There has always been a purpose for the existence of the breed, and we are told that long before Irish Terriers became officially recognised, small, red coated terriers formed an essential part of the life of the humbler Irish families who gained a precarious living off a few acres. Here was a dog with the courage and ability to guard against intruders and thieves and were able to kill the rats that abounded and yet live in peace with the children, the hens and the rest of the human and animal family that shared the cabin. These qualities can still be found today.
The Irish Terrier is a wonderful ratter, given the chance and excels at catching rabbits. As a guard he is second to none.
There is a heedless, reckless pluck about the Irish Terrier which is characteristic, and coupled with the headlong dash, blind to all consequences, with which he rushes at his adversary, has earned the breed the proud epithet of 'the Daredevils'.
When "off duty" they are characterised by a quiet caress-inviting appearance, it is difficult to imagine that on occasion, they can prove they have the courage of a lion, and will fight to the last breath in their bodies to protect their loved ones.
It was the breeds ready intelligence and sheer conviviality that threw them into a prominent role during the first world war. Shipped to France, they performed such acts as of extraordinary courage as guard and patrol dogs, delivering messages attached to their collars across the trenches while under fire.
Irish Terriers are blessedly free from hereditary breed faults. No certificates or X-rays are required to confirm or deny some of the dreadful conditions found in other breeds.