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Kerry Blue Terrier: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Dogster Team

Kerry Blue Terrier: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

There are many myths circling the Kerry Blue Terrier due to their astonishing appearance and sturdy structure. If they’ve caught your attention, it’s really no wonder. This is certainly a dog that will captivate onlookers everywhere.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a relatively rare, obscure terrier breed that has a lot to offer potential owners. In this article, we aim to explore what makes the Kerry Terrier fantastic and also some compatibility considerations for people who might want to welcome a new puppy into their home.

Breed Overview


17–18 inches


22–30 pounds


12–15 years


Various shades of blue

Suitable for:

Active families, allergy sufferers


Loyal & loving, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets

The Kerry Blue Terrier gets its name honestly. This dog has a rich, beautiful, gray-colored coat, otherwise coined as “blue.” Their curly, dense fur and distinguished beard set them apart from the rest.

While it is pretty obvious that they are in the terrier category, given their appearance alone, there are plenty of things that set them apart from all of their cousins. Let’s explore all of the things that make the breed unique.

Kerry Blue Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Kerry Blue Terrier Puppies


Image By: Marlonneke Willemsen_Shutterstock

The Kerry Blue Terrier makes one heck of an adorable puppy. Interestingly, these dogs are born black and develop their blue coat slowly over time. It is so interesting to watch your Kerry develop and grow into the dog you will welcome for years to come.

Kerry Blue Terriers are not very common dogs, so locating one might prove to be a task. You might be able to find a breeder or two in your state, but having to travel is definitely a possibility in most cases.

If you plan to get a puppy, we highly recommend buying from a reputable licensed breeder with a history of healthy, fantastic litters. Your puppy will have no trouble learning the ropes. The Kerry Blue Terrier is exceptionally intelligent, even as a little tyke.

So be prepared to get creative about the ways you will keep them out of things that you don’t want them to have.

Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Origin & History

Kerry Blue Terriers originated in the County Kerry in Ireland in the 1700s and have been bred since the 1820s. The Kerry Blue Terrier was bred as many terriers are—to hunt vermin and other small game. This pup also showed rockstar potential in herding sheep and cattle.

When dog shows became more popular, Kerry Blue Terriers stole the show. Their impressive performance earned them the National Dog of Ireland title, which remains in place today!

It is speculated that the Kerry Blue made its way to other parts of the world thanks to the Spanish Armada. The Kerry Blue Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1924.

Today, they make fabulous companion animals, though they still have their hunting instincts fully intact.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Kerry Blue Terrier 🧠

These are creative and resourceful dogs, an independent breed. Because of their brave, assertive nature, they need that energy fostered correctly early in life. Early socialization and training can make a world of difference between having a mannerly dog or one that rules the roost and gives you a hard time.

Even though these dogs are not notoriously aggressive or mean, they can be headstrong and march to the beat of their own drum. If you let them, they will take control and do as they please.

Because this can create a mischievous personality, you can find it a little bit more difficult to coexist with them. Early training is certainly recommended, and you should have very strong success.

These dogs are highly intelligent and adaptable, capable of learning a variety of concepts and commands. Because the Kerry Blue Terrier tends to be more dominant, seeking a professional trainer’s help can be very helpful, especially if you are a novice owner.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Kerry Blue Terrier can acclimate very well to a variety of lifestyles. These dogs tend to have a moderately active energy level, making them perfect for a wide variety of people.

Whether you have a more relaxed lifestyle or you are pretty on the go, the Kerry Blue Terrier can adapt to either. If you are a more sedentary person or have any physical disability, they might not be the best dog for you.

They still require daily walks and other forms of exercise. The Kerry can get along very well with children, particularly if they are raised together. These dogs tend to be slightly aloof with strangers, but generally warm up after, getting to know the situation better.

Since these dogs can be a little bit spicy and energetic, they do best for active families. If you have any physical limitations or cannot provide appropriate exercise, steer clear. A bored or unsocialized Kerry can be destructive.

Image By: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

The Kerry Blue Terrier can get along very well with other canine companions although they do tend to be a little bit bossy. If you have a more dominant dog that doesn’t tolerate being told what to do very well, they might not make the best playmates.

However, with agreeable companions, the dog will form deep bonds with their own species without an issue. In fact, they thrive best when they have at least one more dog around the household.

When it comes to smaller pets, this breed can get along very well with cats if they are raised together. Like many terriers, this dog does have a high prey drive and will certainly chase unfamiliar cats and smaller animals like hamsters and guinea pigs if allowed to do so.

