Search the Kerry Blues Website

  • Sign In

    Forgot password?
  • or
  • Join Now

The truth about the breed

  No


The Best of KB-L for 2013


December 2013


Our last "Best of KBL" post for 2013 is from Pepper McQuay, with a little help from Don and Jann, and tells of his experience with winter wear. Although his original opinion was not positive, Pepper has learned that in extreme weather these garments can make your walk much more enjoyable and he would recommend that all Kerries in northern climes wear winter gear.

Initial Post:

Date: Sunday, December 22, 2013
From: Don & Jann McQuay
Subject: Christmas Gifts

Southern Ontario has been hit with the worst ice storm in many years. Trees and limbs are down, wires lay all over the place, power has been out since midnight, ice has coated everything, the house is getting colder, my hot breakfast was not. We're not sure how long this will last, and Christmas is only 3 days away. The good news is that I got to open my first Christmas gift. A new pair of boots from the KBTF, the kind the sled dogs wear. The thought was that if I took Mum and Dad for a long walk to survey the local damage, we would all heat up and on our return the house would then feel warmer. Maybe the power would be restored. Now I know why I got to open that first gift. This is the bad news. I HAD to wear the red woolen turtleneck that I hate. To make matters much worse on went my new black boots, one by one. How absolutely humiliating!!! Mum was trying not to laugh out loud while I was making every attempt to shake each boot off and to scoot that sweater off my back. I left the house with back humped, butt down, legs kicking and really trying to walk on one foot. We were all hoping we wouldn't slip on the icy steps and walkway. Skates would have been more useful! In spite of all my efforts everything stayed on. I can't believe what Kerries have to put up with. We are a proud and noble breed. I am not happy with Santa! Well it wasn't long, trudging through the slush, snow and ice before I was enjoying my outing. My feet didn't sting from the salted areas, my back was warm and dry and we all had an hour of exercise. I don't like to admit that my new boots probably are a good idea, but they did work very well. I hope all you Kerries have a great Christmas and enjoy the gifts in your stockings. I have to wait until the 25th to open the rest of mine.

'Pepper' McQuay, Whitby, ON

November 2013


Rita Lockwood's post about her clever Kerry, Jamie, struck a chord with me and many others. People love to argue about which breed is the most intelligent. For many dog owners, the epitome of intelligence is a "push button" dog who always obeys. But we must always consider the purpose for which the breed was developed. We all know that terriers prefer to think for themselves! And although some days I long for an obedient Golden, I have to admire my terriers' independence and reasoning ability. In reply to Rita, Terry Coyner offers his thoughts on canine intelligence in our "Best of KBL" for November.

Initial Post:

From: Rita Lockwood
Date: November 17, 2013
Subject: Ummm - Jamie

Some of you know I'm a night owl, and even if I go to bed at a "reasonable hour", I sometimes wake up, then get up for an hour or three. And maybe you remember that recently I got a new electric blanket that Jamie really appreciates. Every cool night since we got it, he goes in, rearranges the bedding so he can sleep right next to the blankie and slips off to dreamland. When I go to bed, I sometimes have to ask him to get up so I can rearrange the bed and get in. Well - OK, sometimes I have to insist that he move. 'Insist' means that I wake him, ask, then flat out ~tell~ him to get down. And that means that he gives me the 'pitiful puppy' look, then, martyred, he stands and waits until I have stopped fooling around so he can get some sleep. Tonight I hadn't gone to bed at a "reasonable hour", hadn't used the PreHeat feature, & about half hour after he went to bed he came in and barked at me. I asked what he wanted & got up, followed him to the bedroom, didn't see anything. Offered to let him outside, No. Checked his water bowl, it has water. Came back and sat down and he barked at me again. Gave him some loving, and asked what he wanted. He led me back to the bedroom, looked at the bed. I looked at his nest, thought about it. He watched as I turned the blanket on, then hopped up & has been sleeping peacefully for the last hour & a half.

I'm a bit embarrassed to tell this; but my sense of humor insists.

Rita Lockwood Oregon USA

Terry's Post:

From: Terry Coyner
Date: November 17, 2013
Subject: Ummm - Jamie!

The way dogs are labeled as intelligent or not intelligent is one of my hot buttons. So brace yourself...

In my opinion, the dog intelligence ratings are badly flawed. Most dog intelligence is rated from the point of view of how willing a dog is to respond to or learn a command. People seem to be mistaking a willingness to be obedient with intelligence. The message seems to be that a dog is intelligent if he lets a human "boss" him/her around. And not intelligent if he/she doesn't.

For instance, one ranking I saw used the question "Did the dog obey the first command". The top 10 dogs obeyed the first command 95% of the time. They also used "How many repetitions did it take for a dog to learn a new command". The top 10 learned a new command with 5 repetitions. The Kerries rated 35 in this scale (obeyed 70% of the time or better; 15 to 25 repetitions to learn a new command). What doesn't appear to be taken into consideration is how adept is the teacher at demonstrating what the command equals. Another factor is how much the human talks to the dog. I talk to mine all the time. They pick up the meaning of specific things quickly because they have more experience with words. Again, not a reflection of the dog's intelligence but of how much verbal stimulation the human provides.

