The Kerry Blue Terrier is a medium-sized terrier breed originally used to hunt vermin like rats, rabbits, foxes, otters, badgers, and hares. When the need for a vermin hunter was no longer needed, the Kerry Blue became a general working breed used by the Irish people for a variety of tasks including herding sheep and cattle and as an effective guard dog. Today, the Kerry Blue still retains those characteristics and is seen in many parts of the world mainly as a companion and family dog. Some of the distinctive characteristics of the Kerry Blue Terrier include a long head (typical Terrier), flat skull, deep chest and a “blue” coat made of silky wavy to curly hairs. Interestingly, puppies are born black and only change to shades of blue by around one and a half years of age. The ideal height for dogs is between 46-48cms at withers with females slightly shorter. The ideal weight for an adult Kerry Blue Terrier is 15-17kgs with females weight proportionally less.
All dog breeds have different levels of intellect. Some dog breeds; working dogs in particular, are very independent thinkers and have been evolved to be very intelligent. Typically, a highly intelligent dog does well in obedience training and other activities. A highly intelligent dog can be very demanding and do require lots of physical and mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a relatively laid-back dog, that doesn’t require lots of mental and physical stimulation, then you must fully understand the level of intelligence of your dog breed of choice.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, you must fully understand their intellect levels and their specific levels of energy. To keep your dog well-balanced and happy, their needs must be met and maintained.
All dog breeds have different needs when it comes to the level of exercise they require. For the high energy dogs; which are your typical working dogs, they have a lot of energy and require lots of daily exercise along with plenty of mental stimulation. A highly energetic dog breed would suit an individual or family that is equally as active and loves the outdoors. There are also breeds that have relatively low exercise needs, such as toy dog breeds. Although they require daily exercise and mental stimulation, they’re just as happy chilling at home with their loved ones. This type of dog breed would suit an individual or family that prefers the peace and quiet and relaxation.
Before deciding on your chosen dog breed, Mypetzilla recommends that you research the exercise needs and whether you’re well equipped before committing to buying or adopting a particular dog breed.
There are several dog breeds that are known and potentially predisposed to developing health related conditions. Sensible breeding can help prevent the onset of health related conditions and this should always be taken into condition when researching your dog breed of choice. Before committing to a dog, you should speak to the breeder about any health related conditions that may affect the dog you’re looking to buy or adopt. You can also request to see any test results from genetic testing.
There are many dog breeds that tolerate children really well and are not affected by the constant noise and need for play-time. However, there are some dog breeds that don’t do very well with children and can become frustrated and snappy. That being said, all children should be shown how to handle and care for a dog in their home and should always be supervised when playing. As much as a dog can become annoyed and snappy with a younger child, the child can also become less tolerant and misbehaved towards the dog.
Mypetzilla recommends that you always supervise play-time between your children and dog. Children need to respect the boundaries and feeding time for the dog and likewise for the child. We also strongly advise that play-time doesn’t get out of control and too rough which can cause injury to both child and dog.
There are lots of dog breeds that are well suited to living in an apartment. It’s worthwhile noting that you need to check that you’re allowed dogs in your building before committing to bringing one home. If you do decide to own a dog and are living in an apartment, then you must make sure that they have plenty of room to roam around and frequent walks outside to prevent them from becoming bored and depressed.
Mypetzilla recommends that you check as to whether you’re allowed dogs in your apartment building and to fully ensure your apartment is dog proof before committing fully to bringing a dog home.
All dog breeds shed to some extent, some more than others. With this, all potential dog owners should be aware of this, as it will be a matter of putting up with some hair or lots of hair being left around the house. Depending on the dog breed, there are certain times during the year where some dog breeds shed the most and this is typically around spring and autumn. However, there are some dog breeds that shed all year round.
If you’re very house-proud, they you may want to choose a dog breed that sheds very little. Mypetzilla strongly recommends that you fully research your dog breed of choice and their shedding levels before committing.
All dog breeds require different levels of grooming. Some dog breeds are easier to maintain than others and only require a weekly brush to help keep their coat in good condition. There are some dog breeds that require regular trips to the grooming parlour and this can come at a huge cost. Either way, all dog breeds require their coat and nails to be maintained and cared for.
Mypetzilla strongly advices that potential owners research the grooming needs and associated costs with their desired dog breed before fully committing.
Barking is a necessity for your dog to communicate. However, it can also be a nuisance to yourself and fellow neighbours if it’s not kept under control. If you live in an apartment, then you’re better off choosing a dog breed that doesn’t bark as much. If you live further out and far from civilisation, then it’s worthwhile looking into a dog breed that does bark and will bark to alert you of any other company on your property.
Mypetzilla advices that you research the behaviours of your dog breed of choice and whether this would work for you and your family. It’s worth noting that dogs can be trained to bark less and this will take a lot of effort and training from the owner.
Majority dog breeds form very close relationships with their owners and as a result can become very stressed when left alone for a period of time. If a dog is suffering with separation anxiety then they’re very likely to become destructive around the home as a way of dealing with their anxieties. Dog breeds that do form strong bonds with their owners are better accustomed to a household where one member of the family remains home, whilst the others are out, this is to help avoid further anxieties and destructive behaviours.
