Thursday, March 17, 2016


This year's Irish dog breed that I have chosen to write about is the Kerry Blue Terrier.  It is also sometimes called the Irish Blue Terrier, and if you speak Gaelic, you can call it An Brocaire Gorm.  Like other terriers, the Kerry Blue was originally bred to control vermin such as rats, rabbits, badgers, foxes, otters, and hares.

Over time, the Irish farmers also began to use the terriers for herding cattle and sheep, and as guard dogs.  Today the breed is known around the world and is used both as a working dog and as a companion.  However, even though a Kerry Blue won the famous British dog show, Krufts, in 2000, the breed is still much less common than many other types of terriers.

Philip Doyle with his dog "Terri" at the Killarney Show, 1916.
The breed looks quite different nowadays.

Kerry Blues first made their appearance in the mountains of Kerry in Ireland, which is how they got their name. Their development as a breed may have included some crossing with Portuguese Water Dogs, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers, and Bedlington Terriers, with a little Irish Wolfhound or Irish Terrier thrown into the mix.

The characteristic coat of the Kerry Blue is soft and wavy, with no undercoat.  It is fine in texture and continues to grow without shedding.  For this reason, these dogs need to be groomed at least once a week, and they should be clipped every six weeks or so.

 Kerry Blue Puppy

Puppies are born black, and their coats gradually fade to one of several shades of "blue."  By the age of 18 months, they will reach a color ranging from deep slate gray blue to light blue gray.

Male dogs are usually 18-19 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 26 and 33 pounds.  Females are 17-18 inches tall, with a weight of 22-29 pounds.

In temperament, Kerry Blues are energetic, head-strong, and high-spirited.  They are fast, strong, and intelligent, which makes them good at obedience, agility, sheep herding, and tracking.  In Ireland, they have also been used as police dogs.

Kerry Blue Terrier during a dog show in Katowice, Poland;
Photographer: Pleple2000

Although Kerry Blues have always been loyal and affectionate with their owners, they can be mean towards other animals, including other dogs.  This has sometimes made them difficult to control in the show ring.  Modern breeders have worked to breed out this aggressive tendency while keeping the high-spirited nature of the breed. 

Frisbee, anyone?

Owners of Kerry Blues need to socialize their dogs early, give them obedience training, and provide them with daily exercise.  It helps if owners are fair, energetic, fun-loving, and have a good sense of humor.  The breed is not a good choice for everyone, but an active family who is prepared to spend lots of time with their dog and groom it regularly just might love having a Kerry Blue.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there

    You should know that An honest and reliable breeder should have no qualms providing you with proof of vaccination and medical records of his stock. Make sure puppies have been vaccinated before buying otherwise you may be setting yourself up for a lot of heartache.For more information on dog breeders take a look at-See more at dog breeders

    Thanks & welcome.
    Juanita Ella