Kerry Blue Terrier

History

The Kerry Blue Terrier originates from County Kerry in Ireland, where it was bred as a working dog. Used to hunt vermin, birds and rabbits, as well as guarding the farm, plus herding sheep and cattle. The exact origins are unknown, but crosses were made with the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Bedlington and possibly the Portuguese Water Dog. It is a very popular breed as an all round farm dog and pet in Ireland and was the first breed officially registered with the Irish Kennel Club.

Behaviour

The Kerry Blue is a typical Terrier. They like to dig, chase and have an independent nature. They are sturdy dogs who cope well with rough games and knocks from children; they like children and are usually very patient with them. They an be protective of their family, but this is usually 'bark-based' protection, as they are rarely aggressive towards people. They are more often than not fine with strangers coming into the house' subject to early socialisation. Kerrys make good watchdogs and like to bark, often. One of the first things you will need to teach them is the 'quiet' command. They are a people orientated breed and will need lots of interaction. They like to participate in family activities and dislike being left alone for too long. Their intelligence mixed with boredom can lead to destructive behaviour. Kerry Blues are loyal, affectionate and devoted to their family, but strong willed and stubborn. They will quickly try and work out a way to get what they want from you and need a confident, firm owner. They are clever but training can be slow going; starting with puppy classes and moving on to adult classes is the best option. Training is for life, as they will try and push boundaries - they do love to please, so are well suited to a fun, consistent approach to training. They can also be sensitive to harsh words or corrections. Kerry Blues are well known for dog aggression, so early socialisation will help to some extent. However, even if neutered, males can still be funny with other male dogs (and females) and will never back down if challenged. They are fit, active dogs who need plenty of regular exercise. A quick walk around the block is not enough for them, they need long walks and the chance to burn off physical and mental energy. Their prey instinct is high and they will chase rabbits, squirrels and the neighbourhood cat. Walking in a fenced area is best, but if not possible a long walk on a lead. They excel at agility and obedience training and this really helps keep them mentally happy.

The soft, dense coat requires a fair amount of attention. It is considered non shedding but needs brushing every day/other day to keep it looking tidy. The coat will need bathing and trimming every six - eight weeks or so. Like most Terriers, Kerry Blues are a hardy, healthy breed. They can be prone to Canine Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts and Entropion (Eye lids folding inwards causing irritation).

Temperament

Kerry Blue Terriers have an adventurous, sensitive and intelligent temperament. They love to run off exploring their surroundings when taken out and when taken home they expect nothing less than to be in the centre of the family getting all the attention.

Not so good with other pets and usually reserved with strangers the Kerry Blue Terrier will need firm but fair training in order to show him whose boss.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect the Kerry Blue Terrier include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), allergies, skin growths, cancers (particularly hair follicle and breast), spiculosis (abnormal spike like hairs), entropion (inward rolling of eyelid tha can cause irritation to eyeball), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: dengeration of the retina which can lead to blindness) and cataracts.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 9 - 15 years
  • Weight: 14 - 18 kg
  • Height: 17 - 19"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Pest Control Dog
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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