The Kerry Blue Terrier, also known as the Irish Blue Terrier, the Kerry or simply the Blue, originated in the mountainous regions of County Kerry, near Lake Killarney, Ireland. Legend has it that the Kerry’s ancestors were “Russian blue dogs” that swam ashore from a shipwreck in the Bay of Tralee in the late 1770s. This is an all-around working, guard, utility and companion dog, equally adept at hunting small game and birds, retrieving from water and on land, herding sheep and cattle and managing the population of vermin. The Kerry Blue Terrier is known for its intelligence, versatility and loyalty to its owners. It has been described as having a disposition “well nigh faultless, if a slight tendency to diminish the cat population is excepted.” The Kerry Blue Terrier is the National Dog of Ireland,and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1922, as a member of its Miscellaneous Class. Two years later, it became eligible for full AKC registration, as a member of the Terrier Group.
The ideal Kerry Blue Terrier stands 18½ inches at the withers, slightly less for a bitch. In the show ring, males from 18-19½ inches, and females from 17½ -19 inches, are preferred. The desired weight for a fully developed dog is from 33 to 40 pounds, again with females weighing slightly less. The Kerry Blue’s coat should be soft, dense and wavy – never harsh, wiry or bristly. Color is important in this breed and should be any shade of blue gray or gray blue, from deep slate to light blue gray, and should be uniform in color, except that darker black points are permissible. Puppies typically are born black and then “clear” their color over time. At 18 months of age, if a Kerry’s coat has not faded to an acceptable color, it is not acceptable for the American show ring.