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History of the Kerry Blue Name


© 2003 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

Are Kerry Blues from County Kerry in Ireland? Probably not. Here is the story.

On a Saturday evening in October, 1920 in Summerhill, Dublin, an after-dark curfew was in operation because of "the troubles". Many of the exhibitors who attended the dogshow risked arrest and even death.

The exhibitors at the show were from all sides of the political divide. The "Big Fella" Michael Collins competing with his dog "Convict 224." General Michael Collins is one of the best known Irish political figures of this century.

Even the names of the dogs bear testimony to the political persuasions of their owners, e.g. "Munster Fusilier", "Trotsky", "Markavich", "Dawn of Freedom" and of course "Convict 224."

The popularity of the Kerry Blue, which was known as the Irish Blue Terrier increased dramatically in the Dublin area as "The Big Fella" gained admirers and it became the "Macho" symbol of young blokes.

Michael Collins sponsored an Act of Congress to elevate the Kerry Blue Terrier to the status of Ireland's National Dog. However after General Collins' murder this initiative was lost.

In 1922 several prominent members of the Dublin Irish Blue Terrier Club placed an ad in the newspaper convening a meeting to form a Kennel Club for Ireland and this resulted in the formation of "Irish Kennel Club." In that sense, the Irish Blue Terrier club (for Kerry Blues) preceded the Irish Kennel Club (for all breeds).

The new national club held its first Championship Show on the 17th of March, 1922. Kerry Blues topped the entry with 257 dogs.

The Blue was called the Irish Blue Terrier in Ireland for many years but in England it was known as The Kerry Blue Terrier, and all were not happy with this name for the Irish Breed.

Southern Irish fanciers objected to the title by which these terriers have been registered by the English Kennel Club, for they asserted that County Kerry has no right to the monopoly of the breed. If any prefix is required, they asserted, the dog should be known as the "Carrick Blue." Because Carrick-on-Suir (County Tipperary) was its original home.

However this may be, the Irish Kennel Club has given the breed the more embracing title of "The Irish Blue Terrier".

Discussions on the name of the dog took place between the Irish and the English clubs and eventually settled on the name its known today "The Kerry Blue Terrier".

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