Illustration of Irish Terrier

Although the Irish Terrier is known for its bright red coat, the early specimens in the show ring – it was first shown in 1870 – were of mixed colours, predominately black and tan, black, grey and brindle.

However, a bitch called Poppy, the product of two champions, and as her name suggests, bright red in colour, became a major influence in the breed as all of her progeny were the same attractive colour. Selective breeding was used to make this colour the identifying features of the breed. With the colour came the reputation of a fiery spirit and a daredevil nature. It is racier and streamlined, in its build then many of the terrier breeds. It was recognised as a pedigree breed in 1879, the first of the native Irish Terriers to receive Kennel Club recognition.

The Terrier Breed Group

Dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin. 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word Terra, meaning earth. This hardy collection of dogs were selectively bred to be extremely brave and tough, and to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground. Dogs of terrier type have been known here since ancient times, and as early as the Middle Ages, these game breeds were portrayed by writers and painters.

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