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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Kerry Blue Terrier


Kerry Blue Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 17" - 21"
  • Weight
  • 30-45 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • Blue
    • Silver / Grey
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Can be trained for defense
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Irish Blue Terrier


This breed originated in Ireland's County Kerry, hence the name.

Date Of Origin

The Kerry Blue terrier developed in the 1700's.


The Kerry blue terrier is one of three long legged Irish terriers. Although it was first noted in Ireland's County Kerry, for which it was named, little is known about its early history. It was first documented as a distinct breed in the late 1800's and was used to hunt small game and birds, retrieving from both land and water. It was also used to herd sheep and cattle. Later it served as a police dog. The breed did not arrive in the U.S. until after WWI.


This is a medium size, muscular dog that is long legged and slightly longer than it is tall. Its head is long and it has a flat skull; the muzzle is equal in length to the skull. The nose is large and black and the eyes are small and dark. It has V-shaped ears that are set high and folded forward. It has a deep chest and a straight tail that is carried erect. There is a soft, dense and wavy coat that is blue gray of any shade but with darker or black hair on the muzzle, head, ears, tail and feet.


The Kerry blue terrier is a spirited, game, alert dog. It thrives on human companionship but is strong willed and often challenges leadership. It is fine with most dogs but has a high prey drive and shouldnt be kept with small animals.


The Kerry Blue Terrier was used as an all-round working and utility terrier, responsible for hunting small game and birds, retrieving from land and water, and herding sheep and cattle. It is thought that the peasantry of Ireland developed the Kerry as an answer to the nobility using Irish Wolfhounds. The Kerry was used to help the peasantry to silently hunt the noble hunting grounds.

Health Concerns

Autoimmune disease, cancer, eye problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, luxating patellas, progressive neuronal abiotrophy, skin cysts.

Additional Information

This breed requires an experienced, active owner in a suburban or rural home. A fenced yard is a must. It is fine with children as long as it is socialized.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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