All The Small Dog Breeds

Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is an affectionate, intelligent small dog breed. This gentle dog is like most terriers in that he loves to dig and is independent with a strong instinct to chase after small animals.  

Origin & History

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is native to Wicklow County, a remote location in Ireland. This small dog breed is also referred to as Irish Glen of Imaal TerrierGlenGlennie, and Wicklow Terrier.


As a farm animal in the mountainous Wicklow County, the Glen Terrier were bred to work in silence, making them quieter than most small dog breeds.


This small dog breed is strong, too, attributed to herding and eradicating the bothersome badgers, foxes, and rats.


How the Glen of Imaal Terrier got to Ireland is a story told in fables and is said to have happened in Elizabethan England. An Irish rebellion saw Elizabeth 1 contracting French mercenaries, who eventually settled in Wicklow with their dogs, where they bred with local terriers.


Though a rare breed, the Glen of Imaal Terrier was recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1975 and 1987 by the American Kennel Club. 

Physical Characteristics

The Glen Terrier has a larger head compared to the size of his body. He has short legs, and because his ancestors hunted badgers, the feet are turned out. 


The Glennie’s ears stand erect with the tops turned downwards. This small dog breed has a medium-length coat with a harsh topcoat and short undercoat. 


Glen of Imaal Terrier can have the following coat colours:

  • Shades of wheaten
  • Cream
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Slate
  • Brindle

Size & Weight

A mature Glen stands at 12.5 to 14 inches (31 to 36cm) and weighs approximately 35 pounds (15kg).

Character & Abilities

This small dog breed is gentle compared with other terriers, affectionateloyal, and intelligent. These traits make the Glen of Imaal Terrier, a wonderful companion dog.


The Glen, however, has some traits that, if left unchecked, can lead to serious situations. Because they are strong, they can easily knock over small children, so supervise play.


A Glennie rarely barks his ancestors, having been raised to work in silence. However, this small dog breed can be aggressive towards other small pets in the house, including cats. Though he might not be the starter of fights, he is brave and feisty enough to finish it.


To ensure that you prevent this aggressive tendency, the Glen should from puppyhood spend a lot of time around other dogs. In addition, it is best not to bring this breed to a home with small furry pets like mice, hamsters and rabbits. 

Exercise & Nutrition Needs

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier loves the outdoors and play, and for this reason, you should take it out often. This is especially required if you live in an apartment where space is limited.


The training needs of a Glennie will vary, so make sure you train the pups differently from the adults. When young, the Terriers have joints susceptible to trauma, so limit their amount of exertion.


There are many ways to exercise your terrier, whether within the compound or outside. Ensure, however, that your Glen doesn’t get in the way of other people whenever you are outdoors.


To exercise your Glennie, you can take walks, jogs, or runs, play fetch or tug of war and find hidden treats in the house.

You might be tempted to feed your Glen leftovers of eggs or even veggies, but there are some health concerns. For example, tooth and bone problems may occur, your pet may start showing signs of mineral and vitamin deficiencies, or it may become obese.


To avoid the above problems, play safe by purchasing AAFCO-compliant high-quality dog food. The nutritional requirements of your small dog breed will depend on its activity level and age(puppy, adult, or senior).


The beauty of these high-quality dog foods is that they come balanced with all minerals, vitamins, and proteins the Glen Terrier needs to grow into a healthy pet.

Grooming Requirements

To groom your Glen of Imaal Terrier, you need a small brush and shampoo. As with most small dog breeds, Glen’s hair mats easily, so regular grooming is recommended.


Even though this breed is relatively low maintenance, a bath may be necessary every three months to keep the dog clean. In addition, if the dog participates in shows, stripping the coat will maintain a coarse fur that is standard for terriers. 

Trainability & Intelligence

As with all small dog breeds, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is intelligent and thus trainable. The rule of thumb is to start training when the dog is still a pup.


The Glen Terrier is sometimes stubborn and independent-minded and requires lots of patience. The dog loves to learn but gets bored quickly by repetitive training. When disinterested, Glen begins ignoring commands, running around to sniff his surroundings. 


Glen can do obedience training. Using dog treats as motivators is an excellent way to start but should not be entirely depended on.


Areas to train your Glen to include:

  • Using a crate potty.
  • Listening to and respecting you.
  • Behaving politely towards you and strangers.
  • Not to jump on people
  • Not to chase


Remember that training results are not instantaneous. If in doubt as to whether training is going alright, you may purchase a Glen training book or contract an expert breeder or professional dog trainer.

Living Conditions & Adaptability

Health & Life Expectancy

As with all small dog breeds, the Glen of Imaal terrier suffers from certain conditions and diseases. The most common include:

  • Heart conditions
  • Obesity
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Eye cataracts
  • Knee problems
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Obesity


To properly look after his health, regularly check your Wicklow Terrier for any unusual behaviour, including poor diet and body changes like spots and bumps on its skin.


When well cared for, the Glen of Imaal Terrier can live up to 14 years


Skilled and cunning enough to hunt fox and badger, the Glen is an affectionate small dog breed that makes a gentle and loving companion. Even though this dog loves to chase and dig, he is happy to spend time relaxing with his family. All this energy can be channelled into dog sports and athletics. 


We are passionate about dogs here at All The Small Dog Breeds. We have rounded up small dog breed descriptions for consideration for anyone thinking of adopting a little friend. We recommend visiting your local animal rescue or registered breeder. 



Energy Level


Good with kids