[ Glen Love ] -Prudence @ Liberty's Glen of Imaal Terriers. Click to enlarge.
Prudence is a model!
See the cozy hemp collar she models.

Glen of
Imaal Terriers

Liberty's Page
by Ara Lynn
Ara Lynn was named a Life Member of the Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America on October 9, 2010 for her "dedication, unflinching honesty and personal sacrifice in the service of our beloved breed."
[ CH. Ballyfoyle Scoobie "Cullain" ] -Liberty's Glen of Imaal Terriers
Ara Lynn handled Ballyfoyle Scoobie to the first AKC Champion Glen of Imaal Terrier dog in 2004.

Eye to eye with a Glen puppy
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The most informative Glen of Imaal Terrier site including Glen sketches by Irish artist Louisa Nally, links to kennels, photos of important foundation dogs and more.


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Baileborough Prince, "Otto" - Glen of Imaal Terrier

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[ Map ]There is evidence that the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a centuries-old breed, but until recently it has not been well-known even in its native country. It originated in a place called the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Serving as all-around farm dogs, to guard and work livestock, to eradicate vermin, to hunt fox, badger, otter, mink, and so on, these earth dogs (terriers) were also reputedly used to turn kitchen treadmills, spits and churns, and in dog-fighting.


The Glen of Imaal Terrier was first recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934, and the Kennel Club of England in 1975. It has been recognized in many countries by Federacion Cynologique Internationale (FCI). After a couple of decades establishing its presence in the United States, the Glen of Imaal Terrier finally achieved full AKC recognition on October 1, 2004. [ Glens - 1934 ]
1934 Irish Kennel Club Show

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[ Glen sketch ]The description of the Glen of Imaal Terrier as an antique breed is probably apt in terms of character as well as conformation. The Glen has retained its qualities of versatility, intelligence and ruggedness. This is not a cookie-cutter breed, and even within a litter there is often variation. Its character and temperament are best described as complex.

It is a tough and fearless dog, and before the badger trials were outlawed in Ireland in 1966, the Glen was required to earn its "Teastas Misneach," or Dead Game Certificate, in order to win a Championship. This meant silently drawing a badger from its den within a specified time. The Glen tends to be a quiet dog in general, barking only when necessary, although a Glen wanting your attention or bemoaning being left alone can have an enormous vocabulary.

In play, Glens tend to prefer games of tackle over tag. While possessing the energy and tenacity of terriers when called upon, the Glen of Imaal has an un-terrier-like, laid-back temperament. It is affectionate and easy-going.

Most Glens are gentle, friendly and trustworthy with children, patient, and not constantly demanding attention. It loves to play, yet also knows how to sit calmly and wait patiently for attention. Although a Glen may choose a special person, it works well as a family dog. It is often happy to make friends with whomever is willing to pay it attention. It is loyal and tends not to wander, and in fact prefers physical proximity to its owner.

[ Glen Sketch ]It makes an excellent companion and learns quickly, always impressing obedience instructors, although Glen of Imaal Terriers can get bored with formal obedience routines if you are not careful. Glens love agility and earth dog activities, and also make excellent therapy dogs.

Glens have character. They are thinking dogs, and quickly understand what their owners want. They love to please their owners and respond best to positive reinforcement, such as words of praise or a pat, for jobs well done. A verbal scolding is usually sufficient reprimand.

Sometimes, however, Glens can be quite stubborn. Owners must be prepared to be firm and consistent. It is usually best to avoid treats for training Glens, so they don't over-focus on food and owners don't get in the habit of bribing Glens to do their bidding.

[ Glen Sketch ]Some Glens housetrain very quickly, others require months. Some Glens love the water, others sink like a stone, so owners need to be careful until they are familiar with their dog's aptitude.

We have found the Glen to be an easy dog to live with. It does not thrive in kennels, preferring a human environment where it can use its intelligence and enjoy its owners' companionship. It has few parallels as a weather-hardy, working dog. Adult Glens can easily handle two-mile walks.

Most Glens enjoy riding in the car and do not need tranquilizers for airline travel. Veterinarians who meet Glens marvel at their calm temperament, even as puppies.

Strong dogs both physically and mentally, Glen of Imaal Terriers regard themselves as large dogs and have a hard time imagining that anything--a bigger dog, a car--could hurt them.