Dogs like Kerries and Afghans (sight hounds) are bred to think on their own. They hunt. The humans were not necessarily close enough to them to issue commands (obedience). The dogs had to figure things out on their own (intelligence).

I have lived with both breeds. The Afghans get more of a bad rap about intelligence. I can assure you that the one that lived with me was one intelligent dog. She understood words without particularly being "trained" to associate an action with the word. She was very protective and devised her own rules about what acceptable behavior was. For instance, in the day time you could walk anywhere around me. She would keep track of you but not react. After dark, you could get within 30 feet of me and she would start to rumble. If you got within 10 feet of me, the fangs would come out. She made it clear that if you came closer without my permission you were dead meat. I did not teach her any of that. She understood conversation easily enough that it often surprised me when she would have an appropriate response to words I used. She cared nothing about obedience training. She would sometimes tolerate it but had no felt need to humor me and respond appropriately every time. In other words, she was in to thinking for herself -- not into responding to orders. In my opinion, she was much smarter than someone who will unendingly respond to orders.

All the Kerries that have lived with me have been somewhat the same. They want options -- to be able to have choice. Will they appease me by responding to commands? Generally, yes. But they will also let me know when they are not interested in playing control games. They love doing things that are fun games, that challenge their minds. Rourke, does figure 8's around my legs weaves in and out of my legs while I walk, pushes a wheeled toy across the floor in the direction I want, looks for treats under tennis balls in muffin tins, selects toys by name out of a pile of toys because this is how we play and how he uses his mind. If he doesn't want to do a particular game, he lets me know. One of the things none of my Kerries has wanted to do is roll over. The conclusion I came to was that for some reason that activity was uncomfortable for them (maybe back or internal organ discomfort). I chose to not insist they do it. To do otherwise is just a control game.

My Kerries have always responded to those commands that are critical to adhere to: drop-it, wait, stay, etc. On the other hand, Rourke doesn't see the value in the command and activity of "heel". I ask him to walk by my side. His value is to not pull on the leash. If the lease is short, he stays closer in, if long further out. That meets both my need to have him closer in, if I need more control of his immediate physical space, and his need to be more independent. The ability to distinguish the difference between those commands that are critical and those that are less critical is intelligence.

Jamie's behavior is an indicator of real intelligence. He had a problem - no heat. He figured out that Rita controlled that. He went to her and showed her what he needed. Wasn't his fault that Rita did not, at first, understand. When he realized she did not understand what he wanted, he went back and said "Let's try this again." Got his message across and got heat. That is real intelligence.

Terry Nooyen-Coyner
Olympia WA USA

October 2013


In our October "Best of KBL" post, Judith Bruno remembers her special Kerry girl, Heddy. Heddy was a dog with issues who was lucky enough to find some very special people under whose guidance she overcame her challenges. Heddy's story reminds us that these special dogs can overcome their issues to become loving family dogs.


Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013
From: Judith Bruno
Subject: Hedzu Bedzu

Today our sweet Heddy would have turned 19. IMAGINE!

We miss her every day and we are glad that she raised Pinky so we feel we still have a direct link to her.

Many people along Heddy's path either mistreated her or gave up on her.

But one special person did not. It wasn't me, not even a Kerry person. It was Sarah Freeman, a connection through the behaviorist we used with Molly. Sarah took Heddy in, and committed one of the last years of her life to the initial rehabilitation of Heddy. Let me tell you those first months were not easy, and Sarah had a multi dog household, each dog with their own issues! It was when Sarah finally admitted that her health prevented her from continuing to work with Heddy, that Roland and I stepped in.

Yet for us, with proper management, Heddy was the easiest, most predictable Kerry we have lived with. OK maybe Cecil is the easiest but that often make me question if he is really 100% Kerry Blue Terrier.

We celebrate Heddy's birthday yesterday and we remember her often. And it gives me the opportunity to remember what a brave and compassionate person Sarah Freeman was.

Our heart also break each time we hear of a Kerry who requires special handling. So many people are so unwilling to even consider adopting such a dog. But those of us who have adopted or stuck by beloved pets when difficulties arose, know that the joys way out weigh the effort.

Often, like with Heddy, it doesn't take a super hero, just someone who is mindful and super present and aware and cares enough to create a safe environment for a potentially wonderful companion.

Heddy is a wonderful legacy to Sarah's knowledge of animal behavior and her dogged belief in Heddy.

When they write the story of our lives, Heddy will be one of the brightest super stars.

If I believed in such things, I would find comfort in the possibility that Heddy once more was living under Sarah's experienced and exquisite care.

