Irish terrier advice please

(42 Posts)
ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 07:56:33

Hello wise mners,

I am after some advice. DH and I are thinking of getting a dog, and an irish terrier seems to fit our criteria (I won't be allergic to it, not too big or too small, good with children, not too barky, ok in suburban areas). However, I have never owned a dog before and am keen to get as much advice as possible. I work from home so will be able to provide company but won't be able to devote all my time to it, will that be ok? Is the coat stripping as difficult as it is made to sound? How much exercise do they need? And so on...

Thank you!

MothershipG Tue 13-May-14 08:14:16

I love Irish Terriers they are so gorgeous! Don't have one myself and not sure they are the best choice for a novice dog owner, after all, they are a terrier!

Your best bet is to meet some, either line up visits to breeders or go to Discover Dogs in November. Contact the breed club and have a chat to them.

You can pay someone to strip them but you'll need to train them and terriers can be wilful, they often like to dig, can have a high prey drive and reluctant recall.

I think the Dogsey website has some excellent advice for beginners. You'll probably find some Irish Terrier owners on there as well. A few posts here.

I know it's not a statistically relevant sample but I have to say that most of the Irish Terriers I have met have been nuts, gorgeous but nuts! grin

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 09:13:48

Thanks Mothership, some interesting points to consider. There's so much information out there, I just don't know where to start so this is great! If terriers are too wilful for novices, what would be a good breed to go for?

basildonbond Tue 13-May-14 09:27:47

There's an Irish terrier at our training class - he's v sweet but nuts and very wilful and his first time owners are struggling a bit

I think gundogs are the easiest dogs for novice owners to start with as they've been bred for generations to be trainable and to have a close bond with their owner so you're starting from an easier base

However they don't fit your allergy criteria and they need lots of exercise so have you thought about miniature poodles?

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 09:37:30

Thanks basildon.

DH isn't keen on small dogs, so a miniature poodle isn't for us. I'll have a look at gundogs. We have friends with a gorgeous red setter who is the most docile dog in the world so maybe they have the only calm one that exists!

The allergy thing is probably going to be a dealbreaker, I think, rather than the exercise as I'll be able to give it two decent walks a day. We live in the 'burbs but with plenty of parks and woodland nearby, though our garden is quite small.

moosemama Tue 13-May-14 10:09:26

I love Irish Terriers and am an experienced dog owner, but wouldn't have one myself. Mainly because they are very terriery iyswim and need a lot of careful handling and socialisation as pups if they're not going to grow up quarrelsome with other dogs. That isn't to say they're all like that, but imo an experienced owner, preferably of terriers, would stand a better chance of getting the early socialisation and training right.

Other terrier traits like digging, prey drive and disappearing off on walks are also something to consider.

As you have an allergy, I would definitely go either to Discover Dogs and/or visit a few breeders of the breeds you are considering, as you may find that you are still allergic to some of the so-called hypoallergenic breeds. My mother is allergic to dogs and even reacts to poodles and bichon if they lick her or have licked their own coat before she touches them.

mistlethrush Tue 13-May-14 10:13:25

I met someone in the park with a gorgeous cockerpoo - he was quite young, and their in-laws had another of the litter. However, whilst their in-laws had taken after the poodle side in terms of coat, theirs looked like a slightly curlier cockerspaniel - and apparently shed all over the place and wasn't suitable for allergy sufferers. luckily that's not why they got that breed!

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 10:23:38

Thanks moose and mistle. I'm considerably more allergic to cats than dogs, but will do some more research. I didn't realise terriers were such a handful (see? such a novice), so it sounds as though an Irish terrier isn't a good idea for me.

The search continues...

mistlethrush Tue 13-May-14 10:25:58

A friend of mine with bad asthma and an allergy to animals was actually quite OK with our (very short haired) dog. (In fact, that dog would have been ideal for a first dog - she was a whippety lurcher, very obedient and no trouble at all).

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 10:32:05

A whippety lurcher?!

SpicyPear Tue 13-May-14 11:09:03

I would second moose. They're not an ideal first dog as they are proper terriers in temperament. Lovely but hard work and not easy to manage if you don't have any experience, particularly as they come in a larger package that other more common types of "naughty little terrier". I see a lady with two out walking regularly and she is, quite frankly, defeated. They are mad as a box of frogs and not even slightly biddable.

I am a fan of whippety lurchers but whether or not they will be a good first time dog does depend on the mix and the individual dog. There are a lot of lovely ones in rescue that have been assessed in foster homes so you would know exactly what you are getting. My terrier mix is actually a whippet cross but is 100% terrier in temperament with added whippet speed. It has not been an easy ride!

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 11:39:59

That's a great point about rescue dogs, Pear. DH is keen to get a puppy, but I'm keener on a rescue for that very reason: you know a bit more about their temperament (if not always their full background). I guess that's an advantage when it comes to kids as well, especially with mine being quite young (4 and 7).

