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  • Temperament: Smart, Alert, People-Oriented
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 127 of 194
  • Height: 18-19.5 inches (male), 17.5-19 inches (female)
  • Weight: 33-40 pounds (male), females weigh slightly less than males
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Kerry Blue Terrier standing in three-quarter view, head turned right
Kerry Blue Terrier head and shoulders facing left
Kerry Blue Terrier lying in three-quarter view, head turned right
Kerry Blue Terrier standing in three-quarter view
Kerry Blue Terrier coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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.

HEAD

Long, but not exaggerated, and in good proportion to the rest of the body. Well balanced.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders fine, long and sloping, well laid back and well knit. The elbows hanging perpendicularly to the body and working clear of the side in movement. The forelegs should be straight from both front and side view. The pasterns short, straight and hardly noticeable.

COAT

Correct coat is important it is to be soft, dense and wavy. A harsh, wire or bristle coat should be severely penalized. In show trim the body should be well covered but tidy, with the head (except for the whiskers) and the ears and cheeks clear.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and muscular with full freedom of action, free from droop or crouch, the thighs long and powerful, stifles well bent and turned neither in nor out, hocks near the ground and, when viewed from behind, upright and parallel with each other, the dog standing well up on them.

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About the Kerry Blue Terrier

Of course, we begin with the show-stopping coat that turns heads wherever Kerries go. It comes in shades of blue—from a deep slate to a light blue-gray—and is so soft that it’s as pleasing to the touch as it is to the eye. The dense coat covers a muscular, well-developed body standing below 20 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 40 pounds. A sporty beard and dark, keen eyes accentuate the nobility of the long terrier head.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
kerry blue terrier

Find a Puppy: Kerry Blue Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Kerry Blue Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Kerry Blue Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. 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. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

Kerries do not shed, so their coat must be thoroughly brushed and combed once a week to avoid matting. Combined with regular brushing, a full grooming every six to eight weeks will keep the coat manageable. The head, neck, ears, and abdomen are done with clippers, but the coat is trimmed with scissors. Your breeder or another Kerry owner is your best resource when trying to learn how to trim your dog. There are excellent charts and guides available on the website of the United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club , and videos on YouTube. Trim the nails at least once a week, and clean ears at least twice a month.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

EXERCISE

Kerries have two speeds: They enjoy getting exercise through outdoor play, playing fetch, or jogging alongside their owner. They also love one-on-one time sitting by their owner as the family watches TV or sits around the fireplace. Most Kerries essentially want to be with their owners, engaging in whatever the activity is at the time. The breed especially enjoys exercising mind and body by participating with their human partner in a number of canine sports, including obedienceherding, dock diving, and barn hunt.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Kerries are very smart, and most enjoy participating in agilityobediencerally, 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. It is always a good idea to take your puppy to a puppy training class and to consider earning an AKC Canine Good Citizen title. Regular outings—although not to dog parks—contribute to a well-rounded, well-socialized dog.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
May be Stubborn

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Kerries are a healthy breed. Responsible breeders are constantly monitoring new tools, including new DNA tests, that are available to help ensure the absence of hereditary defects in their breeding programs. Ask your dog’s breeder for his or her recommendations about health testing. Many breeders do basic DNA testing as a best practice, and will make you aware of test results. The website of the United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club is a good resource for the latest breed health information.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

kerry blue terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier

History

The Kerry is named for its home county. The mystery of its beginnings gave rise to charming blarney about leprechauns, shipwrecks, and other fanciful origin tales. We do know that Kerries were hardworking all-around farm dogs, cherished for their versatility. The breed was a mascot for patriots in the struggle for Irish independence, and since the early 20th century they’ve been top winners in the show ring. A Kerry named Mick was among the great show dogs of the 2000s.

Did You Know?

It is thought that the peasantry of Ireland developed the Kerry as an answer to the nobility using Irish Wolfhounds. The Irish Wolfhounds were used to protect noble hunting grounds from poachers. The Kerry was used to help the peasantry to silently hunt the noble hunting grounds.
The Kerry's most distinguishing characteristic is its coat. Described in the breed standard as "soft, dense, and wavy," it does not shed and can be tolerated by many people with pet allergies.
Kerry Blues are born black and, if correct, have the dominant gene for coat fading. The color begins to fade to gray and acquires its adult solid slate gray color by 18 months.
The Kerry is an all-round working and utility terrier. The breed was used in Ireland and England for hunting small game and birds, and for retrieving from land and water.
The first Kerry Blues in North America were five pets imported in 1918-9; the breed first appeared at shows in the very early 1920's.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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.

HEAD

Long, but not exaggerated, and in good proportion to the rest of the body. Well balanced.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders fine, long and sloping, well laid back and well knit. The elbows hanging perpendicularly to the body and working clear of the side in movement. The forelegs should be straight from both front and side view. The pasterns short, straight and hardly noticeable.

COAT

Correct coat is important it is to be soft, dense and wavy. A harsh, wire or bristle coat should be severely penalized. In show trim the body should be well covered but tidy, with the head (except for the whiskers) and the ears and cheeks clear.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and muscular with full freedom of action, free from droop or crouch, the thighs long and powerful, stifles well bent and turned neither in nor out, hocks near the ground and, when viewed from behind, upright and parallel with each other, the dog standing well up on them.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 037
BLUE & BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 038
BLUE & GRAY Check Mark For Standard Color 048
BLUE & SILVER Check Mark For Standard Color 043
SILVER Check Mark For Standard Color 176
SILVER BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 185
SLATE BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 192
GRAY 100

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