About Kerry Blue Terriers

The Kerry Blue is a handsome dog with a magnificent, distinctive blue gray, wavy coat of continuously growing hair, which has no undercoat to shed. There is no doggy odour even when wet and their skin produce very little dander. For these reasons they are sometimes recommended to people with allergies, as they may be more tolerable to live with. However, allergic reactions are unique to each person and it is recommended that the sufferer should spend time with a Kerry Blue in the dog’s living quarters to determine if the breed is suitable. To maintain this wonderful coat, the Kerry Blue requires frequent brushing and grooming.

The Kerry Blue measures 17–19.5 inches (43-50 cm) at the shoulders and weighs 33-40 pounds (15-18 kg). Females are usually slightly smaller. Puppies are born black and change colour as they mature, going through several colour variations as they age. The adult colour may vary from a dark slate colour to a silver hue, but remaining black is a fault and after eighteen (18) months of age is a disqualification in the show ring. The breed standard can be found below.

Like all terriers, Kerries can be scrappy with other dogs so early and on-going socialization is important. Kerries are a very intelligent, high-energy, determined and alert breed. They are happiest with a job to do such as Agility, Dock Diving, Herding, Obedience, Rally, Tracking and Therapy Work just to name a few. Regular exercise and a structured environment are needed to give them the needed stimulation and channel their intelligence and tenacity into acceptable behaviours.

Kerry puppies must have their ears pasted on the top of their head to ensure the correct ear carriage that gives them that keen terrier expression. Your breeder should help you set your Kerry’s ears or locate another breeder that can.

Kerries are a hardy breed with few genetic issues. Besides evaluating hips & elbows for signs of dysplasia with OFA x-rays, there are DNA tests breeders should conduct on their breeding stock to minimize hereditary issues in the puppies.

The Origins of the Kerry Blue

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium sized dog with the Irish attitude of his country of origin – Ireland – making him outgoing, athletic, active, loyal, independent, curious, intelligent, stubborn, watchful, friendly, sensitive, manipulative and mischievous with a great sense of humour.

The breed has been known in Ireland for about one hundred and fifty (150) years, originally found in the mountains of County Kerry around Lake Killarney. The Kerry Blue was a working dog used for hunting small game and birds, retrieving from land and water, guarding the family farm, herding the sheep and cattle and ridding the farm from pests and vermin.

Breed Standard

The breed standard outlines the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed, and ensures that a dog can carry out its original purpose. Breeders and judges should be mindful to prioritize dogs that are healthy and sound in both mind and body.

General Appearance

The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well knit and in good balance, showing a well-developed and muscular body with definite terrier style and character throughout. A low-slung Kerry is not typical.


The ideal Kerry should be 47 cm (18 ½ in) at the withers for a Dog, slightly less for a Bitch.

In judging Kerries, a height of 46-50 cm (18-19 ½ in) for a Dog, and 45-48 cm (17 ½-19 in) for a Bitch should be given primary preference. Only where the comparative superiority of a specimen outside of the ranges noted clearly justifies it, should greater latitude be taken. In no case should it extend to a Dog over 51 cm (20 in) or under 45 cm (17 ½ in), or to a Bitch over 50 cm (19 ½ in) or under 43 cm (17 in). The minimum limits do not apply to puppies.


The most desirable weight for a fully developed Dog is from 15-18 kg (33-40 lb), Bitches weighing proportionately less.

Coat and Colour

Coat soft, dense, and wavy. A harsh wire or bristle coat should be severely penalized. In show trim, the body should be well covered but tidy, with the head (except for the whiskers) and the ears and cheeks clear. The correct mature colour is any shade of blue grey, or grey blue from deep slate to light blue grey, of a fairly uniform colour throughout except that distinctly darker to black parts may appear on the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet.

Kerry colour, in its process of “clearing” from an apparent black at birth to the mature grey blue or blue grey, passes through one or more transitions – involving a very dark blue (darker than deep slate) shades, or tinges of brown, and mixtures of these, together with a progressive infiltration of the correct mature colour.

Up to 18 months, such deviations from the correct mature colour are permissible without preference and without regard for uniformity. Thereafter, deviation from it to any significant extent must be severely penalized.

Solid black is never permissible in the show ring. Up to 18 months any doubt as to whether a dog is black or a very dark blue should be resolved in favour of the dog, particularly in the case of a puppy. Black on the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet is permissible at any age.


Long, but not exaggerated and in good proportion to the rest of the body. Well balanced, with little apparent difference between the length of the skull and foreface. Skull flat, with very slight stop, of but moderate breadth between the ears, and narrowing very slightly to the eyes.

Cheeks clean and level, free from bumpiness.

Muzzle: jaws deep, strong and muscular. Foreface full and well made up, not falling away appreciably below the eyes but moderately chiselled out to relieve the foreface from wedginess.

Nose black, nostrils large and wide.

Mouth: Teeth strong, white and either level or with the upper (incisors) teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth.

Eyes dark, small, not prominent, well placed and with a keen terrier expression. Anything approaching a yellow eye is very undesirable.

Ears V-shaped, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog, of moderate thickness, carried forward, close to the cheeks, with the top of the folded ear slightly above the level of the skull. A “dead” ear, hound-like in appearance is very undesirable.


Clean and moderately long, gradually widening to the shoulders upon which it should be well set and carried proudly.


Shoulders fine, long and sloping, well laid back and well knit. Legs moderately long with plenty of bone and muscle. The forelegs should be straight from both front and side view, with the elbows hanging perpendicularly to the body and working clear of the sides in movement, the pasterns short, straight, and hardly noticeable.


Back short, strong, and straight (i.e., level), with no appearance of slackness. Chest deep and of but moderate breadth. Loin short and powerful with a slight tuck-up, the ribs fairly well sprung, deep rather than round.


Strong and muscular with full freedom of action, free from droop or crouch, the thighs long and powerful, stifles well bent and turned neither in nor out, hocks near the ground and when viewed from behind, upright and parallel with each other, the dog standing well up on them. Feet should be strong, compact, fairly round and moderately small, with good depth of pad free from cracks, the toes arched, turned neither in nor out, with black toenails.


Should be set on high, of moderate length and carried gaily erect. The straighter the tail the better.


Both forelegs and hind legs should move straight forward when travelling, the stifles turning neither in nor out.


Any departure from the aforementioned ideals shall be considered faulty to the degree in which it interferes with the health and well-being of the dog and the breed’s purpose.

  • An undershot mouth should be strictly penalized.


  1. Solid black.
  2. Faking or dyeing.

Scale of Points

Shoulders and chest
Legs and feet
Hindquarters and stern
General conformation and character