Kerry Blue Terrier – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
If you love large size dogs and you fancy terriers, then you should learn more about Kerry Blue Terrier. Read on to discover more about the breed's history, grooming needs, and personality.
Dog Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs
17 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder
33 to 40 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a large size dog.

They are the largest of AKC terriers and are best known for having a blue coat.

Originally, this large terrier was bred to hunt small game and birds, while they are full-time pets nowadays.

The Kerry Blue Terrier can be seen even today working and chasing anything that flies. This is why walking this breed on a leash is a must. Otherwise, you will have issues catching him.

This large terrier is a big people lover.

Breed’s representatives will be loyal and affectionate dogs toward those they love and appreciate. They are usually wary of strangers and aren’t fond of being handled rough.

Teaching children how to behave around dogs is a must, especially since Kerry Blue Terrier loves being around children of all ages.

Are you a regular runner? Your Kerry Blue Terrier will join you.
Do you enjoy watching TV for hours? Your Kerry Blue Terrier will be the first one to join you.

When it comes to Kerry Blue Terrier’s happiness it all comes down to balance.

Kerry Blue Terrier Introduction

Kerries are healthy dogs, although there could be some genetic disorders that are prevalent in the breed, including cataracts, and entropion.

They usually live up to 14 years. Their coat is what makes them unique within the canine world. It is soft and wavy with no undercoat.

As for the texture, it feels like a fine combination of human hair and wool – another trait that is reserved for this breed.

The Keery Blue Terrier doesn’t shed but continues to grow throughout the year, which means that they require regular grooming.
Grooming Kerry Blue Terrier with the right tool and on weekly basis should keep his hair clean, neat, and with no odor.

Not sure if this breed is for you? Know that they are strong-headed and highly spirited and as such, they will consume a lot of your time and energy.

Be sure that you can meet the needs of the breed in terms of exercise and spirit. Otherwise, you might learn how does it feel to have a bored and destructive dog.

Quick Facts

Real name: Kerry Blue Terrier
Other names: Irish Blue Terrier
Common nickname: Kerry
Origin: Ireland
Breed type: Terrier Dogs
Weight: 33 to 40 pounds
Height: 17 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 5 – 8 puppies
Color: Blue, black, silver, salte blue, blue and black, gray
Coat: Soft, dense, and wavy coat

Kerry Blue Terrier History

The Kerry Blue Terrier is originally from Ireland, although their roots can be traced back to the Spanish Armada that wrecked on the Irish coast centuries ago.

First records on the breed date back to 1847, when the author described a dog of blue coat made with darker patches. The Kerry Blue Terrier was first spotted in the mountains of Kerry in Ireland, hence the name.

There is even a romantic myth considering this breed’s appearance and development.

The myth says that a blue dog came to the shore from a shipwreck. That dog had a blue coat that mated with all the females in Kerry, actually creating the Kerry Blue.

The Portuguese Water Dog is often mentioned as Kerry’s cousin. Some dog lovers claim that the Kerry Blue Terrier has been created by crossing the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier with the Bedlington Terrier, or even Irish Wolfhound or Irish Terrier.

Kerry Blue Terrier Physical Appearance

The Kerry Blue Terrier is one of the easiest dog breeds to spot.

They come with a long head, deep chest, wavy-to-curly coat o ‘blue’ shade, and a strong beard.

Kerry Blue Terriers are often described as blue-coated dogs, while they are more of a gray color.

As puppies, the Kerry Blue Terriers are born completely black. The famous blue shade appears and they grow older.

By the time they turn two years of age they should completely have a blue coat.

These terries are described as tall and large dogs, having between 33 to 40 pounds, and being 17 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder.

Females are slightly smaller than males and have more of an elegant shape. Their gait should be smooth and lively.

Kerry Blue Terrier Personality

Kerry Blue Terriers are true terriers.

As such, they will be independent, a bit stubborn, and passionate to dig holes in the backyard. This is something that should be addressed during the training sessions.

