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The Kerry Blue Terrier (known in its home country as the Irish Blue Terrier) has been around for more than a hundred years.  Originally a multipurpose dog, used for hunting, herding, and other chores, and was prized for gameness, intelligence, and adaptability. The Kerry is a medium-size dog weighing 33 to 40 pounds; females are smaller, has a muscular body covered with a soft, dense, wavy coat of

blue-gray. Puppies are born black, and the coat should reach its mature color by the time the dog is 18 months old.

 

Kerry Blue Terriers are devoted to their people. They should have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, should be in the house with them.

 

Kerry Blue Terriers requires regular grooming, which includes thorough brushing at least twice a week, nail trimming, daily teeth brushing and professional grooming every 4-6 weeks to keep the coat in pristine condition. Coat and color are the Kerry’s defining characteristics. A proper Kerry coat is soft, dense, and wavy in any shade of blue gray, or gray blue. Those shades can range from deep slate to light blue gray, and could have darker to black areas on the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet.

 

The Terrier with the striking blue coat hails from, you guessed it, Ireland’s County Kerry,  a bit more than a century ago to be an

all-around farm hand and hunting dog. The Kerry did it all, from herding sheep and cattle to hunting and retrieving small game and birds on land and from water.

 

The Kerry Blue Terrier is smart but like any dog with a working background is an independent thinker. It’s important to give them a job to do, from daily training exercises to participating in a dog sport such as agility, obedience, rally, or tracking. Kerry Blue Terriers are active and athletic, enjoy long walks, jogging and hiking on leash, unless you’re in a safe, traffic-free area. Plan to take yours for at least a couple of 20-minute walks each day.

 

Early, frequent socialization is essential to prevent a Kerry Blue Terrier from becoming overly suspicious or fearful of anything new or different. Purchase a Kerry Blue Terrier puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people before they go off to their new homes. The Kerry Blue Terrier thinks for themselves, learns quickly and will respond to kind, firm, consistent training.

 

Kerry Blue Terriers have a high prey drive and will chase small furry animals, but if they are brought up with them, they can learn to live peaceably with indoor cats or smaller dogs. As typical terrier they may be aggressive toward other dogs. The Kerry Blue is a good playmate for older children.

 

Finding a quality breeder is a great way find the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out as many problems as possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.

Reputable breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with. They will come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you plan to provide. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps were taken to avoid them. A breeder should want to be a resource for you throughout your dog’s life.

Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include over availability, multiple litters on the premises, a choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.

 

When looking for your new best friend don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”, disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation.

-Vetstreet-