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Kerry Blue Terrier

Country/Date of Origin: Ireland/19th century

In the southern mountains of Ireland, farmers kept an all-around working and utility terrier. This blue coated worker came to be known as the Kerry Blue Terrier, for the county where it came to prominence. It was used for hunting small game and birds, retrieving on land and water, eliminating vermin, and herding cattle and sheep. As a watchdog for the farm, the Kerry is second to none. Although the Kerry Blue is hundreds of years old as a purebred, it did not come to the attention of international fanciers until the 1920s. After acceptance by the kennel clubs of Ireland and England, it gained recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1924.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Irish Blue Terrier, Silver-haired Irish Terrier

AKC Group: Terrier

Breed Club: United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club

Rescue Club: United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A long legged terrier with a stocky solid build
  • Height: 18-19 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 33-40 pounds
  • V shaped ears hang forward on head and are not altered
  • Erect tail is docked


  • Very outgoing and friendly with people and a fine pal for children
  • An excellent guard dog, the Kerry will bark an alarm and will defend his property
  • Convinced he is in the right, a Kerry will not back down from a fight
  • Not recommended for home with other dogs or cats
  • Assertive in personality, the Kerry is often difficult to train


  • Unusual single coat of silky softness is unusually dense and wavy
  • Blue, described as "silver and steel" ranges from light silver gray to slate, and is the only color permissible
  • Requires professional grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Entropion (turned in eyelids)
  • Skin tumors
  • Eye problems especially tear deficiencies
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • The non-shedding coat makes the Kerry an excellent choice for the allergenic; also free from "doggy odors"
  • Puppies are born black and gradually fade to blue over a period of 18 months
  • A extremely active dog that needs daily exercise
  • Long lived and retains vigor throughout its life

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