The Kerry Blue Terrier likes to be with his family, and is affectionate towards adults and children alike. They are intelligent, and head-strong, so it is important that they start obedient training early, and that they are challenged so that they do not become bored. They are aggressive towards other dogs, but generally get along with other types of household pets once properly socialized - although they should be supervised. They rarely bark except when necessary.
The Kerry has some genetic disorders to watch out for. Hip Dysplasia, PNA (Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy, also called cerebellar abiotrophy (premature loss of brain cells) are concerns, as well as cataracts, spiculosis ("hard hairs"), hair follicle tumors, entropion (the turning in of the eyelid and eyelashes towards the eyeball), KCS (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or "dry eye"), narrow palpebral fissure distichiasisme (another eye problem), and hypothyroidism. Well cared for Kerrys live about 15 years.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is the national terrier of Ireland. The origin of the Kerry is uncertain, but many sources believe that they are descended from breeders in the 1700s who combined Portuguese Water Dogs, Wheaten Terriers, and possibly Irish Wolfhounds. The Kerry Blue was used for many purposes: as a small game hunter, retriever, herd and farm dog. The national breed club, the United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club, was found in 1922 and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1924. Today the Kerry Blue is most often used as a companion dog.
The Kerry Blue sheds little hair, and there is virtually no "doggy odor," even when wet. (For this reason, they are considered a good breed for allergy sufferers.) The Blue may be bathed frequently, as this does not dry out the skin as it does for other breeds. However, grooming maintenance for the Kerry Blue is rather high. The hair never stops growing! They must be brushed every day, otherwise the coat has a tendency to mat, particularly the beard. Hair must be pulled out of the ear canal frequently, otherwise wax and dirt build up, causing ear infections. In addition to daily brushing, the Kerry should be groomed every six weeks. (Have a professional groomer show you how to do it properly.)
Kerry Blues will do well in an apartment, although they are active indoors. A small yard will do nicely, however the breed is a sporting dog and will enjoy long walks.
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