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Kerries—green by design

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Care and Training of the Kerry Blue


© 2015 Daryl Enstone

No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from Daryl Enstone.

Kerries need grooming


Kerries are usually not picky eaters. Feed premium quality food for good coat condition and lasting health. Breeders will supply detailed information from their experience. Dry food is the most convenient, since there is less tendency to gum up the whiskers. Tartar formation is also reduced with dry food.


Kerries have extensive grooming requirements, comparable to the amount needed for a poodle. Weekly brushing is essential and daily brushing is ideal to keep the coat and skin in top condition and free of mats. Bathing and trimming is required about every 6-8 weeks. The coat maybe either clipped or scissored; the latter is usual for conformation showing. Grooming tools include clippers with interchangeable blades, metal comb with medium and coarse teeth, slicker brush, guillotine-type nail clippers, scissors, thinning shears, and hemostats (forceps - e.g., the locking type with curved tips) to pluck the ears. The Kerry books cited below and most good multi-breed grooming books describe the proper cut. Choose a professional groomer carefully - many are unfamiliar with Kerries and the dog will end up looking like a Schnauzer.


The Kerry Blue has a moderate exercise requirement. A fenced yard where he can run is ideal. This should be supplemented with daily walks. Kerries are enthusiastic retrievers and love to play ball and Frisbee, making them easy to exercise even in limited space. Most love to swim, too.


Start early; get into a puppy kindergarten class as soon as shots are completed. Sixteen weeks not too early, but start with a flat buckle collar at this age, not a chain or nylon slip ("choke") collar. Use motivational, positive reinforcement training - the Kerry stubborn streak and intelligence will respond best to training if it is made to be "worth her while" and the instinctive desire to please is appealed to. Lessons must be short and fun for both dog and trainer or the Kerry will become bored. A Kerry's grasp of what is required is often intuitive, and training can proceed remarkably quickly. Kerries do well at obedience work; heeling can be the most difficult exercise to train. Many Kerries have earned their U.D. title and some have acquired the T.D. title. Kerries have also participated in agility and flyball.


Although their preference is to accompany their pack mates, Kerries are flexible, adaptable dogs that can integrate into families where everyone works outside the home during the day. This sort of relationship will require extra dedication from all family members to interact with the Kerry when they are home - exercise, play, training etc. Discuss the matter with the breeder and have them assist in selecting a pup with correct temperament for this lifestyle. An adult Kerry may be advisable for people who cannot come home during the day to care for a pup. Crate training is highly recommended. The Vari-Kennel 300 or 400 are appropriate sizes.

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Question of the Week

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Today is October 20, 2016

In this month in 1958:

Ch. Vixen's Show-Off won his 70th Group 1. He was the winner of the Quaker Oats Award for 1954, topping every dog of every breed in the US with 38 Groups in that year.

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