The Kerry Blue Terrier: Everything You Need to Know

The Kerry Blue Terrier is an alert, smart, and people-oriented dog with a signature beard that makes the breed easily recognizable in the dogdom. 

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the Kerry Blue Terrier, from its history and physical traits to personality and health.

History and Origin of the Kerry Blue Terrier

The exact history of the Kerry Blue Terrier is mysterious and surrounded by magical tales. What we do know is that the breed was developed in the 1700s in the Irish County of Kerry. 

The Irish Roots of the Breed

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a dog that is deeply rooted in Irish history and culture. In Ireland, they are known as the “poor man’s wolfhound” and were often used by fishermen and farmers to protect their families and livestock from potential threats. 

Today, the Kerry Blue Terrier remains a popular breed in Ireland and is even considered the national dog of the country. They can often be seen at events and festivals, where they show off their unique coat and friendly personality.

The Kerry Blue Terrier’s Role in Ireland

During the Irish War of Independence, the Kerry Blue Terrier played a significant role as breed members were used as messenger dogs and were trained to carry messages between rebel groups.

The breed’s bravery and loyalty were crucial during this time, and many Kerry Blue Terriers lost their lives in service to their country. After the war, the Kerry Blue Terrier became a national terrier of Ireland. 

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The Kerry Blue Terrier was first recognized by the Irish Kennel Club and later by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1922. Today, the breed is accepted into many major kennel clubs around the world.

The Kerry Blue Terrier has also been featured in popular media. Breed members have appeared in movies, TV shows, and even in literature, where they are described as loyal and loving companions.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog with a muscular build and a distinct appearance. Let’s take a closer look at their size, weight, coat, color, and other unique features.

Size and Weight

The Kerry Blue Terrier typically weighs between 33 and 40 pounds. Male breed members stand 18 to 19.5 inches tall at the shoulders, and females around 17.5 to 19 inches. 

Coat and Color

The Kerry Blue Terrier has a unique coat that is dense and soft to the touch. Their coat is known for its “blue” color, which can range from a dark grey-blue to a lighter silver-blue.

The coat is curly and requires regular grooming to prevent matting or tangling. The Kerry Blue Terrier’s coat is hypoallergenic, which means that they are a great choice for families with allergies.

Distinctive Features

The Kerry Blue Terrier has a long, bearded jaw with intense eyes that sparkle with intelligence. They also have a muscular build and long, straight legs that give them the agility needed for their original tasks as hunters and herders.

The Kerry Blue Terrier’s head is also unique. It has a broad skull with a flat forehead and a slight stop. The ears are V-shaped and fold forward, giving the dog a distinctive look. The tail is set high and carried erect, radiating confidence. 

Personality and Temperament

General Temperament

Kerry Blue Terriers are known to be playful and energetic, making them a great choice for families with active lifestyles and people who can devote time to outdoor activities.

They are also loyal and protective of their owners, which adds to their excellent watchdog skills. However, they are also stubborn at times, so it’s important to establish a good training routine early on.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Kerry Blue Terrier is an intelligent breed that is easy to train. It is a quick learner and responds well to positive reinforcement training techniques.

It’s important to socialize your Kerry Blue Terrier early on to ensure it develops good manners and becomes a well-adjusted, behaved, and obedient member of your family.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

Kerry Blue Terriers are generally social dogs and get along well with other pets in the household. However, they may become territorial with dogs of the same sex.

Therefore, it is essential that you monitor their interactions with other animals. Introducing them to new situations and people early on can help members of the breed become friendly. 

Health and Lifespan

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a relatively healthy breed, but like all dogs, it is still prone to certain health concerns. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common health issues and how to maintain good health for your Kerry Blue Terrier.

Common Health Issues

Common health issues in the Kerry Blue Terrier include: 

  • Hip Dysplasia (HD): An orthopedic condition in which the hip joint is loose and painful due to a genetic malformation 
  • Eye Conditions: The breed is prone to eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Lifespan and Aging

The average lifespan for a Kerry Blue Terrier is between 12 and 15 years. As they age, breed members become more prone to certain health issues, and it’s important to keep them comfortable in their golden years.

Tips for Maintaining Good Health

To maintain good health for your Kerry Blue Terrier, make sure it receives daily exercise, a healthy diet, and routine check-ups with its veterinarian. Regular grooming can also help prevent skin and coat issues. 


Whether you’re drawn to the Kerry Blue Terrier’s rich history, playful personality, or distinctive appearance, there is no denying that this breed has a lot to offer.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a unique and lovable breed that makes an excellent addition to any household. with proper care and attention, this dog can bring love and joy for many years to come. 

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