The Busy, Bold and Beautiful Kerry Blue Terrier

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blue dog breed terrier standing near river

The Kerry Blue Terrier has a very distinctive blue-gray coat. Not to be confused with their Irish cousins the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, which have a gold and cream-colored coat. These dogs are intelligent and hard-working. Although these pooches love people, they are not for first-time pet parents. This dog breed needs someone with patience and experience in training strong-willed dogs.

A Brief History of the Kerry Blue Terrier Dog Breed

As you can surmise from the name, the Kerry Blue Terrier hails from County Kerry in Ireland. Truly, a Jack of all trades! These working dogs were bred to be all-around farm dogs, as well as hunting dogs. They kept homes and yards free from vermin and helped to herd sheep or cattle. In addition, Kerry Blues went along on hunts to retrieve small game and waterfowl.

The Kerry Blue Appearance

These blue dogs possess the typical long terrier head and sturdy, well-muscled body. Your Kerry Blue should have a lovely alert expression from its dark, deep-set eyes. They have small, V-shaped ears that fold forward. Kerry Blues should have well-proportioned squarish bodies. Their movement should be free and easy.

Average Size and Weight of These Blue Dog Breeds

The Kerry Blue is one of the largest terriers. Males grow to a height of 18 – 19.5 inches (45 – 49 cm). Female Kerries measure 17.5 – 19 inches (43.5 – 48 cm) at the shoulder. Females weigh slightly less than males. On average these dogs weigh between 33 and 40 pounds (15 – 18 kg).

Their Blue Dog Breed Coats and Colors

The most distinctive characteristic of a Kerry Blue is, of course, its blue coat. Their coat color can range between blue-gray and gray-blue! Kerry puppies are not born this color though. Puppies are born with a dark, almost black, coat, which gradually changes color. As the Kerry puppy matures, its coat will change through blue-black, brown, dark gray, and establishing at blue-gray by 18 months of age.

The coat of a Kerry Blue Terrier is wavy with a soft and dense texture. Grooming is an important part of taking care of these dogs. Daily brushing helps to prevent matting and knots forming. Maintaining the signature Kerry Blue look requires regular scissoring and shearing. Most pet owners opt to take their terriers to a professional groomer every 4 – 6 weeks to have this done.

two kerry blue terrier puppies lying down

Is This Terrier Hypoallergenic?

No animal is truly hypoallergenic. However, dogs and cats that do not shed a great deal do tend to be easier to live with for those who suffer from allergies. The Kerry Blue Terrier is one such breed that is very low shedding.

Terriers to a “T”: Temperament and Personality

The Kerry Blue is a good-natured hound. With positive obedience training methods, they will be easy to train. These terriers enjoy people of all ages. They can make good family pets. However, Kerry Blue dogs do tend to show aggression towards other canines. Therefore, early and extensive socialization is imperative.

In other respects, they are very similar to most terrier breeds. They love to dig, bark, and chase small animals!

Busy Kerries are Happy Kerries

Working dog breeds need plenty of physical and mental stimulation daily. Know that your Kerry pooch will require a walk every day. If you live in an apartment, you should consider taking your doggo out for a walk two to three times a day.

Kerry Blue Terriers are prone to digging and barking. If they are not stimulated enough, both mentally and physically, they can become destructive and bothersome.

What is Their Lifespan?

The lifespan of a Kerry Blue Terrier is between 12 and 15 years. For a long and happy life, feed your pet a healthy, well-balanced dog’s diet and keep them fit and well-exercised.

Regular vet checks will help you to spot the signs of any potential health issues early one. In addition, make sure to follow a suitable anti-parasite program to keep them free from fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites.

10 Potential Health Problems to Look Out For

Unfortunately, this breed of dog comes with an extensive list of potential health concerns. That is not to say that your Kerry pup will succumb to any of these. Choosing a puppy from a responsible breeder and keeping a close eye on your canine’s health will go a long way in avoiding some of these issues.


Cataracts are an opacity in the lens of the dog’s eye. Fortunately, this is very treatable. Surgical treatment can remove cataracts and restore the dog’s eyesight.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca aka Dry Eye

When a dog’s eyes do not produce enough tears to stay moist, dry eye will result. Dry eye problems can be bothersome to the dog and lead to infections. Another eye issue, pigmentary keratitis shows as black spots forming on the cornea. Blindness can occur if these spots of pigmentation cover the eye. Fortunately, both conditions can be rectified and treated with life-long care and medication.


Cancers can take the form of sores or bumps that swell abnormally and do not heal well. Other symptoms of cancer include bleeding disorders, difficulty breathing, and difficulty with elimination. Great strides are being made in the veterinary field. Consequently, many forms of cancer are treatable with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or medications.

adorable kerry blue terrier puppy with orange collar


Entropion is a condition whereby the lower eyelid inverts. This condition usually occurs in both eyes and can lead to loss of vision, irritation, and infection. Entropion usually occurs in young puppies. Fortunately, corrective surgery can effectively treat the condition when the dog reaches maturity.

Hip Dysplasia

What would a list of potential canine health problems be without the ubiquitous hip dysplasia? Hip and elbow dysplasia occur because of a malformation in the joints. Fortunately, testing (via hip x-rays) is a base requirement for reputable breeders. So, make sure to check your puppy’s parents’ tests for hip dysplasia.


Hypothyroidism is usually caused by an under-active thyroid gland. With the correct dog food and medication, your hypothyroid dog can live a long and happy life.

Cerebellar Abiotrophy

This neuronal inherited disease is very rare. Symptoms can appear as early as 2 – 6 months of age. By 12 months of age, puppies are almost completely paralyzed. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or testing for this disease.


Keratoses, characterized by the development of corns, warts, and calluses, develop on the nose or feet of the dog. These lumps and bumps can become irritating and painful. However, they can be surgically removed and treated with the appropriate medication.

Skin Problems

Skin problems in the form of cysts are quite common among Kerry Blue Terriers. These epidermal or sebaceous gland cysts only become an issue if they rupture and become infected.

Chronic Otitis Externa aka Outer Ear Infection

This is often caused by bacterial and fungal growth within the ear owing to excessive hair in the outer ear canal. Keeping your doggo’s ears clean and trimmed of unnecessary hair will prevent this from occurring.

two kerry blue terriers lying on grass

Kerry Blue Terrier Puppies for Sale

This is not a very well-known breed, so you will have to do a bit of looking around to find Kerry Blue Terrier puppies. Ask your local vet or pet store if they can recommend a reputable Kerry Blue Terrier breeder. Alternatively, have a look online. The American Kennel Club (AKC) usually lists puppies from AKC-registered breeders.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask Local Animal Shelters About Kerry Rescues!

Skip the stress and strain of raising a puppy! It’s always very rewarding rescuing a dog and giving them a chance at a new life. Get in touch with Kerry Blue rescue groups to find out if they have a good match for you!

Common Questions About the Kerry Blue Terrier

Do Kerry Blue Terriers make for good companion dogs?

What are the diet and exercise requirements for this dog breed?

Are they hypoallergenic?

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