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The Best of KB-L for 2003

 

December 2003 

Context

List members were discussing health issues of rescue Kerries and the adoptability of these "difficult" Kerries. This letter, by Janet Joers, the Rescue Director of the Foudnation, points to Kerries and their people loving each other regardless of most health concerns.

Post

From: Janet Joers
To: <KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2003 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: [KBL] Kerries in Rescue

On 16 Dec 2003, Sharon Arkoff wrote:

> One thing about rescue that perhaps is not exactly the most noble thing to 

> say, but.... if one is reluctant to get involved in rescue because what if
> no home is found for the fostered kerry, perhaps Jan might be able to
> comment on how often that happens.

The implication here is that not all Rescue Kerries find homes, and that the
foster families are "stuck" with them. Nothing could be further from the
truth!

Kerries that come into the Foundation's Rescue program are placed in foster
care and remain there at least two weeks, usually three or four weeks, and
at most three months (usually because physical or behavioral rehabilitation
is necessary). While a Rescue Kerry may be briefly boarded at a vet's, none
are warehoused in a kennel. All are placed in a home environment.

Two to three weeks is a minimum to complete all medical procedures (such as
surgeries and recovery), resolve any health issues (such as ear and eye
infections), evaluate the behavior and temperament of the dog, and find an
ideal home for the dog.

For every Kerry in Rescue, we receive about 20 or 30 Adoption
Questionnaires. Each 8-page questionnaire is carefully reviewed and about
10% of them are followed up with telephone and personal interviews. These
interviews help us determine a family's knowledge of, and suitability for
our breed, what their committment level and expectations are, and whether
they are or would make responsible dog owners. Those factors, along with a
family's lifestyle and requirements, are matched to the temperament and
needs of the Rescue Kerry to make the best match possible.

Because all these things weigh in the balance, it is possible to have 5 good
homes, 2 Rescue Kerries, and no good match. A process like this takes time,
even though I'm working on it full-time with help from other Rescue
Coordinators, local Kerry people, and sometimes the Foster Families
themselves. The decision we make now will impact the rest of the life of
our Rescue Kerry--15 years or more in the case of puppy placements--so it
makes sense to do this right. Our Foster Families understand this when they
sign our Foster Family Agreement, and we support them from the 1st day to
the last.

It is my hope that if I call on one of you to help with a Rescue, that you 

will step to the plate to assist a Kerry in need. Fostering is not always
easy, it is never "convenient," and it will require some sacrifices of your
time, adjustments in your routine, and a change in your perception. Because
once you foster a Kerry, and help it on its way to a better life, you will
have a clear understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. It may well
be one of the most rewardings things you have ever done.

Jan in Santa Ynez, CA
Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation, Rescue Director


November 2003

Context

In response to a Question of the Week, one of our list members has found a clever way to look at "how much does that Kerry really cost"?

Post

From: Regina Corry <thecorrys@PEOPLEPC.COM>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 12:44:09 -0500
To: KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM
Subject: Re: [KBL] QOTW: How much do you spend on one Kerry in a year?

> John Van den Bergh wrote the Question of the Week:
> How much do you spend on one Kerry in a year?
> (food, vet, medicine, grooming, supplies, etc.)
> ......

Why, oh why did you need to go there??
For others who will be taken aback by this calculation, I have some advice on improving your accounting practices:

1) Doggy daycare/dogsitters really shouldn't be a Kerry related expense. You wouldn't spend this if you weren't working, so this properly belongs under "Work expenses."

2) Similarly, you wouldn't need to pay for Kerry care if you didn't go on vacation, so boarding expenses should be reflected under "Vacation expense."

3) Do you break out all the Kerry food that you purchase at the grocery store (you know, the free-range organic chicken breast that is too expensive for YOU to eat)? Then why bother for the food that you get from the vet or supplier? All Kerry related food should be reported under "Groceries."

4) Training (agility, etc) should be reported under either "Entertainment" or "Gym/Exercise," as it is more often about your learning than the Kerry.

