The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized dog with an exquisite blue coat. The breed was named after its homeland – the Irish County of Kerry.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a temperamental bearded man with hipster bangs, who brings confusion and chaos to any dog pack but radiates endless good nature in the company of the owner. To make friends with a shaggy “Irishman”, no superpowers are required – representatives of this breed are loyal to any person with whom they have to share territory. However, if you are visiting a Kerry Blue Terrier for the first time, precautions will not hurt – dogs are reserved and cold in communication with strangers and do not try to disguise suspicion of strangers.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a dog with an impressive, but not very intelligible history. Experts still cannot establish the real ancestors of animals and are limited to unconfirmed guesses about the degree of relationship between Kerry Blue Terriers and other breeds. For example, it is generally accepted that the first bearded dogs were born from the mating of Irish wolfhounds with black and tan English terriers, which were later replaced by Bedlingtons and Wheaten Terriers. At the same time, the Irish, greedy for legends and sensations, continue to believe that the progenitor of the breed was a blue Portuguese water dog that escaped from a sinking Spanish ship and was picked up by the farmers of the Emerald Isle.
In the 19th century, the possession of a Kerry Blue Terrier was a must for Irish peasants. However, the practical villagers did not want to keep the animals “for their beautiful eyes”, so the four-legged pets were forced to do any work they could – catching water rats, grazing flocks of sheep, guarding the owner’s property. The Kerry Blue Terriers began to master breed exhibitions at the very end of the 19th century. Along the way, the dogs were involved in field trials, in which they achieved good results. As a result, it got to the point that the dog, which did not show its success in catching and feeding the animal at the exhibition, could not claim the champion title. But enterprising breeders got their bearings here as well, beginning to deliberately cultivate malice in their wards, for which caries received the nickname “blue devils”.
In the 1920s, Kerry Blue Terriers were standardized, and their owners began to unite into clubs. In 1922 the “Irish” were registered in England, two years later the American Kennel Club followed the same procedure. The breed penetrated the USSR in the 60s. Basically, these were individuals from Germany, which periodically flashed at all-Union exhibitions and even brought offspring. As for the formation and development of Russian carry lines, it is customary to call the Soviet pedigree specialist A.I. Kozlovsky the pioneer. On his initiative, the first collective kennel of the Irish Hippie breed was created in the USSR, from which several generations of healthy, spectacular outwardly, and mentally stable champions emerged.
Historically, Kerry Blue Terriers were typical farm dogs, which were kept not for their purity of blood, but for helping in household matters. Therefore, despite a century of show breeding, in the appearance of the breed, peasant solidity still slips, and sometimes an outright roughness of constitution. An abundant wavy coat helps to hide anatomical imperfections, thanks to which caries look dandy-elegant and extraordinary.
Sexual dimorphism for smoky “Irish” is also a typical phenomenon – usually, males have more powerful muscles and massive heads. The growth retardation in bitches is small: if the reference “boy” must be at least 45.5-49.5 cm at the withers, then for “girls” the ideal indicators are 44.5-48 cm. At exhibitions, strict requirements are imposed on the shape of the head and the fur texture of Kerry Blue Terriers. The highest score is assigned for them. By the way, if you do not look closely at the animal, it may seem that its hair is curly. In fact, the excessive “moodiness” of the dog is a serious drawback. True Kerry hair is wavy and soft, but by no means curly.
The skull is rather large, balanced, with a light stop. The muzzle is medium in size.
The correct representation of the breed is distinguished by large strong teeth and a scissor bite. A straight bow of the dentition is also allowed. The dog’s jaws are strong and grippy. The mouth, as well as the upper and lower gums, should be black.
The harmoniously developed lobe of the nose is painted in a charcoal black tone and has large, wide-open nostrils.
Eyes of medium size, normal shallow set, with dark hazel or just dark iris. The Kerry Blue Terrier’s gaze is piercingly intelligent.
