Glen of Imaal Terriers: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Glen of Imaal Terrier temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Glen of Imaal Terrier dog breed

Glen of Imaal Terrier Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Glen of Imaal Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


A sturdy dog with strong working instincts, the Glen of Imaal Terrier has a rough-and-ready appearance that belies his calm disposition.

The heavily muscled Glen is surprisingly fast and agile, spirited and playful. He likes vigorous games and long walks and must be on-leash or loosed in a safe, enclosed area, because he is a hunter and chaser.

Indoors he wants to be near you -- resting his head on your lap or feet -- so is often underfoot. Yet his general nature is patient, laid-back, and undemanding, unusual for a terrier.

Glens are polite with known visitors, but other dogs may be another matter. Early socialization and owner control and attentiveness are recommended.

With his high prey drive, the Glen of Imaal Terrier must be carefully introduced to cats and should not be kept with rabbits or rodents.

Glens have the stubborn character of a true terrier, but they are quite willing to work with you if you use praise and food to motivate them.

With his enthusiasm, low center of gravity, and tremendous strength, the Glen of Imaal Terrier will tow you along the street unless you teach him how to walk on a leash.

He is a powerful digger and has a surprisingly deep bark.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is conveniently sized, though heavily muscled and somewhat chunky
  • Is rough-coated and natural-looking
  • Has a more moderate temperament than most terriers, without excessive fire and flash
  • Thrives on vigorous games, athletic activities, and long walks
  • Makes a keen watchdog, but is usually polite with everyone

A Glen of Imaal Terrier may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
  • Providing enough exercise and activities to keep him busy
  • Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
  • Stubbornness
  • Digging holes
  • Barking
  • Coat care
  • Waiting lists (very hard to find)

A Glen of Imaal Terrier may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Glens have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics. Unfortunately, this breed is so uncommon that you're unlikely to find an adult available for adoption.
  • With a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
  • Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Glen of Imaal Terrier to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

More traits and characteristics of the Glen of Imaal Terrier

If I was considering a Glen of Imaal Terrier, I would be most concerned about...

  1. The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense. In general, I do not recommend terriers around young children. That being said, the Glen tends to be less extreme than other terrier breeds and can be just fine with older polite children.
  2. Potential animal aggression. Glen of Imaal Terriers are a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
  3. Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. But like most terriers, the Glen of Imaal has a mind of his own. If you want him to listen to you when you say, "Enough!" you must first establish the right relationship where you are the leader and he is the follower. Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss). You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Glen to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Read more about Glen of Imaal Training.

  4. Grooming. To keep their rough coat free of mats, Glen of Imaal Terriers require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months.

To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

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