Kerry Blue Terrier

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Kerry Blue Terrier

Famous for his show-stopping blue coat, the Kerry Blue Terrier can perform a variety of tasks, all requiring athletic ability with a short back, displaying strong bones and muscle. With intelligence and energy, this breed works well for agility, herding, and other high-impact activities. Today they are not only alert, loyal and animated watchdog, but also lively companions who are devoted to their family.

Other Names Irish Blue Terrier, Terrier Kerry Blue
Color Black, Blue, Blue & Black, Blue & Gray, Blue & Silver, Silver, Silver Blue, Slate Blue
Height Males: 18-20 inches. Females: 17-19 inches.
Weight Males: 33-45 pounds. Females: 33-45 pounds.
Life Span 12-15 years
Personality Smart, Alert, People-Oriented
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #133
Groom Needs 2-3 Times a Week Brushing
Kids Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog Yes
Family Dog
Litter Size 4-8 puppies

Kerry Blue Terrier Pictures

Kerry Blue Terrier Video


Kerry Blue Terriers are usually born with a black coat, the blue begins to appear as the dog grows older. They have flat skulls and long heads, little wonder they are strong-headed and lively. Unless it is socialized early enough with other dogs, a Kerry Blue Terrier would grow to be mean to other animals even though they may be friendly with family and children. The Kerry is an unfashionable dog in a somewhat wooly coat, which is soft and wavy, covering a well-muscled body. They come in a variety of colors including black, blue, silver, and gray, with bi-color varieties of any two colors above.

Kerry Blue Terriers are true members of the Terrier Group. As a medium- to large-sized dogs, a standard Kerry stands 17-20 inches, measured from shoulder to paw. They weigh about 33-40 pounds, although females run slightly smaller than the males. They are smart, alert, and loyal. Kerry Blue Terriers have an average lifespan of 11-15 years.

Living with Kerry Blue Terrier

With soft, dense and wavy coat, though considered non-shedding, the Kerry Blue’s coat requires high maintenance. Their coat must be thoroughly brushed and combed once a week to avoid matting. The head, neck, ears, and abdomen are done with clippers, but the coat is trimmed with scissors.

Your best option is to choose a groomer who certified with a national certifying agency if you need the help of a professor. 

Brush your Kerry Blue’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you’re not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. 

His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. Clean their ears with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don’t insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

Begin accustoming your Kerry Blue to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.

The Kerry Blue Terrier needs lots of physical and mental stimulation to keep him in tip-top shape. At least an hour of exercise per day is necessary for this energetic terrier. Without enough exercise, Kerry Blues may become destructive, engage in nuisance barking, or become difficult to manage.

The breed especially enjoys exercising mind and body by participating with their human partner in a number of canine sports, including obedience, herding, dock diving, and barn hunt.

The Blue does best in a house with a yard or in a rural area. Be prepared to give your dog about an hour of vigorous exercise every day, which include walks, jogs, hikes or playing in the yard.

They also enjoy getting exercise through outdoor play, playing fetch, or jogging alongside their owner. But Kerries shouldn’t be expected to live outdoors full-time, as they want to be close to their people.

Fenced areas and leashed walks are important to prevent his prey drive and tendency to wander from taking over. 

The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food to feed an average weight Kerry Blue Terrier is 1.5 to 2 cups per day, split between two meals.

But how much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. And the quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog.

Some terriers can be possessive of their food. So children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.

Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. And keep your Kerry Blue in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. 

Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. 

Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. 

Kerry Blue are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions, such as hip dysplasia, spiculosis, thyroid concerns patellar luxation and eye concerns. 

Not all Kerry Blue will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

There are several health tests considerations specific to the breed, such as hip evaluation and ophthalmologist evaluation. The new DNA tests are available to help ensure the absence of hereditary defects in their breeding programs. Many breeders do basic DNA testing as a best practice, and will make you aware of test results. 

Responsible breeders test all breeding stock for conditions that can affect the breed. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

Total Annual Cost: $2889

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Kerries are very smart, and most enjoy participating in agility, obedience, rally, barn hunt, herding, and even dock diving.Keeping their mind and body engaged will help develop a happy and well-adjusted member of the family. 

Socialization is important, as is a beginning obedience class with an instructor who has worked with Terriers. Regular outings—although not to dog parks—contribute to a well-rounded, well-socialized dog. You can take your Kerry Blue to many different places — the pet supply store, outdoor events, or long walks in busy parks — anywhere there are a lot of people to meet and sights to see.

Though basic obedience training is easy for the Kerry Blue to learn, the challenge may be in getting him to do as you’ve asked if there is something more interesting afoot. A confident owner is necessary to ensure the Kerry isn’t the one running the show.

Headstrong and stubborn, Kerry Blues learn best through positive reinforcement training methods and may shut down with harsh correction. 

They may be able to put their hunting instincts to use in Earthdogging, barn hunt, or lure coursing.

He instinctively wants to please, and with positive reinforcement and praise, learns quickly. Harsher techniques aren’t useful with a Kerry, because despite his toughness, he is surprisingly sensitive.


The Kerry Blue Terrier is named for the region where it developed, which is the mountains of Kerry in Ireland, hence it is also called the Irish Blue Terrier. They were originally bred to hunt vermin, such as rats, rabbits, badgers, otters, and foxes. The earliest record describing this dog was probably a written article of the 1840s where the author described a blue dog that had exactly the characteristics of modern Kerry Blue Terriers. The fanciful myths and stories of the descent of the modern-day Kerry Blue Terrier present as rather embellished. The story goes that a blue dog was found sailing across the water after a shipwreck. The dog had a coat so attractive, the locals rescued it and subsequently bred it with, perhaps, all breeds in Ireland. Some believe that the Kerry Blue Terrier was developed from the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, the Bedlington Terrier, and perhaps the Irish Wolfhound. Other reports claim that the Portuguese Water Dog formed an important foundation for the Kerry Blue Terrier.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, dog shows became popular in the United Kingdom, hence the breed was brushed up for the show ring. That period witnessed Michael Collins’ influence to establish the breed as the National Dog of Ireland. The Kerry Blue Terrier has never been a competitive favorite in the game. Soon, the Dublin Irish Blue Terrier Club was founded which later instituted the Irish Kennel Club registering a Kerry Blue Terrier as its first dog.

Helpful Information


Breed Club Link:

Breed Club Rescue: The United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club

Breed Club Rescue Link: