Home dog breeds Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier


The Kerry Blue Terrier is probably the most versatile members of the Terrier Group. These dogs are loyal guardians, focused hunters, loving companions, and will even herd when given the chance. They make fun pets to have for outside fun and exploration, yet are obedient and well-mannered inside the house.

Kerry Blue Terriers have many sides to their personality. A fun-loving playful dog, they are great around children and are very affectionate. At the same time the Kerry Blue will stop at nothing to ward off intruders and protect its family at all costs. And when it comes to other pets in the house, it may be difficult for the Kerry Blue Terrier to share the same space, as they are a bit territorial.

A Brief History Of The Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier originated from Ireland and has been around since the 1700s. They could be found in both the northern and souther regions of the country and were first noticed in the Ring of Kerry, making its use as an all-around companion and trusted servant.

Here the Kerry made an excellent farm dog and an avid hunter of small animals, birds, and rodents. They could retrieve in water and on land, while herding cattle and sheep. Amazingly enough, with all of the qualities that this terrier had, it remained a quiet little secret inside Ireland for two centuries. It wasn’t until the mid 1920s did the Kerry Blue Terrier get noticed outside of Ireland, both in England and the United States.

The American and English show rings made the Kerry popular. In 1924, the AKC officially recognized the breed. The early Kerry Blues were not quite as attractive, but as grooming practices and standards improved, the dog became more appealing, making it one of the most striking terriers we see today.

Upkeep Requirements For The Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue must have plenty of daily exercise, but not to the extreme. A few brisk walks on the leash and some outdoor exploring will be plenty. They love to stay busy so having a large property is ideal for these dogs to roam around on. And when it comes to indoor living, the Kerry enjoys lounging around with the family.

Kerry Blue Terriers can tolerate both hot and cold climates so long as the temperatures are not extreme. It is not recommended that they sleep outside as they are very closely bonded with the family. They prefer to be inside the house at night, living up to its names as a devoted guardian. Grooming requirements call for a heavy brushing twice each week, with a monthly scissoring and shaping.

Health Concerns

The Kerry Blue Terrier has an average lifespan of between twelve and fifteen years. The only major health concern in the breed is cerebellar abiotrophy. Minor heath issues include otitis externa, spiculosis, CHD, KCS, entropion, and hair follicle tumors. Veterinarians suggest that the Blue Kerry get specifically tested for hip and eye problems.

The Kerry Blue Terrier originated in Ireland in the County Kerry area. These dogs were bred as hunters and retrievers of small game. One story says that in the era that the common man was restricted from hunting with the Irish Wolfhound, the lower class developed the Kerry Blue Terrier. Another story asserts that a blue canine swam to shore from a wrecked Russian ship in Tralee Bay, and he was bred with local dogs to eventually produce the Terrier in question.

This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1924. Some famous people that have owned a Kerry Blue Terrier are Alfred Hitchcock (movie director), Perry Como (entertainer and singer), and three heavyweight boxers: Gene Turney, Henry Cooper, and Jack Dempsey.

General Looks

The head of the Kerry Blue Terrier is long and the skull is flat. The chest is deep. It is a medium sized dog with bright eyes. It is compact with tight muscles. It has bushy eyebrows and a beard.

Is This Your Breed?

This breed is more compatible with active people that like the outdoors and experienced dog handlers. It adapts well to apartment living. It needs brushing and trimming on regular basis. The coat is hypoallergenic.


The wavy, dense, and soft coat is black for nine months and turns blue.


The color ranges from bluish gray to a rich slate or a pale blue.


The movement is free and the elbows are perpendicular to the dog’s body. When the dog is in action the front and hind legs go straight ahead.


The Kerry Blue Terrier is intelligent, gentle, affectionate, faithful, bold, protective, playful, and vigorous. This breed becomes very close to its owner. It is good with older children it has been raised with. A Kerry Blue Terrier needs a lot of attention. It needs consistent and positive training because it has a strong will. It may show aggression to other animals, especially small ones. This breed makes a good watchdog.


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