Kerry Blue Terrier


A small to medium sized Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier Quick Summary
Also Known AsKerry Blue Retriever
Height (at withers)18-20in (46-51cm)
Weight33-40lbs (15-18kg)
Hair Colour(s)Grey
Lifespan12-16 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size4-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftMedium

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium sized dog with a stocky and robust, angular build. The body has a short and straight back, deep chest, strong bones and muscular, well balanced limbs, with an upright tail that is normally docked. The head is long with small erect ears, dark beady eyes, and distinctive whiskers, beard and eyebrows. The soft coat is abundant and wavy, and the colouring tends to be black at birth but then eventually fades to grey.


Kerry Blue Terriers are affectionate, loyal and high-spirited dogs with people-friendly dispositions. These gentle and sociable dogs make popular family pets and companions and need plenty of attention, otherwise they can grow bored and become destructive. Enthusiastic and highly intelligent, these lively and confident dogs house train easily but can also be headstrong and manipulative, and so are best suited for those with some experience of dog ownership and training. Early socialisation is important to ensure they develop well balanced temperaments. Kerry Blue Terriers will get along fine with older, more considerate children because they do not appreciate being handled roughly and can also be quite possessive of their food and belongings. They require early socialisation around other pets such as cats, and can be scrappy with other dogs and will not back down if challenged. They may be wary around strangers and make effective watchdogs thanks to their protective natures.

History & Skills

Kerry Blue Terriers originate from County Kerry in Ireland, from where they derive their name, and are Ireland's National Terrier. Developed by shepherds in the 1700s, these dogs were bred for a number of utilitarian purposes in houses and on farms, such as herding sheep and cattle, hunting small game and birds and as retrievers on land and water. Some were even used in police work. These days they are favourites as family pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Kerry Blue Terriers tend to live between 12-16 years and are considered a hardy breed with few known genetic problems. However,some of the health problems noted include blood disorders, hip dysplasia, cataracts, benign cysts, skin problems, allergies, spiculosis and thyroid problems.


Kerry Blue Terriers are are low shedders (when groomed correctly) and so are suitable for those suffering from allergies. Their grooming requirements are pretty high though, and their heavy coat will need brushing and bathing on a weekly basis. The beard will need to be kept clean and brushed on a daily basis to remove any food and dirt, and the ears will need keeping clean and dry to reduce the risk of infections. In addition, any hair in the ear canals should be pulled out, again to reduce the chance of infections. Hair aroud the bottom area should be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons, the hair on the head can be clipped roughly once a month, and the body hair can be clipped or shaped with scissors to keep it trim every few months or so. A bonus feature of their coat is that it is oderless, even when wet.

Exercise & Environment

Kerry Blue Terriers tend to live indoors but will need access to a yard or garden area for daily exercise. In addition, they will need a long daily walk.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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