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Troy

Kerry Blue Terrier

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Troy   

The Kerry Blue Terrier

ANKC Standard

(from http://www.ankc.org.au/home/breeds_details.asp?bid=61 )

Group: Group 2 (Terriers)

General Appearance: Upstanding, well knit and proportioned, well developed and muscular body.

Characteristics: Compact, powerful terrier, showing gracefulness and an attitude of alert determination, with definite terrier style and character throughout.

Temperament: Disciplined gameness.

Head And Skull: Well balanced, long, proportionally lean, with slight stop and flat over the skull. Foreface and jaw very strong, deep and punishing; nose black; nostrils of due proportion.

Eyes: Dark as possible. Small to medium with keen terrier expression.

Ears: Small to medium and V-shaped; carried forward but not too high.

Mouth: Gums and roof of mouth dark with perfect, regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Neck: Strong and reachy, running into sloping shoulder.

Forequarters: Shoulders flat as possible with elbows carried close to body while standing or moving. Legs straight, bone powerful. Front straight, neither too wide nor too narrow.

Body: Short coupled with good depth of brisket and well sprung ribs. Deep chest. Topline level.

Hindquarters: Large and well developed, stifle bent and hocks close to ground giving perfect freedom of hind action.

Feet: Round and small. Nails black.

Tail: Docked: Set on high and carried erect.

Undocked: Set on high of moderate length to give an overall balanced appearance. Thick at the base and evenly tapering to tip, straight as possible and carried jauntily. An excessively gay or curled tail undesirable.

Gait/Movement: Free and powerful. Fore and hind legs moving straight and parallel, stifles turning neither in nor out.

Coat: Soft and silky, plentiful and wavy.

Colour: Any shade of blue with or without black points. Tan permissible in puppies, also a dark colour up to the age of 18 months. A small white patch on chest should not be penalised.

Sizes: Weight: Mature dog 15-17 kg (33-37 lbs)

Bitches proportionately less, 16 kg (35 lbs) is the most desirable weight to aim for.

Ideal height: Dogs 46-48 cms (18-19 ins) at shoulder

Bitches slightly less.

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Notes: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

3. How common is it in Australia?

4. What is the average lifespan?

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

9. How much grooming is required?

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

If you wish to contribute to the knowledge about this breed, please answer the above questions. (Copy and paste them into a new post).

  • Please only answer if you breed or own a pedigree example of this breed.
  • You do not have to answer all questions
  • Please keep posts limited to answering questions or for asking further questions if you require more (or expanded) information.

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merijigs   

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

I have exhibited Kerry Blue Terriers for the past eleven years and bred my first litter under the Merijigs prefix in December 2008.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

The Kerry Blue Terrier originated as an all-rounder farm dog in Ireland in the 19th century. They were used by small landholders to keep the house and farm buildings clear of rats, mice and foxes; they were used to herd livestock and as a guardian of the home and family. They were also used in the field for retrieving badger from their underground dens. A single badger ‘set’ could honeycomb up to an acre of ground and so was quite damaging to the farmers' small fields.

3. How common is it in Australia?

Quite uncommon. Only between 26 and 88 Kerries have been registered in any one year since 1986.

4. What is the average lifespan?

Generally between 12 and 15 years.

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

They are smart but independent thinkers. They love a play and are devoted and affectionate with family members. They are trustworthy with children as much as any dog can be. They are friendly and outgoing towards strangers. BUT...Kerry Blues are 100% terrier i.e. they have a strong prey drive and can be aggressive towards other dogs, cats, chickens, guinea pigs etc unless very well socialised with them. They are unsuitable for off-leash dog parks. They have a hair-trigger temper which can be mollified using a carefully planned combination of training and socialisation. Generally, intact males are intolerant of other males and intact females are intolerant of other females, especially if unsupervised. Should they make a mistake, Kerry Blues respond well to "time-out" for misdemeanours.

