Not every dog is said to be full of blarney, but the Irish Terrier is one dog that can charm a sandwich out of your mouth. Temperament is important in evaluating in all breeds, especially terriers, but it’s paramount for the Irish Terrier. According to its breed standard, “it is of utmost importance that the Irish Terrier show fire and animation;”temperament, in fact, is referred to more frequently than any other feature of the breed. One way to evaluate this spark is to ask the dogs to spar in a show ring, a highly misunderstood aspect of judging many terrier breeds. Done correctly, sparring demonstrates the true temperament of the dog who should be alert, well stacked, and with a tail up attitude! Typically, two or three dogs are brought to the center of the ring, the dogs encouraged to look at each other. Handlers must be in control of their dogs, and the dogs should never be allowed to get too close to start a fight. Sparring is simply a way for the judges to see expression, outline and tail carriage. Dogs that may seem lackluster in a line up can really pull themselves together and make a huge impression while sparring.
Image of Irish Terriers at Westminster found on Pinterest, credit happily given to the photographer who took this wonderful picture.