April 29, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Kerry Blue Terrier

Overview:

  • Height: 17"- 20”
  • Weight: 33-40 pounds
  • Historical function: Utilitarian terrier controlling vermin, as well as hunting, retrieving, herding, etc.
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized muscular dog. The coat starts out black and turns a silvery slate or bluish color as they mature at about 18 months. They resemble the Schnauzer with the bearded muzzle and traditionally docked tail. The coat is soft, wavy and dense. The head is long with a flat skull. The chest is deep. Puppies are born black.

History of the Breed:

The Kerry Blue Terrier was originally bred to hunt rats, rabbits, badgers, foxes, otters and hares. Eventually, the Kerry became a general working dog used for a variety of jobs including herding cattle and sheep, and as a guard dog. Today the Kerry has spread around the world as a companion and working dog. They are often called the Irish Blue Terrier in Ireland. This breed is fairly rare.

Temperament:

The Kerry Blue Terrier has a reputation for being a clown. They are intelligent, active, but can be suited to apartment living if properly exercised. Originally this dog was developed to be loyal and affectionate with humans but aggressive to other animals, including other dogs. This trait has been downgraded in modern breeding programs, but care should be taken to socialize them with both canine and non-canine creatures. This dog is generally friendly and eager to please, but as an intelligent dog, he will not respect a meek owner. Calm, confident, assured training will be productive with this highly trainable dog.

  • Best suited for: Active families who have the time to keep this dog mentally and physically engaged to get the most out of this bright dog. Good for allergy sufferers.
  • Preferred living conditions: Kerries prefer at least a small yard.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Hair-like coat grows long so requires professional grooming every six weeks as well as home grooming to maintain the beard. Sheds very little and is odorless even when wet.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy. Occasional hip dysplasia is seen.

Breed Club Links: United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Top Performance Top and Tail Wipes to keep that beard free of food and debris!

Have any stories about a Kerry Blue Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of M Glasgow.

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