Kerry Blue Terrier

Energetic and Affectionate With a Truly Multifaceted Personality

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrie is Energetic and Affectionate With a Truly Multifaceted Personality.

Looking for a new addition to your family? Buying a pet is a decision that should be made with much thought and care. If you're looking for a breed that's well-mannered and fun-loving, yet protective of the family when strangers come around, the Kerry Blue Terrier is an ideal choice. However, this breed is always glad to see friends with whom it is familiar, or those dear to your family. Highly playful yet at the same time an excellent watchdog, the Kerry Blue Terrier dog is energetic and affectionate, a breed with a truly multifaceted personality.


Named after the Kerry Mountains in Ireland where the dog was first observed, the breed originated in the south and west areas of Ireland, and is often referred to as an Irish Blue Terrier. The Kerry Blue Terrier was originally bred for the purpose of controlling rabbits, foxes, badgers, rats and other "vermin," but eventually became more of a working dog. As time passed, the breed was used by farmers to herd cattle and sheep, but was also a reliable guard dog. In rural Ireland, the Kerry Blue was a highly popular, versatile farm dog.

For centuries, there have been many romantic, whimsical fables which glorified a blue-colored dog who swam from shipwreck to shore. In these stories, the dog's coat was so beautiful that all of the female Wheaten Terriers in the Kerry Mountain area were attracted to this superdog, resulting in the Kerry Blue breed. Some doubt that this amazing story is entirely fictitious, as it is often thought and suggested that the Portuguese Water Dog is part of the Kerry Blue's ancestry.

Others believe that the breed originated from the cross-breeding of the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and the BedlingtonTerrier, with perhaps a bit of Irish Terrier or Wolfhound blood in the mix.

How the Kerry Blue Terrier breed was isolated within Ireland for so long remains a mystery today. The breed only became known in American and England around the 1920s, and then became a popular show dog after a bit of grooming helped to calm a somewhat disheveled appearance. The Kerry Blue Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1924.


Typically, the Kerry Blue Terrier's coat ranges in color from deep-slate-gray blue to light-blue gray. The coat is soft and wavy, even on the verge of curly in some. The breed has no undercoat; hair is textured much like that of human hair so there is no seasonal shedding. Generally speaking, this breed will grow to a height of approximately 17 to 20 inches, with males being slightly taller than females. Most Kerry Blues weigh between 30 and 40 pounds as adults.

While puppies are almost always black, they will develop the gray or "blue" color gradually, usually over a span of two years. With small, dark eyes and V-shaped ears, the head is in good proportion to the body, which is medium-sized and muscular. A long neck that widens toward the shoulders gives Kerry Blue Terrier puppies a somewhat graceful look. A black nose with wide nostrils and a flat skull are other common physical characteristics of the breed.


Intelligent and full of energy, the Kerry Blue Terrier is not an ideal pet for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. This dog needs to play, and wants to be a full member of the family. If you intend to give your pet lots of attention rather than leave him alone fenced in most of the time, the Kerry Blue is an excellent choice for you.

While it enjoys playing, it is not particularly fond of rough handling or excessive teasing. Your pet may also be headstrong and moody, which is why it's important to place him in obedience training early on. Yet, other characteristics of the breed such as affection and loyalty make it a good choice for families with children. However, other pets may bring out the Kerry Terrier’s aggressive side.

Proper Environment

A rural or suburban environment is ideal for this breed. A contained, securely fenced area in a spacious yard is important, as Kerry Blue Terrier puppies need plenty of room to run and engage in physical activity. But it's best to keep your pet restrained so that he or she won't be tempted to chase other animals. Apartment living is not the ideal environment for this breed, although it is acceptable if you're dedicated to taking your pet for walks on a daily basis. Because this breed is so highly energetic, frequent exercise is a must.


In general, the Kerry Blue Terrier has a life span of about 12 to 15 years. It is common for the females of the breed to have 4 to 8 puppies per litter.

Common health issues include cataracts, tear deficiencies, blood disorders, hip dysplasia, keratoconjunctivitissicca (dry eyes), cerebellar abiotrophy and entropion, a condition in which the eyelid folds inward, causing the lashes to irritate the cornea due to rubbing. A skin disorder, spiculosis, is one in which abnormally thick hairs are produced that are also referred to as bristles or spikes. Overall, health issues are rare and the Kerry Blue Terrier is a fairly healthy breed.


Because the breed's hair continues to grow throughout the year with minimal shedding, regular grooming is important. Frequent brushing and clipping about once every six weeks will keep your pet's coat clean and healthy. Brushing with a steel comb helps remove loose hair and knots. Bathe your pet about once every four to six weeks. Nails should be clipped on a regular basis. It's also important to check your pet's teeth, ears and eyes for signs of infection and built-up dirt.

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