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Things to Know When Owning a Kerry Blue Terrier:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog with a stocky, solid build. They have moderate to high activity levels that require a decent caloric intake. While these dogs don’t require any special diets, they thrive best on a nutrient-dense, high-protein recipe.

You can choose from a broad selection of dog food these days, including raw meals, fresh food subscriptions, canned dog food, and dry kibble. Each option comes with its set of pros and cons. What you choose should meet the nutritional profile for canines and be within your budget.

Ultimately, it is up to you and your veterinarian to decide which option works best for your dog. There are plenty of things to consider here, such as budget, health conditions, special requirements, prescription diets, life stages, and any food sensitivities or allergies.

Image Credit: Kseniia Kolesnikova, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Your Kerry Blue Terrier requires a moderate amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. These adventurous, chipper dogs are always ready for their daily walks and trips to the dog park.

They are highly alert, so they will probably notify you of every passing squirrel, butterfly, and passerby. While they don’t bark often, they certainly aren’t quiet with their body language. These dogs do very well in homes that have a large, fenced backyard where they can come in and go out at their leisure.

Remember that this isn’t a dog you can crate all day. They need proper socialization, stimulation, and activity to keep them happy.

Training 🦮

This breed is particularly intelligent and responds very well to training. They can learn a variety of concepts ranging from simple to advanced. Due to their terrier nature, they march to the beat of their own drum, which can make training challenging at times.

If you’re having a bit of a power struggle with your terrier, you can look for alternate training methods or even look for a professional trainer near you.

Grooming ✂️

Kerry Terriers are considered hypoallergenic dogs that don’t shed, making them perfect pets for allergy sufferers. If you see your Kerry shedding, it is likely to be in very tiny, small tufts and nothing more. This makes it really easy to keep pet hair off of your furniture and bedding.

The Kerry Blue Terrier has substantially long, curly fur. When trimmed appropriately, they generally have tight knit, shorter hair with a long beard and scruff around the legs.

As with any long-haired breed, you can take them to the groomer and get whatever hairstyle you’d like, although the classic look does look pretty snazzy! You can learn to trim your Kerry at home or take them to a professional.

Your pup should have a full body bath once every 4 to 6 weeks along with a haircut, nail trim, and ear cleaning.

Health and Conditions❤️

Health is an incredibly important aspect of dog care all the way around the board. Keeping your dog in sound health is probably at the top of your priority list.

After you bring home your puppy, you will need to get them to the vet for a routine checkup and to complete any unfinished vaccinations. This breed is pretty healthy with the exception of some genetic health conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Cysts
  • Warts
  • Skin tumors
Serious Conditions
  • Follicular hyperkeratosis

Male vs Female

Males are generally substantially larger than their female counterparts. The male generally stands 18 to 19 inches tall and weighs approximately 26 to 33 pounds. Females, on the other hand, stand approximately 17 to 18 inches high and weigh 22 to 29 pounds.

As far as personality is concerned, that would be greatly dependent on the dogs themselves and has nothing to do with the sex of the dog.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Kerry Blue Terrier

1. The Kerry Blue is considered an unfashionable breed.

Because they are a terrier breed that was bred for hunting rats and vermin, the Kerry Blue Terrier is considered an unfashionable breed. That has in part contributed to their rarity, as people favor more fashionable dog breeds, such as the Poodle, Pug, Dachshund, and others.

2. A Kerry Blue won the Crufts dog show in 2000.

The Crufts dog show is the most prestigious dog show in the United Kingdom. In 2000, a Kerry Blue Terrier named Torums Scarf Michael won the Crufts. He also won the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2003.

3. The Kerry Blue is the National Dog of Ireland.

As we mentioned, the Kerry Blue Terrier originated in Ireland. They were named the national dog of Ireland, and they are actually known as the Irish Blue Terrier in their home country.

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Final Thoughts

So, what do you think about the cheery, spirited Kerry Blue Terrier? This dog is a magnificent specimen that is incredibly intelligent, sturdy, and athletic. They can work in a variety of lifestyles, but they can be challenging for novice owners, city living, and more sedentary individuals.

If you have an active lifestyle, the Kerry can certainly keep up and would love to stay busy with you. So, if you’re thinking of bringing a Kerry home, remember to seek out a reputable, licensed breeder near you. These dogs are rare, so traveling is very likely in the cards for you unless you get lucky to find one nearby.

Featured Image Credit: vgorlitsky, Shutterstock

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