5) Grooming: do you keep a separate account for each member of the family who gets haircuts?? If not, then why break out grooming; it should be reported under "Hair Care."

I also highly recommend using a credit card that generates some perks--we ask our vet to talk in terms of "miles" rather than cost. We've also asked him to implement a "Frequent Guest" program, so that we're recognized for our support of his bottom line. Is a special seating area too much to ask? Maybe a glass of wine every once in awhile? Preferred appointment times? An upgraded examination room?

Regina & Finn (I'm worth every penny...and I've heard dogs improve your health so maybe my vet expenses should be medical care!)


October 2003

Context

Walking a Kerry can be a challenge. Here is a long list of tips. This KB-L post has been expanded into an article: Dog Walking

Post

From: "Judith Bruno" <jbruno@RALDEN.COM
To: <KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 4:16 PM
Subject: [KBL] The Guerilla Art of Dog walking

Being the veteran of I estimate 15,000 walks over the past 10 years,
with 2 dogs with a history of dog aggression and one totally good
tempered party girl; who is eager to please her housemate by being even
badder - I've seen just about everything.

A few things that I have learned are:

I always leash my dogs, and in most areas of suburban USA,
that's the law.

The walk master really needs to be focused the entire walk - and
should not be sipping cappuccino or reading the Wall Street Journal (as
Roland likes to do). I find that having good eye sight and being 100%
aware of the surroundings really helps - I'm always keeping an eye way
out ahead, to the side, and behind me for signs or sounds of
potential trouble.

Always take extra care when rounding a corner with poor
visibility. This was made abundantly clear to me at my last visit to
UCDavis. The vet, who knows Molly and her history, was walking her into
the lobby to return her to me, and took the corner, walking Molly right
into the path of a Cocker Spaniel seated with its owner. There was lots
of noise and fuss and everyone's blood pressure went up - but even the
Cocker's mom said Molly had a very gentle mouth!

Always wear appropriate walking shoes. Flip flops or heels will be
of no help if the going gets rough - and you might actually hurt yourself!

Never try to carry anything but the leash - keep your hands free
- you may need them. If you need to carry anything have a walking jacket
with large zip pockets and if you like to carry water - get a thermos
with a shoulder strap.

Never attempt to walk two Kerries single-handedly until both are
independently trained and voice responsive. We've not done that with
Scamp and although she is good natured and a friend to all critters, she
is very bossy and goes where she wants - which is often right up to
someone's front door - dragging you behind on a 6' lead. She generally
walks on a diagonal - bound and determined to fill her nose with the
specific scent just out of her reach. Since she is always walked with
Molly, she tends to barks and carry on to please Molly, and her
influence has caused Molly's training to slip.

Never ever attempt to walk more than two Kerries
single-handedly. If you've done it and gotten away with it - keep in
mind the odds are against you in the future. There is just too much
horsepower in these guys for a mere mortal to control if a stimulating
situation presents itself. With three dogs this often means that I do
two shifts per walk.

If you find a good walk route with no off leash or unattended
dogs you're lucky - they are few and far between. A local channel here
had a community service message from animal control which recommended
that you report any off leash dogs you should encounter - especially if
it is menacing in any way. Not that they will respond immediately, but
once a certain number of complaints are registered about a specific dog,
they will investigate.

Never think a "short cut" will save you time. If I'm in a hurry
and try a short cut, all the dogs put on their brakes and turn to look
at me as if I've gone mad. If If I turn down to turn down a new
street - every blade of grass all the way along needs to be marked - so it
saves no time in the end.

After I fended off an attack of an unescorted Great Pyrenees
(who apparently made the decision that Molly, Heddy and I were just too
much trouble) by removing my sandal, throwing it and hitting it dead
center between the eyes with a loud crack (these were very light
Mephisto summer sandals - so the dog would not be hurt), I understand
the benefit of having good aim, and having something to be able to
throw. Thereafter for some time I carried a few golf balls in my pocket
- they're compact enough to keep in a pocket - yet quite hard and I
imagine if one hit you between the eyes you'd think twice about
continuing the pursuit. Although I have been given pepper spray - after
being charged on numerous occasions, and having the other dog sink their
teeth in one of mine, I don't relish the idea of an unescorted or off
leash dog getting that close to me and mine. A golf balls allow me to
keep a wider perimeter.

