Back to all breeds
Kerry Blue Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier, also known as the Irish Blue Terrier, hails from Ireland and has a rich history that dates back to the 18th century. The breed was originally developed to hunt small game, control vermin, and act as a versatile working dog for farmers and hunters in the County Kerry region of Ireland. Over time, the breed's role expanded to include water retrieving and herding tasks. The exact ancestry of the Kerry Blue Terrier remains somewhat mysterious, but it is believed to be a product of several terrier breeds, including the Irish Terrier, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and possibly the Bedlington Terrier.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Irish Blue Terrier
Life Expectancy
12-15 years
Average Male Height
18-19.5 inches
Average Female Height
17.5-19 inches
Average Male Weight
33-40 pounds
Average Female Weight
27-32 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Wavy, Dense
Coat Colors
Black, Blue, Blue & Black, Blue & Silver, Blue & Gray, Gray, Silver, Silver Blue, Slate Blue, Gray
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Kerry Blue Terriers can suffer from canine multiple system degeneration, degenerative myelopathy, von Willebrand Disease I, clotting factor XI deficiency, retinal folds, entropion, cataracts, hip dysplasia, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, spiculosis, hair follicle tumors, cerebellar abiotrophy, and otitis externa. Genetic testing for hereditary conditions can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

The Kerry Blue Terrier is known for its lively and spirited personality. They are intelligent, curious, and confident dogs, making them excellent companions for active families. They form strong bonds with their owners and can be quite protective. However, early socialization and training are crucial to ensure they get along well with other pets and strangers. This breed is full of energy and requires regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and undesirable behavior.

Fun Facts

Kerry Blue Terrier puppies are born with a black coat that gradually changes to the characteristic blue-gray color as they mature. They should have the dominant gene for coat fading, which means that their black coat color starts to fade to gray and then to a solid slate blue-gray color by 18 months of age.

The Kerry Blue Terrier's history as a versatile working dog is reflected in its ability to excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, and even water sports.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is considered a national symbol of Ireland, representing its native roots and rugged charm.