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Kerry Blue Terrier - Breed Profile:

Origin: Ireland
Shades of blue-grey
Size: Medium
Type of Owner:
Exercise: Vigorous
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
Combativeness: Tends to be dog-aggressive
Dominance: High
Noise: Likes to bark

Physical characteristics

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a well-built, muscular, medium size dog with true terrier style and temperament. The long head is in good proportion to the body. The small eyes are dark. In show dogs, the eyebrows reach to the bridge of the nose. The V-shaped ears are relatively small; they're carried forward close to the cheeks. The top of the folded ear is slightly above the level of the skull. The muzzle is full and well made up. The jaws are deep, strong and muscular. The nose is black with wide and large nostrils. The front legs are straight from both front and side view. The deep chest is moderately broad. The tail is customarily docked and carried upright, the straighter the better. The gait is full of freedom.
Kerry Blue Terriers weigh 33 to 40 pounds. Their height is 17 to 19 inches. Females tend to be smaller.


The Kerry Blue Terrier is extraordinarily lively and full of life. They are somewhat comical and known to make people laugh. Having a high energy level, these dogs are always ready to play and want to be with their family all the time. They need sufficient physical and mental exercise. Don't leave them alone for too long periods of time. If bored or ignored, Kerries (like many other high energy dogs) will get into a world of mischief. Other important-to-know characteristics of the Kerry Blue Terrier are its pride, sensitivity, tendency to get moody, and strong sense of justice. Taken together, this means the Kerry Blue doesn't meekly accept teasing and unfairness. Firm obedience training is necessary and very important. Kerries are protective and should be extensively socialized, especially with other dogs. Otherwise, they may become quite a handful. As hunters, Kerries may not accept cats or small pets, but this should not be a problem if they're well-socialized, properly introduced and supervised. Kerries are intelligent and spirited, but may be somewhat willful.

Coat and grooming

The wavy blue-grey coat is the breed's most important feature. It is thick, silky and soft to the touch. Puppies are usually born black. As they grow up, the coat colour tends to change and may even include shades of brown. The correct adult coat should be dark slate grey to light blue grey. Darker points on the head, muzzle and extremities are permissible. If the coat has not lightened by about 18 months of age, the dog cannot be shown in AKC shows until the lightening occurs. Some adults will never lighten properly if the correct gene is lacking.
The coat is odourless and doesn't not shed. Proper coat care should include weekly brushing and professional trimming about 5 times a year.


Generally healthy and robust. Some individuals are prone to cysts, tumours, hip dysplasia, PNA, and cerebellar abiotrophy. Ear infections can also be a problem.
The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

A native of County Kerry, Ireland, the Kerry Blue Terrier was used as an all-round working terrier responsible for hunting small animals and birds, retrieving from land and water, and herding sheep and cattle.