prey drive is hard for them to get over and they can become aggressive with other animals.

You can mitigate this problem by socializing your Terrier early and often. However, because the prey drive is strong in them and they’re naturally aggressive towards other animals, you still might have a hard time getting them to play well with other pets.

Glen of Imaal Terrier
Image credit: kaz, Pixabay

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning a Glen of Imaal Terrier:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These are small dogs, rarely weighing over 40 pounds. As such, they don’t need to eat too much. They do best on a high-quality dry dog food that’s specifically formulated for small breeds.

Because of their small size, you have to be careful not to overfeed a Glen of Imaal Terrier. You’ll want to measure out their food to ensure that you’re not overfeeding them. Small dogs can become overweight quickly.

One suggestion; try to find a food that contains glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements support healthy joint function as your Terrier ages, which is especially important since this breed is susceptible to joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Exercise 🐕

Most small breeds that have lots of energy stored in their little bodies need loads of exercise to expel it all. Luckily, Glen of Imaal Terriers only need a moderate amount of exercise to stay healthy and content. About 30 minutes of exercise each day is plenty.

Keep in mind that these dogs don’t like vigorous exercise like jogging. Instead, they prefer to get their exercise through play. So, keep a ball or other small toy on hand and exercise your Terrier with a nice game of fetch or tug-of-war.

Training 🦮

These Terriers are intelligent and capable of learning commands quite easily. However, they’re also known for being a bit independent, which can introduce some complications to training. They’re best trained by someone who has previous experience with training dogs since they need a firm, confident hand.

Grooming ✂️

To deal with the harsh climate in the remote area of Ireland where this breed hails from, they have a double coat that resists the weather. It consists of a rough coat on the outside and a softer undercoat beneath. You’ll need to brush your Terrier’s coat several times a week to make sure it doesn’t get matted.

Aside from this, their grooming needs are quite minimal. Just make sure to keep their nails trimmed and their ears clean and dry.

Health Conditions ❤️

Purebred dogs are often susceptible to a myriad of health concerns. But the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a very hardy breed. There aren’t many known health problems that commonly plague this breed, though there are just a few that you should keep an eye out for.

Minor Conditions
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA for short, this disease is when the photoreceptor cells of the eye degenerate. You’ll likely first notice a loss of nighttime vision in your dog. Eventually, PRA will result in blindness once the photoreceptor cells deteriorate enough.
Serious Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia: A common health problem in dogs, hip dysplasia is when the hip forms incorrectly. Because of this, the femur doesn’t fit inside the hip socket the way it’s supposed to. This causes the femur to rub on the hip bone, creating pain and limiting motion.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: This is when the bones of the elbow don’t fit together correctly because of growth abnormalities. The result of this is pain, decreased movement in the affected joint, arthritis, and even lameness.

Divider 3


Though they’re loaded with classic Terrier spunk, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a toned-down version of its Terrier cousins. But they still have that bold personality that once came in handy when these short but long dogs were used as hunters in the rugged backcountry of Ireland. Despite their small size, these dogs are powerful enough to pull badgers and foxes that are larger from their holes, so don’t underestimate them.

These dogs make more than great hunters though. They also make excellent companions. Despite their independent streak, they’re loving and loyal pets that will offer you a lifetime of love and affection.

Featured Image Credit: DejaVuDesigns, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database