A Kerry Blue Terrier is a dog breed that comes from Kerry, Ireland. It was used for hunting, cattle herding, dog fighting, and guarding. Today, the Kerry is a companion and working dog.
Kerry Blue Terrier Appearance
Some characteristics of the Kerry Blue Terrier include a long head, flat skull, deep chest, and a soft wavy to curly coat that comes in several shades of blue (the term for “gray” in dog coats). Puppies are born black; the blue appears gradually as the puppy grows older, usually up to 2 years of age. The ideal Kerry should be 18-1/2 inches at the withers for a male, slightly less for the female. The most desirable weight for a fully developed male is from 33-40 pounds, females weighing proportionately less.
Kerry Blue Terrier Grooming
The coat care is extensive. The Kerry Blue Terrier doesn’t shed. The coat is close to the structure of human hair, similar to that of the Poodle or Maltese, and might be suitable for some people with allergies. But the Kerry owner will pay his dues. The coat never stops growing and the Kerry requires weekly brushing to prevent matting. They also need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks. The coat has only one layer and does not protect from the weather, cold, water, or mud. The Kerry should not be kept outside all the time and should dried immediately when back at home.
Kerry Blue Terrier Temperament
Kerry Blue Terriers are strong-headed and highly spirited. They are, together with the Airedale Terrier, one of the best-suited terriers for work. They are fast, strong, and intelligent. They do well in obedience, dog agility, sheep herding, and tracking. They have been used as police dogs in Ireland. They require an active, skilled owner who can provide them with early socialization and obedience training.
Because they can be dog aggressive and vocal, socialization from puppyhood is an absolute necessity to prevent future problems and veterinary bills.
As a long-legged breed, the activity level of the Kerry Blue Terrier ranges from moderate to high. Kerries require exercise daily; such as walks, jogs, agility-training, or other day care activities to keep them busy and occupied.
Kerries are loyal and gentle towards children.
Kerry Blue Terrier Health
Kerries are fairly healthy, however there are some genetic disorders that are prevalent in the breed. They are prone to eye problems such as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes), cataracts, and entropion. They sometimes get cysts or cancerous growths in their skin, but these are rarely malignant. Hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, cryptorchidism have also been reported. Progressive neuronal abiotrophy (PNA) is also seen. This condition is also referred to as Cerebellar cortical abiotrophy (CCA) or Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA). PNA is a disease of the nervous system, in which the cerebellum loses its ability to coordinate movement. PNA is believed to be genetic, but there is no test available that can detect carriers.
Another health issue that is skin related is that of spiculosis. This is a skin disorder that produces abnormally think hairs that are also called thorns, spikes or bristles. These cause pain and need to be removed by hand or when necessary surgically.