Kerry Blue Terrier

  • Overview

    Kerry Blue Terriers are athletic dogs built for multi-purpose farm work in the Irish countryside. Kerry Blues are smart, devoted companions, but they don't blindly bond to their people — their affection must be earned by developing consistent training methods and trust. These medium-sized dogs pack a lot of power into their compact bodies. They stand between 17 and 19 inches tall and weigh between 33 and 40 pounds.

    Kerry Blue Terriers make amusing, lively family companions for experienced owners who are willing to spend the time establishing dominance and creating a strong bond. They need plenty of exercise and their distinctive coats require lots of grooming, so plan to spend quite a bit of time with your spirited terrier.

    View Grooming Diagram for kerry blue terrier
  • Personality

    Kerry Blue Terriers are intelligent, playful dogs who are game for most family activities. Like teenagers, they can be confusingly moody. Kerry Blue Terriers' moods can shift from perky and alert to stubborn and obstinate very quickly. Because they have a mind of their own, training the Kerry Blue Terrier requires confidence and dominance. Kerry Blue Terriers have an overwhelming amount of stamina and endurance, which was one of their prized characteristics when they worked as small game hunters. Today, it means that they will require plenty of high-energy play, either indoors or out, to prevent them from being overly rambunctious at inappropriate times.

    Kerry Blue Terriers are not known to back down from a challenge — ever. Even with frequent socialization, these feisty terriers might always have an inclination to be aggressive around other dogs. Despite their attitude problems with some other dogs, Kerry Blue Terriers are fiercely devoted to their families and are often extremely affectionate and loving around children.

  • Coat Care

    Kerry Blue Terriers' distinguishing feature is their blue coat with a slight gray tint. Puppies are born black. Their coat gradually transitions through a veritable color spectrum of grayish tints, through brown, gray and finally, grayish blue, before they develop their mature blue-gray coat after about 18 months. They have long, flat heads covered in facial furnishings. They have noticeable eyebrows, beards and whiskers surrounding their face. The hair is soft, wavy and fine, which gives it a similar texture to human hair. Kerry Blue Terriers' coats should not have a wire, bristle or harsh texture.

    Kerry Blue Terriers need to be brushed just about daily to make sure their distinctive coat retains its shape and stays free of mats. Pay special attention to the longer hair on the legs and the long facial furnishing. Using a metal rake comb, comb the facial furnishings gently from the root to the end of the hair.

Kerry Blue Terrier
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Kerry Blue Terriers may need some extra brushing around their face and legs. Pay special attention to the longer hair on the legs and the long facial furnishing. Using a metal rake comb, comb the facial furnishings gently from the root to the end of the hair.

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With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but breeds with curly and wavy hair should be done more frequently, usually in the six-to-eight week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.

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Hair Clipping

They have no under coat, so they do not shed. Instead of shedding, the coat tends to mat when it grows too long. Their compact bodies are covered in a soft, wavy coat that should be clipped or trimmed into a tidy appearance. The coat around the ears, face and cheeks should be clipped so as to make the facial furnishings stand out. Kerry Blue Terriers should be trimmed and shaped every month to make sure their coat stays healthy and their profile is defined.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

If you want your Kerry Blue's ears to develop the characteristic folded look, tape the ears down when they are puppies.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.