The Glen of Imaal Terrier was actually named after a place where it was developed, a remote valley in the western Wicklow Mountains of Ireland called Glen of Imaal. Its creation is a result of a rebellion in Ireland in 1798.
After Queen Elizabeth I hired French and Hessian soldiers to put a stop to the rebellion, many of the soldiers were awarded lands for their service and settled in the Wicklow area. They brought their low-slung hounds with them that they bred with local terriers to develop what is now a distinct breed known as the Glen of Imaal Terrier.
The breed was originally developed to be a multi-purpose hunter and was utilised to hunt foxes, badgers, and rodents. Its tenacious spirit also took the breed to participate in organised dog fights. As well, the Glen of Imaal Terrier fills the role of a turnspit dog, where it worked a treadmill-like contraption (also called a dog wheel) to turn meat over fires while cooking.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier was recognised by the Irish Kennel Club in 1933, making it the last Irish terrier to be recognised in Ireland. Then in 1975, the British Kennel Club also recognised the breed, while the American Kennel Club followed suite twelve years later in 1987. Today, Glens are gaining popularity as it proves to be an excellent family dog while retaining its traditional role of a silent hunting companion.