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GLEN OF IMAAL AND OTHER TERRIER BOOKS


This page is for those people who are thinking about bringing a Glen of Imaal Terrier into the family ... and who want some general information about the breed. The "Glen" is the name by which the breed is affectionately known ... not GIT or GOIT!

There are several issues to be considered before making that final decision. These are my personal thoughts and opinions and experiences ... but other Glen folk may have different opinions on certain issues. So, my advice is to speak to as many Glen owners and breeders as you can ... and read whatever you can find written about Glens e.g. club newsletters and information on Glen websites, forums and blogs.

Please click on the links below, or scroll down the page, to find out a little bit more about the short-legged terrier from the Emerald Isle ...


SIZE


COLOURS


WITH CHILDREN

WITH OTHER DOGS

OUT WALKING

TRAINING

WITH OTHER ANIMALS

GROOMING

HEALTH

IN CONCLUSION

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE ...?

CONTACTS


SIZE

The Glen is really a big dog on short legs! The pictures you might have seen may convey their great character and sense of fun ... but it is difficult to get an impression of their true size. The UK breed standard does not stipulate a weight limit ... other breed standards suggest 35lbs (16kg). Many Glens weigh much more than this ... they have a heavy bone structure and impressive muscles! Our mature male weighs in at 48-50lbs (22-23kg) and our fully-grown female weighs 43lbs (19.5kg) ... and neither is overweight. At just 13-14" (up to 35cm) high, you can imagine the power and strength of these dogs! You really need to see a Glen "in-the-flesh" to appreciate just what a substantial dog this breed is!

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COLOURS

Wheaten, brindle and blue are the colours recognised in the Glen of Imaal Terrier breed standards:

Colour
Blue, brindle and wheaten (all shades).
The Kennel Club Standard (UK)

Color
Wheaten, blue or brindle. Wheaten includes all shades from cream to red-wheaten. Blue may range from silver to deepest slate, but not black. Brindle may be any shades but is most commonly seen as blue brindle, a mixture of dark blue, light blue, and tan hairs in any combination or proportion.
Official Standard for the Glen of Imaal Terrier (USA)

You can see photos of Glens, illustrating their different colours, via the Shows and Gallery pages for 2007 and 2006, respectively. The Archive page links to the Gallery, Walks and Shows pages from previous years, for more photos!

Please visit the Glen Colours page for a simple explanation of basic colour inheritance.

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WITH CHILDREN

Glens are generally great with children of all ages ... BUT ... Glens can be quite boisterous in their play and care should always be taken with Glens and young children. An over-exuberant Glen can so easily knock a small child over ...

For their size, Glens are very strong dogs and a sudden lunge on the lead may be enough to unbalance a child and pull them over. It is not advisable for young children to take a Glen out on their own, either on or off the lead. There should be always be some adult supervision ...

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WITH OTHER DOGS

The Glen has a reputation for not being a particularly "dog-friendly" breed. Most young Glens will bumble along quite happily with other dogs ... but as mature adults, (three to four years and onwards), they are unlikely to tolerate dominance from another dog and, if provoked, are very likely to fight back ... both dogs and bitches. Glens do not necessarily give off "warning" signs e.g. raised hackles and growling ... if provoked, the reaction can be sudden and silent ... and serious.

Vigilance and common sense around other dogs will reduce the likelihood of any untoward incidents, but new and "would-be" Glen owners should appreciate the very real possibility that they may, one day, have to deal with a dog fight ...

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OUT WALKING

Some Glen people advocate NEVER walking a Glen off-lead:
~ (a) because of their "reputation" with other dogs;
~ (b) because they may run off in pursuit of rabbits, squirrels, etc.;
~ (c) because of increasing "anti-dog" sentiment.

I believe that dogs need some free running to exercise properly ... and the space to be able to really "let off steam". We only have a "pocket-handkerchief" garden and so our dogs don't get the opportunity to have a good run-about at home. Therefore, we take our Glens to places where we aren't likely to meet up with many other dogs ... and where we feel comfortable about letting them off the lead for a decent run.

If we do meet up with other dogs, we put ours back on the lead and do not let them off again until we are well past. We also put them on the lead if we meet families, especially with young children ... as we don't want children to be frightened by the attentions of a bouncy Glen. Our dogs are kept close to us on the occasions when we come across riders, cyclists, joggers or other walkers. This is not only to avoid injury to horse and rider, cyclist, jogger or our dogs ... but also as a common courtesy to other people out enjoying the countryside.

