The affectionate, spirited, and gentle Kerry Blue Terrier temperament makes them a devoted and loyal family companion.
They get along great with children – even tolerant of rough-housing and playtime.
They can be dog-selective but if raised around other dogs they will be more tolerant. Watch them around smaller animals, though, as they have a strong prey drive.
Originating from Ireland’s County Kerry, the Kerry Blue Terrier would herd sheep and cattle, and hunt and retrieve small game and birds from water and land.
Today, the Kerry Blue Terrier enjoys his time as a loyal family companion.
Kerry Blue Terrier Temperament and Personality
The Kerry Blue Terrier temperament is the perfect mix for those who want an active family dog. However, while he’s great with kids, he’s not so great with other dogs.
They're Tried and True Family Dogs
Kerry Blue Terriers make excellent family dogs. They are good-natured with humans of all ages and love to participate in family activities. They are happiest when they are with their human pack.
Kerry Blue Terriers make fantastic watchdogs. They will warn their family of any potential “intruders.” Though they aren’t known as nuisance barkers, when they do bark, they sound intimidating.
They Love Children
The Kerry Blue Terrier adores children. Because they are sturdy, they don’t mind rough-housing. They aren’t known to get grumpy with kids, either.
They Aren’t the Best with Other Dogs
Kerry Blue Terriers may love children, but they aren’t the biggest fan of other dogs.
In fact, they may become aggressive. But, with socialization and training, they can learn to tolerate other dogs.
Don’t leave a Kerry Blue Terrier unsupervised around other dogs, though – even ones they do know.
Watch Out for Small Animals
Their strong prey drive means Kerry Blue Terriers do not do well around small animals unless you raise them together and introduce them properly. Still, do not leave them unattended with any other animal.
They Prefer a Yard
Kerry Blue Terriers need room to run. They will do best in a home with a securely fenced backyard.
Not Recommended for First-time Dog Owners
Kerry Blue Terriers are strong-willed and respond best to an equally strong owner who shows consistent leadership. Therefore, I don’t recommend them for first-time or inexperienced dog owners.
The Kerry Blue Terrier Appearance
The Kerry Blue Terrier size is medium.
They weigh between 33-40 pounds (females weigh slightly less).
Males stand between 18-19.5” in height and females are 17.5-19” tall.
As for colors, you can get a Kerry Blue Terrier in:
- Black, blue, or a combination of blue and black
- Slate blue
A Brief History of the Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a tried-and-true farm dog, working the farms of western and southern Ireland for over a hundred years.
In fact, they call him the Irish Blue Terrier in his native land!
Over the course of that hundred years, the Kerry Blue learned to hunt a variety of game, including vermin, birds, and other small creatures, both in water and on land. They also learned how to herd cattle and sheep!
For this reason, the Irish weren’t so eager to reveal their hard-working dog to the world.
Finally, in the early part of the 20th century, the Kerry Blue started popping up in dog shows in both America and England. The AKC formally recognized the breed in 1924.
How Do You Train a Kerry Blue Terrier?
Thanks to the Kerry Blue Terrier temperament they are extremely intelligent, but they are independent thinkers.
The best way to train a Kerry Blue Terrier is by giving them a job to do. That could be daily training sessions or enrolling them in dog sports.
Use positive reinforcement training methods filled with treats and praise to get the most out of your sessions.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
How Do You Housebreak a Kerry Blue Terrier?
No matter the breed, housebreaking a dog takes time and a whole lotta patience.
The thing to remember with a puppy is that he is essentially like a human baby: he has a tiny bladder, and so he’s going to have to eliminate rather frequently.
The general rule is that a puppy can “hold it” for as long as its age in months plus two.
So, if you adopt a three-month-old puppy, he should be able to go for five hours without needing to use the bathroom.
Of course, this can be a problem if you spend long hours out of the house, like at work, so either someone should be home with the pup to housebreak him, or you can crate train him.
Some people believe that a pup won’t…well…poop where he eats. And so, if they provide him with a clean, cozy crate, then the last place he would want to eliminate is his crate.
He would then take well to using a wee-wee pad or going outside to do his business.
However, the problem is that, if you leave him alone for too long, he won’t care where he is at some point, he needs to go.
So, if you lock him in his crate for eight hours while you’re at work, expect to come home to a soggy doggy.
Ideally, you don’t want to leave a puppy in a crate for longer than four hours. If you need to be away longer than that, have a friend, neighbor, or pet sitter check in on him and let him out so he can use the bathroom properly.
Read Our Article on Housebreaking a Puppy:
How Do You Groom a Kerry Blue Terrier?
Kerry Blue Terriers have a wavy, soft, and dense coat. They are considered a non-shedding breed, but Kerry Blue Terrier grooming is high maintenance.
They require daily brushing as well as trimming and bathes every four to six weeks.
Some owners opt for professional groomer services for trimming. But, because they are an uncommon breed, it can be difficult to find qualified Kerry Blue Terrier groomers.
