If your Irish terrier puppy has black in his coat and you've heard that's not an acceptable color for the breed, don't worry. It's not uncommon for puppies to have black hair, which disappears as they age. Early Irish terriers were black and tan, but not modern day dogs.
The Irish Terrier
When full-grown, the Irish terrier stands approximately 18 inches high at the shoulder weighs between 25 and 27 pounds, with males larger than females. He's got a wiry, close-set, easy-care coat. According to the breed standard, Irish terriers should possess a double coat, with the soft undercoat lighter and finer than the topcoat. Some dogs have single coats, as well as more waves than wire in the hair. That's acceptable but not desirable, while curly or "kinky" coats don't make the cut. If you show your dog, you'll need to hand-strip the coat a few times a year or have a groomer do it. Because of his coat's nature, some people ordinarily allergic to dogs might not react to an Irish terrier. Keep in mind there are no truly hypoallergenic canines.
Irish terriers are solid-colored. According to the breed standard, acceptable colors include several shades of red, including bright red, golden red and red wheaten, along with wheaten. The latter is a blonde shade, the color of wheat. The Irish terrier and the soft-coated wheaten terrier come from the same canine family tree - no, not wood they peed on. Irish terriers might have a small white patch on the chest, which the breed standard permits but notes is not "desirable."
Your Irish terrier has all the charm and pluck common to inhabitants of his native land. Bred to kill vermin, he still retains those hunting traits, so be careful if you have cats or even smaller pets. He's not necessarily good with other dogs. He loves his people, and makes a good family dog and watchdog. He's cocky and courageous, prone to getting into mischief if not trained and supervised. Irish terriers need a lot of exercise and attention. Because he has such a strong will and mind of his own, good training is imperative.
Your Irish terrier is a smart guy, eager to learn. Start him off in puppyhood and make sure he learns the basics as soon as possible. He'll test your boundaries, so you must ensure that he knows what's expected of him. He requires firm, not harsh, training. Because of their terrier nature, and propensity to dig and jump, the Irish Terrier Club of America recommends fencing at least 5 to 6 feet in height for a dog pen or yard. Securely set the fencing at the bottom to keep your dog from digging out.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.