We choose not to walk our Glens in the local country park, where many people regularly walk their dogs ... mostly off-lead ...

When we road-walk our Glens, they are ALWAYS kept on the lead ... for their own safety.

Glens are terriers ... and the terrier instinct is to hunt and kill small animals. Whilst we have always discouraged our Glens from chasing rabbits and squirrels ... (a well-timed "No" is usually all that is needed for our dogs, if indeed they show any interest!) ... there have been a few occasions when they have caught and killed small wild animals.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about, with regard to [i] how you would exercise your Glen ... and [ii] where you would exercise your Glen ... particularly as the dog matures.

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TRAINING

Glens have great strength of character and it is important to establish who is the boss i.e. you ... not your Glen! I would recommend anyone bringing a Glen into the family to commit themselves to a good few months of obedience training ... a bit more than the usual six to eight weeks of puppy socialisation classes. Obedience classes provide the opportunuty to socialise your Glen in a structured and safe environment ... and the sessions focus both dog and owner on developing a good "working relationship".

A Glen that has a healthy respect for its owner, has good "manners" and understands ... (and obeys!) ... basic commands should be a pleasure to live with! On the other hand, a Glen that is allowed to "do-its-own-thing" may become untrustworthy ... and unpredictable ...

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WITH OTHER ANIMALS

Small animals
Small pets e.g. hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. could be considered as potential "dinner" by a Glen ... so small animals in the household would certainly need to be securely housed.

Cats
Well ... we have one Glen who doesn't give cats a second glance ... and another who is constantly on the look-out for cats to chase!

Other dogs in the household
If you already have a dog in the household, a Glen of the opposite sex would be the most sensible choice ... as a male/female* combination are more likely to get on with each other. *NB If your Glen is to be a family pet ... and you have no intention of showing ... it is recommended that your dog/bitch is neutered/spayed. If you choose to have a dog and a bitch in your household, this is a particularly important issue to be considered.

Many experienced Glen folk would caution against a Glen bitch with another bitch, or multiple dogs and a Glen in a pet household ... simply because, as the Glen matures, he/she is very likely to challenge for the "top-dog" position at some time. Close supervision when in your company and segregation when you are not around may very well be required ... especially when the Glen hits three to four years of age. Hopefully, this should minimise the risk of "confrontational" situations within the canine hierachy.

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GROOMING

Get your puppy used to being handled and groomed right from the start. Use a softer brush e.g. a pin brush and a comb ... and do a few minutes of gentle brushing and combing every day.

Ideally ... and especially if you are considering the show-ring for your Glen ... the puppy coat should be stripped out at about three to four months of age. Try doing it yourself ... gently pulling out the longer hairs with your fingers. Just ten minutes or so each day ... (preferably when your puppy isn't feeling too lively!) ... will soon have the job done.

The adult Glen has a double coat ... a soft, fluffy undercoat and a harsh outer coat. Glens, like most other "coated" terriers, should be "stripped" ... once or twice a year ... to allow new growth to come through. This involves "pulling" the old coat out ... (and no, this doesn't hurt the dog!) ... from the neck, chest, back, sides and tail. Stripping can be done completely by hand ... or using a stripping "knife". The head "furnishings" and the "feathers" on the legs and underneath should also be tidied ... and the ears, feet and around the bottom need to be trimmed. If you don't want to strip your Glen yourself, you can always book an appoinmtent with your local doggy grooming parlour!

Regular brushing in between times ... once or twice a week ... should keep the coat tidy and free of knots. I prefer to use a bristle brush when they are newly stripped, as this is softer on the skin. A slicker brush, pin brush or a comb are ideal to use on the longer coat, which can grow to a length of about 3" ... and a slicker brush or a comb for the head and legs.

"Clipping" is not recommended for Glens, as this will eventually affect the weather-proof quality of the coat, leaving the dog with just soft undercoat and no harsh, protective outer coat. However, if you are unable to strip your Glen yourself and your local groomer will only "clip" ... then do have your dog clipped once or twice a year. A clipped Glen will be much more comfortable than one that is just left to become a "hairy monster" ... it will be cooler and less likely to develop uncomfortable matts and tangles.

Road-walking will help to keep your Glen's nails from becoming too long ... but they will have to be clipped or filed every so often. Nail clippers can be purchased from most pet stores ... if you are unsure of how to clip your dog's nails, ask your vet or your local dog groomer to show you. I prefer to file my dogs' nails ... and for this I use a cordless Dremel "MiniMite".

