Kerry Blue Terrier

Other names: Kerry, Kerries, Irish Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier originates from Ireland - can you guess where? Yep, it’s the County Kerry region! They were originally bred as working dogs, to hunt small animals in fields, streams and lakes and herd livestock.

You’ve probably noticed the Kerry Blue’s dashing good looks already - they’re certainly unique! This breed is a familiar face in the dog show circuit thanks to these natural, charming looks.

And what about the Kerry Blue Terrier as a pet? Well, they’re a typical terrier, that’s for sure! They’re alert, lively, bold, independent and sometimes a little feisty. However, when it comes to their family, they can be extremely affectionate, loyal and loving - they’ve got a definite soft side!

Key facts about the Kerry Blue Terrier

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Playful Intelligent

Size :

Origins and history

This breed was officially recognised only in 1920, but some dogs had already been exhibited in 1887 in Ireland. It most likely comes from the color-based selection of the Irish Terrier soft-haired: this thesis is mostly confirmed by the texture of the dress (soft and silky) that is common to both breeds.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers


Section 1 : Large and medium sized Terriers

Physical characteristics of the Kerry Blue Terrier

Adult size

Female : Between 17 and 19 in

Male : Between 18 and 19 in


Female : Between 31 and 37 lb

Male : Between 55 and 40 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



The Kerry Blue Terrier is a unique looking dog - in fact, they’re well known for their good looks! This is a medium-sized, sturdy breed with a plush, silky coat. They have long, elegant necks, high-set tails and muscular legs which show bone.

They have small, focused and extremely dark eyes, lovely V-shaped ears and a black nose. One of the best parts of the Kerry has got to be their beard - it’ll put yours to shame!

Good to know

This breed owes its name to County Kerry, where it seems that the blue color was selected for all domestic animals: dogs, cows, pigs and even chickens.


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    Considering how feisty and bold this breed can be, they sure do have a secret soft side. In fact, they’ve been known to follow their owner around the house! Within the family, the Kerry Blue Terrier is generally sweet, loving and affectionate. They even love a cuddle… just make sure you don’t tell the other neighbourhood dogs!

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    The Kerry is energetic, playful and fun-loving, especially around the people they know and love. They’ll happily get involved in family sports and games and goof around with the children.

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    In the family home, the Kerry Blue Terrier is gentle, sweet and chilled-out. However, this sense of calm can quickly go out the window once this breed feels bored or restless, meets someone unfamiliar or notices any small animal.

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    The Kerry is a smart, intelligent pup. They’re true multitaskers who quickly cotton on to everything which is happening around them. Beware - this intelligence means the Kerry will try to outsmart you and could pick up bad habits pretty quickly.

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    If there’s one thing you should know before adopting a Kerry, it’s that their prey drive is off the scale. This breed will chase and hunt any small animal, including cats. This comes as instinct to the Kerry and while early socialisation and training may ease the problem, it’s unlikely to go away completely.

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    Fearful / wary of strangers

    If a Kerry Blue Terrier is socialised around a variety of people from a young age, they should be friendly towards strangers. However, it’s not uncommon for this breed to be persistently wary, shy or reserved around new people. Usually, they’ll warm pretty quickly, especially if they’re tempted with a toy or a fuss!

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    The Kerry Blue Terrier is, of course, a terrier - strong-minded, independent and stubborn. They can be mischievous and definitely have a mind of their own - a confident, experienced owner is essential.

    Behaviour of the Kerry Blue Terrier

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      Tolerates solitude

      With their independent and sassy nature, you’d expect the Kerry to be perfectly fine on their own - but they’re not! This breed is actually rather prone to separation anxiety and may become destructive around the home if left alone for too long. They need a family/owner who can provide company for the majority of the day.

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      Easy to train / obedience

      Training and early socialisation is critical for the Kerry Blue Terrier. Without it, they can be a nightmare - with it, they can be a wonderful dog. However, this breed is pretty stubborn, meaning training can be difficult. 

      Start when the Kerry is a puppy with plenty of short, fun training sessions and socialisation classes and carry this on consistently moving forward. The Kerry hates negativity and will react best to positive reinforcement and reward-based training.

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      The Kerry Blue Terrier can be quite a barker.

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