Neat thin ears are carried on the sides of the head, forming a fold in their middle part and dropping forward. For the ear cloth to take the correct position, it is glued to the Kerry Blue Terrier puppies. Ears begin to glue from the age of three months and end when the animal is seven months old. In some individuals, the process of forming cartilage tissue may be delayed. This is also normal, but it takes longer to glue on such “stubborn” ears.
The Kerry Blue Terrier’s necks are neither too long nor short, with strong bases.
Thoroughbred Kerry Blue Terrier is a stately pet, with prominent muscles and strong bones. The ideally horizontal, normal length back is “reinforced” by a strong loin. The animal’s chest is characterized by normal width and pronounced depth with rounded ribs.
For the front legs of the dog in a standing position, a straight position is characteristic, as well as a harmonious solidity of bone and musculature. The shoulder blades are oblique, well defined, and well adhered to the sides. The hindquarters are distinguished by their undercarriage, large thighs, and hardy hocks. Kerry Blue Terriers have small paws, but with very developed dense pads. The animal moves easily, spreading its front legs wide and making a powerful push with its hind legs. In this case, the head and tail of the running carry are carried as high as possible, and the back remains straight.
The breed has a very thin, straight, well-set tail.
The hair is lush, moderately soft, and wavy. The coat on the head and muzzle are especially developed.
The coat of an adult Kerry Blue Terrier is colored in all shades of blue, and may also have black marks on the body. In this case, all individuals are born black, gradually “lightening” by 1-1.5 years.
Animals cannot be exhibited in the show rings if they have pronounced defects in their exterior:
- undershot or overshot bite;
- gums of “meat” color;
- the yellow or lightened tone of the iris;
- bulging or saddleback;
- overly narrow chest;
- elbows away from the body;
- dewclaws on the hind legs, even if they were once removed;
- a cow-like or stilted gait that is not typical of the breed;
- any coat color other than that specified by the standard;
- tough, bristly dog.
Individuals with an unstable psyche, demonstrating aggression or behaving cowardly, do not pass the exhibition selection and are disqualified. In addition, fines are imposed on dogs, which during the exhibition have to help to make the correct stance (to raise the tail and head).
When describing the nature of the Kerry Blue Terriers, it is customary to quote E.S. Montgomery, who argued that the breed differs from the inhabitants of Ireland only by the fact that its representatives do not smoke pipes. For all other parameters, the “sparkling” temperament of animals completely copies the mentality of the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle. Playful, startling with a twist, adoring daring fun and the same fights, Kerry Blue Terriers are the type of pets with whom all life goes in anticipation of a surprise.
A true Kerry Blue Terrier is, first of all, a human-centered creature. A puppy brought into the house quickly joins the family and learns to get along with each of its members, without appointing just one confidant. Children are pleasant companions and playmates for an animal. By the way, unlike large breed dogs, caries does not see children and adolescents as a lower caste, the representatives of which should be treated condescendingly, but whose demands should not be responded to. Moreover, the natives of green Erin will willingly go with your heirs to the training ground and listen to the commands given by the young owners.
But with fellow tribesmen, Kerry Blue Terriers have a C grade. Maybe because, having seen another dog, the “Irishman” will not miss the opportunity to show off and demonstrate his own invincibility. Actually, 90% of conflicts with four-legged brothers begin with such provocations: the carry teases, the enemy makes a warning “Rrrr!” – and a senseless fight flares up. There is an opinion that Kerry Blue Terriers are desperate cat-haters, but clarification is required here: dogs only chase unfamiliar kitties. Purr, who from an early age shared a living space with a dog, has the right to count on indulgence.
