North of England Irish Terrier Club
Founded 1906

Trimming the Irish Terrier's Head for Show    

by Paul Livesey

 Irish Terrier Head Study
Head Study
By Connie Birch


The Irish Terrier expression is pure and simply the breed's characteristic. In the last analysis a beautifully-formed Irish Terrier lacking this typical and correct expression is just a good terrier, not an Irish Terrier. The true Irish Terrier expression fully accentuates his arrogant, fearless, spirited, ever-happy, rollicking, enterprising nature.


Take trimming the head slowly so not to tire the dog and time to step back and access progress. It takes 3/4 weeks (approx.) to trim the head, ears, side and front of neck and shoulders. Refer to diagrams 1 and 2 and head study painting. Trim with fine trimming comb, the top and side of skull, in front of the ears and shape the eyebrows. The latter is not easy to explain and would suggest the novice looks well at an expertly prepared terrier. The whole expression of an Irish Terrier can be made or marred by the manner in which the eyebrows are trimmed and shaped.

Trim the ears very closely both inside and out and scissor out and around the orifice of the ear taking car to avoid cut hair going down into the ear canal. A smear of Vaseline will avoid scratching. Try to avoid scissoring the edges of the ears as the colour will lighten.

Take an imaginary line from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth and then trim all hair from behind this line, under the jaw, front of the neck down to the breast bone and then less closely down between the front legs tidying out excess hair. Trim sides of the neck and shoulders following diagram No.2 and head study painting. Very carefully remove all light coloured fluffy hair from whiskers on top and bottom jaw.

An Irish Terrier should not be left too much whisker as it softens the expression. Trim away only excessive hair under and in front of the eyes but never trim so much away as to make the foreface "pinch" in, in front of the eyes. The trimming lines must at all times blend one to the other. Abrupt lines anywhere are ugly.


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