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  • Writer's pictureScarlett Bowman

Breed Spotlight: Glen of Imaal Terrier


Gentler, less excitable than most terriers, but still bold and spirited, the double-coated Glen of Imaal Terrier is named for one of Ireland's most remote locales. The brave but docile Glen is a strong, no-fuss dog built for hard work. Glens are scruffy, sturdy, low-slung terriers standing no more than 14 inches at the shoulder. There's nothing fancy or fussed-over about Glens.

Rather, their wiry no-frills coat, broad head, and bowed front legs suggest a working farm dog from a time and place where substance was more important than style. And yet, they're also ridiculously cute. It takes a heart of stone to resist reaching down to give a Glen a scratch behind the ear and a pat on the well-muscled rump.


The Glen of Imaal Terrier's weather-resistant double coat, consisting of a rough outer coat and a soft undercoat, requires moderate brushing weekly to prevent matting of the furnishings (the soft hair around the ears, neck, legs, and belly) and should also be stripped two or three times a year. They shed very little as a result of this effort. It does not take a great amount of time, and the bonding you achieve with your pup is well worth the time involved. Since Glens are a dwarf breed, a small but sturdy grooming table is a very good investment. It will make the process much easier for both of you. The nails should be trimmed regularly, and the ears checked weekly for debris or excess wax buildup.


The Glen of Imaal Terrier should be fed high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog's age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet or the dog's breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog's weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.


A little more laid-back than the typical terrier, Glens require moderate exercise to stay healthy and happy. As a dwarf breed with slightly curved front legs, Glens should not be rushed into strenuous exercise such as long walks on a leash. It's good to start leash training, but keep the walks short and fun. A small handful of the pup's regular kibble can be used to reward him for staying close while on a leash. Let him run around the house or a fenced yard, perhaps chasing a toy or ball. He will flop down for a rest when he has had enough. Owners should prevent puppies from jumping off couches, going down steep stairs, or engaging in anything that might put undue stress on their growing front legs and joints. Pups need time for the growth plates in their legs to close before they do any jumping or start climbing or descending stairs. Going downstairs is more stressful on the front legs than going up. Some breeders have pups avoid stairs and jumping as much as possible until they are at least 9 months of age, as the growth plates will close sometime between 9 and 12 months. This is a normal part of the developmental process but especially important in dwarf breeds whose legs are short in relation to their body weight.


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