They are intelligent and highly spirited.

Kerry Blue Terriers were bred to catch rabbits, making them fast, strong, and more than suited for dog sports, such as obedience, and dog agility.

This is a long-legged breed which means that they need an active and skilled owner who will provide daily exercise.

Next to that, these large dogs are loyal and affectionate toward their people. These large terriers are huge children’s lovers. Still, children should know how to behave around dogs.

In fact, children should know:

  • Not to disturb dogs while eating
  • Not to disturb dogs while sleeping
  • Not to disturb dogs while drinking water
  • Not to disturb dogs while resting
  • Not to disturb dogs while sleeping

No matter how well children and dogs get along, they should never be left without supervision.

These dogs are large and accidents can happen if the space is too small or children too active.

All in all, educate your children on how to behave around dogs and teach your dog to follow basic house dog rules. This is why training is so important.

Kerry Blue Terrier Training

Residence training is a must with this breed.

Make sure that you create training sessions that are fun, short, engaging, consistent, and packed with treats. Dogs love rewards.

In fact, a nice treat can help you make training efficient and faster. Since this isn’t a breed for first time dog owners, you should know your way around training time.

This means that you know how to structure training and when to call for help when needed. This breed will try to get things his way, but you shouldn’t allow it.

Use only positive reinforcement methods to train your Kerry Blue Terrier.

As active dogs, they will enjoy additional exercise, more intense walks, a good run in the dog park, and participating in dog sports such as agility and obedience.

Kerry Blue Terrier Exercise

Kerries are dogs of balance. To keep them happy and active, you will have to carefully balance between long outdoor sessions and fun indoor time.

Knowing the best indoor games cannot harm, especially when the day is extra rainy. They love having something to do.

You can keep them active by giving them puzzle toys, or participating in dog sports.

Kerries prefer sports where they get to spend time with their humans. Teamwork is something that makes them super happy and engaging. Provide 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise daily.

Kerry Blue Terrier Grooming

Kerries require regular grooming.

If you want to have a well-maintained and healthy dog you should provide regular grooming.

Brushing is just a small part of grooming practice and isn’t enough to keep your Kerry tidy.

They should be brushed and combed once a week, with the right grooming tools.

Talk with a professional dog groomer on which brush to use and how. You can even pay for a professional groomer and learn about the best ways to keep your Kerry Blue Terrier well-brushed.

Brushing should be regular, as it’s the best way to keep their coat tangle-free. Their head, neck, ears, and abdomen should be done with clippers, while the coat should be trimmed with scissors.

The rest is basic care and should include nail trimming, bathing only when needed, gums and eye check on a weekly level, and ear cleaning when needed.

Kerry Blue Terrier Health

Kerries are considered to be healthy dogs. Still, some genetic disorders may appear no matter how well care you might provide.

Kerries are prone to eye problems, which is why you should check your eyes for eye discharge weekly.

Some of the eye problems that this breed may experience are:

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes)
  • Cataracts
  • Entropion

If you are dealing with responsible dog breeders, your puppy should be 100% healthy.

Responsible dog breeders will always present you medical documentation on the puppy, let you meet the bitch, and show you the facilities.

They will also ask you a lot of questions to make sure that you are the right fit for their puppy.

No reputable breeder will give you a puppy if they think that you are not ready to own a dog.

Being a dog owner is a serious decision, and one should know what comes once you get a dog.

Think about the dog’s needs, finances, and care that you should provide on a daily level to have a healthy and happy dog.

Kerry Blue Terrier Nutrition

A big part of dog ownership is nutrition.

Feeding your dog the right way is half of his health. To have a 100% healthy Kerry you should also provide parasite control and regular veterinarian check-ups.

Some dogs are prone to weight gain, so make sure that you know human foods are off-limit, how much you should feed your dog, and what can cause obesity in general.

Weight loss in dogs is possible but is often a long process.

If you have any concerns regarding the dog’s weight and overall health, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

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