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

Kerry Blues are very adaptable and can adjust to a wide range of living circumstances. A brisk walk or a vigorous play session plus some basic obedience once a day will maintain physical and mental health. They love to be with their people and will shadow you around the house and yard.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

Yes as long as they know about their strong prey drive and can make a commitment to training and maintaining the dog securely. They would also need to be prepared for the high grooming requirement.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

I have always owned more than one however I think that a solo Kerry would be as able as any other breed to entertain themselves with enough bones, chew toys etc.

9. How much grooming is required?

The Kerry Blue Terriers’ beautiful wavy blue coat is a hallmark of the breed and will grow long and matted if neglected. For general maintenance the Kerry owner needs to be able to use a slicker brush to lift the coat away from the skin and a steel toothed comb to gently work tangles and mats out of the coat plus a bath using shampoo and conditioner about once a month. The coat needs to be periodically trimmed using scissors on the body and legs and clippers on the head, ears, throat, belly and behind. Most groomers can give a maintenance trim but the highly stylised clip of a show dog takes years of dedication to master.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

No, a Kerry Blue is a lively, energetic dog and does best with an active owner however they are also agile and careful of people and unlikely to blunder into a person.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

In general, Kerry Blue Terriers enjoy robust good health and do not experience common hereditary health problems. They are prone to benign skin conditions such as sebaceous cysts and “hot spots”.

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

Good advice is freely available on what general questions to ask the breeder. The personalities and health of the parent dogs, the everyday environment and vaccination schedule of the puppies can all be checked. More breeders are routinely screening for hip dysplasia although that does not seem to be a major issue for the breed.

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Sheridan   

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

My family got its first kerry in 1989. I now have the beautiful Miss Mini as mine and Grumpy's companion.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

One of the Irish farm dog breeds, as Merijigs notes in the 19th century. To add to the above, they were also what my dad called 'hearth' dogs because they would turn the spit and church the butter next to the fire. Indeed, I think this is a genetic memory because both my kerries love/d to sit in front of the fire. They have also been used as police dogs (like police officers, they like chasing).

3. How common is it in Australia?

Not common. Queensland seems to be the biggest kerry state.

4. What is the average lifespan?

Generally, 12-15 years. My first kerry was a pretty sick dog all his life. He died at ten.

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

The most terrier of the terriers to my mind. They're firey, which many people think is aggression. It can turn out that way if they're not socialised well. My first kerry was not socialised (we didn't know any better back then). He loved people but loathed other animals. To add to the list Merijigs posted above, I will add rabbits. There is a video at British Pathe of kerries at a badger trial. When I saw it, I thought, yep, typical kerry. Mini arks up at the littlest thing but responds very well to gentle correction and a bellow of 'Enough of your jib, miss!' My late, sainted Guinness responded to 'Suigh síos, tú bastaird.' (Sit down, you bastard). They can be very protective. They are highly intelligent dogs with a 'What's in it for me?' attitude.

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

Mini is very happy running around the yard and chasing after toys if we're unable to go out. She's also perfectly happy just sitting. As long as they are with their people, the kerry tends to be a contented dog. But, that said, they do love their walks and can go and go and go.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

I would be hesitant about a first time owner having a dog as prey driven as the kerry. As long as the dog is well socialised and trained, a first time owner could do well. I'd probably prefer someone with terrier experience, though. A badly reared dog is awful in any breed. They often get mentioned in DOL threads for non-shedding dogs but there hasn't been a 'What dog should I get? I want one that's non-shedding' where I've thought a kerry might suit.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

Certainly, as long as the dog has been brought up this way and is well occupied during the day.

9. How much grooming is required?

A weekly slicker and comb down to the skin with a monthly bath and trim should be good. I'd note that one of the hallmarks is the fall over the eyes.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

Mini is unused to children and doesn't quite know how to react to them. Guinness was very gentle with them but as with any breed, children should be supervised.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

Sebaceous cysts in the main, which in Guinness could become badly infected and had to be removed surgically. Most are unlikely to be a problem, however. Autoimmune diseases were a problem previously (Guinness had an autoimmune disease) but I haven't heard of this for years.

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

As Merijigs said. To that I would add that a breeder should be able to tell you what health problems have been in the pedigrees of the parents, if any, and what the breeder has done to overcome these.

