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Kerry Blue Terrier

(Irish Blue Terrier)
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Kerry Blue Terrier

Form and Function

This versatile breed has the build of a dog able to perform a variety of tasks, all requiring athletic ability. The Kerry Blue Terrier can run, herd, trail, retrieve, swim, and protect the property from rodents—the ideal all around farm companion. In keeping with this, this terrier is not exaggerated in build. The Kerry Blue is an upstanding, long-legged terrier with a short back, displaying strong bones and muscle. The coat is soft, dense, and wavy, and of a distinctive blue-gray color.


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Breed Traits

Energy Level

3 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

3 out of 5


4 out of 5

Affection Level

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

1 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

1 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

3 out of 5


4 out of 5

Ease of Training

3 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

5 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

3 out of 5


5 out of 5

Breed Attributes




33-40 lb





Area of Origin


Date of Origin


Other Names

Irish Blue Terrier


The Kerry Blue originated in the south and west of Ireland, first gaining notice in the Ring of Kerry. Here the dog had been known for at least a century as a versatile farm dog, hunting small game and birds; retrieving over land and water; and herding sheep and cattle. How such a talented and attractive dog should have remained unknown outside of Ireland for so long is a mystery, but it only came on the English and American show scenes around the 1920s. It received AKC recognition in 1924. Early specimens were somewhat disheveled, but as more grooming became accepted, the breed caught on and became a popular show dog. The Kerry Blue is one of the most striking of all dogs. The breed has the peculiarity of being born black, with the blue coloration not appearing until between 9 months and 2 years of age. This terrier is a versatile dog, adding police work and trailing to the list of talents. Despite this, the Kerry Blue Terrier enjoys only modest popularity as a pet.


A versatile terrier, the Kerry Blue’s personality is many-faceted, from hunting and herding, to being just be a fun-loving companion. This dog needs daily mental and physical activity in a safe area. The Kerry Blue loves to run, chase, explore, play, and dig. The dog is well mannered indoors. The breed can be protective toward strangers, and may be aggressive toward other dogs and small animals, yet greets verified friends with great enthusiasm. This breed is clever and independent, and some may tend to bark.


The Kerry Blue needs a good amount of exercise, but these needs can be met with either a long walk on leash, a vigorous play session, or a chance to explore off-leash in a safe area. The coat needs combing about twice a week–more often if around twigs and leaves–plus scissoring and coat-shaping every month.


  • Major concerns: cerebellar abiotrophy
  • Minor concerns: cataract, spiculosis, hair follicle tumors, entropion, KCS, CHD, otitis externa
  • Occasionally seen: retinal folds, clotting factor XI deficiency, vWD, degenerative myelopathy (DM)
  • Suggested tests: eye, hip, (vWD), (factor XI), (DM)
  • Life span: 12–15 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

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