Don't be afraid to use your voice. Don't be shy to call out to
an owner to leash their dog if you feel threatened. If a dog is
menacing you - shout at it with your deepest, most stern voice -
generally if will reconsider.

When I am forced to walk Heady in a crowded area (busy
commercial area or through the lobby of Octaves) knowing that she has
lingering fear and mistrust of people, I'll generally have her wear her Jafco
muzzle. That way we can all get to where we need to go in peace.
When muzzled I find dogs generally don't even attempt anything you
wouldn't want them to.

Don't think you're automatically safe if it's dark outside. We
have been ambushed by rollerbladers running their dogs off leash, a
coyote, and even cats at all hours of the night, and we live in a pretty
domesticated area. A friend in Tubac, AZ knows the owner of a Shar-Pei who
was attacked in his own gated yard at night, with his owner right there,
by a mountain lion. I also know after dark there is the threat of
peccaries in those parts.

Remember the more inviting the lawn looks, the greater chance
there is that it's beauty is chemically induced. Exposure to lawn
chemicals should be avoided.

Learn to trust your dog - if he/she alerts to something, even if
you can't see anything - there's probably onto something. One night we
were walking and the dogs all alerted, tails wagging wildly, ears
forward - and there behind the palm tree was my neighbor's very bold
cat.

My dogs always seem to remember the site of an unpleasant
encounter. I have learned they tend to drag me to that point, arriving
all puffed up and ready to set the record straight. I tend to avoid
at least temporarily places where we have had unpleasant encounters.

Consider the temperature of the surface you're walking on if you
are walking in a warmer climates.

I have one of those now very common, faux mountaineering
Carabiner attached to the handle of each of my leashes. In an emergency
it allows me to very quickly, temporarily tie my dog up safely.

Always pick up after your dog.

The more often you walk, the more of a routine it becomes -
which means the dogs better understand what is expected and acceptable.
Take Scamp for example - when we lived in SF she always knew what day
was Sunday - because we'd stop off at Il Fornaio for a cheese stick.

If anyone has any other words of dog walking wisdom - please share them
with the List.

Judith Bruno
Palm Desert, CA USA
jbruno@ralden.com


September 2003

 

Context

A list member shares her story and passion on Agility after an amazing photograph taken at an AKC Agility event was posted on the website.

Post

From: "Sharon Burnett" <s_d_b@MSN.COM>
To: <KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 10:51 PM

Subject: Re: [KBL] A Very Cool Photo

Actually viewing this composite photo of Rascal and I in competition started
me thinking on why we got into agility in the first place. I know I've
written about this before, but I think it is always worth mentioning
especially since the list seems to have new members. I think sharing
personal Kerry learnings are very important - that's part of why we're all
here, right?

A little over five years ago, I was a 3 1/2 pack a day smoker, weighed 30
pounds more, and hadn't spent a honest minute exercising except to walk from
the couch to the kitchen. Rascal was 2+ years old, suffering from health
issues (allergies and ear/eye infections), and basically bored out of her
socks. I had decided to quit smoking right about the time Candi & I went up
to Canada for an All Terrier show. On this trip, we met Janet Beeby, her
husband Chad, and their 8 month old Kerry Gabby.

I learned about agility from Janet. Janet and I stayed in touch. About a
year later, Rascal and I went to a NADAC trial - I think it was Janet &
Gabby's first - to watch and I was hooked. We started training about 3 weeks
later.

Of course I had been looking for something to do to keep me physically fit,
smoke free, mentally sharp, and with my Kerry. Agility was perfect. I
started to see benefits for Rascal almost right away. She got to a point in
just a few short weeks where going to "dog school" was the hi-lite of her
existence.

