Kerry Blue Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

This versatile breed has the build of a dog able to perform a variety of tasks, all requiring athletic ability. It can run, herd, trail, retrieve, swim and dispatch vermin — the ideal all-around farm companion. In keeping with this, it is not exaggerated in build. It is an upstanding, long-legged terrier with a short back, displaying strong bones and muscle. Its coat is soft, dense, and wavy, and of a distinctive blue-gray color.

A versatile terrier, the Kerry blue's personality is multifaceted. It can guard, hunt, herd or just be a fun-loving companion. It needs daily mental and physical activity in a safe area. It loves to run, chase, hunt, explore, play and dig. Indoors, it is well-mannered. It can be protective toward strangers yet greet verified friends with great enthusiasm. It is apt to be aggressive toward other dogs and small animals. It is clever and independent, often stubborn. Some tend to bark.

AKC RANKING 105

FAMILY terrier

AREA OF ORIGIN Ireland

DATE OF ORIGIN 1700s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION ratting, badger and fox hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION ratting

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19.5 Weight: 33-40

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17.5-19 Weight: <33-40

OTHER NAME Irish blue terrier

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Kerry blue needs a good amount of exercise, but its needs can be met with either a long walk on leash, a vigorous play session or a chance to explore off leash in a safe area. It can live outdoors in temperate climates, but it does better with access to the house. Its coat needs combing about twice a week, plus scissoring and coat shaping every month. Its ears need to be taped when developing to ensure proper shape.
• Major concerns: PNA, cerebellar abiotrophy
• Minor concerns: cataract, spiculosis, hair follicle tumors, entropion, KCS, narrow palpebral fissure distichiasis, CHD
• Occasionally seen: retinal folds
• Suggested tests: eye, (hip)
• Life span: 12-15 years
The Kerry blue originated in the south and west of Ireland, first gaining notice in the Ring of Kerry. Here the dog had been known for at least a century as a versatile hunter of vermin, small game and even birds, as well as a land and water retriever and even a sheep and cattle herder. How such a talented and attractive dog should have remained unknown outside of Ireland for so long is a mystery, but it only came on the English and American show scenes around the 1920s. It received AKC recognition in 1924. Early specimens were somewhat disheveled, but as more grooming became accepted, the breed caught on and became a popular show dog. Once groomed, the Kerry blue is one of the most striking of all dogs. It has the peculiarity of being born black, the blue coloration not appearing until between 9 months and 2 years of age. It remains a versatile dog, adding police work and trailing to its list of talents. Despite this, it enjoys only modest popularity as a pet.