Kerry Blue Terrier

The Irish dog breeders have long been famed for the quality of their indigenous breeds, and the spectacular Kerry Blue Terrier has become a great show dog as well as a fun-loving family pet.


There is a myth that a dog which was washed up from a shipwreck subsequently mated with a local bitch and produced a blue dog. but the origins of the Kerry Blue Terrier are unknown; most experts think it stems from the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier. The Kerry Blue used to be a farm dog, eking out a precarious existence in Kerry in the Republic of Ireland, until it came to the public's notice after World War I because one was owned by Michael Collins, the leader of the Irish rebels. Young men supporting him kept the breed as an icon of their defiance against the British. The English Kennel Club refused to recognize the breed, so the Kerry Blue fanciers created their own club and formed the Irish Kennel Club when it became popular at shows.


Rectangular in profile, the Kerry Blue is a medium to large sized muscular dog. which is instantly recognizable due to the unique blue/grey colour of its coat. These terriers are born black and their coat gradually changes to blue by the time they are approximately six months old. Dogs are 46-48cm (18-19in) in height and bitches are slightly smaller. The ideal weight for dogs is 15-16.8kg (33—37lb); 15.9kg (35lb) for bitches.

must know

Apart from rare hip dysplasia in some lines, this breed is remarkably free of serious genetic disorders.


This warm-hearted, boisterous Irishman makes an affectionate companion and will keep all varieties of vermin at bay. It can be sharp with other dogs but to its humans it is a delight. Be careful with little children as this dog can play quite roughly. It needs good socialization and early training.

Strangers 5/5

Serious guard dog, suspicious of strangers

Temperament 4/5

Laid back, affectionate

Exercise 5/5

Must have plenty: running, walking and play

Grooming 1/5

Combing daily but clipping every three to four months

Other dogs 2/5

Be careful: this breed is quick to take offence


Revels in human companionship; difficult with strange dogs unless well socialized

General care

This is not a breed for the novice owner. Exercise is of prime importance to take the edge off the Kerry Blue's boisterous nature, and kindly training is essential to keep it under control. An owner must also be committed to keeping the coat in order: it needs daily combing to prevent tangles and keep the beard clean, as well as professional scissoring once every three months to maintain the short curly look which is the escutcheon of the breed.

Gallery of Kerry Blue Terrier