The Glen Of Imaal Terrier, also known as the Irish Glen Of Imaal Terrier or simply the Glen, is a dog breed native to Ireland. The Glen Of Imaal Terrier traces its origins back to the remote Glen of Imaal region in County Wicklow, Ireland, where it was bred as a multifaceted working dog. This breed came into existence during the 16th century and was used for diverse tasks such as herding livestock, hunting vermin, and even turning meat on a spit over a fire, a function they performed by running on a specially designed treadmill known as a turnspit. The breed nearly vanished during the 20th century due to the gradual decline of rural farming practices, but it was revived by dedicated enthusiasts. The Irish Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1934, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) followed suit in 2004.
Glen of Imaal Terriers are generally healthy dogs, though they can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and eye disorders such as progressive rod-cone degeneration. As for all breeds, genetic screening for hereditary conditions is recommended to assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.
Glens are known for their loyal, affectionate, and gentle nature. Despite their small size, they are remarkably resilient, reflecting their working-dog roots. They are intelligent and tend to be more relaxed and less yappy than many other terriers, but they still possess the tenacity typical of this group.
While friendly with their families, Glens can be wary of strangers and will not hesitate to protect their loved ones if they feel threatened. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial to ensure they grow into well-rounded adults.
Glens were nicknamed "Turnspit Dogs", as they were helpers in the kitchen. They helped run a wheel contraption that was created to turn meat over in an open fire.
They were initially bred to rid the home and farm of vermin, and to hunt badger and fox.
The Irish Kennel Club fully recognized the Glen of Imaal Terrier in 1934.