Kerry Blue Terrier Dog Breed

Kerry Blue Terriers are primarily hunting dogs that have also proved to be very efficient as farm dogs. They can herd cattle and sheep, kill rodents, spot game and birds, as well as be great retrievers on both land and water.

Smart and courageous are two words that best describe the Kerry Blue Terrier. They have come about to be immensely treasured as a pet as well. This is because they display extreme loyalty towards their family members and are very protective of them.

The dogs of this breed can be obstinate however they are quick learners. They do not enjoy the presence of other dogs and prefer to be the only pet owned by the family. However, with the right training from an early age, they can learn to be around other pets as well.

With proper training and high-quality dog food, Kerry Blue Terriers can live for 12 to 15 years.

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About the Breed

kerryblu

The Kerry Blue Terrier was initially bred to be used as a working farm terrier. However, it also served as a hunting dog and was excellent at hunting small game and birds, killing rodents, and protecting his farm or home as a great watchdog. As a barn hunt and working dog, the Kerry Blue Terrier was used to herd cattle and sheep.

Kerry Blue Terriers were intentionally bred to be an aggressive and hostile breed. This was because, in the earlier days, the Irish Kennel Club required all dogs to pass a “gameness test” before participating in any dog show. This test was based on the dog’s ability to catch rabbits or bring badgers to a bay. Given the effectiveness with which the Kerry Blue Terrier passed these tests, it was named the “Blue Devil.”

History of the Kerry Blue Terrier 

kerry blue terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier originated from County Kerry in Ireland and is known to have been created more than a hundred years ago. The initial purpose of breeding a Kerry Blue Terrier was to develop a dog that was an all-rounder on the farm and could be used as a hunting dog as well.

The Kerry Blue Terrier could perform all sorts of tasks from hunting to herding cattle and sheep and retrieving small game and birds. This breed was an excellent retriever on both land and water.

Kerry Blue Terriers first started appearing in Ireland and then in the United Kingdom in the early part of the twentieth century. In the 1922 show of the Westminster Kennel Club, these dogs made their first appearance at a dog show. It was not until 1924 that the Kerry Blue Terriers were recognized by the American Kennel Club. Currently, the Kerry Blue Terrier stands at the 120th position among all the dog breeds registered at the AKC.

In 1926 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, a club was formed known as the Kerry Blue Terrier Club. The main purpose of the club was to formulate a breed standard for the Kerry Blue Terrier. Another aim was to ensure the participation of the dogs of this breed in dog shows and field trials.

At the beginning of the 1900s, Michael Collins, an Irish patriot, wanted to introduce legislation. According to this, the Kerry Blue Terrier would be named the National Dog of Ireland. He owned a Kerry Blue Terrier himself and called it Convict 225. However, Collins was killed before the legislation could come into force, and after his death, nobody was interested enough in the cause to carry it forward.

Kerry Blue Terrier Facts

Now that you have learned about the Kerry Blue Terrier dog breed and its history, let us take a look at a few interesting facts about this dog.

kerry blue terrier puppies
  • The Kerry Blue Terriers are named after the Kerry County of Ireland and are also named Irish Blue Terrier. Kerries, Irish Wolfhound, and County Kerry Beauty are other names for these dogs.
  • The most common place to find a Kerry Blue Terrier is in the mountains of Lake Killarney
  • The most interesting historical reference that you will find for these dogs is that they come from a blue dog that was the single survivor of a shipwreck. The dog mated with female Wheaten Terriers in Ireland, leading to the development of the Kerry Blue Terrier. The only truth in this story may be that the dog breed has some characteristics of the Portuguese Water Dog.
  • This dog’s scientific name is Canis lupus familiaris.
  • The cost of a Kerry Blue Terrier is between $1000 and $1600.

Kerry Blue Terrier Appearance

carrie blue terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog with moderately attractive looks. They have long faces, trendy-looking beards, and muscular bodies. Their eyes are small and dark-colored and their tail is small and straight, set toward the higher end of their torso. They have ears that are V-shaped and folded inwards.

Size

The size of the Kerry Blue Terriers differs slightly from males to females. The male dogs of this breed stand at 18 to 19.5 inches or 45.7–49.5 cm, whereas the female dogs stand at 17.5 to 19 inches or 44.5–48.3 cm.

Weight

puppy kerry blue terrier

Male Kerry Blue Terriers differ in terms of weight from female Kerry Blue Terriers. The average weight of the males lies somewhere between 33 to 40 pounds or 15 to 18.1 kg. However, with much lesser weight, females stand at 22 to 27 pounds or 10 to 12.2 kg.

