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

Glen of Imaal Terrier temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Glen of Imaal Terrier dog breed

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 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, along with fair corrections.

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.


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In this brand new series, I'll help you decide which dog breed traits would best suit you and your family, your home and yard, and your lifestyle, so you can choose the best dog breed for your family.

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.

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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 bossy. 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 my free online training programs.

  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.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

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book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
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