As for the watchdog abilities of the breed, you can rely on them. True Kerry Blue Terriers do not suffer from idle talk, and if they bark, then really about it. Of course, we are not talking about ill-bred pets using the voice for boredom. Some carriers are capable of letting a stranger into the house, but certainly not letting out of it. Usually, the dog blocks the exits from the premises and carefully studies the behavior of the stranger. The reaction to any threatening gesture (a wave of the hand, an attempt to push the tailed guard aside with a kick of the foot) should be harsh and immediate. By the way, the bites of the breed are painful and deep.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is incredibly jumpy and painfully curious, so there are no forbidden places for him in the apartment, there are simply underexplored ones. At the same time, he is neat in everyday life, and even despite the habit of gnawing something solid at his leisure, he does not suffer from destructive behavior and does not have fun with howling. In the absence of the owner, the pet can find a peaceful occupation or take a sweet nap on the carpet until one of the family members appears in the house. And the Kerry Blue Terrier is a born humorist, easily transforming into a clown with a wild imagination and an inexhaustible supply of practical jokes. Be mentally prepared for funny tricks, weird tricks with surrounding objects, and a funny pantomime with a four-legged darling.
Each Kerry Blue Terrier is a bright personality, so even an experienced dog handler cannot predict how easy it will be to train a particular puppy. However, almost all trainers note the breed’s innate obstinacy when it comes to coercion into classes. The reason for stubbornness lies in the fact that it is difficult for a carry to concentrate on things that seem boring to him. In addition, this comrade constantly switches to external stimuli, such as a slipping mouse or a fellow tribesman looming on the horizon. So you need to work out teams and sports skills with the breed quickly (10-minute exercise is the limit), persistently, but without unnecessary authoritarianism.
The boundaries of socialization and acquaintance of the pet with the surrounding reality on a walk should be adjusted by a leash (not a harness). Do not forget, “Irish” love to provoke conflicts with other dogs. They bring up Kerry Blue Terriers, relying on standard methods. First, the puppy is taught to have a single daily routine, the ability to respond to his own nickname, and the elements of etiquette. Attempts to swoop down on a person, bite, growl, and, in general, any demonstration of superiority must be suppressed. Kerries are typical dominants, who only need to give in once so that they have time to sit on the owner’s head.
The first commands in the life of every Kerry Blue Terrier – “Place!”, “You can’t!” and “Come to me!” The easiest way to teach a puppy to go to his corner is to take him there after eating and, holding the animal with his hands on the bed, quietly but convincingly pronounce the command (“Place!”). You can read about how to properly practice the beckoning and other basic orders in the training books “Don’t growl at the dog” by K. Prior, “The ideal dog does not walk the owner” by M. Rutter, “Dog without problems”, as well as “Obedience to the dog “V. Gritsenko. Remember also that at the beginning of training it is a gross mistake to call an animal for punishment or to take it away from a walk. The Kerry Blue Terrier is not such a simpleton as to obey the command that limits his entertainment.
Punishments in the life of a pet should take place when it is caught red-handed. There should be no retroactive “repression” and no beating. They also do not punish for not understanding the requirements, fear of something, as well as for too slow execution of commands. It is not recommended to catch the Kerry Blue Terrier to prevent him from doing what you do not like, and also to spank the dog with a leash. In the first case, the animal will perceive “catch-up” as a fun game, not forgetting to write off a hundred points from your authority. And in the second, he will quickly understand that there is a danger to the sides in the strap, and in the future will not allow himself to be fastened.
Modern Kerry Blue Terriers are domestic dwellers in every sense. They are not demanding space and are content with a modest stove bench somewhere in the corner, provided that the sun penetrates there and does not blow out a draft. As a puppy, and at quite a respectable age, “Irish” love to sharpen their teeth on objects. To do this, buy special toys for your pet and update them periodically – rubber balls and tweeters cannot resist the sharpness of a dog’s teeth for a long time. From time to time, toys can be replaced with raw vegetables – carrots, cabbage leaves, and other “goodies”.
