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Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier has a show-stopping blue coat. He is an alert, adaptable, and animated watchdog and family companion.

Overall Status

Height 17.5 to 19.5 inches at the shoulder
Temperament Smart, Alert, People-Oriented
Weight 33 to 40 pounds; females are smaller
Life Expectancy 12 to 15 years
Coat Color Black, Blue, Gray, Silver
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

Though he doesn't shed much, the Kerry Blue's coat is high maintenance. It must be brushed daily and trimmed and shampooed every four to six weeks.

Plan to comb a Kerry’s coat twice a week to prevent or remove any mats or tangles. The shape of the coat must be maintained with regular scissoring, usually monthly, which you can have done professionally or learn to do yourself.

It is important to begin grooming the Kerry Blue when he is very young. An early introduction teaches the Kerry Blue that grooming is a normal part of his life and teaches him to accept the handling and fuss of grooming patiently.

The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian.

Can you keep up with the Kerry Blue Terrier? He needs lots of physical and mental stimulation to keep him in tip-top shape. Just when you think that they’ve had enough, they will hit their second wind.

The Blue does best in a house with a yard or in a rural area. Be prepared to give your dog about an hour of vigorous exercise every day – this can include walks, jogs, hikes or playing in the yard. To keep both his mind and body active, consider agility and earthdog training.

This is an active breed, so you’ll have to ensure that your Kerry Blue Terrier gets enough fuel. Depending on brand, you should feed your Blue 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food a day. Whatever food you do go with, make sure that it contains enough calcium and proteins.

The Kerry Blue Terrier should do well on high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval.

Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to gettingoverweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level.

Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

The average life expectancy of the Kerry Blue is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include cerebellar abiotrophy,cryptorchidism,ear infections, epidermal or sebaceous gland cysts, dermal cysts,eye problems(keratoconjunctivitis sicca aka dry eye,cataracts,entropion), footpad keratoses,hip dysplasia,hypothyroidism, missing teeth, patellar luxation andpatent ductus arteriosus.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is intelligent, but being a typical terrier, he’s also quite stubborn. Being such an observant dog, the Blue will watch to see who is in charge and how they can turn any situation to their advantage.

If he senses that you’re not in charge at all times, your Kerry Blue Terrier will gladly take charge. Be consistent and confident when training your Blue and never let him get the upper hand.

You’ll find that you’ll make much more progress by using positive training techniques. Come to training prepared with plenty of treats and keep these sessions interesting – your Kerry will lose focus if he gets bored.

After he masters basic obedience training, your Kerry Blue Terrier is ready to move onto advanced obedience, agility and earthdog training. Because this is an intelligent breed, you need to keep his mind stimulated, otherwise he’ll engage in destructive behaviors.


The origin of the Kerry Blue Terrier has been the subject of many theories but its true ancestors will probably never be known. The Kerry is one of three long-legged terrier breeds developed in Ireland by crofters who needed all-purpose farm dogs, capable of herding, guarding, hunting, retrieving, and vermin control.

Many people consider that one of these breeds, theSoft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, is an ancestor of the Kerry Blue Terrier. It is also believed the Irish Wolfhound contributed to the development of this breed. Notwithstanding the romantic tales of this breed’s origin, the Kerry was first known as a distinct breed by the end of the 19th century.

The “Irish Blue Terrier,” as it was called was first shown in Britain shortly before World War I, and the first Kerries were imported into the United States just after that war. Kerry Blue Terriers have been used to do nearly every canine job, including hunting, herding, and police/military work. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1922.

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