Breed Category: Terrier
Country of Origin: Ireland
Average Size: 45-50 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 15-20 kg
Average Life Span: 13-15 years
Grooming Requirements: High
Exercise Requirements: Medium


The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog that is native to County Kerry, the region of Ireland for which it is named. It is thought to have been developed in the 18th century with influence from other terriers such as the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and the Irish Terrier. The Portuguese Water Dog is also thought to have contributed to the breed, particularly in terms of its coat.

Though its most well-known feature is its unique blue coat, the Kerry Blue Terrier was initially bred to hunt small animals such as birds or rodents, but it also made a successful herder of livestock. This multi-purpose breed was also used as a service dog and a guard dog.

The Kerry Blue Terrier remains rare and its primary purpose today is that of a companion dog. It is largely unknown throughout much of the world, with the exception of its native Ireland, where it is still often used as a working dog.


This breed has a very distinct, soft coat. In addition to a signature grooming style, the colour of the Kerry Blue Terrier’s fur is an unusual shade. Gray colours in dogs are typically referred to as blue and this breed has a coat that can range from light blue to dark blue, though they are born with a black coat. Very rarely its fur may have white or brown colouring. Though it is meant to have a low-maintenance, tousled look, its coat actually requires a great deal of attention. Regular brushing and bathing, along with monthly grooming are required. If not frequently groomed, the coat will otherwise continue to grow in length and become increasingly unmanageable. Despite its high-maintenance coat, it sheds infrequently and is a suitable choice for those with allergies.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is medium in size with an average height of 45-50 cm and an average weight of 15-20 kg. It has a lean, tall stance with a muscular frame. It has a large, narrow head with dark eyes and a black nose. This breed’s tail is kept short in parts of the world where docking (banned in Australia) is permitted. Left naturally, the tail is thin and medium in length, kept high with a slight curve. Its ears are rather short, triangular and floppy and its muzzle has a slight slope that is emphasised by its beard.


While the Kerry Blue Terrier does not require a substantial amount of exercise, it is a lively breed. Since this is an energetic dog that also has roots as a hunter of vermin, it is important that it is taken for regular walks. This breed can also expend its energy by participating in exercises that test its agility and retrieving abilities. The Kerry Blue Terrier often keeps its family amused, as it is a playful and comical breed with a rich personality. It is affectionate with those with whom it is familiar and may be more reserved with strangers.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is very intelligent and adores spending time with its loved ones. This breed tends to have a better temperament with people than it does with other animals. It can peacefully coexist with household animals if they are introduced at a young age, but the breed tends to be aggressive towards other dogs and unfamiliar animals. In order to discourage violent behaviour, early and persistent socialisation is important. It requires a firm and confident owner to counter its stubborn and independent traits.


Though it is generally rather healthy, there are a few known medical conditions that can affect the Kerry Blue Terrier. It is prone to ear infections, hip dysplasia, and skin sensitivities or cysts. This breed is also at risk for genetic conditions that cause vision deterioration such as cataracts and entropion.

The average Kerry Blue Terrier lives to be approximately 13-15 years of age, though it may certainly live longer.


Kerry Blue Terrier Organisations in Australia
West Australian Terrier Club Inc

Kerry Blue Terrier Organisations in the UK
Kerry Blue Terrier Association

Kerry Blue Terrier Organisations in the US
The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation
United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club

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