It is important to monitor your puppy’s legs and posture. In the first 6 months of life, Kerry Blue Terriers are not allowed to climb and descend stairs on their own. It is also impossible to play “tug” with a dog – it is easy to distort an animal’s bite during such entertainment, but it is almost impossible to fix it. Adults need to be walked twice a day, spending at least two to three hours on promenades and sports exercises. Puppies are allowed to breathe and satisfy toilet needs up to 5 times a day. When the pet reaches 6 months of age, the number of excursions is reduced to three.
The fur of the Kerry Blue Terrier is not harmed by frequent bathing, so in the warm season, you can swim with your dog in open water at least every day. As for a full-fledged wash with shampoos and conditioning compounds, it is permissible to arrange it once a week or two. It is advisable to comb the Kerry more often. Breeders recommend combing the puppies’ coats daily to speed up the junior hair change process. Adults are recommended to massage with a metal comb at least twice a week.
To maintain the glamorous look of the dog’s “fur coat” hair is supposed to be cut regularly – trimming is contraindicated for the breed. The cutting process is carried out in the following sequence:
- comb the wool, taking apart the tangles, if any;
- wash your dog with dry hair shampoo;
- allow the pet to dry naturally – the hairdryer is not used at all, or it is used, but the hair is not
- combed during the drying process;
- comb the completely dried coat against the growth.
Ideally, the Kerry Blue Terrier should adopt a show stance, which will make it easier to trim, but in practice, you can do without it. The main thing is to train the dog to calmly respond to the procedure. The first haircut for puppies is done at 3 months of age, and then as the hair grows back.
Start to cut the dog from the head. First, the outer and inner parts of the ears are clipped with a clipper, and their edges are carefully processed with scissors. Thick bangs from above the eyes. The hair of the parietal zone is shortened either with a typewriter or with scissors, leaving a neat wave of the dog’s length on the forehead no more than 1 cm long. The areas of the temples, throat, and areas on the sides of the eyes are cut very short.
The hair on the back is removed with scissors, lifting it against the growth with a metal comb. The optimum length of coat on this part of the body is 2 to 5 cm. The same length is preferred on the sides and chest. The neck is also treated with scissors from the back of the head to the withers. In this case, it is important to make the transition as smooth as possible, since as the neck approaches the forearms, the length of the hair should increase.
The outer part of the tail continues the line of the back and is cut in the same way. But on the inside of it, the dog must be shortened as much as possible. Particular attention is paid to the area under the tail. The hair around the anus should be very short. Otherwise, waste products will stick to the regrown curls.
For show individuals, the hair on the legs and lower part of the chest is not cut, only carefully combed first down, then against growth. Although for pets, especially young ones, trimming the limbs will not hurt. The beard and mustache require special care, which is very lush in Kerry Blue Terriers. Hair in the corners of the mouth is usually removed, and too thick hair on the muzzle is milled with scissors. The hairs between the toes and on the bottom of the paws are removed to form a rounded outline. On the outside of the fingers, the hair is not removed.
Increased attention is needed for the pet’s eyes. Like most breeds with “woolen” faces, Kerry’s eyes are slightly leaking, which is especially evident in puppyhood, as well as in individuals with overgrown, unkempt bangs. Every day, the folds of the eyelids and eyeballs of the dog should be wiped with a cloth dampened in warm water. It is also permissible to use drops from excessive lacrimation, for example, “Diamond Eyes”.
Check the ears of the Kerry Blue Terrier once a week and remove excess sulfur from them, if any. The procedure will require a clean cloth (no cotton swabs) and any hygiene lotion for dog ears. In addition, get ready to systematically pull out abundantly overgrown hair from the ear funnel, which reduces hearing acuity and provokes inflammation. This will have to be done manually, in several steps.
Hygiene of Kerry’s beard and mustache is an indispensable item in the care of the breed. At home, it is better to pull off the hair on the chin with an elastic band. This will make it easier to wipe clean after each feed. Once every two weeks, the dog is entitled to a “pedicure”. After trimming the nails, it is also useful to fill the plate with a nail file.
