Glen of Imaal Terrier Breed Information and Buying advice

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Glen of Imaal Terrier?

Quick Glen of Imaal Terrier Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Terrier (4/8)
No (2/2)

Why Glen of Imaal Terriers are great

Glen of Imaal Terriers, affectionately known as ‘Glens’, are often described as being intelligent and loving but also sturdy and muscular. They have strong working instincts, being fast and agile, able to chase and catch small animals whilst also cuddling with their owners for hours. Some highlights:
  1. Glen of Imaal Terriers have a gentler temperament compared to other terrier breeds
  2. This breed is very intelligent, are fast learners and are easier to train
  3. Glens are very loving companions who love to play with adults and small children
  4. This breed does not shed its coat

Things to consider when looking at Glen of Imaal Terriers for Sale

Although this breed is kind and polite, Glen of Imaal Terriers can often still have the stubbornness that is commonly seen in other Terriers. It is important that this breed has an owner that will be able to teach them that they are not the pack leader. With positive reinforcement, they will be willing to work with their owners. Some downsides:
  1. Glens have a very high prey drive, possibly chasing and hunting other small pets such as rabbits or rodents.
  2. Aggression can often be seen towards other animals when Glen of Imaal Terriers are in hunting mode
  3. Barks a lot at unfamiliar noises and sights.

History of Glen of Imaal Terriers

Bred in the harsh weather of Ireland as a working dog, Glen of Imaal Terriers used their muscles to aid the family through hunting. Due to their small size, Glens are able to fit into the animal’s dens and drag them out. In the house, they were what is known as a ‘turnspit dog’ which is when the dog uses its muscular legs to move the wheel that turns the spit on the fire to cook the meals. Glen of Imaal Terriers were first acknowledged as a breed of their own in 1870 after first appearing at a dog show in England. Previously, all terriers that came from Ireland were known as Irish Terriers, no matter what breed they actually were. They are a rare breed even today, but still maintains the original traits seen in the terriers back in Ireland.  


How big is the Glen of Imaal Terrier?

This terrier usually grows to be about 36cm at full height.  

How heavy is a Glen of Imaal Terrier?

Typically, this breed weighs about 18kg.  

What Colour is the Glen of Imaal Terrier?

Glens can be different shades, including wheaten shades from cream to red, any blue shade from silver to slate, and brindle, which is a tiger-shaped pattern that mixes one dominant colour with darker streaks and patterns.  


Do Glen of Imaal Terriers make good guard dogs?

This breed can make a good watchdog if it tends to bark at sudden and unusual noises and sights. However, this breed of terrier tends not to be as ‘yappy’ as some other terriers, being polite and friendly to everyone.  

Are Glen of Imaal Terriers easy to train?

Glens are intelligent and fast-learners, and it is recommended that early puppy obedience can keep stubbornness in check. If positive reinforcement is involved, the cheeky stubbornness of a terrier can be kept in check.  

Are Glen of Imaal Terriers playful?

Glen of Imaal Terriers are very playful, enjoying activities with family members and other dogs. Aggression is only usually seen outwardly towards small animals that they are chasing them, so care should be taken when keeping a Glen of Imaal Terrier with other, smaller pets such as rabbits or rodents.  

Are Glen of Imaal Terriers good with children?

Terriers, in general, are not the best breed around children, but Glens are less extreme with their behaviours than other terrier breeds and can often be sweet and gentle towards young children.  

Can I leave a Glen of Imaal Terrier Alone?

This breed does not usually do well when left alone for long periods of time. Even though they are used to harsh weathers and has a hardy character, they prefer feeling like part of the family with human contact. If they are heavily disassociated, they may become stubborn and not listen to their owner as there will be a lacking connection.  

Do Glen of Imaal Terriers like water?

Even though some may enjoy swimming, Glen of Imaal Terriers are not built to work well in water with their short legs and long body, and therefore can sometimes struggle to swim for long periods of time. Always keep an eye on your Glen if they do decide to go for a swim.  


How long do Glen of Imaal Terriers live?

Dogs of this breed tend to live to a large 13-15 years.  

How much exercise does a Glen of Imaal Terrier need?

Although they are small, they require a moderate amount of exercise. They will get more tired faster than larger dogs, but they are energetic and strong, happily taking themselves out for exercise by chasing squirrels or playing with their owners. They are not the best running partner due to their small legs not being able to keep up the whole time, but they love walks.  

What are Glen of Imaal Terriers Common health issues?

Glens are overall a healthy breed, but can be prone to some issues:
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Eye Disorders


How much space do I need for a Glen of Imaal Terrier?

Glen of Imaal Terriers are small dogs, and therefore they do not need a lot of space to be happy. Inside, they are able to fit into a small space happily to sleep, enjoying a cuddle on the sofa. However, it is advised that they have a large garden that they can take themselves into to burn off some energy. They are an independent breed and will happily take themselves off to stimulate their minds.  

What should I feed my Glen of Imaal Terrier?

Due to their small size, they only need about 1.5 – 2 cups of high-quality dry food twice a day. However, you must always check with your vet what they recommend for your individual puppy, as a dog’s food depends on their age, size, exercise levels and metabolism.  

How much grooming do Glen of Imaal Terriers need?

Glen of Imaal Terriers have a medium-length coat that is harsh-textured. They have a double-layered coat, and therefore grooming is important for them, especially in warmer climates where they can get too hot. To do this, you need to strip your dogs' coat, which is the process of pulling dead hair out of the coat using a stripping knife, a brush or fingers. The Glen’s wiry coat has a cycle where it starts growing and then sheds as the maximum length is reached. Although this breed doesn’t shed, it is a good idea to get them stripped once you start to notice their coat falling out slightly.  

Average costs

How much does it cost to keep a Glen of Imaal Terrier?

As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £500-£800 for a well-bred Glen of Imaal Terrier puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £30-£80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Glen of Imaal Terrier Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Glen of Imaal Terrier puppy buying advice:
  1. The correct relationship and hierarchy must be set in place from a young age when you get the Glen puppy, otherwise, they will be even more stubborn when they are older, ignoring commands and doing the opposite to what you are asking. Once this is registered, they remain loyal and will see you as their boss. First-time buyers need to be sure that they will be able to reinforce this relationship and not be swayed by letting their dog get away with things.
  2. Glens have the typical dynamic terrier temperament, meaning they are quick to bark and chase, whilst being lively, bossy, feisty, clever, independent and persistent. You must be able to grasp your own puppy’s character in order to get the best out of their behaviour.
  3. This breed is a very rare breed, meaning there are long waiting lists for litters. If you are set on buying a Glen Terrier, have a look at rescue centres and adoption sites where you might find the perfect one for you.
  4. This breed’s rarity also makes them a popular scam subject. You can look for a scam online with this breed if they are listed at a surprisingly low price with no waiting list. Make sure you go and visit the potential puppy before you place any money in the breeder’s account, not even a deposit. It is also wise to check that the breeder is legal and legitimate, which is important to note for the welfare of your puppy.
  5. As this breed is small, you should be aware of how small they usually are. A dog that is bred to be even smaller than it should be can be, as it can easily get health issues and be problematic to the new owner.
  6. Originally, this breed had their tails docked, but after the law banning docking in 2007 was set in place, it is illegal for a tail to be docked without authorisation and agreement from vets and owners, both original and new. There are exceptions to this rule which states that if they are for working purposes they are able to have docked tails as there could be problems and infections if they got trapped and cut.

Other reading, Adopting Glen of Imaal Terrier Puppies and Rescue Organisations