An Ancient Breed Of Farm Dog

Irish terrier riding a 4 wheeler with her owner

An Ancient Breed Of Farm Dog

Hey all,

I thought I’d tell you all about another type of farm dog as a continuation of the series of types of farm dogs. There are several different types of dogs that qualify as a farm dog. Aside from the Livestock Guardian breeds that we address in our course on Homesteadingedu, there are the herding dogs, and then the guard dogs, watch dogs, and vermin control dogs. The breed I had in mind to talk about today is a watch dog/vermin control breed.


It’s one of the oldest terrier breeds and it’s rarely seen in America on farms despite the fact that they really were bred to be the farmer’s best friend. I’m referring to the Irish Terrier which is another breed I have seriously considered getting. The trouble is that there are so many wonderful breeds of dogs out there that you can’t really bring all of them home, and not all of them are going to be a match to your farm. That’s why it’s important to do your research and chose your dog carefully.

I would strongly recommend joining a group such as this facebook group in order to talk with people who own the breed before you decide to bring home a puppy. People who own the breed care about the dogs and can help you decide if this is a breed that would be a good fit for your homestead.

They are watch dogs and companions. This isn’t a herding breed though like the English Shepherd, or the Australian Cattle dog. They are ratters, and vermin control similar to the rat terrier and the Jack Russel. They also can be used for hunting. According to one of the people I talked with on the Irish terrier group I’m in, Harry Chase, uses his dogs for hunting pheasants. Here’s a few pictures of his dogs at work.

Harry Chase using one of his dogs to hunt pheasants.
Irish terrier waiting to hunt pheasants
Oona waiting to join Harry in hunting pheasants. He said she was on the beating line here. It’s a term I believe in regards to pheasant hunting.


Another of the Irish terrier owners, Nick Wyatt, shared that his dog has helped him on his farm with vermin control. He said that when they took this picture. they were in the process of eradicating a nest of rabbits. I’ve also been told that they are good at tracking.

Rabbit hunting Irish terrier
Nick Wyatt and his terrier getting rid of some pesky rabbits


Something to keep in mind about Irish terriers, is that they adore their people. Stephen Kennedy shared the picture at the start of this post, of his girl Chara. This is not a breed that will enjoy being left alone for long periods of time. They are independent by nature but they do love their people.


Another thing to keep in mind where your terrier is concerned is that if you get one, you will either need to learn to strip the dog’s coat yourself, or you will need to plan on taking it to a groomer periodically because this breed doesn’t shed very much. They have easy to maintain, course coats however. If you are planning on showing your dog, it’s recommended that you have it stripped weekly.  I have read a recommendation before that a person simply take the dog into a groomer as it is possible to hurt your dog stripping it’s coat yourself if you are keeping the animal for a pet.


Hope you have enjoyed learning about the Irish terrier. If it’s a breed that interests you, keep researching. Talk to the Irish Terrier Club of America, and join at least one group of people that own them. There’s still more to be learned about these fine dogs.

You can visit the Irish Terrier Club of America here:

Until next time,

Homestead in health ya’ll!




P.S. I do need to thank all of the members of the Facebook group:

for all of their imput and help. Especially those who have given me permission to share photos of their dogs and have shared stories about their dogs.


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