Kerry Blue Terrier Dog Breed
Aliases: Kerry, Irish Blue Terrier
|Life Span:||12 - 15 years|
|Litter Size:||5-8 puppies, average 6|
|Group:||Terrier, AKC Terrier|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Black, Blue, Gray-Blue, Blue/Grey, Black Speckles, White Speckles|
|Male Height:||18.5 - 20 inches (46 - 51 cm.)|
|Male Weight:||33 - 40 pounds (15 - 18 kg.)|
|Female Height:||17.5 - 19 inches (44 - 48 cm.)|
|Female Weight:||33 - 40 pounds (15 - 18 kg.)|
General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.
|Living Area:||Even though these dogs require a high level of activity and exercise, they do fare well in an apartment setting or smaller household. They are fairly active indoors on their own, and a small fenced-in yard is ideal for them. The dog is known to become bored easily, so providing activities and attention is important. These dogs will not do well being chained up all day, and will require some affection and attention on a regular basis.|
The Kerry Blue Terrier has been rightfully named after the County of Kerry in South West Ireland. The dog has often been called the Irish Blue Terrier to give it its territorial designation, and has been common in the County Kerry region for centuries. Known to be a working dog, this dog has often been used to herd cattle and sheep, and works as a guard dog in most countryside farms and even households.
The Kerry Blue Terrier has a distinctive look and unique appearance; a long snout and well-developed muscles best describe the upper body, while the dog is well-balanced and evenly proportioned. It has a definite terrier style and strong character, and the low-slung Kerry is not a typical style of breed. The ideal Kerry is about 18.5 inches at the withers, and rarely extends over 20 inches. The legs are long and well proportioned with plenty of bone and muscle. The head is long but not exaggerated, and remains well-proportioned to the rest of the body. The eyes are dark, small, and not prominent; they are well balanced and placed evenly. The ears are V-shaped, and are in proportion to the face with moderate thickness; they tend to fold slightly above the skull level and are carried forward close to the cheeks. This gives them a \'dead\' ear, almost houndlike appearance and can often be undesirable to some breeders. The foreface is full, and moderately chiseled. There is little difference between the length of the skull and foreface. The cheeks are even and free of bumps, and the neck is moderately long with increasing width at the shoulders.
The hindquarters are strong and muscular, offering plenty of freedom of moment. The coat is soft, dense, and wavy but it can also become harsh and bristly. The Kerry Blue Terrier is usually a shade of blue gray or gray, and is commonly uniform in color except for dark black part son the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet. The color can transition into darker colors as the dog matures and increases in age. Interestingly enough, these dogs are born pure black.
Training these dogs is relatively easy, as they have been bred to become sheepherders and can take instruction very well.
The Kerry Blue Terrier has a strong and wiry coat, and can be easily spotted with its dark, blue-gray hue. A smooth coat is common immediately after brushing, and puppies are actually born black.
The Kerry Blue Terrier originated in the County Kerry region of Ireland in the 1700\'s. Originally a mountain dog, the naturally heavy coat kept them warm throughout different climates. The Kerry is the national terrier of Ireland, and has become Ireland\'s symbol. The dog\'s coat may have been derived from the Portuguese Water Dog with its signature silky, wavy coat; it may also have been derived from Irish Wolfhounds, the soft coated Wheaten Terrier, or the classic Irish Terrier.
The Harlequin Terrier has reportedly made an appearance in Irish history, with many similarities and qualities as the Kerry Blue Terrier. The Kerry Blue has been used as a farm dog, house guardian, police dog, and small game hunter. They have consistently been family companions and are often involved with police research and work involving hunting. They are easy to train and can perform a variety of tricks. Today, the Kerry Blue Terrier is most commonly a companion and home guardian.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is strong-headed and can commonly found in high spirits. Loyal, affectionate, and gentle, these dogs can be considered mean to smaller dogs but have very kind hearts. Because of their size and stature, many have been used as competitive dogs and have even been nicknamed \'Blue Devils\' for their toughness and competitive streak. Modern breeders commonly take advantage of this breed\'s natural aggressive qualities, and the dog can be very vocal and especially aggressive as a puppy. It is important to maintain a firm but kind tone with these dogs as they can become especially sensitive to feedback and attention.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is especially well-suited for work, both indoors and outdoors. They are incredibly intelligent and work well with tracking, hunting, and of course sheep herding. Naturally obedient and very agile, these dogs will pick up new skills very easily and enjoy learning tricks. They fare well with new activities and will rarely turn down an opportunity to be active.
The activity of the Kerry Blue Terrier is especially high, and they require an active lifestyle to stay healthy. These dogs require daily, intensive exercise and will do well with agility training in a variety of settings. It is important to keep them well-groomed and they may have difficulties with bathing rituals and routines. Training them at an early age will prevent these dogs from thinking they are the master; still, the Kerry makes a wonderful companion and enjoys attention from family members and owners. They are happy to be around people, and can be socialized easily at a very early age. It is important to make sure these dogs are socialized with other dogs as well, since they can come across as intimidating on many occasions. These dogs learn as they play, and this is an important part of training and development at any age. They can be especially responsive to feedback and making sure a consistency during training takes place is a top priority.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is protective, and can be quite the handful if it is part of a large family of pets. Firm obedience training is the best way to handle these dogs, and they have a large range of memory skills and athletic ability. These dogs enjoy a challenge, but can also become very stubborn. If they become bored or restless, they will easily move away from their routines. Combining intensive exercise and relaxing activities with training is a great way for these dogs to become competitive, strong, and mindful. These dogs make wonderful companions after receiving affection from their owners, and are naturally loyal and obedient as a result.
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The Kerry Blue Terrier ranks #114 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
The Kerry Blue Terrier is generally a very healthy dog, and is known to live for extended years above other breeds. These dogs are especially prone to genetic disorders involving a variety of eye problems, and a few notable skin conditions. These dogs do have some special medical conditions to be aware of, including:
- Hip Dysplasia: Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) can cause mild to severe lameness.
- Cataracts: common problems with vision and eye movement
- Hair Follicle Tumors
- Narrow Palpebral Fissure Distichiasisme
- Retinal folds: may progress to blindness