The Kerry Blue Terrier was originally known as the “Irish Blue Terrier” when it was developed round about 1912 . It is thought that the Bedlington Terrier was used as
part of the mix together with various Irish Breeds around at the time, but this is pure speculation since we can find no evidence available to suggest otherwise. There
have been two occasions when a Kerry Blue Terrier won Best In Show at Crufts. In 1979, saw Best In Show go to Ch/Am.Ch. Callaghan of Leander, followed in 2000
by Ch. Torum’s Scarf Michael.
The Kerry Blue Terrier was first observed in the mountains of Kerry in Ireland, hence the name of the breed. There is a romantic story of a blue dog swimming ashore
from a shipwreck: the coat of this dog was so lovely that it was mated with all the female Wheaten Terriers in Kerry (or in all Ireland, according to some), producing the
Kerry Blue. Perhaps this story is not entirely myth, as the Portuguese Water Dog is often suggested as part of the Kerry’s makeup. Others suggest the Kerry was
produced by the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier crossed with the Bedlington Terrier with (or without) some Irish Wolfhound or Irish Terrier blood. The extinct Gadhar
herding dog is also mentioned as another possible branch of the Kerry’s family tree. One certain fact is the breed became very popular as an all-around farm dog in rural
National Dog of Ireland;
With the development of dog shows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the breed became standardised and “tidied up” for the show ring. The Irish nationalist leader
Michael Collins owned a famous Kerry Blue named Convict 224. Collins even tried to have the Kerry blue adopted as the national dog of Ireland. Love of dogs did,
however, cross political divides. The first show of the Dublin Irish Blue Terrier club took place outside official curfew hours and was entered both by those fighting for
and against an Ireland republic. The Dublin Irish Blue Terrier Club was so successful it led directly to the foundation of the Irish Kennel Club, and a Kerry blue was the
first dog that club registered.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a compact medium-sized dog with a blue coloured wavy coat that is soft and silky. Puppies in this breed are born black.
DOG BREED GROUP – Terrier
HEIGHT – General: 1 foot, 5 inches to 1 foot, 7 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT – General: 33 to 40 pounds
LIFE SPAN – 12 to 15 years
Kerry Blue Terriers are fairly healthy, however there are some genetic disorders that are prevalent in this breed. They are prone to eye problems such as
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes), cataracts, and entropion. They sometimes get cysts or tumorous growths in their skin, but these are rarely malignant.
If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been clinically
tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
Entropion is the inward rolling of the eyelid, usually the lower one, and found in both eyes. It causes vision loss and irritation, and generally occurs before a dog turns a
year old. Corrective surgery when the dog reaches adulthood is an effective treatment.
This is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It’s thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma
,and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.
It’s not unusual for the Kerry Blue to develop lumps and bumps, usually epidermal cysts or sebaceous gland cysts that don’t cause a problem. If a cyst ruptures, however,
it can become infected.
Symptoms include abnormal swelling of a sore or bump, sores that do not heal, bleeding from any body opening, and difficulty with breathing or elimination. Treatments
for cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and medications.
Keratoses (of the nose and foot) is the development of corns, warts, and calluses on the feet or nose. Often painful, corns can be inherited and are associated with thin
pads or flat feet. Keratoses can be removed surgically or treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids.
Cataracts cause opacity on the lens of the eye, resulting in poor vision. The dog’s eye(s) will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and
sometimes can be surgically removed to improve vision.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca and pigmentary keratitis are two conditions seen in Kerry Blues and can occur at the same time, or individually. Dry eye is caused when the
eyes don’t produce enough tears to stay moist. Your vet can do tests to decide if this is the cause, which can be controlled with medication and special care. Pigmentary
keratits is a condition that causes black spots on the cornea, especially in the corner near the nose. If the pigment covers the eye, it can cause blindness. Your vet can
prescribe medication that will help keep the eyes moist and dissolve the pigment. Both of these eye conditions need life-long therapy and care.
CHRONIC OTITIS EXTERNA;
This is a chronic infection of the outer ear canal, often caused by excessive hair in the ear that fosters bacterial and fungal growth. The Kerry Blue can be prone to
infection. Treatment includes cleaning the ears and plucking the hair growing inside the canal.
PROGRESSIVE NEURONAL ABIOTROPHY (PAN);
This is a rare, inherited nerve disorder. Symptoms usually appear when the dog is between 2 and 6 months of age. By the time the dog is a year old, he can’t stand up.
There is no treatment, nor are there any tests that decide if breeding dogs are carriers of the condition. Research is underway to create testing for breeding stock.
This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip-joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t
display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip
dysplasia should not be bred — so if you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
Also known as slipped stifles, this is a common problem in small dogs. The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part (as a bone at a joint).
Patellar luxation is when the knee joint (often of a hind leg) slides in and out of place, causing pain. This can be crippling, although many dogs lead relatively normal lives
with this condition.