The “Raciest” of the Terrier Group

Bragging that your dog’s breed is the oldest one in Ireland is liable to get you into a brawl if you say it out loud in an Irish pub (like Fiele, a favorite haunt of dog lovers during Westminster). If you qualify your statement that Irish Terriers just might be the oldest of the terrier breeds in Eire, you probably won’t get an argument.

Some cynologists say the breed has been in Ireland for at least 2,000 years, or, as one of the breed’s early proponents, Mr. Ridgway said, the breed has been in Ireland as long as the country has been an island.  A more certain wager is that Irish Terriers were the first of the Terrier Group to be recognized as a native breed of Ireland by the Kennel Club.

With its longer legs and body than other terriers, the Irish Terrier has been respectfully described as “racy,” and it appealed! By the 1880s, the Irish Terrier was the fourth most popular breed in England.

Image: Irish Terrier during a dog show in Racibórz, Poland by Pleple2000 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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