Kerry Blue Terrier


Basic Information

Breed Group
25 - 35 Pounds
14 - 16 Inches


Kerry Blue Terriers are very distinctive looking with their gorgeous astrakhan-type coats and heavily coated muzzles. Puppies are born with black coats, but as they mature this changes to a lovely blue. They are compact, lively yet determined dogs with all the usual terrier traits. However, they are highly adaptable being just at home in an apartment as they are living in a country mansion. Although once a popular choice both as companion and family pet, the numbers of Kerry Blue Terriers has declined over the years resulting in the breed being placed on The Kennel Club’s list of vulnerable native breeds.

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Although the Kerry Blue is thought to originate from County Kerry, some experts think the breed is descended from terrier type dogs local to Tipperary. Irish folklore and legend tells of a 'blue dog' swimming ashore after surviving a ship wreck off the coast of Southern Ireland. The locals were so impressed by the dog's distinctive blue coat that they mated them with all the female terriers in the vicinity giving rise to the founding offspring of the Kerry Blue breed. They are however, thought to be from the same gene pool as the Soft-Coated Wheaten and the Irish Terrier.

Another theory is that H D Richardson, a famous Irish author wrote about a dog called the "Harlequin Terrier" at the turn of the 19th/20th century. He describes the dog as being a slate colour with lighter or darker patches and having a tan muzzle. Many experts now believe that the author was referring to the forerunners of today's Kerry Blue Terrier, especially given that Kerry pups are born with a reddish or black tinge to their coats before it turns a steely colour as they mature.

Whatever the true origins of the Kerry Blue, these charming dogs were bred to hunt and as ratters, they were excellent. They were highly prized for their courage, guarding and herding instincts too. By the mid 1900's Kerries had become so popular they started to be shown at exhibitions and dog shows including 'Crufts'. The breed was standardised and introduced to Britain in 1922 and proved popular. However, these lovely terriers have been placed on the vulnerable native breeds list by The Kennel Club with very few dogs being registered every year.

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