At first I had no thought of ever competing with Rascal or any dog. We were
doing this all for fun. About 18 months into our training - yes we trained a
long time (it took 14 months to get Ms Raz to take the teeter without help)
we entered our first trial. Our runs were short - usually no more than 3 - 4
obstacles.

I took extra classes, started to practice 1 - 2 times per week, became a
practice monitor at dog school, and even taught puppy agility. Rascal would
go to "work" with me. She grew into a good agility dog. Finally we were
successful. We were having fun.

As most of you know, our competition and training stopped for many months. I
have been having difficulty getting back to where we were prior to Dave's
illness. In fact I was going to retire Rascal. She obviously proved last
weekend that she's not ready to do that.

When I started to write about agility and training, I knew of 6 or 7 Kerries
that were in the sport. I don't know how many there are anymore, but the
numbers are growing. Kerries are a beautiful dog. They are smart, athletic,
interesting workers, and true crowd pleasers. But more than anything else, a
Kerry brings a presence to the trial ring. They are either perfect or really
bad, smiling all the time taking a minute to wink at the audience. Kerries
are quite simply amazing. Agility gives them a chance to share their high
style with their partner and spectators. We are an untapped resource even
though I think more Kerries qualified for Nationals this year than ever
before.

Rocket tells me that the view from the top of the A-frame is very good. He
says more Kerries should get up there and take a look. Just don't pee up
there! (That is another story)

All the best!
Sharon Burnett, Rascal, Rocket, & Rio the IT
Seattle WA


August 2003

 

Context

A list member from Australia considers the complexity of his relationship with his dog.

Post

From: Michael Cunnington <mc@INTERNODE.ON.NET>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2003 15:40:34 +0930
To: KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM

Subject: [KBL] What do Dogs Want

G'day Reader!

As the owner of just one dog (Kasey, the Kerry Blue Terror) and lacking
any involvement in showing and breeding, I sometimes feel of inferior
status in this highly committed Kerry community.

Nevertheless, I do have an intense involvement of a personal kind with
my mate, Kasey and I think it is important to reaffirm the overwhelming
importance of the emotional relationship that can build between a dog
and owner.

When I bought Kasey, I felt that my decision was based purely on a
rational evaluation of his looks and breed reputation. I chose him in
the manner that I might select a new car. The idea of an eventual
emotional attachment was not in the forefront of my thinking at the
time.

Initially we had our difficulties. He was a three year old macho stud
who lived in an outdoor kennel and wasn't prepared to abandon his pack
leadership status easily. He obeyed me grudgingly and behaved
threateningly towards my wife and daughter. It took a minor
modification to his genitalia, plus a period of intense obedience
training to teach him his new status in our home.

Five years have now elapsed and I have to admit that he has become an
integral part of our lives. He still tends to treat my wife and
daughter as "second class citizens" and usually looks to me for
confirmation before he will obey their commands. Still, he is well
mannered and my wife insists that she "loves him." To my amusement she
treats him like a child and constantly refers to herself as "Mummy". He
tolerates my daughter's teasing and if he thinks of her at all, he
probably thinks of her as "that annoying kid".

However, his "devotion" to me is very clear. He "dogs" my footsteps
like a shadow and when I return home after even a short absence, the
welcome I receive is overwhelming. Wriggling, squirming, dancing and
mewing with delight, he insistently thrusts his head under my hand with
demands to be fondled. How can I not feel flattered? My wife and
daughter may be pleased to see me when I arrive at home but they
certainly don't shower me with affection so effusively.

He may have "conned" me but it feels good.

Which brings me to the real point of this letter.

There seem to be two definite styles in which we relate to our dogs.
For some people their beloved Fido is simply a human disguised as a dog
and the animal is consequently attributed with all the sensibilities
and values of a human being.

For others (including myself), a dog is not an animal with the same
capacity for intellectual thought as humans. Therefore, if we are to
truly connect, it is necessary for the human to think like a dog and
not expect the dog to think like a human.

