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.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_of_Imaal_Terrier
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