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 :

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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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      Tendency to run away

      The Kerry is an adventurous spirit and won’t think twice about running after anything they deem interesting! This is all down to their high prey drive - ideally, they should be kept on the lead in busy areas or around small animals.

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      This terrier dog is prone to digging, chasing, and a little bit of barking. This will be worse when the Kerry is left alone for too long, isn’t exercised enough or feels threatened. 
      Normally, these behaviours can be minimized through a healthy lifestyle and consistent training. However, you should be aware that these behaviours might not be easy to budge before adopting a Kerry.

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      As breeds go, the Kerry Blue Terrier isn’t particularly greedy.

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      Guard dog

      The Kerry Blue Terrier makes a good watchdog. If their owner isn’t around and a stranger enters their territory, they’re likely to get protective and bark like there’s no tomorrow. However, they’re rarely aggressive, so don’t expect any other protection except an alert.

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      First dog

      As we mentioned, this breed is stubborn and strong-minded. With an experienced handler, they can make a lovely family pet but without it, they may be hard to handle. Therefore, they’re not recommended for first time dog owners.

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        Kerry Blue Terrier in a flat

        To keep them calm, happy and healthy, the Kerry needs space to roam. Ideally, they shouldn’t be kept in flat. However, if you can guarantee they’ll get multiple walks per day, they may be able to cope in a large apartment setting.

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        Need for exercise / Sporty

        The Kerry needs a lot of exercise - they’ve got tons of energy to burn! If they don’t get their energy out through exercise, they’ll find a way to use it - probably by chewing the furniture or digging a hole in the garden. Therefore, this breed is best placed with an active companion or family who enjoys walking, hiking, sports or running.

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        Travelling / easy to transport

        Its size allows it to be able to accompany its owner quite easily everywhere but a good organization is necessary for public transport.


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          Kerry Blue Terrier and cats

          The Kerry Blue Terrier isn’t good with cats - it’s that simple! This breed has an incredibly high prey drive and will chase cats. In some cases, a Kerry may be okay around cats if they’ve lived with them from a young age. However, this definitely can’t be guaranteed - if you want cats and dogs, this breed isn’t a good choice.

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          Kerry Blue Terrier and dogs

          The Kerry can have significant problems with dog aggression. They’re always up for a fight and will stand their ground when threatened. However, a well-bred Kerry who has been well-socialized from day one may be able to get along with other dogs - you’ll just need to be dedicated to the cause!

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          Kerry Blue Terrier and children

          Children must learn to respectfully communicate with their animal for a harmonious and secure cohabitation.

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          Kerry Blue Terrier and the elderly

          This breed has high energy needs and will be destructive if these needs aren’t met. Therefore, they’re not the best choice for an elderly person unless they’re particularly active.



          You’ll need to pay betwee, £640 to £830 for a well-bred Kerry Blue Terrier.

          Concerning your monthly budget to care for the Kerry, the price varies approximately between £30 to £40.


          The Kerry Blue Terrier is rather high-maintenance in terms of grooming. Although their sleek coat is undeniably beautiful, it does seem to attract dirt, mud, dust and twigs like there’s no tomorrow. Therefore, it will need a thorough daily brushing and monthly bathing.

          The Kerry also has a beard which needs trimming - though beard style is completely down to the owner’s preference. Be aware, though, that it can get messy at meal times - have a cloth at the ready!

          Brush their teeth at least 2-3 times per week, though every day is always best. Active Kerrys will wear their nails down naturally, but it’s still a good idea to check and trim them if necessary. As always, make sure to check ears and eyes for dirt and signs of infection.


          The Kerry Blue Terrier's hairloss is moderate.

          Nutrition of the Kerry Blue Terrier

          This breed is particularly active and needs plenty of fuel. Choose a high-quality, complete and balanced dog food which is formulated specifically for active breeds. Try to limit human ‘table’ foods, as this could lead to weight-gain and picky eating habits.

          Health of the Kerry Blue Terrier

          Life expectancy

          The Kerry will live, on average, between 13 and 15 years.

          Strong / robust

          Although they’re only a medium-sized breed, the Kerry is pretty sturdy and powerful - they’re tough cookies!

          Withstand heat

          The Kerry doesn’t cope well in hot weather and will act lethargic and weak. If temperatures rise, make sure they have access to a cold, dark room and ice cold water.

          Withstand cold

          This dog is popular in colder countries and can tolerate low temperatures pretty well. However, they shouldn't be left outside in extreme temperatures as their coat isn’t completely weatherproof.

          Tendency to put on weight

          This breed is rarely concerned with overweight.

          Common illnesses

          • Itchy allergies
          • Hair loss
          • Cataracts
          • Entropion
          • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
          • Hip & elbow dysplasia
          • Retinal folds
          • Thyroid disease
          • Cerebellar abiotrophy
          • Blood-clotting disease
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