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mushka   

Hello,

I am just beginning to research as I wont be getting a dog for a year or so :eek:

I think this is a beautiful looking breed and I love terrier feistiness but my biggest concern with descriptions of this breed are the mixed reports of dog-aggressiveness; do you think this is an issue with this breed? Is this a matter of training -could a well-socialized dog be trusted to behave off-leash in a dog park? Are there any breeders in Australia that breed for a calmer temperament or would this be considered off-type?

Thank you in advance.

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Sheridan   

A calm kerry is an oxymoron.

The main thing kerries are known for are sebaceous cysts. They are generally a healthy breed. Cancer is known as much as it is in other breeds. They don't seem prone to it as a heritable disease.

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merijigs   
Hello,

I am just beginning to research as I wont be getting a dog for a year or so :cry:

I think this is a beautiful looking breed and I love terrier feistiness but my biggest concern with descriptions of this breed are the mixed reports of dog-aggressiveness; do you think this is an issue with this breed? Is this a matter of training -could a well-socialized dog be trusted to behave off-leash in a dog park? Are there any breeders in Australia that breed for a calmer temperament or would this be considered off-type?

Thank you in advance.

Hi,

Yes, they are stunning looking dogs, real head-turners but that look is achieved through years of learning to do that highly stylised clip. A pet clip is all that is really needed to keep them tidy and neat and whilst not spectacular is still very smart.

I would have to say that whilst dog-friendly Kerries are known, they are unusual. The majority of Kerries would never be completely trustworthy in an off-leash dog park. Most Kerries are "dominance-challengers" with other dogs their whole lives and that is why owners need to set and reinforce behaviour guidelines consistently at home, even with the other household dogs which the Kerry knows well. For example, when one dog finishes eating first they might make a move to check out what's still in the bowl of the other dog who's still eating. A watchful owner will caution the first dog and let them know that move is not OK.

Temperament in the breed is the one topic which KBT breeders around the world refuse to discuss. They'll tell you their Kerries have wonderful temperaments so what is the issue? The reality is that many Kerry owners simply do whatever is necessary to manage their dogs so that they don't get themselves into trouble. I suspect that most Kerry owners actually like their breeds' extreme version of terrier feistiness. The real truth is probably a blend of the above.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to post or PM any further questions or comments.

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Sheridan   

Princess Mini does have a wonderful temperament but still, Inspector Rex is a no go zone on our telly.

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Dogsfevr   
A calm kerry is an oxymoron.

The main thing kerries are known for are sebaceous cysts. They are generally a healthy breed. Cancer is known as much as it is in other breeds. They don't seem prone to it as a heritable disease.

In our experience the cancer death rate for a low number of the breed is very high.Our rehomed boy died of cancer,my brothers import died of cancer & 3 we groom died of cancer

As for Temps people should never confuse the "all terrier attitude" to his nature around the home.

In home life the Kerry Blue is loyal,loving & very trustworthy amongst people.

Often around other dogs they can be fine BUT Kerrys may not start an issue but they will finish & knowing there body language enables you to read it well,

Our girl happily ran with our other dogs but we ne her limits & the signs & never had an issue

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Sheridan   
A calm kerry is an oxymoron.

The main thing kerries are known for are sebaceous cysts. They are generally a healthy breed. Cancer is known as much as it is in other breeds. They don't seem prone to it as a heritable disease.

In our experience the cancer death rate for a low number of the breed is very high.Our rehomed boy died of cancer,my brothers import died of cancer & 3 we groom died of cancer

The problem with that is these are just dogs of your acquaintance. My last kerry had cancer but as far as we could tell he died of a heart attack.

As for Temps people should never confuse the "all terrier attitude" to his nature around the home.

In home life the Kerry Blue is loyal,loving & very trustworthy amongst people.

Very true.

Often around other dogs they can be fine BUT Kerrys may not start an issue but they will finish & knowing there body language enables you to read it well,

Our girl happily ran with our other dogs but we ne her limits & the signs & never had an issue

My girl's doggy companion is a 14-year-old grumpy wheaten terrier. She's very cheeky with him. She'll push him out of the way a lot of the time but she acknowledges that he's in charge. As do I, naturally. She's far more obedient that he is.

