Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry blue terrier
Post At A Glance

The Kerry Blue Terrier originated in County Kerry, Ireland in the 1820s and is a quintessentially Irish breed worth celebrating. This active, intelligent dog was used on farms to scare away vermin and assist in hunting. Now, this terrier also makes a great family pet, though there are some health issues to watch out for.

Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Characteristics

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized breed with high energy levels and a protective nature. Its history as a farm dog lends to its alert, active tendencies and fondness for chasing vermin. These terriers are quite vocal and make good watchdogs. 


Kerry Blue Terriers may need more regular grooming than other breeds, to keep up their distinctive appearance. They don’t shed and must be well-brushed at least weekly to avoid matting. Unless you’re an expert, they’ll need professional grooming every 6-8 weeks to trim the coat.

The US Kerry Blue Terrier Club has detailed grooming instructions for the breed.

Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Standard

The Official Standard of the Kerry Blue Terrier describes the breed’s General Appearance as follows: 

“The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well knit and in good balance, showing a well-developed and muscular body with definite terrier style and character throughout. Correct coat and color are important. A low-slung Kerry is not typical.”

Kerry Blue Terriers should have a soft, dense, and wavy coat of a mostly blue-gray. Some black and silver is permitted on some parts of the body, but black dogs will be disqualified. The body is strong and muscular, with small, V-shaped ears and small, dark eyes. A full-grown Kerry Blue Terrier should weigh 33 to 40 pounds, with a height of 18 1/2 inches at the withers for males. 

Disqualification: A black dog over 18 months old is to be disqualified. 

Read the full Kerry Blue Terrier official breed standard

Best Lifestyle for Kerry Blue Terriers

The high-energy Kerry Blue Terrier is a good family dog, with an affectionate nature. The Kerry Blue Terrier temperament is good with children. However, this dog will do better as the only pet in the household since it is not the most cooperative with other dogs. They may see cats as prey if not trained otherwise.

With hunting instincts and a protective personality, this terrier does best with plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation. They are intelligent and curious dogs, so they enjoy engaging in problem-solving games. They/re smart and do well at activities like agility, obedience, rally, barn hunt and herding.

Kerry Blue Terrier Health Problems

If you’re considering adding a Kerry Blue Terrier puppy to your family, be aware of some potential health risks.

Eye Disorders

Kerry Blue Terriers are susceptible to several eye conditions, including cataracts in old age and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye). Dry eye is when the tear glands no longer produce enough tears to keep the eye moist. Another inherited disorder Kerry Blues are at risk for is entropion, which is when the eyelashes rub against the cornea, causing abrasions and infection.

RELATED: How to prevent and treat eye problems in dogs …

Bleeding Disorders

Unfortunately, Kerry Blue Terriers are at higher risk of some rare blood diseases. The two to watch out for are Von Willebrand’s disease and hemolytic anemia.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s disease is a condition in which the blood doesn’t clot properly due to inadequate amounts or function of a certain protein. This means that if your Kerry Blue has surgery or sustains an injury, he may be prone to excessive bleeding. Signs of this condition include bleeding from a minor cut, bleeding from the nose or gums, and blood in the stool. There is no cure for this inherited disease, but blood transfusions and clotting factors can be used if your dog has to undergo surgery. 

Hemolytic Anemia

Another Kerry Blue Terrier health problem related to blood is autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), a condition in which the dog’s immune system attacks its own red blood cells. This leads to an iron deficiency which shows up as weakness, lethargy, and whitish colored gums. This is a serious disorder which needs to be diagnosed by a vet. Holistic therapies like homeopathy can be helpful. 

RELATED: Read about AIHA and other autoimmune diseases in dogs … 

Degenerative Myelopathy

This neurological condition involves the gradual loss of nerve function in the hind legs. If affected by this, your Kerry Blue will become gradually become weaker in the back legs and eventually be paralyzed in the hindquarters.

There are natural ways to manage this condition by doing regular exercise, acupuncture, and rehabilitation. You can also supplement the diet with certain nutrients that are helpful, including foods that are high in antioxidants, vitamin E, B, and D.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also important to support nervous system function and help manage the inflammation of degenerative myelopathy.

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RELATED: Read about degenerative myelopathy in dogs …

How To Find Kerry Blue Terrier Puppies

Depending on where you live, Kerry Blue Terrier puppies might be tricky to find. Here’s where to start your search for your new family member.

Kerry Blue Terrier Parent Breed Clubs

The most reputable place to find purebred Kerry Blue Terrier puppies is the parent breed club in your country. Here are some places to look:

·In the US: US Kerry Blue Terrier Club

In Canada: Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Canada

In the UK: UK Kerry Blue Terrier Association

Adopt Or Foster a Kerry Blue Terrier 

You can find out about Kerry Blue Terriers looking for new or temporary homes by contacting the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation.

Now that you know more about Kerry Blue Terriers, you’re all set to give the dog you choose the happiest and healthiest life possible!


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