Sporting a coat of thick, wiry hair over a finer, softer layer, your Irish terrier's double coat allows him to play outdoors in any season with little discomfort. Mats may not be a concern, but you will still need to groom your dog regularly to keep him looking nice.
Brush your dog at least once a week to remove loose dead hair from his coat. Irish terriers shed minimally, but that doesn't mean they don't need to be brushed regularly. Use a pin brush to pull out the dead hair and encourage a healthy look. Run a grooming mitt over him to smooth down the hair and encourage blood flow to the skin and follicles.
Bathe your dog only as necessary. Because his coat is water-repellent, dirt doesn't tend to penetrate. Brushing should adequately keep your Irish terrier looking clean. Bathe him only if he smells or has gotten himself dirtier than a good brushing can remove. Use a high-quality dog shampoo to wash him, in lukewarm water. Avoid soaping the head, but lather well the entire body, including under the arms. Rinse well, multiple times. Towel him dry. Place cotton balls in his ears to keep water from splashing inside during his bath.
Brush your dog's teeth. Just because he's a dog doesn't mean he deserves to have tartar buildup or bad breath. Brush your Irish terrier's teeth daily to remove bacteria and tartar.
Trim your setter's nails. Long dog nails snag carpeting and unintentional scratch when he jumps to greet you. Cut his nails once or twice a month to keep them short. Speak with your veterinarian or a professional groomer to learn how to do it to avoid the quick, a blood vessel that runs through your dog's nails. Nipping that will cause your Irish terrier pain and make him less likely to cooperate when it's time to trim again.
Clean his ears once a week. All manner of dirt and crud could be hiding inside those crevices, so take a few minutes every week to flip over your Irish terrier's ears and clean them out. Use a dog-specific ear cleaner on a cotton ball and wipe his ears down. Never insert anything into his ears or he may suffer damage. See your vet if you notice any unusual redness or odor as you clean.
- Show-ready Irish terriers have their coats stripped three or four times a year to remove the old hair and encourage new growth. While you can technically do this yourself, it's best to have a professional groomer or breeder show you how to do it properly so you don't hurt your dog.
- You can eliminate almost all grooming requirements by having your Irish terrier clipped, but be aware that the hair will grow back softer and lighter in color.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.