Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier is an ultimate working terrier breed. It was bred for the purpose of vermin control, herding sheep, hunting, and general farm work. This is not a wildly popular dog breed in the US, but it certainly has its lovers and enthusiasts that praise this breed for their spectacular working ability.

The Kerry Blue Terrier got its name from the Kerry County in Ireland, the place where this breed first came to life. These dogs are usually very friendly towards people but might take some adjusting when it comes to other dogs, especially of the same sex. If you already have a dog, this might not be the best fit for you.

Kerry Blue Terrier Height


17-19 in (43-48 cm)

Kerry Blue Terrier Weight


33-40 lb (15-18 kg)

Kerry Blue Terrier Origin



Kerry Blue Terrier Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years

Breed History

The Kerry Blue Terrier was bred as a working terrier breed in the mountainous area in the Kerry County in Ireland. These dogs have always been employed on Irish farms and have had many different jobs. Their main preoccupation was vermin control. These dogs are known to be one of the best ratters in the world. However, that wasn’t their only job and most of these dogs were also in charge of herding livestock and sheep and hunting small game like foxes or badgers.

The Kerry Blue Terrier has an aggressive line that was carefully bred in the breed. Kerry Blue Terrier owners wanted their dogs to be fierce and fearless. In their early days, these dogs could not be judged at a dog show if they didn’t pass the “gameness” test. They had to catch a rabbit or a badger and only after that were they allowed to participate in the show. All these traits earned them the nickname “Blue Devil”.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

The Kerry Blue Terrier has a deep chest, a long head, and a flat skull. These dogs are usually well-proportioned, muscular, and have a typical terrier built. Their most distinctive feature is their long “beard”.

Their coat is blue and an interesting thing is that these dogs are not born that way. Kerry Blue Terrier puppies are born black and their coat progressively changes color as they grow older. Their unique blue color is completely formed around the time when the dog turns 2.

FCI standard

The Kerry Blue Terrier is not the oldest breed in the world but nevertheless, it is fully registered and recognized by the biggest cynology union in the world - the FCI. As a full member, the Kerry Blue Terrier has a full breed standard in place.

The FCI placed these dogs in Group 3 (Terriers), Section 1 (Large and medium-sized Terriers). This standard has a defined size requirements for these dogs and it is 18 - 19,5 in (45,5-49,5 cm) for male dogs and 17,5 - 19 in (44,5-48 cm) for the females. Male dogs should weigh between 33 and 40 lbs (15-18 kg) while the females should weigh “proportionally less”.

This breed was registered by the FCI on the 2nd of April 1963.

AKC standard

The American Kennel Club is the governing cynology association in the USA and has fully accepted and registered the Kerry Blue Terrier dog breed. The AKC also has a full breed standard for these dogs and according to that standard, the male dogs should be 18 - 19 in (45,5-48 cm) tall and the females should be 17 - 19 in (43-48 cm) tall. The weight requirements are also the same as the FCI standard.

The Kerry Blue Terrier was registered by the AKC in 1922.

kerry blue terrier


Kerry Blue Terrier dogs have a soft and dense coat that doesn’t shed, but their coat requires a lot of maintenances. Daily brushing is required to keep the coat healthy and looking good. Many owners prefer to hire a professional to do the job with these dogs.

They will also need other basic care; brush their teeth at least three times a week. Check their ears for signs of infection and redness, bathe them regularly, and trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally.


Kerry Blue Terriers are active and require a lot of daily activities to be happy and healthy. With these dogs, you can take long walks, throw them the ball, or simply play various games inside. If their physical needs are met you will have the most lovable and calm dog at home and you don’t have to worry that your dog will misbehave.

Since this is a versatile dog breed it is a great participant in canine sports such as tracking, agility, rally or obedience.

Kerry Blue Terrier temperament

The Kerry Blue Terrier is one of the best working terrier breeds. They are very independent and have a great work ethic. These dogs love to dig so you might want to consider teaching them which part of the yard they are allowed to dig. Like many other terrier breeds, these dogs like to bark and chase smaller animals they could consider as prey.

Kerry Blue Terrier can be a treat to be around, just like most terriers, but you will need to withstand their negative sides. These dogs are not the friendliest towards other dogs and cannot stand being around other small pets. This is a trait that was carefully “bred into” this breed so it shouldn’t even be considered as a downside, it is just how these dogs are built.


Like any other dog breed, the Kerry Blue Terrier should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with.

There are many ways you can socialize your Kerry Blue Terrier, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people. They can learn to react accordingly and understand that they don’t need to be scared of strangers and other dogs. It is also possible to socialize and teach your dog how to handle other pets, although they might never learn to “play nice” with other pets due to their high prey drive.

Kerry Blue Terrier and kids

Kerry Blue Terriers are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member incuding children. Take note that kids needs to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Kerry Blue Terrier can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be their playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.

Kerry Blue Terrier and other animals

These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company

They are not the best fit for other pets. They have a strong prey drive, so they will most likely try and catch smaller animals such as gerbils, hamsters, squirrels, or rabbits. They can learn to get along with pets they are raised with, but our advice would be never to leave them unattended.

Health problems

Like any other dog breed, the Kerry Blue Terrier can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are: 

  • Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by the hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
  • Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
  • Cataracts - Cloudy spots on the lens of the eye
  • Entropion - A defect causing the eyelid to roll inward
  • Patellar luxation
  • Canine cancer - Just like humans, dogs can get cancer as well. Treatments include chemotherapy, medication, and surgery

The Kerry Blue Terrier is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 12-15 years.

Kerry Blue Terrier breeders

If you believe that this is the right breed for you and you want to get one of these dogs, make sure you get yours from a reputable Kerry Blue Terrier breeder. That is the only way you can be sure that your puppy will be as healthy and as good as possible.

Ask the breeder as many questions as possible and ask them to give you advice on living with a Kerry Blue Terrier. Allow them to help you make the best possible decision for you and/or your family.


World Dog Finder team


Updated at16.05.2021.