Kerry Blue Terrier: A Good-Natured Dog Your Whole Family Will Love

Here's what you need to know about the Kerry Blue Terrier.

People-oriented, athletic, and smart - the Kerry Blue Terrier has got it all. Originally hailing from County Kerry in Ireland, this breed of working dogs is also known as the Irish Blue Terrier.

Belonging to the Terrier group, they are rumored to have been bred from other terrier breeds like the good-tempered Bedlington Terrier, the friendly Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, or the bold Irish Terrier - unfortunately, no one really knows exactly how the Kerry Blue Terrier came about. But nonetheless, the breed became a well-loved member of the Irish community, so much so that the breed adopted the region's name and became the national dog of Ireland, hence, the Kerry Blue Terrier was born.


Known for its beautiful, show-stopping blue-gray coats, the Kerry Blue Terrier was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1924. Once bred as a farm dog, this active breed was used to herd sheep and cattle as well as hunt vermin like mice and rats. They were also used to hunt small game, birds, and small animals like rabbits. (If only Elmer Fudd knew!)

If you have an active family, this herding breed is everything your family could want: active, full of life, extraordinarily bright, alert, with a high energy level - and most of all, always ready to play. Compared with other dog breeds in the United States, their alertness and strong prey drive also makes them the perfect watchdog. However, this dog breed can also be very affectionate and loves to spend time with their family, and their gentleness can be a perfect match for young children. Just be sure to provide lots of socialization.

Physical Traits and Breed Standard

This great family companion sports a gorgeous blue coat that comes in various shades: ranging from a deep slate blue to silver to a light blue-gray coat. This herding dog breed, having a high affection level as well as energy level, is defined as a medium-sized dog, having a muscular build, and long legs - meaning they really benefit from both mental (their trainability is high!) and physical activities - great for going on long walks and hikes!

They have a distinctive hypoallergenic, wavy coat (perfect for allergy sufferers!), and while it is dense, it's also soft to the touch. Here's an interesting fact: Kerry Blue Terrier puppies are actually born with a black coat, and their coats gradually fade into the beautiful blue coat as they mature. They are a generally healthy breed, but you do have to be aware of a few major health problems - Hip Dysplasia being one of them. You should also watch out for Factor XI deficiency: a blood clotting disorder that can happen with Kerry Blue Terriers, and cerebellar abiotrophy: a nerve disorder that can develop in the dog breed.

Male Kerry Blue Terriers stand at 26-33 lbs and female Kerry Blue Terriers at 22-29 lbs. With a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, you and your family can expect to spend a good lifespan with your Kerry Blue Terriers.

For more information on Kerry Blue Terriers, visit The United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club, the only official AKC national representative of the purebred Irish dog breed.

Do you live with a Kerry Blue Terrier? Let us know what you love about the breed in the comments below!

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