Kerry Blue Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Simone Capozzi/

They are born black, and turn gray-blue as they age.


Kerry Blue Terrier Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Kerry Blue Terrier Conservation Status

Kerry Blue Terrier Locations

Kerry Blue Terrier Locations

Kerry Blue Terrier Facts

Fun Fact
They are born black, and turn gray-blue as they age.
Smart and loyal

Kerry Blue Terrier Physical Characteristics

  • Grey
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Silver
Skin Type
13 – 15 years
40 pounds

Kerry Blue Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
33-40 lbs
Female weight
33-40 lbs

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Kerry Blue terriers were almost made the national dog of Ireland!

Kerry Blues are a breed of terrier that is known for their blue-toned coats. They are working dogs bred to hunt rodents and herd sheep. Kerry Blue terriers are loving, loyal, and intelligent dogs. They are protective and make great family dogs. Because they are hypoallergenic, they are suitable for people with allergies to dogs.

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3 pros and cons of owning Kerry Blue terriers

They have a high energy level! These dogs are ready to exercise whenever you are! Their energetic temperaments make them great running and hiking companions, and they will appreciate a large yard to run around in.They can be very rowdy when young. This is a high-energy breed, especially early in their lifespan. They need to be exercised daily in order to keep their temperaments in check.
They have a beautiful coat. Soft, wavy, and hypoallergenic, these dogs are prized for their coats. If properly bred, puppies will be born black and then gray as they age to the famous blue coat color. Shedding is not a concern, though they do require regular grooming to keep their coat neat.Not friendly to other animals. Because they were bred as hunting dogs, it is not safe to keep smaller pets like cats and rabbits around when choosing to rescue a Kerry Blue terrier. They can be trained to be social with other dogs, but their hunting instincts mean befriending other animals is much more difficult.
They make great watchdogs. Having been used as police dogs in Ireland, Kerries are very loyal dogs that aims to protect their families. They are strong-willed and brave because of their hunting instincts, so this makes them a good choice as watchdogs.They are high maintenance. This breed requires regular grooming. They should be taken to a groomer every 4 to 6 weeks, where their coat can be washed and trimmed. Owners can learn to shape and trim the dogs’ coats themselves.

History of the Breed

Kerry Blue Terrier infographic

The Kerry Blue Terrier, as its name suggests, is a breed of dog that originated from County Kerry in Ireland. Despite the charming blarney tales surrounding its beginnings, much remains unknown about the actual history of this beloved breed. However, one thing that is certain is that Kerries were highly valued for their versatility and hardworking nature on farms.

During the fight for Irish independence in the early 20th century, Kerries were considered to be symbols of patriotism and played an important role in raising morale among Irish citizens. Since then, they have become popular show dogs and are consistently top winners in various competitions around the world.

One notable example is Mick, a Kerry Blue Terrier who was a great show dog during the 2000s. This impressive achievement speaks volumes about both their innate ability to perform well under pressure and also their enduring popularity as pets and companions.

Despite being relatively small compared to other breeds such as Great Danes or Mastiffs, Kerry Blues are known for their resilience and determination – traits that no doubt helped them thrive on farms before becoming cherished family pets. Overall, it’s clear why these lovable dogs continue to capture hearts everywhere with their unique blend of charm and hard-working spirit!

Size and Weight

Kerry Blue Terrier in a spring garden


Health and Entertainment for your Kerry Blue Terrier

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Kerry Blue terriers are medium-sized dogs with soft and wavy coats. Breeders aim to produce dogs with a black coat that eventually grays over time, giving them their signature “blue” color. Female Kerry Blue terriers are typically smaller than their male counterparts.

Male Height18.5-20 inches
Female Height17.5-19 inches
Male Weight33-40 pounds
Female Weight33-40 pounds

Common Health Issues

Kerry Blue Terrier lying down on grass

Kerry blue terriers are prone to dysplasia of the hips and elbows.

©Pashin Georgiy/

Kerry Blue terriers tend to be fairly healthy dogs, with good breeders dedicated to breeding healthy dogs. However, Kerries may develop serious health issues as they age. These include things like hip and elbow dysplasia, which is a painful condition that affects movement. They are also susceptible to cataracts and dry eyes, affecting their vision as they age. Finally, some Kerry Blues develop cysts or tumors that are very occasionally malignant and require cancer treatment.

In short, potential Kerry Blue terrier health problems include:

  • Hip/Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cataracts and chronic dry eye
  • Tumorous growths that are occasionally cancerous


Kerry blue Terrier on snow in winter

Kerry blue terriers are fun to train.


Kerry blues are loyal and affectionate. They are also very strong-willed, so they will need an owner who can enforce their training. Puppy classes when the terriers are young will provide a solid training foundation for the rest of their lifespan, so they are recommended.

They are good-natured in their interactions with people of all ages but can be aggressive toward other dogs if they have not been properly trained. These Irish terriers were originally bred to be hunting dogs, so it is not advised to rescue a Kerry Blue if there are also small animals in the household.

The Best Dog Food for Kerry Blue Terriers

Kerry Blue Terrier in wild mountain ambient

Kerry blue terriers are active dogs that require well-balanced diets and plenty of exercise.