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Purdie   

What would be needed to keep a pet Kerry in a puppy clip ? Can they be clipped short 2 or 3 times a year at the groomers and scissored in between by me at home ?

I can brush 2 or 3 times a week and bath monthly..Is it hard to brush or comb through the coat and how long would this take.? Is grooming a Kerry easy for the average owner to learn to do themselves.?

With dog aggression ;is the Kerry about the same as most Terrier breeds' eg a Bull Terrier' or is this more of a concern with the Kerry.?

Are female Kerrys less prone to dog aggression than males.?

Are Kerrys a yappy breed or will they only bark to alert that someone is at the gate or door.?

Thankyou.......Cheers Purdie.

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Sheridan   

Given I'm the worst kerry groomer ever, I'm probably not the person to comment on the easiness or hardness of grooming but what you've listed is more than I do each week. I probably should do that much ...

Kerries are known for being fiery with other dogs. Unsocialised it can turn into aggression and temperament has to be a major factor when getting one. Mini arcs up at dogs out on walks but when she's given an opportunity to say hello, she's fine. She sometimes doesn't like other dogs sniffing at her, though. I would never let her off lead and I am careful about which dogs I let her socialise with. I can't tell you if the girls are more prone to DA than the boys. My previous kerry was completely unsocialised while Mini has been. It's not a good comparison.

That said, there are kerry obedience champions and agility dogs. Good temperament plus socialisation plus hard work plus perseverence.I wouldn't say that they're yappy. Mini barks at stuff on the television, at things on the street, at the door, certainly everyone knows when I get home. Mini is a chatterbox and a busybody and shes got an opinion on everything. If she was a person she'd be the neighbourhood gossip but barking wise, she doesn't bark at nothing,

Kerries are clever and independent. They love their people and are very willing to please. Best breed ever (aside from wheatens).

Merijigs is the person to talk to. She has four!

Edited by Sheridan

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OliBlu   

Grooming is certainly something that you can learn as I have taught a number of kerry owners over the years. It does take time and patience, but like anything, if you want to learn it, you will. Going to a groomer a couple of times a year and then maintaining the trim in between times is also a good option. Regular grooming with thorough brushing and combing is a must as especially during coat change time (from puppy coat to adult coat) as this is when they can get very knotty quickly. From bath, blowdry, clip brush and scissor, it takes me about 2 hours.

Kerrys can be dog aggressive if they are not well sociallied when young. The correct kerry temperament is that they will not start a fight, but if challenged by another dog, then they will certainly finish it. I do allow my kerrys to play with other dogs, but I watch them and make sure everyone is playing "nicely" and if not, then I take my kerry away - I just don't take the chance. I have bred kerries which happily go to off lead beaches & parks with their owners and they have not had a problem, but it is something that I do not advise them doing. I do take our kerry kids to off lead parks occassionaly, but my kerries have great recall and I always have one eye on them and one eye on everything else. You certainly wouldn't let them go in a park and then walk away. I have 7 kerries (3 girls, 4 boys) and all bar 2 boys can be run together. The 2 boys that I do not run together can still be easily walked on leads together, it is just that I do not take a chance on letting them play together - just in case. And in my experience girls are not as reactive as the boys, but there is always exceptions.

And no, they are not barkers unless they are bored or something/someone is there. They give happy barks when you get home and love to chat to tell you all about their day - it is not a bark as such, it is certainly a chat - like Sheridan said, they are gossipers LOL.

ETA - When I say bored - I mean if they are left in a yard day in day out and totally ignored by their family - this will create boredom and they will start to have to make their own fun like dig holes and bark at nothing - but this is the same with all breeds.

Edited by OliBlu

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Sheridan   

Mini never gets bored. The entire world was made for her entertainment, though her special favourites are politics and Meerkat Manor.

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OliBlu   

LOL @ Mini - I can picture her watching TV. Mine are not very interested in TV, their favourite game is lying very still waiting for an unsuspecting Magpie to come to steel a biscuit or 2 and then they pounce up and chase them off. They never catch them, but I think that is also part of the game.

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