Kerry Blue Terrier

August 3, 2020 // 7 minute read

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Kerry Blue Terriers are medium-sized unique-looking dogs known to have existed hundreds of years ago. They have muscular bodies, and as their name implies, they are covered with wavy, blue-gray coats as they mature. The Kerry Blue Terrier also has v-shaped ears, a black nose, eyes covered with hair, and a beard.

Kerry Blue Terriers are best described as a true terrier – highly active and energetic dogs. They are best paired with active and experienced owners who love outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, and bicycling. You should also note that Kerry Blue Terriers can be a bit messy, something you should consider if you want to add him as part of your family.

Kerry Blue Terrier Dog Breed

Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupTerrier Group
Breed SizeMedium
Height18-19.5 inches (male); 17.5-19 inches (female)
Weight33-40 pounds (male); females weigh slightly less than males
Lifespan12-15 years

Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Kerry Blue Terrier History

Kerry Blue Terriers originated in Ireland, specifically in the mountainous area of County Kerry. It is believed that they were developed centuries ago as a working terrier, mainly to hunt small game, kill rodents, and guard homestead. They were successful herding dogs, too.

As the years went by, the dogs were slowly recognized, and English fanciers started seeing their potential. So by the early 20th century, Kerries began to be shown in Ireland and Britain. However, it wasn’t known when the dogs were brought to the US.

In 1922, the Kerry Blue Terrier made its first appearance at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Two years after that, the dogs were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1924.

It was in 1926 when the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of America was formed. Their goals were to create a breeding standard, encourage the breeding of more Kerry Blue Terriers, and promote Kerries’ participation in dog shows.

Kerry Blue Terriers currently rank 129th as the most popular dog breed in the US. They are still considered a rare breed, but for those who own one, they surely got themselves a beautiful member of the family.


Kerry Blue Terriers are smart, alert, and people-oriented. They are always ready to play, and like a true velcro dog, you can expect that he’ll follow you wherever you are.

Because of this, you shouldn’t leave your Kerry alone for long periods. As much as possible, include them in every family activities, and don’t expect them to play alone in the backyard. Always find ways to entertain them, or else, he’ll cause a lot of problems.

Although affectionate dogs to the family, it’s not advisable to leave toddlers with them without any supervision. But for older children who can behave, they will make great playmates.

These dogs are also not that friendly with other dogs, which may sometimes lead to aggression. They’re better in one-pet households.

Kerry Blue Terriers can be friendly or reserved to strangers. But since these dogs can be overly protective, early socialization is vital, so their suspicion won’t lead to aggression. This will also make them more stable and more well-rounded.

Another thing to remember is that Kerries are one of the smartest dog breeds, but they are not very obedient. You need to be firm but not harsh, and always have lots of patience.

Kerry Blue Terrier Facts

Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: You can feed a Kerry Blue Terrier any type of diet. But you need to make sure that every meal you feed them is of high-quality and well-balanced. Proteins are essential for muscle growth, and you can get this from animal meat like lamb, beef, or poultry. Fats are vital for keeping your dog’s hair nourished, and fish or chicken oils are excellent sources. Don’t forget about carbohydrates too to provide your dog some energy. In every ingredient you buy, make sure that you only get those of high-quality. When your feeding dog food, choose those that are of premium quality as well. Don’t forget to check the label and stay away from dog food containing fillers, additives, and by-products.
  • Grooming: If there’s one thing you should know about Kerry Blue Terriers, they do not shed. That means you won’t have any problems needing to clean up hairs on your floor and furniture. However, that doesn’t mean that their coats don’t need any maintenance. Kerry Blue Terriers should be thoroughly brushed at least 2-3 times a week. This will help avoid matting and remove any dirt from their hair too. You would also need to take them to a professional groomer every 1-2 months to keep their coats neat. Their hair around the head, neck, ears, and abdomen would need to be clipped, while the rest of the area needs trimming. Baths can be given in this frequency as well, but the ears should be cleaned more regularly. The nails should be trimmed at least once a week to ensure that they don’t become too long.
  • Exercise: Kerry Blue Terriers are active dogs outdoors but can also be great cuddle companions. As long as they’re with their owners, they are very happy. So, you must take them on regular exercise to keep them fit and healthy. Exercises can be in the form of playing fetch, long walks, or jogs. You can even let them run on their own in a securely fenced yard. Another great option is to have them participate in dog sports where they can showcase their skills.
  • Health: Kerry Blue Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but the chances of them getting sick shouldn’t be eliminated. As dog owners, it’s best to be aware of what diseases your dog are most prone to. The first thing you should worry about is eye diseases. This includes entropion, cataracts, and dry eye. The dogs are also prone to bone diseases like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Infections like chronic otitis externa and keratoses are also common to the breed. There are also hereditary health conditions that you should know like: Hypothyroidism, Skin Cysts, Cancer, Progressive, Neuronal Abiotrophy, and Factor XI Deficiency. With these diseases, it’s highly recommended to meet at least one of your dog’s parents. This will help you be aware of any possible genetic conditions your Kerry may get. Close monitoring should also be done, and if any changes are observed, make sure to bring your dog to the vet immediately.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Kerry Blue Terriers is 12-15 years.

Kerry Blue Terrier Care

Famous Kerry Blue Terriers

  • Convict 224: The Kerry Blue Terrier of Michael Collins introduced legislation to make the dogs the National Dog Breed of Ireland

Fun Facts about Kerry Blue Terriers

  • Kerry Blue Terriers originated in County Kerry, Ireland.
  • These dogs are also called Irish Blue Terriers.
  • They are believed to have descended from a Blue Dog that is a sole survivor of a shipwreck.
  • They were popular farm dogs on the Irish hillside.
  • The breed inspired the founding of the Irish Kennel Club.
  • They come with a black coat as puppies, which eventually fades as they mature.
  • They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1924.

Check Out Other Terrier Dog Breeds:
Airedale Terrier, American Hairless Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Border Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Cesky Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Irish Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, Russell Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier

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