My wife sees Kasey as a sometimes naughty child and she gets pleasure
from treating him as such. I see him as a member of my pack and I need
to constantly demonstrate and reinforce my status as pack leader. I do
this as "humanely" as possible but I maintain the status of a
benevolent dictator. Even so, I confess that I feel grateful for his
tolerance of my moods. I am also convinced that his nearness is
therapeutic when I reach out to scratch and fondle his ears and neck.

The debate goes on.

It has been suggested that dogs are extremely good confidence
tricksters in a partnership where their human "masters" are more than
willing to be exploited. A friend recently brought my attention to an
Internet article which I found very interesting. It is written by Jim
Holt and entitled "What do Dogs Want?

He writes:

HUMANS HAVE BEEN LIVING together with dogs for thousands of years, but
we still don't seem to understand them. Those who think long and hard
about the nature of the species have come to radically different
conclusions. At one extreme you have the late Vicki Hearne, a trainer
and prolific writer who saw dogs as highly intelligent and noble
creatures with some grasp of moral philosophy and even metaphysics. At
the other there is the science writer Stephen Budiansky, who likes to
call dogs "con artists''

-
evolutionary parasites whose limited
intellect is mostly focused on playing us for saps.

 


July 2003

 

Context

This post is a response to a list member who requested advise on whether or not she should neuter her 5-year old Kerry male.

Post

From: "Sarah E. Thompson" <sethomps@comcast.net>
To: <KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: [KBL] Neutering

Hi List-

Josephine, the decision to neuter Fausto should be an easy one. Dogs need
their testicles for exactly one purpose- to reproduce. If you have no
intentions of breeding him (responsibly, of course), then he doesn't need
them.

However, it sounds to me as if Fausto has some behavioral issues that could be
resolved with some firm, consistent training. My girl has dominance issues
and wants to eat horses, sheep, cows, and other large livestock- she has
frightened me more than once around such critters. I will probably never
teach her not to bark at cats and dogs, but I do teach her that she is
submissive to ME- and when I say "Quiet," she had better get that way in a
hurry.

I confess I am a biased source on whether or not to neuter- I worked on a
spay/ neuter campaign at an animal shelter in college, and it opened my eyes
to a whole new world of unwanted animals. The more puppies and kitties
someone brings into the world, however responsibly, is that many more healthy
animals in shelters that must be destroyed. When you have to go home to vomit
because the number of healthy, friendly, happy cats and dogs that have been
euthanized that day finally gets to you, you remember why neutering is
important. The myriad health benefits of a neutered animal are detailed on
the Foundation website and in thousands of textbooks in as many languages.
Conveniently, most of those textbooks are heavy enough to hit people over the
head with when they try the "don't want my dog to lose his manhood" argument.
(I should be fair- a stack of these same text books also makes for a fine
soapbox...) :)

Anyway- best of luck to you with training Fausto and Beatrix. They sound like
a charming pair!

Thanks-


Sarah Thompson and Ginger
Denver, CO
sethomps@comcast.net

 


June 2003

 

Context

A discussion on possible changes or clarifications to the AKC breed standard led to this reminder of the history of the KBT.

Post

Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 08:14:50 -0300
To: KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM
From: Paul McClosky <pjm@NB.SYMPATICO.CA>
Subject: Re: [KBL] Original Purpose

During the course of the Kerry's history there were many laws which
limited the number of dogs the peasants could own, their size, tail
length etc... A good part of what we see today in the Kerry is a direct
result of those laws.

The Kerry is one of the most multi-purpose dogs ever created. They have
been used for practically every purpose a dog could be used for.
Because of their intelligence, determination and athleticism they have
proven to be up to any job asked of them.

Their size is a direct result of those antiquated laws and their use by
the farmers who originally bred them. The Kerry had to be small enough
to get down a badger hole, if it couldn't, it was of no use. Remember,
in days past the dog was just another tool, not the treasured, pampered
family pet of today. Also, size was a factor because the larger the
animal the more food it required to fulfill its' daily functions.

As far as their being taller specimens for use in herding and pointing,
I doubt that argument would get you very far. Take a look at Shetland
Sheep Dogs, Border Collies and Corgi's. They are no bigger, and
generally smaller than Kerries and have no difficulty in herding. The
same holds true of Brittany Spaniels, Springer Spaniels etc...they do a
great job of birding without having great size.

