This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
This is unquestionably a very ancient variety of dog, indigenous to the Emerald Isle, in certain features being a modification of the Wolfhound of that country.
Practically, there is no history of the breed, its origin being involved in obscurity.
Ballymena and County Wicklow are said to have been the chief birth-places of these Terriers. Although but a speculative statement at its best, it is a very probable one, and in accordance with what one knows of the history of many other breeds. More recent history of the breed may be said to date from about 1875, marked by their appearance on the show bench in Ireland and the following year in England. They are excellent vermin Terriers, very affectionate to those to whom they become attached, and, as a rule, exceedingly good-tempered. Their dash and pluck has earned for them the sobriquet of "Dare-devils," as in the case of the Scottish Terrier—" Die-hards".
These Terriers should have a black nose, strong and level teeth, small hazel-coloured eyes, small Vshaped ears, directed forwards, so as to fall closely to the sides of the head, free from feather, and the hair on them of darker shade than the rest of the body. A Dudley (red) nose will disqualify. The head long, like that of a Fox Terrier, the skull flat, and from the lower jaw there should be rather longer hairs, forming a sort of beard—a characteristic feature of the Dare-devil. A good punishing lower jaw is essential. The head, jaws, teeth, and eyes constitute fifteen per cent, of value in the Irish Terrier Club's scale of points, only equalled by that of the coat.
Straight and flat, free from any curl, and of hard or wiry texture.
A soft coat very detrimental, as in the Wire-haired and Scottish Terriers. If the hair of an Irish Terrier is too long, he loses the contour of body, and this ought not to be so.
Bright red is much preferred. Some are yellowish-red, others yellow, wheaten and grey.
Brindle will disqualify, and white on feet is a fault, less detrimental, in the judge's eye, when on the chest, but, as in nearly every other breed, Irishmen are better without any white hair.
To be of moderate length, carried well up, having a slight frill on either side of it, and ending in strong shoulders, of good shape, with a chest of medium width.
The Irish Terrier has rather a long body, due to, in part at least, to the rather narrow—though very muscular—upper part of the thighs, increasing the flank area. In this region the breed is somewhat shallow. Strong loins and the so-called " gay " carriage of tail is requisite. Dock not too short.
Irish Terrier Blackbrook Banker.
Barkerend Masterpiece Airedale Terrier Dog.
Must be free from feather. Feet small, compact, and black toe nails. Forearms of medium length, straight, with plenty of bone and muscle.
Many Irishmen have very poor fore-limbs, either too long, bent, or weak.
Must be well set up in front, and free movers in both fore and hind-limbs.
About 20 lbs., a few pounds more or less being unimportant.
The Irish Terrier.
First-rate puppies can be got at three and four guineas each.