Kerry Blue Terrier Puppy Facts
(also known as the Irish Blue Terrier)

Did you just bring home a new Kerry Blue Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

The breed, also known as the Irish Blue Terrier, had been noticed first in the mountain regions of County Kerry, Ireland. But where, when and how the breed was developed remains shrouded in mystery.

One legend has it that in the days when only the nobility was permitted to hunt with Irish Wolfhounds, the peasantry developed the Kerry Blue Terrier for the purpose of poaching. Another legend says that a small dog with a blue-grey coat swam ashore from a ship wreck and mated with the local terriers, producing offspring that looked like terriers and had bluish coat.

While these stories can't be verified, there is a more likely scenario. It's commonly believed the Kerry Blue Terrier was created by Irish peasants as a general purpose working dog to help them in their daily lives.

The Kerry Blue Terrier was skilled not only at hunting small game and killing rodents but was also pretty good at herding, guarding, and retrieving. Various groups of dogs were used to create a breed that combines all these skills. Some of the breeds believed to have been used include the Irish Wolfhound and the Wheaten Terrier.

It's not clear when the breed was imported to United States but we know that the first show that had the Kerry Blue Terrier in it was the Westminster in 1922. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1924.

Contrary to what many think, the Kerry Blue Terrier is not the national dog of Ireland.

Some of the famous Kerry Blue Terrier owners include Jack Dempsey and Gene Tuney (both boxers), Perry Cuomo, Michael Mann, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Today the breed is kept mostly for companionship.

Physical Characteristics of Kerry Blue Terrier Puppies

The typical Kerry Blue Terrier is a well-developed medium-sized dog.

It has a muscular body with a deep chest, well sprung ribs, short and powerful loin, and short and straight back. The neck is moderately long, gradually widening to the shoulders. In countries where the procedure is legal, the tail is docked to moderate length and carried erect.

The front legs are long and straight. The back legs are long and muscular, with stifles well bent and turned neither in nor out. The feet are moderately small and rounded.

The head is long but in proportion to the body. The eyes are small and dark, with a keen expression common to all terriers. Yellow, or anything approaching yellow, is considered a fault. The ears are moderately small, V-shaped, and carried forward. The nose is black with large nostrils.

The coat should be dense, soft, and wavy. It comes in any shade of blue gray or gray blue and should be uniform in color. The only exceptions are darker patches that may appear on the head, tail and feet. Harsh coat will be penalized.

Kerry Blues start out much darker than their adult color. In fact, they are born almost black. As they mature, their color passes through several phases and by the time they are 18 months old they reach their adult color.

    Height Weight
  Male 18 to 19.5 inches 33 - 40 pounds
  Female 17.5 to 19 inches 33 - 40 pounds


The Kerry Blue Terrier is an intelligent, energetic, and full of life dog. He thrives on human companionship and loves spending time with his family. You can’t leave a Kerry Blue Terrier alone all day and expect him to be happy about it.

They are friendly to humans, including strangers, and good with children (though, like most terriers, they are better suited for older children). They usually get along well with other dogs when properly introduced and socialized but, like most terriers, have strong prey instinct and can’t be trusted with small animals.

They love to chase the ball, play fetch, and other similar games when outdoors. But because they also like to chase small animals, it’s best to engage in these activities only in a protected environment such as a fenced yard or a doggie park.

The Kerry Blue Terrier rarely barks without a cause but makes a good watchdog. But don’t equate being a good watchdog with a good guard dog as this breed will not attack anyone unless they are provoked enough.

Problems may develop if you allow the dog to take the leadership role. Like many other terriers, the Kerry Blue Terrier may be a bit stubborn and manipulative. To avoid these and other behavioral problems, be firm, confident, and act as a leader.  

Kerry Blues are intelligent, have good memory and, when properly handled, are not difficult to train. They can even be trained to perform tricks! But you need to keep your training sessions fun, challenging, and treat your dog with respect. If you don’t, he may become stubborn and stop listening to you.

Like most terriers, the Kerry Blue Terrier requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Some other traits he shares with other terriers include love to chase, bossiness, stubbornness, persistence, intensity, and liveliness. Not all owners are well suited to deal with these qualities.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

When properly exercised, this breed will do fine in a city apartment setting.

It requires similar type of owner as any other terrier: experienced, assertive, firm, and active.

Some Kerry Blue Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a moderately active dog. Like all dogs that don't get enough exercise, he will get bored quickly and resort to destructive behaviors. He requires daily exercise to stay physically and mentally fit.

His exercise can consist of daily walks or play. If you are into jogging, you can exercise together by taking your pet along. You can also let your pet run and play on his own, but always in a fenced area. Never leave him off leash in a situation where he can escape.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day.


Although Kerry Blue Terriers don't shed a lot, grooming them takes some time and effort.

Brush once or twice per week to remove dead hair. You will also need to remove the hair out of ear canals to prevent ear infections.  Clean the beard and long face hair daily to remove food residue. The coat needs to be clipped every 6 weeks.

Because frequent bathing dries out the skin, some breeds should be bathed only when they REALLY need it! Not so with this breed -- frequent bathing will not dry out their skin. Bathe your Kerry Blue Terrier as often as needed.

This breed is good for allergy sufferers.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Kerry Blue Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Other health concerns include entropion, cancer, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and auto-immune diseases. Like other terriers, Kerry Blues may also suffer from luxating patellas. For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

Buy only from reputable Kerry Blue Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

No matter how small the risk of health problems is, any puppy may get sick or injured. Many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, but there are many others that will not, and you may handle them on your own.

To save time and money, learn how to diagnose and treat dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Kerry Blue Terrier puppies is between 12 and 15 years. Some dogs live up to 18 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Kerry Blue Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this dog behavior and obedience training guide.

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