Be very careful around roads. As earth dogs, Glens are comfortable being underneath things, and being short, can see right beneath the undercarriage of a vehicle to the other side. Good fences are the best way to prevent problems.

Glens usually prefer to avoid a fight but are fully capable of defending themselves. Some Glens become dog aggressive as they mature, either by nature or in response to aggressive acts by other dogs. Good early socialization and firm guidance may help to avoid this but owners should be observant and use common sense. Occasionally Glens have been known to kill small, yappy, dogs in their own households when they got fed up with the noise and aggression. Glens have also been known to kill cats, raccoons, skunks and porcupines.

However, Glens will usually get along well with other dogs, cats, birds and other pets if they are raised with them from puppy hood. On several occasions we have also successfully re-homed certain adult Glens with cats, depending on the individual dog and knowledgeable owners.

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[ Evers ]The AKC Standard calls for a shoulder height of 12-1/2 to 14 inches. Glens can be shorter and occasionally taller. Glens typically weigh 35 to 45 pounds, so you can imagine what a muscular, heavy-boned breed this is, with its big head and broad chest. It has a long body, short legs and an oddly rising topline. Its front legs are bowed with its front feet turning out. Its tail is docked at half length. This allows a safe handle for pulling a working Glen out of a hole, as well as a rapid, rat-a-tat-a-tat wag from a happy Glen. Its colors are wheaten (from a light wheaten to a reddish shade), and blue-brindle (from light silvery-blues to very dark). It is a shaggy, double-coated dog which essentially does not shed. Therefore a Glen should be stripped two to three times a year to remove the "dead" hairs, neaten the coat and reduce any tendancy toward matting.

Some people with allergies to dogs can tolerate Glens, but other allergic people develop a reaction that may intensify until the person eventually must give the Glen up. It is best for an allergic person to expose him or herself thoroughly to a Glen before making an ownership commitment. Glens do not have a strong "doggie odor."

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[ rolled collar ]Glens tend to have good appetites and efficient metabolisms. Their food should not be too rich or abundant. Please give them sufficient exercise to prevent getting fat. This will extend their lives and help prevent health problems. Adult Glens would appreciate a brisk 20-30 minute daily walk, and are capable of more. Although Glens don't particularly care for hot weather, some have made adjustments to tropical areas.

[ slicker ]Grooming is simply a matter of an occasional bathing and brushing as frequently as your tastes desire.
A slicker works well for brushing.

[ rake ]If the coat gets long enough that it mats often, it is probably time to strip the dog. This is a simple procedure requiring an hour or so for an adult Glen. 

[ Glen Sketch ] It involves pulling out the long hairs of the outer coat, and it does not hurt the dog if you wait until the coat is ready to be stripped. If the hairs don't come out easily, the dog is not yet ready to be stripped.

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[ Glen Sketch ]In general, Glens are a strong breed, robust and healthy. Their lifespan is around 10-13 years, although a few Glens live to 14 or even as much as 17.

Hip dysplasia technically exists in about 30% of Glens, although it does not appear to cause symptoms in the dogs, probably because of their low-to-the-ground structure and their massive muscling in the loin area.

More care must be taken with the front end.  As a chondrodysplastic breed, Glens are supposed to have a crooked front with front feet turned out.   This structure leaves the growing Glen puppy susceptible to growth plate fractures (premature closure of the distal ulna), so going down steep stairs, jumping out of cars or off couches or beds should be discouraged until the growth plates have closed, around one year of age.

If a puppy starts limping on a front leg (commonly between four and ten months of age), immediately enforce crate rest and curtail any activity that leads to excessive force on the joints. Your vet may want to follow up with x-rays.  Careful attention during this time period may be sufficient to avoid surgery that is sometimes suggested.

Fortunately we now have a simple blood test for the recently discovered genetic mutation that causes PRA in Glens.  Dogs affected with this inherited disease, known as crd3, usually develop late-onset progressive blindness.  An excellent power point presentation by Alison Seale in the UK explains the disease, the international history of the research, & the use of the test. 

In short, Glen breeders now have the tools to avoid ever again creating a blind dog.  As long as at least one parent in a mating has two normal/clear genes, none of the puppies will ever go blind from crd3.  Breeders MUST make use of the blood test for their breeding stock to accomplish this! 

