Kerry Blue Terrier
(aka: Irish Blue Terrier, [Nickname: Kerry)
Although born black, the Kerry Blue Terrier's coat should have developed into a beautiful blue/gray color by the time he is around a year and a half old. The coat of the Kerry Blue Terrier is abundant, wavy, and soft, and the distinctive feature of the breed is the profuse facial hair, which makes these dogs stand out from the crowd. This is a medium sized dog, with a sturdy and robust build. The Kerry Blue Terrier reaches around 17-19 inches for females, and around 18-20 inches for males. In terms of weight the female Kerry Blue Terrier weighs in at around 30-35 pounds, and the male from around 35-40 pounds.
Kerry Blue Terrier Temperament
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a lovable, gentle, and sociable dog, with a high degree of intelligence and plenty of enthusiasm. This energetic breed loves to play and spend time sharing activities with his family - this is not the breed for those with little time for their pets, as these dogs can otherwise get bored and destructive. Lively and confident, the Kerry Blue Terrier can make a good family pet, but is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. This is because this breed can be headstrong and quite manipulative, requiring a confident, assertive owner who known what they are doing in terms of training.
It is important to make sure that your Kerry Blue Terrier is socialized from an early age to ensure that he develops a well balanced temperament and personality. These dogs make effective watchdogs, as they are protective, but some can be a little too protective. These dogs get along well with children who are gentle, but do not appreciate being handled roughly. He can also be quite possessive of his belongings and food. These dogs will not readily stand down if challenged by another dog, and if you have other pets such as cats you will need to ensure that your dog is socialized early on. The Kerry Blue Terrier may be wary around strangers.
The grooming requirements for the Kerry Blue Terrier are pretty high, so you will need to be prepared to put some work in to keep that lustrous wavy coat in good condition. You will need to brush and comb the coat of the Kerry Blue Terrier on a weekly basis, and you will need to ensure that his beard is kept clean and brushed each day. You will need to keep the hair around the bottom clipped for hygiene reasons, and also clip the hair on the head once a month or so. The coat on the body will also need to be clipped or shaped with scissors to keep it trim. You should regularly check that the dog's ears are clean and dry and reduce the risk of ear infections. When properly groomed the Kerry Blue Terrier is a low shedder, and may therefore suit allergy sufferers.
The Kerry Blue Terrier originated in the County Kerry region of Ireland in the 1700's. Originally a mountain dog, the naturally heavy coat kept them warm throughout different climates. The Kerry is the national terrier of Ireland, and has become Ireland's symbol. The dog's coat may have been derived from the Portuguese Water Dog with its signature silky, wavy coat; it may also have been derived from Irish Wolfhounds, the soft coated Wheaten Terrier, or the classic Irish Terrier.
The Harlequin Terrier has reportedly made an appearance in Irish history, with many similarities and qualities as the Kerry Blue Terrier. The Kerry Blue has been used as a farm dog, house guardian, police dog, and small game hunter. They have consistently been family companions and are often involved with police research and work involving hunting. They are easy to train and can perform a variety of tricks. Today, the Kerry Blue Terrier is most commonly a companion and home guardian.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is easy to train and socializes well with new owners, companions, and masters. They are best trained at an early age and can be taught key obedience skills in a matter of a few weeks. The Kerry Blue Terrier is a natural problem solver and can become very independent quickly. They enjoy challenges, and will pick up new skills and behaviors after only a few trials. They may have difficulty with inconsistency and constantly-changing surroundings; still, these dogs will adapt well and enjoy positive encouragement and attention from their owners.
The first step in training the Kerry Blue Terrier is to make sure obedience is fun; they need to be excited about following the rules, and they will respond well to training that is intermixed with play. They can become quite attached to a favorite toy, ball, or other physical object and will shape and learn behaviors when they can be playful and relaxed. Since these dogs learn so quickly, speed and repetition are only important in the beginning. These dogs will pick up new skills relatively easily and may become bored; it is important that they are offered a wide range of activities to explore, grow, and adapt to.
The Kerry Blue Terrier responds immediately to body language and tone, and it is essential that they are praised outwardly and given plenty of physical affection. These dogs are quick, alert, and attentive; they are naturally agile and will rarely miss an opportunity to prove that they have successfully completed a task or project. Making sure the dog is corrected when it has misbehaved is an important part of training, and they will respond positively with consistency and firmness. A simple 5-10 minute session once or twice per day is the ideal amount of training for these dogs. Mixing play with each training session will ensure that these dogs are given ample amount of variety in their learning process.
The life expectancy of the Kerry Blue Terrier is around 12-16 years, and there are a number of health problems associated with the breed, although it is largely a fairly hardy and healthy breed. Some of the health issues to look out for include blood disorders, HD, cataracts, benign cysts, skin problems, allergies, and thyroid problems. The parents of the Kerry Blue Terrier puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.