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HEALTH

Most pedigree breeds of dog have some health problems ... and the Glen is no exception. There are two hereditary problems to mention:

Progressive retinal atrophy ~ (PRA)
PRA is a recognised hereditary defect in Glens. Dogs affected with PRA will gradually lose their sight. Following the identification of the gene mutation that causes Glen PRA, it is now possible for breeders to avoid breeding combinations that have the potential to produce puppies that are at risk of developing Glen PRA.

Please go to PRA and the Glen for the most up-to-date information about Glen PRA and DNA testing.

Aortic stenosis ~ (AS)
AS has recently (Sept 02) been identified in one Glen ... our own Breege. This is a known hereditary heart defect in other breeds of dog. Glen breeders and owners from around the world are participating in a breed survey ... having their dogs' hearts checked to exclude heart murmurs. I have set up a database to monitor the results ... but it is early days yet to come to any conclusions about whether AS is a breed problem ... or a "one-off" occurrence affecting just Breege. I would suggest that puppy buyers ask the breeder if the sire and dam have been heart checked as "No murmur detected", especially if either is related to Breege ...

The issue of Breege's diagnosis of AS ... and her "family history" ... has been widely disseminated via several e-mail lists and this website. Most breeders should now be aware of the breed survey.

For more information about PRA and AS, please go to the Bregorrey Glens Health page.

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IN CONCLUSION ...

This page hasn't been written with the deliberate intention of "putting anyone off" getting a Glen ... but I feel that it is important to have an appreciation of the nature of this breed before making any definite committment.

The Glen may not be an ideal choice for the "novice" dog owner ... Glens might look cute and cuddly but they can be wilful and stubborn creatures, and they require consistent and firm handling. A Glen that is allowed to "rule-the-roost" is potential trouble.

Having said that, the Glen makes a wonderful family pet ... they are great "people" dogs and love nothing more than to be with their "human" family! They are generally only too happy to join in with family activities, whether that be curling up on the sofa to watch TV, taking a ride in the car, picking up the kids from school, having a kick around with a ball or going out to play!

Glens can be athletic and agile ... there are Glens competing in agility competitions and earthdog trials. Glens are willing to please ... (and especially if there is a food reward!) ... there are Glens doing obedience. There are also Glens working as PAT (Pets As Therapy) dogs ... the less excitable ones! If you want to take part in some doggy-related activity, your Glen will be only too pleased to participate as well ... usually!

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WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE ...?

If you haven't already done so, you really should arrange to meet one or two ... (or more!) ... of these grand dogs ... before coming to any final decisions. The best way to arrange this is to contact your country's breed club. The secretary should be able to give you the names and contact numbers of people who would be pleased to introduce you to their Glens. You should also be able to find out whether there are any dog shows, local to you, where you could go and meet a "bevvy of Glens" and their owners!

Then ... if you finally make the decision that a Glen is the dog for you ... the breed club secretary will be able to put you in touch with breeders who either have puppies available, or who would be happy to put your name on their waiting list.

N.B. GLENS ARE NOT A NUMERICALLY LARGE BREED AND YOU MAY HAVE TO WAIT UP TO A YEAR ... OR LONGER ... FOR A PUPPY.

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CONTACTS

Listed below are some contact names and e-mail addresses:

UK ~ EFG (Enthusiasts and Fanciers of the Glen)
   Jean Rogers (Jeonty) breeds and shows Glens and is acting secretary of the EFG.
   Jean can be contacted at jean@e-f-g.co.uk
   Liz Gay (Malsville) shows Glens and is involved in Glen Services ("rescue").
   Liz can be contacted at malsville@dsl.pipex.com

USA ~ GITCA (Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America)
   GITCA's corresponding secretary can be contacted at gitcacs@yahoo.com

Other contacts
   Most kennel club websites have listings of their country's breed clubs.
   The following page has a list of kennel club links:
   www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/links/overseasLinks.html
   The above link opens into a new window.
   To return here, please close the window by clicking on the "X" in the right-hand corner.

N.B. The Glen is a numerically small breed and there are still many countries that do not have any resident Glens ... let alone a breed club!

The Bregorrey Glens Links page has details of breed club websites plus owners' and breeders' websites, as well as information on joining Glen e-mail lists.

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