Glen of Imaal Terrier
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2007)|
|An adult wheaten Glen of Imaal Terrier|
|Other names||Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier, Wicklow Terrier|
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a breed of dog of the terrier category and one of four Irish terrier breeds. It is sometimes called the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier or the Wicklow Terrier, and the name of the breed is often shortened by fanciers to just Glen.
The breed originates in, and is named for, the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow, Ireland. It was recognised first by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934 and most recently by the American Kennel Club in 2004.
The Glen reportedly came into existence during the reign of Elizabeth I, who hired French and Hessian mercenaries to put down civil unrest in Ireland. After the conflict, many of these soldiers settled in the Wicklow area. They brought with them their low-slung hounds, which they bred with the local terrier stock, eventually resulting in a distinctive breed that became known as the Glen of Imaal Terrier.
The Glen was bred, like all terriers, for eradicating vermin such as rat, fox, badger, and otter, and also as a general-purpose working dog for herding. According to Irish lore, which is repeated in many descriptions of the breed, Glen of Imaal Terriers were also used as turnspit dogs to turn meat over fires for cooking. However, actual evidence for this is scarce, and engravings of turnspit dogs from the 19th century do not show much resemblance to the modern Glen.
The breed almost died out before being revived in the early twentieth century. Today, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is one of the rarest breeds of dog (in the US, registered animals number about a thousand) and the least-known Irish terrier breed.
Because the Glen of Imaal is now used as a firing range by the Irish army, today there are no Glen of Imaal Terriers residing there.
A "big dog on short legs," the Glen of Imaal Terrier is considered a dwarf breed. It is more substantial and muscular than might be expected compared to other small terriers; a typical adult Glen weighs about 36 pounds and stands 14" tall at the withers. The AKC breed standard specifies a height of 12" to 14" and a weight of "approximately" 35 pounds for males and "somewhat less" for females, with a length-to-height ratio of 5:3. Many champion Glens are, however, larger than breed standard, with some individuals exceeding 40 or even 45 pounds.
The breed has a medium-length double coat that is harsh on top and soft below and on the head. The coat may be wheaten, blue, or brindle in color. Like other terriers, the Glen of Imaal terrier does not moult, but needs to be groomed on a regular basis to keep the coat in good condition and free of matting. Grooming includes periodically "stripping" excess hair from the coat; this "dead" hair pulls out easily and painlessly with the proper tools.
Glens have a large head, with rose or half-prick ears; short, bowed legs; and a topline that rises from the shoulder to the tail. The shoulders, chest, and hips are sturdy and muscular, and feet are turned out. With three growing stages, a Glen can take up to four years to reach full maturity.
Wheaten Glen of Imaal puppies often have black highlights in their fur. Usually, the black fades as their adult coat grows in.
Historically, the breed's tail was typically docked to provide a grip for pulling the dog out of a hole. Docking is still standard in the United States. Many countries ban docking for showing completely. In the UK, working terriers can still be shown with docked tails; in Ireland, docked dogs may be shown without restriction.
Glens are generally very strong and healthy and can live 15 years or more.
A genetic test is available for progressive retinal atrophy, a congenital disorder that results in gradual blindness later in life. Breeders are now using this test to evaluate potential matings. Numbers affected are very low, and within the next few generations, the trait may be bred out entirely.
Heart problems are virtually nonexistent, with only one recorded case. Skin allergies are occasionally seen and may be caused by diet or by allergies to flea or mite bites. Hip dysplasia, though occasionally seen, is usually mild and does not usually result in lameness due to the breed's typically muscular hind end.
After the age of 12 months, Glens generally do best on a lower-protein diet.
Like most terriers, Glen of Imaal terriers are energetic and tenacious, but they tend to be more even-tempered and less vocal than other small terriers. Bred to be mute to ground, they are disqualified from trials if they sound at the quarry. Their infrequently-deployed bark is deep and authoritative, sounding like that of a much larger dog.
While quite intelligent, Glens can have a stubborn streak, so a firm hand is essential in training. They are typically fearless and loyal, and are superb with people, but can be dog-aggressive if not properly trained, especially when provoked. By maturity, most individuals develop a high prey drive, so they need to be well-socialized with other animals, particularly household pets that they might mistake for quarry such as cats and rabbits.
Glens are a "strong dog," not a sounding terrier. Some specimens have an excellent nose and are used to hunt smaller vermin such as mink and rats; Glens often do well at Earthdog trials. Although not typically strong swimmers, some Glens can work well in water, and others have been trained to herd and drive sheep and cattle.
Relationship to other breeds
Though the precise origin of the Glen of Imaal Terrier is now lost to history, some say that the breed may be related to the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, another Irish terrier breed, and the "low-slung hounds" in its heritage are sometimes held to be forerunners of the PBGV,
DNA evidence has brought little clarity to the relationship of the Glen of Imaal Terrier with other breeds. Based on DNA evidence alone, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is more closely related to the Molossers than to other small terriers.
- "World's Rarest Dog Breed". PetMedsOnline.Org. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Bridgett M. vonHoldt, John P. Pollinger, Kirk E. Lohmueller, Eunjung Han, Heidi G. Parker, Pascale Quignon, Jeremiah D. Degenhardt, Adam R. Boyko, Dent A. Earl, Adam Auton, Andy Reynolds, Kasia Bryc, Abra Brisbin, James C. Knowles, Dana S. Mosher, Tyrone C. Spady, Abdel Elkahloun, Eli Geffen, Malgorzata Pilot, Wlodzimierz Jedrzejewski, Claudia Greco, Ettore Randi, Danika Bannasch, Alan Wilton, Jeremy Shearman, Marco Musiani, Michelle Cargill, Paul G. Jones, Zuwei Qian, Wei Huang, Zhao-Li Ding, Ya-ping Zhang, Carlos D. Bustamante, Elaine A. Ostrander, John Novembre & Robert K. Wayne (08). "Neighbour-joining trees of domestic dogs and grey wolves". Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication. The Journal Nature. doi:10.1038/nature08837. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Glen of Imaal Terrier.|
- AKC Meet the Breeds – Glen of Imaal Terrier
- Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America (GITCA)
- Independent Glen Rescue site