The Breed History
This breed originates in Ireland in County Wicklow. It is still a rare breed-in the USA about 400 terriers are registered with their national breed club. The Irish Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1934, a long time after the genesis of this very old breed. The AKC recognized the breed in the terrier group in October 2004.
Breeding for Function
This is an agile powerful hunting terrier of ancient terrier type. Breeding in ancient times was focused on producing a dog with excellent vermin control skills, and also an aid to the fox and badger hunter. A unique historical task was to be a turnspit dog. This was a wheel that the dog turned which rotated the spit over the fire for roasting pig and other meats. Their deep bark makes them sound like a much larger dog. They excel at obedience.
Height at Withers: 12.5-14" (32-35.5 cm)
Weight: 35 lb (16 kg)
Coat: Medium length, double, with harsh overcoat. Accepted colors include blue, brindle (usually blue) and wheaten. Needs 1-2x weekly brushing, and once to twice annual stripping. Ears need to be plucked. Bathing done on an as-need basis.
Longevity: 10-15 years
Points of Conformation: Head is large, skull broad, eyes are round and wide set. Rose or half prick ears are small and set back and high on the skull. A scissors bite or level bite is accepted. Muzzle tapering to the black nose, and stop is pronounced. The neck is thick, and topline is unique to the breed, with a gentle curve up to the lumbar area. Limbs are short, and have some bowing-the compact front feet turn slightly out while the rear feet are straight. The thorax is deep and full but not barrel shaped. Hindquarters are heavily muscled. Generally the tail is docked to 1/2 length, and is carried high while active. The gait is smooth, flowing and covers a lot of ground with each stride. Is longer than tall in overall proportions.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Breed attributes reported include: Courageous, stoic, hardy, stubborn, independent, spirited when working, but tame at home. Game for a fight with other dogs, but can live fine with other pets if socialized early to them. A little less active than other terrier breeds. Strong chase instinct-need to be loose only in a secured fence enclosure-the fence needs to be designed to counteract their excellent digging skills. They have a low bark tendency. Work silently. Not considered the best of swimmers. Good with older children-can be a bit strong and active for youngsters.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 30.0% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. OFA reports 16.2% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Glen of Imaal Terriers have been screened to determine an accurate frequency.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)/Cone-Rod Dystrophy (crd3): Autosomal recessive disorder of cone, and then rod retinal degeneration. Clinical signs begin in middle age as night blindness and difficulty in dim light, and progresses to complete blindness. Affected dogs can be identified ophthalmoscopically as young as 3 years of age, with progression over several years. Identified in 4.14% of Glen of Imaal Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Glen of Imaal Terriers with PRA/crd. A direct genetic test is available.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 7.1% positive for thyroid auto-antibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Allergic Skin Disease: Inhalant or food allergies. Causes pruritis and pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots). Reported to occur in the breed.
Distichiasis: Abnormally placed eyelashes that irritate the cornea and conjunctiva. Can cause secondary corneal ulceration. Identified in 4.13% of Glen of Imaal Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Anterior and equatorial cortex cataracts predominate in the breed. Identified in 3.31% of Glen of Imaal Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Glen of Imaal Terrier with a cataract.
Aortic Stenosis: Affected dogs present with a left heart base murmur, and aortic velocities greater than 1.5 m/second on Doppler echocardiography, aortic regurgitation, and mitral regurgitation. Can cause exercise intolerance, syncope, and progress to heart failure. This congenital heart defect has been diagnosed in Glen of Imaal terriers. Dogs should be screened for heart murmurs.
Entropion, and Seasonal Flank Alopecia are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: Direct test for crd3 is available from Optigen.
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: Required testing includes hip radiographs, CERF eye examination (annually until age 8), and genetic test for crd3 PRA. (See CHIC website; www.caninehealthinfo. org). Recommend elbow radiographs, thyroid profile including autoantibodies, patella examination, and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: none
- Registries: AKC, UKC, ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club), NKC (National Kennel Club), KCGB, FCI
- AKC rank (year 2008): 156 (32 dogs registered)
- Breed resources: Glen of Imaal Club of America: www.glens.org
The Glen of Imaal Terrier Association (UK): www.goita.co.uk
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