©Simone Capozzi/

Kerry Blue terriers are highly active dogs, so their diet must reflect this. Most high-quality dog foods as recommended by a veterinarian, will suffice for the Kerry Blue terrier.

Puppy Kerry Blue terrier food: Good animal-based fat, such as chicken, omega-3, or fay, should be included in their food, as it promotes healthy development. Treats can be used for obedience training, but be careful not to overfeed them as these dogs can be prone to obesity.

Adult Kerry Blue terrier food: It is recommended that Kerry Blue terriers are fed 1.5-2 cups of high-quality dry food throughout the day. Canidae is a great brand for both puppies and adults, as Fromm’s.

A-Z Animals feels the best dog food for Kerry Blue Terriers is Wellness CORE Digestive Health Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Wholesome Grains.

In a well-rounded chicken diet, the ingredients contain glucosamine, which is central to maintaining strong joints. It also has taurine for eye and heart health, plus a probiotic coating that starts from the digestive system to fortify a robust immune system.

Check Chewy and Amazon for this product.

Best for Sensitive Stomachs
Wellness CORE Digestive Health Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Wholesome Grains
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe for small breeds
  • Contains fiber-rich superfoods for healthy digestion
  • Antioxidants and prebiotics for healthy immune system
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance And Grooming

Kerry Blue terriers are hypoallergenic dogs without much shedding. However, they do require regular grooming and are considered high maintenance. They need to be brushed daily and shampooed every 4-6 weeks. Their coat will need to be trimmed monthly.


Training is essential when it comes to Kerry Blue Terriers. They are very protective and should be socialized around other dogs early on as a part of their training. They are natural problem solvers and can become independent very quickly. Kerry Blue terriers respond best to motivational, positive reinforcement. They will need consistent rules during their training.


They are sporty dogs who enjoy long walks or jogs. They will need a good amount of exercise each day and would benefit from a trip to the park to play with other dogs. Kerry Blue terriers make excellent companions on a jog or hike. They also enjoy swimming, hunting, and other outdoor activities. They enjoy intelligent play, so any problem-solving play exercises that they can do with their owners with be beneficial for them.


a pair of Kerry blue Terriers

Kerry blue terriers cost more than $1,000 for a puppy.

©Evgeniia Shikhaleeva/

Kerry Blue terriers have 4-8 puppies in a litter. They are purebred dogs, with a price of $1000-$1600 on average. This price is quite high because of how specialized this breed is. They should be trained early on as puppies to ensure good habits.

Breeders will produce black Kerry Blue terrier puppies, and these dogs will grow into their famous blue coats as they age.

With Children

With proper training, Kerry Blues are great around children. They are very affectionate and intelligent dogs, making them a perfect fit for a family. Because they are affectionate and playful, they can keep children entertained for hours.

Similar Dogs

  • Airedale Terrier – This breed was also bred to hunt and has a similar size and silhouette to the Kerry Blue terrier. They are also not prone to shedding.
  • Giant Schnauzer – Though larger than Kerry Blue terriers, these dogs are also hypoallergenic and make great guard dogs. However, they are larger and slightly more aggressive.
  • Irish Wolfhound – While the peasantry bred Kerry Blue terriers to hunt in noble’s hunting grounds, the royals bred Irish Wolfhounds to protect those grounds. Because of this dichotomy, the two breeds share many similar temperaments and personality traits.

Famous Kerry Blue Terriers

The Irish nationalist leader Michael Collins owned a Kerry Blue terrier named Convict 224. It was Collins who attempted to have the Kerry Blue Terrier named the national dog of Ireland.

A Kerry Blue terrier was the first dog registered in the Irish Kennel Club.

Popular names for Kerry Blue terriers include:

  • Max
  • Buddy
  • Toby
  • Daisy
  • Riley
  • Lucy

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

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How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
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About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

Kerry Blue Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does Kerry Blue terrier cost to own?

The initial cost is $1000-1600. Subsequent costs will vary depending on the individual dog. Some additional costs for Kerry Blues include grooming sessions and high-quality food. These costs may add up throughout the dog’s lifespan.

Is Kerry Blue terrier good with kids?

Yes! They are very protective of the people in their families, making them great companions for children.

What is a Kerry Blue terrier?

Kerry Blues are a breed of terrier that is known for their blue-toned coats. They are working dogs, bred to hunt rodents, and heard sheep. Kerry Blue terriers are loving, loyal, and intelligent dogs.

Are Kerry Blue Terriers good family dogs?

Yes! They are very affectionate and make great family dogs. They are not prone to shedding and get along well with children, making them a great addition to active households.

How much does a Kerry blue terrier cost?

Kerry Blue puppies can cost an average of $1000-1600. Finding a Kerry Blue terrier at a rescue may be quite difficult, so this price is consistent for purchasing nearly and Kerry Blue terrier.

Do Kerry blue terriers like to swim?

Kerry blues enjoy swimming as a form of exercise.

How long do Kerry Blue Terriers live?

Kerry blue terriers usually live 12-15 years.

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  2. American Kennel Club / Accessed March 24, 2021
  3. Dog Breeds List / Accessed March 24, 2021
  4. K9 Web / Accessed March 24, 2021
  5. Dog Food Guru / Accessed March 24, 2021
  6. Petful / Accessed March 24, 2021
  7. Your Pure Bred Puppy / Accessed March 24, 2021