The Glen of Imaal Terrier (Irish: Brocaire Uí Mháil) is a breed of dog of the terrier category and one of four Irish terrier breeds. It is sometimes called the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier or the Wicklow Terrier, and the name of the breed is often shortened by fanciers to just Glen.
The breed originates in, and is named for, the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow, Ireland. It was recognised first by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934 and most recently by the American Kennel Club in 2004. The Canadian Kennel Club voted to fully recognize Glens in 2017 after the breed spent years on the Miscellaneous list; under the Animal Pedigree Act, this must be approved by Agriculture Canada, which is expected in 2018.
Reportedly, the Glen's history began during the reign of Elizabeth I, who hired French and Hessian mercenaries to put down a rebellion in Ireland. After the conflict, many of these soldiers settled in the Wicklow area. They brought with them their low-slung hounds, which they bred with the local terrier stock, eventually developing a distinctive breed that became known as the Glen of Imaal Terrier.
Glens were originally used for eradicating other animals such as rat, fox, badger, and otter, and also as a general-purpose farm dog for herding and family companionship. Unlike many other terriers, they are "strong dogs" rather than "sounders"—they were bred to work mute to ground, going silently into dens after their quarry rather than barking at it to alert their handlers. In hunting trials, which used to be required by many kennel clubs for championships, Glens were disqualified if they sounded at the quarry. For this reason, today they are among the quietest terriers.
According to Irish lore, Glen of Imaal Terriers were also used as turnspit dogs to turn meat over fires for cooking. Evidence for this is scarce, and engravings of such dogs from the 19th century do not bear much resemblance to today's Glen. It is, however, repeated in many descriptions of the breed and often used in color commentary by dog show announcers.
The breed almost died out before being revived in the early twentieth century by breeders in its homeland. Today, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is still one of the rarest breeds of dog (in the US, living registered animals number in the hundreds) and the least-known Irish terrier breed. It is considered a vulnerable native breed by the UK's Kennel Club, which tracks breeds in which fewer than 300 puppies are registered each year.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Glen of Imaal Terrier", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.