Paul

Paul and Valerie McCloskey
Blueberry Kennels Reg'd.
Riverview, N.B.
pjm@nb.sympatico.ca


May 2003

 

Context

This post was a response to a new member of the list who thought a Kerry might just be the dog for them. It encourages a deeper look at what it takes to owning a Kerry Blue.

Post

Date: Sat, 24 May 2003 09:01:18 -0700
Reply-To: Chris Korody <ckorody@INTERWORLD.NET>
Sender: Mail list for Kerry Blue Terrier Fanciers
<KERRYBLUES-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: Chris Korody <ckorody@INTERWORLD.NET>
Subject: Re: New to KBL

Hi -

Excuse me for butting in... but I got such a strong reaction to your letter
that I felt obligated to provide you with my perspective. We have had a
Kerry for 6 months now so you can take this for what its worth - one more
opinion among the many you will hear from this wonderful and eclectic group.

First, there is no particular guarantee that your Kerry won't yap or more
likely being a Kerry, bark its fool head off. These are highly individual
and individualistic animals. If you read this list long enough you will see
just how different they are. Clearly they are not toys or miniatures so the
noise they make will be amazingly loud and can be quite frightening when
unexpected. Being herders ours has defined a pretty wide perimeter to
defend. Actually one of the great sources of amusement is the range of
vocalization this particular dog uses to express his moods and needs - right
up there with chimps and dolphins...

Please understand that first and foremost a KBTs main concern in life is
their pack. This is the very essence of this dog and why I believe so many
on the list are so protective of them - it is a hard thing to provide. They
may not need to be in charge (though many will grab the chance since they
were herders) but they definitely need to be in the middle of things. I
highly recommend a book called The Latch Key Dog by Jodi Andersen (Harper
Collins 2000). It offers a dispassionate, non-judgmental look at the
implications and consequences of leaving a dog of any kind alone for
extended periods of time on a regular basis. (In case you are interested,
most people think that is anything over 2-4 hours)

Please understand that I don't care if you do or don't - it is a matter of
understanding the potential impact on a dogs behavior and as a result your
home. Largely it comes down to how much time you can devote to socializing
and training a dog. When the dog in question is a KBT, the answer needs to
be in hours daily - every day. They need and thrive on human contact and
there is nothing else that will do. They are just too smart and too active.
We call ours the velcro dog. You cannot get up and change rooms without his
following along. Might miss something. It is oh so hateful to have the pack
or the herd out of sight. How will that work with a Dad that doesn't like
dawgs?

The other character trait which comes up frequently in the literature is
their independence. This is a result of the job they and most all other
terriers were raised to do. Think of them as independent farm hands who were
cheaper to feed than people and could keep you warm at night. They hunted
for their poacher masters, herded, maybe pulled a cart or a wheel and kept
the premises clear of some very feisty vermin including badgers and otters.
No one told them what to do or how to do it, they were bred for their
independence. Which means that they have a mind of their own - again this is
all terriers...

Which leads us to the concept of machismo.

You need to figure out if your son is responsible enough (constant is the
word they would have used in olden times) to build a relationship with the
dog. The issue is not about feeding the dog on a regular basis. Here's the
deal. One word people often use to describe the Kerry temperament is fair.
I didn't understand it before I had one, perhaps you do. The essence of the
concept is that these dogs are smart enough to know when they are being
treated unfairly - that is punished, corrected, yelled at for a behavior
that has not been previously agreed upon. The only way to train a Kerry is
with praise. The issue will not be teaching them the basic behaviors they'll
get that the first time - the issue will be getting them to do the desired
behavior consistently.

That is why you need to decide if your son is mature enough to participate.
Because if he is not, he will not be able to handle the dog; nor will you be
able to entrust/offload the care of the dog to him (though the dog will take
care of him). Which is potentially damaging to his machismo and subversive
to his relationship with the animal. Plus even though they are relatively
small at 30-35 pounds there is an enormous amount of pull at the end of the
leash which is amplified by their single mindedness. I weigh 230 and can
hold him easily. Christine is a very strong woman at 150 and until she
really digs in, he can move her when he wants to.