The Kerry Blue Foundation site has a list of experienced groomers.
Is the Kerry Blue Terrier Hypoallergenic?
Yes. The good news is that the Kerry Blue Terrier's unique coat is “hypoallergenic.”
Now, no dog is truly allergen-free, but if you are susceptible to dog allergies, you are less likely to suffer around this breed. So, if you believed you’d never be able to have a dog, now you can – the Kerry Blue Terrier!
The Kerry Blue Terriers live between 12-15 years. However, they are prone to health conditions such as:
- Entropian (inward eyelid rolling)
- Hyperthyroidism (a thyroid gland disorder)
- Dry Eye
- Hip Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
Helpful Health Resource
While the Kerry Blue Terrier is moderately active, they also enjoy hanging out with their owner on the couch.
They do need daily exercise in the form of walks, jogs, or games of fetch in the backyard.
Kerry Blue Terriers love to be with their humans above all, so they will enjoy any activity you are doing. They also excel in dog sports like herding, obedience, and dock diving.
Finding the Perfect Kerry Blue Terrier
Ready to add this loyal and loving breed to your family? Now you must decide whether you want to add a puppy or adult to your pack.
Kerry Blue Terrier puppies from a breeder are perfect for families who have enough time to devote to them. Keep in mind that puppies require a lot of work and patience, though.
If you don’t have time to commit to raising a puppy, perhaps you should consider Kerry Blue Terrier adoption.
Dogs in rescue organizations are typically adults, so they are perfect for busy families who don’t have time for a puppy.
To find your perfect Kerry Blue Terrier, a great place to start is the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of America. They have both a breeder and rescue directory.
How Much do Kerry Blue Terrier Puppies for Sale Cost?
Purebred Kerry Blue Terrier puppies for sale will cost between $500-$600. The Kerry Blue Terrier price depends on bloodline, breeder location, and litter availability.
If you are on the hunt for a champion Kerry Blue Terrier, expect to pay closer to $600 or more.
The Kerry Blue Terrier cost for adoption is between $250-$450 depends on the rescue organization and location.
Kerry Blue Terrier Rescue and Adoption
Decided to go the rescue route? The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation is the perfect place to start.
Some dog owners will purchase Kerry Blue Terriers without realizing their personality and temperament. So, they may bring them to a shelter to get rehomed.
Kerry Blue Terrier rescue is a great option for those looking for an adult dog or even a Kerry Blue Terrier mix. Reach out to your local shelter to inquire if they have any Kerry Blue Terrier mixes available for adoption.
Kerry Blue Terrier Breeders
If you prefer buying a Kerry Blue Terrier for sale from a breeder, your first stop should be the AKC Marketplace. Find some breeders in your location based on the type of dog you’d like (gender, bloodline, etc.) and plan some visits.
Visits to Kerry Blue Terrier breeders are essential to determine if the breeder is reputable. Some questions to ask are:
- “Have you done health tests on the parents?”
- “How do you socialize your puppies and dogs?”
- “Do you provide a health guarantee?”
- “When will I be able to take the puppy home?”
- “How long have you been breeding?”
Uncertain How to Find and Appraoch a Breeder?
Kerry Blue Terrier Mixed Breeds
If you just love mixed breed dogs, then you’ll be happy to know that you can find a wide variety of Kerry Blue Terrier mixes out there. Here are a few examples of what to expect:
- Giant Kerry Blue Schnauzer (Giant Schnauzer mix)
- Kerry Blue Schnauzer (Schnauzer mix)
- Kerry Wheaten (Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier mix)
- Mini Kerry Blue Schnauzer (Miniature Schnauzer mix)
- Standard Kerry Blue Schnauzer (Standard Schnauzer mix)
Kerry Blue Terrier Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to some of the more common questions asked about the Kerry Blue Terrier breed:
Are Kerry Blue Terriers Barkers?
For the most part, no.
This is a breed who understands there a time and place for barking, and that if he overuses it, you won’t believe him when true danger is afoot.
Are Kerry Blue Terriers Natually Destructive?
By nature, Kerry Blues like to dig. This is a standard personality trait for Terrier dogs. The best way to combat it is to train them not to dig, and to keep them occupied.
Many dogs dig because they’re bored and frustrated. If you keep your dog active and keep an eye on him, you shouldn’t have to worry so much about him digging.
Would a Kerry Blue do well in an apartment?
The thing to remember about this breed, as you can tell from their history, is that they are active dogs who love when you keep them busy.
If you are okay with walking him at least three times a day, then yes, the Kerry Blue can adapt to apartment life. Else, he’s better off in a home with a fenced-in yard.
Conclusion: Why the Kerry Blue Terrier?
Bred as an all-around hunting dog and farmhand, the Kerry Blue Terrier temperament is affectionate and loyal.
Kerry Blue Terriers are great for active families and genuinely enjoy spending time with their humans. They do best when they have a large yard to run around in.
If you’re looking for a strong-willed yet gentle breed, the Kerry Blue Terrier is for you.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.