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Kerry Blue Terrier

Quick facts

Kerry Blue Terrier AKC Group: Terrier
Height: Male: 18.5 - 20 inches, Female: 17.5 - 19 inches
Weight: 33 - 40 pounds
Colors: Dark blue, blue-black, blue-gray, slate blue
AKC recognized in: 1922

Although this breed of dog originated from Tipperary and not from County Kerry as initially thought, the name Kerry Blue Terrier has stuck throughout the ages. It’s a term for this well developed, muscular bodied terrier with its own style and character.

Legend has it that there was this lovely, blue dog which got shipwrecked and washed ashore. Owing to its motherland, it is also often called the “Irish Blue Terrier”. It typifies a working dog which does a variety of jobs including that of a ratter, a herder, and a watchdog.

As part of rodent control, it could efficiently hunt for rabbits, hares, foxes, badgers, otters, rats and other vermin. As a herder, it helped people tend to cattle and sheep. Now, it has evolved into a dear family companion and guardian of the home.

Native to Ireland in the early 1700’s, this Terrier breed could share an ancestry with Spanish/Russian Blue Dogs and Irish Terriers, along with Irish Wolfhounds and Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers. Its single layer of silky, wavy coat could have come from Portuguese Water Dogs.

The Kerry Blue almost made it as Ireland’s National Dog after Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins, attempted to move for that adoption. Up to the 2000’s and beyond, the Kerry Blue Terrier has been valued worldwide as an uncommon breed.


Kerry Blue Terrier Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training four paws
Energy level four paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals two paws
Friendliness: Other Pets two paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance four paws
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability four paws

As a show dog, a Kerry Blue Terrier should be well-knit and balanced in proportion. As to temperament, it is naturally playful and animated, even to the extent of being comical and rowdy in appeal. Kerry Blues have that heartwarming reputation of making people laugh, and that in itself is beauty and talent combined.

In their role as watchdogs, Kerry Blues are alert and protective. They will rarely bark but they will always be on guard. When they’re socialized early and introduced properly, they will turn out to be friendly towards guests and other household pets. They will be very gentle with children. They will not attack unless a stranger or enemy provokes it.

Because this dog is so confident and determined, it takes an owner with a strong personality and firm leadership to dominate this pet. If the tasks are less than challenging and too routine, a Kerry Blue will lose interest and its attention will stray.


The average lifespan of the Kerry Blue Terrier is 12 to 15 years.

While the Kerry Blue Terrier is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Entropion - A condition where the eyelid (usually the lower) rolls inward, causing irritation and vision loss. This can usually be corrected with surgery.
  • Cataracts - A cloudiness in the lens of the eye, with varying degrees of opacity. Symptoms vary depending on the degree of opacity.
  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Patellar Luxation - Sometimes called a trick knee, this condition causes the kneecap to pop out of place. This can be caused by obesity, but is typically a congenital defect that can be inherited.
  • Hypothyroidism - An under-active thyroid gland, which can result in obesity, epilepsy, lethargy, and skin conditions.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease - This is a blood disease that causes a deficiency in clotting glycoproteins. This disease is similar to hemophilia in humans.
  • Thrombocytopathy - This is a clotting disorder caused by abnormal functioning of the platelets. This can cause spontaneous or excessive bleeding, since the platelets do not bond together to cause the clot.


If living in an apartment, Kerry Blue Terriers require walking at least three times a day. Having a fenced in yard may alleviate some of the walking responsibilities. However, you need to watch your Kerry Blue, because some just lay out in the yard when let out, and exercise must be obtained in other ways.

Ths soft, wavy coat may be considered as non-shedding, but it is also high maintenance. It must be brushed daily, and given a bath and trim every four to six weeks.

Kerry Blue Terriers have been called hypoallergenic, since they shed so little. If you want to keep the hard texture to her coat, hand stripping twice a year is required. If you are not up to that, clipping is fine, but the hair will become softer to the touch.

Visitor Comments

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