Mypetzilla recommends that all potential owners research their dog breed of choice on their bonding abilities and how well-adjusted they are to being left alone at home. It’s also worth noting that you should never leave your dog for longer than 4 hours alone at home.
There are certain dogs breeds that have very high intellect and therefore easier to train than other dog breeds. There is also a downside to this; as fast as they learn the new trick or command, they can easily pick up bad habits just as quick. Other dog breeds that don’t rank as high on the intellect scale require patience and plenty of reward treats from their owners during training.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, Mypetzilla advices you to fully research your dog breed of choice and their level of training needs.
All dog breeds have different energy levels. The working dog breed has one of the highest energy levels in comparison to the low-energy dog’s breeds such as the Toy dog breed group. To keep a dog truly happy, healthy and well-balanced, their energy levels must be met.
High-energy dog breeds need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. High energy dog breeds would suit an active family or person. Dog breeds that are considered as low-energy, love to spend the majority of their time relaxing and sleeping in their favourite, comfy spot. A low-energy dog breed would suit an individual that equally loves the quiet life and relaxing lifestyle. Of course, low-energy dogs still need their daily walks and mental stimulation, just not as much as a high-energy dog breed.
Mypetzilla recommends that potential owner research fully on the type of dog breed that would suit their existing lifestyle and to also take into consideration the dog breeds energy levels and exercise requirements.
Before you decide on what dog breed would be suitable for you and your family, you must consider whether they’re a friendly dog breed and if you already have other pets within the household. For homes that already have dogs and other domestic pets, then it’s wise to choose a dog breed that has a friendly personality and temperament.
There are some dog breeds that mix well with other dog breeds and there are others that don’t suit one another and this could potentially cause issues later on down the line.
Another important point to consider is whether the dog breed of choice is friendly towards people and children.
Mypetzilla recommends to research fully on the right dog breed for your family and to also consider their temperament and characteristics.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a native of Ireland and was first seen in the mountains of Kerry (hence the name) during the late 1800s. However, the real origin of the breed is difficult to say, if not impossible to determine. It is believed by dog experts that the Bedlington Terrier and the Irish Wolfhound played an important role in the development of the Kerry Blue. There are also popular legends that say it is descended from a Terrier-type dog that survived a wrecked vessel off the coast of County Kerry and mated with the local dogs. Whatever the origins may be, the ancestor of the Kerry Blue was sought after for its aggressiveness and gameness. It was originally used as a fighting dog and is a direct descendant of the Irish fighting dogs during those periods. Through the years, the role of the Kerry Blue Terrier shifted from the fighting arena to the field as a gun dog doing all the tasks of a pointer, retriever or setter and could also herd large flocks of sheep or cattle independently. It was also extensively used as a very effective guard dog not only of the stock but also of the family as well. When field work was no longer popular, it was used to fend off vermin like rats, foxes, and otters. Today, the Kerry Blue Terrier is seen more as a companion dog. It is considered as one of the vulnerable native breeds by the Kennel Club of UK although not as threatened as the other terrier breeds.
Owning a typical Terrier spirit, the Kerry Blue is strong-headed and highly spirited. It has a very high energy level and is always ready to play. As a result, it will not tolerate being alone for long periods of time or it will get into a world of mischief. It is a sensitive breed, tends to be moody, and has a stubborn streak and will not tolerate teasing or rough handling. It is typically dog-aggressive but early and proper socialisation can correct this issue. As a working dog, it is a fast and strong breed. It is also an intelligent dog and will do well in obedience training, dog agility trials, sheep herding, and tracking events if trained properly. In Ireland, one of the unique jobs of the Kerry Blue is in law enforcement. The Kerry Blue Terrier is a reliable watchdog and is quick to sound the alarm when someone is at the door.
Although it is a highly intelligent dog, it is difficult to train. It is highly observant and can learn quickly based on observation. It is an adaptable breed that can live both in a town or country setting. It will do well even in a small house preferably with a small to medium-sized garden or yard. Training should be done by a confident and consistent handler. A typical approach is positive reinforcement training with mixed routines because repetitive tasks will get the Kerry Blue Terrier bored.
The soft wavy to curly coat of the Kerry Blue Terrier is the key feature of the breed. This breed does not shed because it has no undercoat but the coat continues to grow all-year-round. This means that grooming should be done at least once a week and clipping should be done every six weeks.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a fairly healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10 years, but there are some hereditary health issues that affect the breed including eye problems such as dry eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), cataracts, and entropion. There are other dogs that get cysts in their skin although these are rarely cancerous. Other rare health issues that have been known to affect the breed include:
Exercise requirement is up to an hour per day such as long walks and hikes but it will prefer a game of fetch or tag in the house or outside the yard. As a working dog with long legs, the activity level of the breed ranges from moderate to high – which means that it requires an active lifestyle from an equally active and skilled handler who can provide the Kerry Blue Terrier its needed training including socialisation with as many experiences as possible.
It is very loyal and affectionate towards its family and has a gentle nature towards older children who know how to handle a dog properly. However, the Kerry Blue Terrier will not tolerate teasing and rough handling from toddlers and smaller children and is typically aggressive towards other animals including other dogs.