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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Glen of Imaal Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info & Care

Glen of Imaal Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info & Care

Glen of Imaal Terrier dog standing on grass

If you passed a Glen of Imaal on the street, you might think you just passed a mutt. These no-frills dogs are scruffy and short, giving them a comically adorable appearance. The Glen of Imaal terrier is an underrated dog, though. These cute dogs are little powerhouses that appreciate having a job but will expect to curl up with you and snuggle on the couch at the end of the day.

Breed Overview


12.5 – 14 inches


32 – 40 pounds


10 – 15 years


Blue brindle, wheat suitable

Suitable for:

Small game hunters, active homes, families with older children, sports


Loving, bold, spirited, gentle, more subdued than most terriers

This active terrier is not a breed for everyone, and this leads to these dogs ending up in shelters and rescues. Some people get a Glen of Imaal, making the mistake of assuming the dog’s personality and needs by its appearance and charisma without having knowledge of the breed. Like most terriers, they need activity and exercise, and they want to spend lots of time with their owner.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Glen of Imaal Terrier Puppies

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a very rare dog breed. This is why it’s important to do a lot of research before looking for one, so you know how to find an ethical breeder and welcome a healthy Glen of Imaal Terrier into your home. These dogs are very friendly and playful, but it’s necessary to be careful around small children as they might play rough sometimes. These small dogs have big personalities and are always looking to play and exercise.

Take a look at the Glen of Imaal Terrier’s care guide so you know what type of food, exercise, and care they need.  Below you’ll find more detailed information on the characteristics and needs of this dog.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Glen of Imaal Terrier

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

They can be great family dogs due to their general love of children and active households. However, these are powerful dogs regardless of their size. Many people find they are too strong for small children and may unintentionally harm them with rough play or even knocking them down. Children should also be well versed in the proper handling of a dog to prevent stress and tension between the dog and children.

These dogs are known for barking less frequently than most terriers, which is believed to be due to their original purpose of hunting quietly. This can make them well suited for homes with children since they are unlikely to add noise to chaotic homes with children. They tend to thrive in active environments and playing with active children can be an excellent way to ensure your Glen of Imaal gets plenty of activity in every day.

Glen of Imaal Terrier
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Glen of Imaals can be iffy when it comes to other dogs. Oftentimes, dogs that are well socialized by the breeder with proper socialization being continued once in the permanent home are more accepting of other dogs. This isn’t always the case, though. Introductions to other dogs should be made slowly and in a neutral territory to increase the likelihood of the dogs accepting each other.

At their core, Glen of Imaal terriers are hunters. Introductions to small animals, like cats, guinea pigs, and hamsters may take time. They should never be trusted with small animals unattended, with cats being the exception to this rule. With proper introductions and the dog learning to respect the cat’s space, you may see a happy relationship develop between the two. Keep in mind that it’s in their DNA to chase small game, so some Glen of Imaals will not be able to safely live in a home with any small animals. Generally, with good breeding and socialization, they can be safely introduced to small pets.


Things to Know When Owning a Glen of Imaal Terrier:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These dogs aren’t just prone to overeating, but their small size means they are often unintentionally overfed. Feeding them a high-quality diet in the proper quantities is necessary to maintaining their health and wellness. Talk to your veterinarian for recommendations on feeding, especially when it comes to portioning.

Exercise 🐕

Plan to provide around 1 hour of exercise per day for your Glen of Imaal. Without proper exercise, they may become destructive and anxious. Daily exercise can consist of brisk walks, games, and play with other dogs they get along with. Due to their short legs, they aren’t particularly good jogging or running partners and shouldn’t be considered for activities like bikejoring. They also aren’t strong swimmers and should be in a properly fitting lifejacket if swimming.

The general recommendation is for them to walk around 8 miles per week. However, this will vary based on the dog. It isn’t always possible to walk your dog depending on the weather or life circumstances. If you are providing your dog with some form of exercise and entertainment frequently enough to keep them healthy and free of excess energy, then you’re doing great, even if your current situation keeps you from walking your dog every day. Tired dogs are happy dogs! Burning excess energy can increase happiness and overall health levels, as well as decrease stress, anxiety, and destructive behaviors.

Training 🎾

Although trainable and intelligent, they are stubborn dogs and training will require consistency and balance. Balanced training with high-value rewards is your best bet when it comes to training. Also, finding ways to make training feel like a game that interests your dog can be a great way to ensure participation in the training session. Make training a daily commitment to ensure your dog is well-trained and to build a trusting relationship with your dog. Praise and providing high-value treats and rewards to your dog will help your bond grow.

Grooming ✂️

They have a wiry coat that requires minimal grooming. They should be regularly bathed, and the coat should be brushed multiple times per week to prevent tangles and things catching in the coat, like burrs and twigs. If your dog has spent time in the woods or tall grasses, then you’ll need to check it over carefully for anything snagged in the coat and for ticks and other pests. Nails should be kept trimmed and dental health should be maintained through diet and veterinary visits.

Glen of Imaal terrier
Image by: DejaVuDesigns, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Dental Disease
  • Skin Problems
Serious Conditions
  • Cone Rod Deficiency
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Tick Borne Diseases (hunting dogs)


Male vs Female

Female Glen of Imaal terriers tend to be slightly smaller than males, weighing in at around 5 – 8 pounds less than their male counterparts. Personality-wise, they are very similar and there are not any notable differences between the two.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Glen of Imaal Terrier

1. They may have been kitchen assistants

Glen of Imaals were bred for hunting small but tough game, like badgers. They needed strength and energy for this task, which is why they are such hardy little dogs. Some legends claim that these dogs were also used as kitchen assistants by being hooked to a turnspit and keeping the meat on the spit turning as it cooked.

2. They have big personalities

Although gentler than many other terriers, Glen of Imaals are still terriers at heart. Many Glen of Imaal enthusiasts call these dogs, “big dogs on short legs” for their big personalities packed into small bodies.

3. They’re great athletes

Glen of Imaals tend to excel at a number of sports, including agility and rally, but they really excel at one sport in particular: Earthdog! Earthdog events allow them to do what they were bred to do, finding and cornering game in a den. This allows them to dig out dens and burrows in a way that is safe for the dog and the prey.

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The Glen of Imaal terrier was bred for hunting in rugged terrain, and the breed still carries the traits necessary for this work with it today. They are brave but gentle dogs that often surprise people with their laid-back nature. They tend to be calmer than most terrier breeds and are known for being relatively quiet dogs that don’t usually bark.

This breed can make an excellent pet in the right home, but in the wrong home, they can become destructive, stressed, and anxious. They develop bad habits that often end up with them being left at a shelter or with a rescue. Bringing home a Glen of Imaal terrier is a commitment of at least 10 years, so carefully consider your lifestyle and how it will mesh with the needs of this active, loving breed.

Featured Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

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