The Kerry Blue Terrier is an energetic and often rambunctious dog who loves to play hard. They are true family dogs who love to be surrounded by the ones they love and insist upon being included in all family activities. They have enough stamina to accompany people on long walks and hikes, but prefer yard games like catch, fetch, or plain old games of tag. Kerry Blues can be trusted around children of all ages, though their yen for rough housing makes them a poor choice for homes with toddlers. They are reliable watchdogs, quick to sound the alarm that someone is approaching, and they are fearless protectors of their property and family. They are not aggressive, however, unless absolutely provoked and are a great choice for families with experience raising dogs.
This mid-sized terrier needs a lot of physical and mental activity in order to maintain happiness and health. They have energy to spare, and just when you think you've tired our your Kerry Blue, he'll come back for more. This breed is not for couch potatoes, and don't do well in apartments. Houses with open space and a yard to play in are the ideal living situation for a Kerry Blue Terrier. They need about one hour of vigorous exercise every day which can include brisk walks, jogs, or romping in the yard.
In addition to physical activity, it is important to keep the Kerry Blue's mind active. A bored Kerry is a destructive Kerry. Agility training is a good option to work both his mind and his body.
Kerry Blues are highly intelligent dogs and can be difficult to train. They spend a lot of time observing and reading the behavior of those around them and will use what they've learned to manipulate the situation whenever possible. Training should be done with confidence and consistency, as the Kerry Blue will take a mile if given an inch. Positive reinforcement and lots of treats are a must, as is mixing up the routine. Kerry Blues will become bored doing the same thing over and over.
Once consistent leadership has been established and basic obedience has been mastered, Kerry Blues should graduate on to advanced classes and agility training. Because they are so smart, they need a lot of mental stimulation to stave off destructive behaviors, and these advanced activities will keep their mind and bodies sharp.
Kerry Blue Terriers need to be socialized early and often to accept new people and to learn to coexist with other animals. While Kerry Blues are rarely aggressive with other dogs, they will not back down from a fight if provoked. Teaching them to be even-tempered around other animals can minimize the possibility of a fight. Around people, the Kerry Blue needs to learn that strangers are not necessarily bad. They are protective dogs and unless they learn to identify the “good guys,” they will assume outsiders are bad.
Cats, birds, and other small pets should be kept away from Kerry Blue Terriers. They have a strong chasing and hunting instinct, and living amongst potential prey could be disastrous. Kerry Blues are best as the only pet in the house.