As far as machismo in its most brutal sense - please understand that these
dogs are wired to be killers. I met a man, an Irish fella from the old
country don't ya know, who spotted us walking down the strand when the dog
was still a rolly polly ball of fur. He told us that he had grown up with
Kerries because his father had raised them to fight in the ring. Not all of
them have this hair trigger, especially not as puppies. But owners who have
animals who are so inclined will tell you that nothing is safe from them -
not dogs, not cats, not anything else they can catch. Just recently there
was a story of a Kerry going toe to toe with a Rottweiler - not sure how
they finally separated them but the Kerry then required 148 stitches. Keep
in mind there was somewhere between 60 and 90 pounds difference in weight
between the two dogs.

I am sure one of the dogs would have died if someone had not been able to
stop the fight. Common sense suggests that the Rott would have prevailed but
I would not bet against the KBT. BTW, the females are only slightly better.
If you want your son to have that kind of dog, well I can t imagine it -
but a pit bull or Rott would probably be a better choice and would certainly
be a whole lot easier to come by. Again you need to evaluate the
implications on your son and the potential impact on any other pets you have
or want. Your best and only line of defense is to find a breeder who has
extensively socialized the dogs in their own homes before they leave the
litter. Make sure you get one of the less aggressive ones - you certainly
don't want the alpha pair. And then put in the hours and hours it will take
to socialize the dog.

One other thing that was not immediately evident to us (though again it is
right there in all of the literature) is that they really require a
tremendous amount of grooming. Their hair is wonderfully soft and you are
absolutely right, they are truly hypoallergenic - but that same hair mats
like crazy, traps every burr and stick and requires constant trimming and
brushing. Their beards are a daily project, are generally wet and can get
quite smelly. Adding insult to injury there are very few groomers (excluding
Kerry specialists) who can do a passable trim. Bad hair days are the norm
when you pick up a dog that now looks like a schnauzer or poodle - and have
to pay for the privilege. We have actually decided to try it ourselves which
involves a considerable outlay for gear.

So who are these people and why should I listen to them you might reasonably
ask. Well we are both in our 50s. We both work at home. There are no kids
and no other pets except a fish. He has the run of the house when we are
home, and a doggie door to go out. We got the dog when he was 4 months old.
We spend 4-5 days every single week come rain or shine at the dog park and
puppy play center socializing him. We walk him 2 - 3 times a day for 30-90
minutes at a crack. He is rarely left alone (not all together good) and then
rarely more than 3 hours in a crate (crate is a huge key). He was neutered
at 6 months. He loves people, life and all other animals. At the age of 11
months he selectively knows 10-20 different commands and concepts. He knows
which houses his friends live in and he has his favorites among our friends.
He can go anywhere - from a house to a store to a construction site to our
sailboat. I would walk him down 5th Avenue in a parade he is that steady.
And yet I wake up every day wondering if this is the day the switch is going
to go and he is going to kill something. BTW his day starts about 6a.m. when
he finds some reason to wake you up just in case you are ready to get going
- never the same way twice either =)

I do not mean to burst your bubble. It is very clear that you are a
thoughtful person with good intentions whose heart is in the right place.
But at least for me, once I make up my mind about something I tend to read
straight past the data necessary to paint a complete picture.

So here it is.

This is a great breed. They are unbelievably bright and extremely sensitive.
They are beautiful or handsome depending on your aesthetics. But they are
high maintenance and they need every bit of time and energy that you can
give them. I can say that there is nothing more wonderful than a secure,
well socialized, fully engaged Kerry - but I cannot imagine the potential
for destruction and frustration if that were not the case.

Good luck. And please feel free to write [...] me if you have any
questions about what I have written. [...]

best,
ck

PS As far as the people on the list and in particular the breeders [...],
I would follow John's very solid advice to the letter.

-------
Chris Korody
2412 Alma Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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