Lots to chew on...

mistlethrush Tue 13-May-14 11:56:14

You could go for a rescued puppy that's in foster care... such as here wink

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 12:11:45

mistle I feel you are enabling me!

mistlethrush Tue 13-May-14 12:22:23

You'll get the same from Moose too grin. We both have lurchers - an absolutely perfect dog for us - ours (rescued, probably ex-worker, not housetrained when we got her at 2.5) is such a wonderful nature - she tends to be my shadow when I'm home (which is fine) and cuddles up next to me on the sofa in the evening. She will walk, if given the opportunity, from 6.30am to 10pm with short breaks for refreshments, but at home she happily copes with a decent walk in the middle of the day with a quick top-up if possible later. If DS (9) wants to play, she's very happy to join in, and will play for ages. But she doesn't pester you to play when you're busy doing something else and simply settles down for a sleep, ideally in the same room as you, or nearby. And we've discovered that there's a whole additional side of dog ownership as we can take her racing and simulated coursing and to various lurcher shows if we want to. And most people with them seem to be friendly.

Owllady Tue 13-May-14 12:31:38

Oh I love Irish retirees but I hanker after an airdale sad
Husband will only have collies though! My last Welsh collie had a lot of terrier in her, we used to call her queen ratter

Owllady Tue 13-May-14 12:32:14

Retirees grin terriers!

mrsharkness2 Tue 13-May-14 12:34:33

I have a 10 month old Irish and she is the best dog I've even had and I've had dogs all my life. Yes, she is very cheeky as in don't leave anything tasty within her reach or it will be gone in a flash. Tasty to her could be anything from a biscuit to a tissue, I'm hoping she grows out of this habit! And yes, she is a handful, certainly keeps me on my toes! She is very wilful and still doesn't really understand 'no!' Her recal is pretty good for her age but we had a couple of sessions with a dog trainer when she was younger to pick up some handy hints as I thought she may be a bit harder to train than dogs I've owned before. We have lots of walks to meet and socialise with other dogs as I have read about some having issues when meeting other dogs. What does help is having our older dog who she follows round and copies what he does which includes sitting in the window watching the world go by!
I probably wouldn't recommend an Irish to a first time owner unless you have lots of time to put into training / socialising it but then don't all puppies take a lot of time in the first year or so?
A friend has a whippet as their first family dog and he is lovely, very quiet and gentle, quite cat like I think but give me an Irish any day!
Rocks, you are welcome to come and meet our red terror if you aren't too far away smile

hellymelly Tue 13-May-14 12:35:45

I have an Irish terrier. I have always terriers , and I agree they are not an ideal first dog. They can drive you round the bend. First and foremost choose a dog for temperment, ignore looks, and then narrow it down maybe size-wise. Most terriers are intelligent, independant, highly energetic and boistrous. They are hard work, they tend to not have good recall (the independance) and they need to be really well socialised or they can be terrible fighters (fiesty and fearless). Spicypear your summing up of Irish terriers really made me laugh. Irish terriers as pointed out, are on the big side so the general wirey terrier madness can be harder to control (as with Airdales). I've had two fox terriers and they are even madder. Unless you embrace chaos, are happy with naughtiness and can deal with full-on day long bouncing then choose a calmer breed. Lots of terriers end up in rescue at a year or so because people just can't cope, so I really would advise against it unless someone has a lot of dog experience and is terrier mad. I love leggy terriers, and I love my dog, ( I like the madness ) but having had a lurcher on loan for a while, I did realise that other breeds can be so much easier. I think it had never quite dawned on me until then just how much more work a wirey terrier is.

ScienceRocks Tue 13-May-14 12:38:13

That's very kind mrs but I think the general consensus is that Irish terriers are too much for a dog novice like me! Will ponder on lurchers. Expect another thread!

Thanks for all the advice, very helpful of you all.

mistlethrush Tue 13-May-14 12:39:26

There's a pointy hounds thread with grey, whippet and lurcher owners on it... Ideal place to ask about them.

Owllady Tue 13-May-14 12:39:35

I have just been to training with my collie and she is much harder work than the other breeds there. My son came along too and sat like confused for most of it grin
There is a whopper at ours and he is so sensible. He is like an old gentleman already at 7 months hmm

Owllady Tue 13-May-14 12:40:27

Snort, whopper should read whippet
My kindle is having fun today

hellymelly Tue 13-May-14 12:42:27

There is now a red wirey face looking at me reproachfully !

mistlethrush Tue 13-May-14 13:01:42

Owllady - we had a collie / terrier cross in the past who had the worst bits from both breeds and was definitely not a beginner's dog! In one obedience class, in the 'long down' when other dogs were going to sleep, we managed to traverse the length of the hall, even though she didn't take her chest off the floor. And she whinged the whole distance! grin

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