Coat 

The coat of the Kerry Blue Terrier features wavy and sometimes even curly hair. Instead of having dog fur, the Kerry Blue Terrier has dog hair which helps in keeping the water at bay when they are swimming. The coat does not shed heavily throughout the year, hence these dogs are very easy to maintain.

kerry blue dog

Color

The Kerry Blue Terrier is born with a solid black-colored coat. However, the distinctive blue-gray color of the coat arrives later when they have grown up a little. This process of the coat color getting lighter with age is called clearing. However, even after they have aged the coat color on their head, feet, and tail might still be darker than the rest of the body. This dark blue color differentiates the dog from the rest of the breeds.

Kerry Blue Terrier Temperament and Personality

kerry blue terriers

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a highly energetic, diligent, loyal, and athletic dog. It has a large stamina and given its enthusiasm, it is hard to tire this dog.

They have a tendency toward breaking into a chase, digging into your beautifully manicured backyard, or barking from time to time. Hence, before going out and buying a Kerry Blue Terrier as your pet, it is best to stay mindful of these behaviors and think about whether or not you can live with them.

However, once you decide to bring them over as pets, you will find them adorable and fun to be around given their silly and playful attitude.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a very athletic dog. They like to stay active and need plenty of time for physical as well as mental stimulation in the shape of dog sports and puzzles. It is best to not leave them alone for a long period of time. In case this happens, they tend to get bored and might develop undesirable destructive behavior.

Although Kerry Blue Terriers are great family pets, they do not get along with other pets, especially other dogs. Given their size, they are more likely to break into a fight with other dogs than get along with them. They also have the tendency to chase small animals such as squirrels, rodents, and kittens.

The temperament of this dog is a result of a number of factors such as inheritance, training, and socialization. Kerry Blue Terrier puppies are calm and love being held close by humans. When buying your puppy, you might want to choose one that is of a moderate temperament: not one that is too shy to come out and not one that is fighting with other dogs.

Kerry Blue Terrier Health and Care

Kerry Blue Terriers are prone to certain health problems during their lifespan. It is important to stay mindful of these diseases before purchasing a dog for your family.

blue kerry terrier

Entropion

This is a condition in which the eyelid rolls inwards and usually affects both eyes. It leads to irritation in the eye and in some cases even loss of vision or blindness. This condition usually develops when the dog has not hit the one-year mark and can be corrected by a simple surgery before the dog reaches adult age.

Hypothyroidism

This is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too little of a specific hormone leading to hair loss or alopecia, epileptic, laziness, hyperpigmentation, obesity, pyoderma, and other problems concerning the skin. The only treatment for this disease is proper diet and medication.

Skin Cysts

It is fairly common for the Kerry Blue Terrier to develop bumps and lumps known as sebaceous gland cysts or epidermal cysts. This does not cause a problem for the dog until the cyst breaks and develops an infection.

Cancer

It is also common for the Kerry Blue Terrier to develop cancer that leads to extreme swelling, sores that cannot be cured, excessive bleeding from any opening on the dog’s body, or problems in breathing. Surgery, medication, and chemotherapy are possible treatments for cancer.

Keratoses

This is a condition in which the Kerry Blue Terrier develops corns, blisters, or calluses on the nose or on the feet. In most cases, these painful corns are hereditary and are a result of flat feet or thin pads. The only treatment for this condition is corticosteroids, antibiotics, or a surgical procedure.

Cataracts

This is a condition in which there is an opacity of the lenses of the eyes. This obstructs the vision of the affected dog and it can be easily detected as the dog develops hazy or cloudy eyes. Cataracts usually occur in dogs of older age and can most often be corrected by means of a simple surgical procedure. However, this only improves the vision of the dog and does not bring it back to its optimum levels.

Dry Eye

The two most common conditions concerning dry eye are pigmentary keratitis and keratoconjunctivitis sicca. These can affect the dog both at the same time or may also occur separately in two different instances.

Dry eye is a condition that develops when the eyes of the dog are unable to produce enough tears for them to stay damp or moist. You might want to take your pet to your vet to determine the exact cause of this illness.

Medication and special attention can help control this disease. However, in extreme cases of pigmentary keratitis, your dog might end up getting blind. This is because, under the condition of pigmentary keratitis, black spots appear on the cornea of the eyes of the dog. These are most commonly located near the nose of the dog’s cornea. When the dog’s eyes are completely covered, it leads to blindness.

With medication, you can help your dog keep its eyes moist and dissolve the pigmentation or black spots. For both, pigmentary keratitis and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, your dog will need therapy and care for as long as it lives.

Chronic Otitis Externa

This is a condition in which the outer part of the ear canal of the dog develops an infection. The most common cause of chronic otitis externa is the growth of hair inside the ear that makes way for the growth of fungus or bacteria. Kerry Blue Terriers are most prone to ear infections.

The most common treatment for this disease is getting rid of the hair growing inside the ear canal of the dog and regularly clearning the dog’s ears using a pet-friendly dog ear cleaning solution.

Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy (PNA)

Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy or PNA is rarely found in the Kerry Blue Terrier. It is a hereditary disease that is a disorder of the dog’s nerves. As the dog grows older, this condition affects its ability to stay in a standing position. By the age of one year, the dog cannot stand up at all. Unfortunately, Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy or PNA, cannot be treated or cured. There are also no medical tests that can prove or disprove the fact that the parent dogs are carriers of PNA. Currently, research is being performed to find out the right tests that can be performed on breeding dogs.

Hip Dysplasia

kerry blue terrier puppy

Hip dysplasia is another inherited condition that is most commonly found in Kerry Blue Terriers. It happens when the hip joint does not properly fit with the thighbone of the dog’s body. In most cases, hip dysplasia can go undetected. However, in other instances, your dog may show signs of extreme pain or lameness in either one or two rear legs of the body. As the dog with hip dysplasia grows old, it develops a condition of arthritis.

The only way to find out the problems is through a proper X-ray screening. It is important to stay mindful of not breeding dogs with this condition. If you have a dog with hip dysplasia you must inform the breeder so that the further process of breeding this dog can be stopped.

As this condition is mostly inherited, it is best to get a health clearance from the breeder stating that none of the two parents has developed this condition.

Patellar Luxation

This condition is most commonly known as slipped stifles. Patellar luxation is a dislocation of the knee joint causing extreme pain to the affected dog. In most cases, patellar luxation can lead to lameness or paralyzing. However, it is also common for most Kerry Blue Terriers to live a normal life even with patellar luxation.

Factor Xl Deficiency (Plasma Thromboplastin Antecedent Deficiency)

Under this condition, the Kerry Blue Terrier experiences excessive bleeding after medical surgery or trauma. This is a hereditary disease that causes abnormalities in the clotting of blood. This results in a deficiency of factor XI in the mechanism of the clotting of blood.

In summary, the Kerry Blue Terrier is prone to entropion, hypothyroidism, skin cysts, cancer, keratoses, cataracts, dry eye, chronic otitis externa, progressive neuronal abiotrophy or PNA, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and factor Xl deficiency or plasma thromboplastin antecedent deficiency. However, with proper training and high-quality dog food, Kerry Blue Terriers can live for 12 to 15 years.

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Kerry Blue Terrier Training

kerry blue terrier breeders

Kerry Blue Terriers are intelligent but obstinate dogs. They can learn new skills and follow commands but have a tendency to break into their own preferred behaviors.

When training a Kerry Blue Terrier, it is important to make use of the positive reinforcement technique. Keep praising the dog and providing it with dog treats to ensure that it picks up the behavior that you want.

Early socialization is very important for Kerry Blue Terriers as they do not get along with other dogs and animals. They need to be exposed to different types of surroundings, environments, people, animals, sounds, and experiences. This should be done from a very young age when they are still puppies. This ensures that the Kerry Blue Terrier adult is a well-behaved dog.

You might also think about enrolling the Kerry Blue Terrier puppy into a kindergarten class. This helps in becoming accustomed to meeting other people and animals. To brush up their social skills you might also want to take them out on a walk in the park or to the store.

miniature kerry blue terrier

Conclusion

The Kerry Blue Terrier originated from County Kerry in Ireland and is known to have been created more than a hundred years ago. The initial purpose of breeding a Kerry Blue Terrier was to develop a dog that was an all-rounder on the farm and could be used as a hunting dog as well. It was not until 1924 that the Kerry Blue Terriers were recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog with moderately attractive looks. They have long faces, trendy-looking beards, and muscular bodies. Their eyes are small and dark-colored and their tail is small and straight, set toward the higher end of their torso. They have ears that are V-shaped and folded inwards.

The coat of the Kerry Blue Terrier features wavy and sometimes even curly hair. The Kerry Blue Terrier is born with a solid black-colored coat. However, the distinctive blue-gray color of the coat arrives later when they have grown up a little.

Embark Breed + Health DNA Kit
The best kit for dog owners who want to get their dog’s breed breakdown and genetic health screening

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a highly energetic, diligent, loyal, and athletic dog. It has a large stamina and given its enthusiasm, it is hard to tire this dog. The Kerry Blue Terrier is a very athletic adult dog. They like to stay active and need plenty of time for physical as well as mental stimulation.

Although Kerry Blue Terriers are great family pets, they do not get along with other pets, especially other dogs. Kerry Blue Terriers are intelligent but obstinate dogs. They can learn new skills and follow commands but have a tendency to break into their own preferred behaviors. When training a Kerry Blue Terrier, it is important to make use of the positive reinforcement technique.

Kerry Blues are prone to certain health problems during their lifespan. These include entropion, hypothyroidism, skin cysts, cancer, keratoses, cataracts, dry eye, chronic otitis externa, progressive neuronal abiotrophy or PNA, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and factor Xl deficiency or plasma thromboplastin antecedent deficiency. With proper training and high-quality dog food, Kerry Blue Terriers can live for 12 to 15 years.

Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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