The Kerry Blue Terrier’s teeth should be brushed and cleaned with veterinary toothpaste. But if the animal is not accustomed to such a procedure, the problem will have to be solved in alternative ways. For example, adding tomato juice to your pet’s food or chewing treats from a pet store.
It is better to feed the Kerry Blue Terrier according to the regimen, organizing the food so that the dog is in good condition, but not fat. From natural products, the following are optimal for the breed:
- raw lean meat – beef, horse meat, goat meat, lamb;
- boneless fish, raw or stewed in oil – hake, navigate, cod, but not more than 2 times a week;
- low-fat kefir, cottage cheese, occasionally cheese;
- once a week, a chicken egg – boiled white and raw yolk;
- vegetables and fruits, except legumes;
- cereal porridge – buckwheat, rice;
- young greens – nettle, dandelion leaves, lettuce, parsley;
- vitamin supplements and delicacies – seaweed, sauerkraut, dried fruits.
It is forbidden to treat a puppy with tubular and bird bones, but sometimes you can allow a little pampering in the form of lamb ribs. Kerry blue terrier meat is always chopped into pieces, but never minced. Serve cold cuts for breakfast and dinner.
In addition, it is important to remember that up to a year old Kerry Blue Terriers require mineral supplements and ready-made vitamin complexes. They do not buy dietary supplements only for individuals who, from the first months of life, eat dry food (of course, high quality). The frequency of feeding the Kerry Blue Terrier: up to 4 months – four times a day, from 4 months to six months – three times a day, from 6 months onwards – two meals a day.
The average life expectancy of representatives of the breed is 13 years. However, with good care, many individuals can overcome this age bracket. There are also known cases when the “Irish” ended up at the age of 18. Kerry is less susceptible to hereditary diseases than most pedigree tribesmen. For example, joint dysplasia, which affects many large to medium-sized dogs, occurs in a very small number of Kerry Blue Terriers. But the “Irish” periodically have a joint subluxation, which can be caused both by the consequences of trauma and genetically.
Hypothyroidism, as well as von Willebrand and Addison’s diseases, are also common among immigrants from the Emerald Isle, but not as often as one might expect. The real problem for the breed is progressive neural abiotrophy. The disease is not cured, it is inherited, but it is still impossible to determine its carrier. The disease manifests itself in 2-6-month-old puppies, and by the year the animals are completely immobilized.
In Kerry Blue Terriers, keratoconjunctivitis is also detected, as well as the tendency of the integument to form epidermal cysts. In the first case, the disease can become chronic, and in the second, the growths on the skin are often infected. Not exactly a disease, but quite an unpleasant thing – calluses on the pads and between the toes. They form in Irish more often than in other dogs, provoking lameness.
Of the eye pathologies, the Kerry Blue Terriers “got” entropion and juvenile cataract. Middle ear inflammation is another common disease of the breed. Most often, individuals suffer from it, whose owners are too lazy to systematically clean their ears and pluck out overgrown wool from them.
How to choose a puppy?
Do not forget that all representatives of the breed are born with a black coat. If you are afraid of deception by the seller, get ready to buy one and a half-year-old individuals – by this age, the Kerry Blue Terriers acquire the traditional blue color.
- Choose country kennels where dogs lead a relatively free lifestyle, and not locked in four walls by ruthless breeder sellers.
- Specify what kind of food the breeder gives to his wards. If this is a cheap “drying”, do not expect to get a healthy animal from such a “thrifty” specialist.
- Rate the overall grooming of the litter. Are the puppies thin, how clean their fur and areas under the tail are, and are there fleas on their bodies?
- Even if the Kerry Blue Terrier is not bought for shows, check out the pedigree of its parents.
- This will allow you to better know the potential of the future pet.
- It is not always possible to diagnose a predisposition to hereditary diseases in advance. But if the breeder reports that his producers have been tested at least for genetic joint dysplasia, this is a big plus.