It is unnecessary, and probably unwise for the health of our gene pool, to insist that both parents always have two normal/clear genes, since over 50% of Glens are associated with the mutation, either as carriers (the majority) or affecteds.  We simply cannot afford to throw away half of our gene pool and still expect to maintain desired characteristics and health of our breed. 

Statistically, by always ensuring that at least one parent is normal/clear, we can eliminate the disease in about five generations while still maintaining 95% of our desired breed characteristics and genetic diversity.  This could take at least a couple of decades, but if we are patient and careful, we will still have a genuine Glen of Imaal Terrier breed to work with.

The Glen has a very limited gene pool and a history of inbreeding, which increases the risk of inheriting genetic diseases.  The Glen is very lucky to have come up with only one notable inherited disease so far, and even luckier to now have a solution for it. 

To minimize the serious and detrimental effects of genetic bottlenecking, it is recommended that breeders pay attention not only to pedigrees, but also to inbreeding coefficients.  It is strongly recommended to have inbreeding coefficients below 25%; I personally strive for less than 20%, although this is not easy. 

An excellent resource for depth of pedigree and inbreeding coefficient information is the Glen of Eden Database.  This volunteer, international database for Glen of Imaal Terriers was widely used by the university researchers in both Europe and America while pursuing our PRA problem.  Glen breeders can sign up for a password to access the database, which includes many ancestor pictures as well as both PRA exam status for previous years and now the more reliable genetest results.

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My interest in Glen of Imaal Terriers arose from my search for a working farm dog that would control rodents, help with our livestock, protect the grounds from strays, and be good with our then-preschool children. We have been very happy with our Glens. Since 1989 I have experienced many aspects of the Glen, including showing, grooming, obedience and working, as well as breeding.

[ Glen Sketch ]My dedication to the breed has included helping establish the original and largest breed club in the U.S., The Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America (GITCA). I have been a member of the Board of Directors and a former Registrar. My breed research has included trips to Ireland, England, Denmark and France. I am a member of the GITCA Health Committee and PRA Task Team, and am involved the PRA research effort for Glens being conducted at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

I am also one of several organizers of an informal group of Glen enthusiasts in the New England area.  Every fall we hold a the Glen Gathering in central Massachusetts.  It is a great opportunity to see lots of Glens and meet their owners.  If you live too far away, you can share in this special community by subscribing to the Glen Gathering Newsletter, which gives info on the upcoming Gathering, and afterwards shares stories and links to lots and lots of photos taken by attendees.  The Glen Gathering Newsletter comes out approximately three times a year, your e-mail address is never shared with others, and the subscription is free.

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[ Glen Sketch ]I enjoy handling my own Glens in the show ring, and finished several ARBA Champions from the early days when rare breed organizations were our only venue. In 1997 our bred-by-exhibitor ARBA and CRS CH Liberty Belle became the FCI World Champion Bitch in Glen of Imaal Terriers, as well as a FCI International and Puerto Rican Champion.

In 2003, Glen of Imaal Terriers entered AKC Miscellaneous class.  At Montgomery County Kennel Club all-Terrier show of that year, at the age of 10-1/2 months, my owner-handled Irish Import stud dog Ballyfoyle Scoobie won best dog in a field of a dozen Glen dogs.  The following year Scoobie became the first AKC Glen of Imaal Terrier Champion with three consecutive five point majors. 

In the six following years, at least nine Liberty-bred Glens earned AKC titles, including eight conformation Champions and one Agility dog with two titles.  At least two Liberty Glens have been certified as Therapy dogs.  In 2010, based on my breeding record and my dedication to healthy Glens, I became one of the first AKC Breeders of Merit in Glen of Imaal Terriers.  

Also in 2010, after more than a decade of persistent work towards helping find the mutant crd3 gene that caused PRA in our breed, I was named a Life Member of the national AKC breed club, the Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America,  for my "dedication, unflinching honesty and personal sacrifice in the service of our beloved breed." 

My profile of Glens published in the Feb/March 2010 issue of the Canadian dog magazine "Canine Review" was praised by AKC judge Sandra Goose Allen as one of the best breed articles she has ever read.

My steadfast goal in breeding Glens is to maintain the original integrity of this unique breed, and to the best of my ability to preserve its genetic diversity, so that new owners can continue to experience the joys of knowing and loving Glen of Imaal Terriers.

Baileborough Prince, "Otto" - Glen of Imaal Terrier

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