Judith Bruno
Palm Desert, CA USA

September 2013


It's always sad to hear that one of us has lost a beloved Kerry and lately it seems this is happening far too frequently. Jann Lane lost her Mackenzie in September and her wonderful tribute to her is this month's "Best of KBL". Her "letter to Mackenzie" will no doubt bring back memories to all of us of the wonderful Kerries that we have loved and lost.


Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2013
From: Jann Lane
Subject: Ch. Warlord's Scarf Mackenzie, HT, HCT August 25, 2000- September 11, 2013

Dear Friends,

The best way I can say this is through a letter to my Kenzie girl, who left us today.
We are broken hearted, as you can imagine. We are also grateful for a life well lived
and shared with us for 13 years. God Speed Mackenzie



My Letter to Mackenzie

Dear Mackenzie,

Today I had to say goodbye to you, my precious Mackenzie.

I never thought today would be the day, but I knew in my heart that it was coming. We did this differently though, didn't we? You and I spent the last four months talking, laughing, eating good healthy food I cooked that you liked, as long as I put butter on that broccoli- going on short hops/walks. No tears for us, ol' girl, We celebrated life. We gave to others, and we gave to ourselves our favorite things. We even had a 13th birthday party, ate cake, squeaked toys and shared cake with all the neighbor dogs. Even ones we don't care for so much. :)

A day did not go by, that I did not tell you I loved you and kissed your face. Yea I know, that's sissy stuff, but I'm your mom and I can do that. And each day that you had your 'dinner on the deck' with dad and me, you always stopped---after smelling the bowl - to make sure it was "edible " and not something foreign slipped in - you found me and made eye contact - to thank me. I knew that. You have done this your whole life.

Each morning you came to my bedside and got me up to go for a walk. when you were younger it was at 5:30, and 4 miles, then as you became grayer it was 6:30 and 2 miles. Today, it was 7, and 1/2 mile but even tho you only had three legs, you still had that big Kerry heart and spirit for life. You gave me life, sweet girl.

You always followed me from room to room, even when the arthritis called, I know, that stiff Kerry lip you have. You came to work with me and gave me wags when things went well and were there with a head on my foot, when it didn't. You see, Kenzie I know you 'picked me' as your Mom, I'm sure other dog moms know how that is. I am so honored.

Most important of all Kenzie you were a great companion dog to us. You were full of yourself and full of "the Mick" - literally - as in your dad. You were spunky, protective, funny and did not suffer fools gladly in your youth. You mellowed and became more tolerant as you grew older, and made great friends along the way but always kept your sense of humor.

I loved that I could talk to you and you understood everything I said. (Well almost. :) traveling plans had to be discussed in code or you became depressed months in advance. I think you almost broke the code once.) I'll never forget that you saved my life a year ago while choking on a moist piece of bread. You ran and found Dad bringing him to me in time for the Heimlich maneuver.

Thank you Mackenzie Jo Beth for sharing your life with us. I will never forget you.

Kisses to Maggie Mae and don't be too tough on the other dogs at the Rainbow Bridge, they are all on their own journey :) but now, you already know that.

See you on the other side,



August 2013


Of course, we all think our Kerries are exceptional, but, in this month's "Best of KBL", Tracey Fulmer pays tribute to a particularly talented Kerry, her agility champion Bailey. While Bailey is no longer with us, his incredible accomplishments on the agility course are part of Kerry history. But perhaps his most important title was Tracey's "best friend". Seems to me that they were meant for each other.


Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2013 10:48:32 -0400
From: Tracey Fulmer<tfulmer111@GMAIL.COM>
Subject: MACH5 Lynmar My Bleu Heaven OF (8/30/2002 - 6/9/2013)

It is with incredible sorrow, but no regrets, that I post this tribute to my best friend and amazing agility teammate, Bailey. He was one in a million!

In late May, Bailey was limping after an agility run -- one of our best ever -- so the initial thinking was that he had an injury. Within a few weeks, I learned he had metastatic cancer that had spread to his lungs. He passed the day before he was scheduled for a CT scan to find the source of the cancer, to see if anything could be done. He was his active and happy-go-lucky self until the last day. Although everything came crashing down quickly, I am so grateful that I knew his time was short and was able to let him go on his own terms, peacefully, comfortably, at home with me, Isobel and Piper, where he belonged. That was his final gift to me.

His long list of agility titles can't come close to describing what an exceptional companion and loyal friend he was. He was beautiful on the outside -- solid steel blue, powerful, yet so very graceful -- but he was even more beautiful on the inside. He was happy, confident, sensible and full of life. There wasn't a mean bone in his body. He loved everybody, although he had a few special people he went nuts over with an enthusiastic "roo roo". He loved to keep me on my toes, helping me do laundry by stealing socks as I emptied the dryer. I so miss his efforts to get me to laugh! I worked very hard at socializing him and training a recall early on so he could join me on our daily off-leash hikes in the woods. It was because of Bailey that I got involved in rescue and made lifelong friends through KBTF Rescue. He was a perfect gentleman with our many foster dogs, male, female, mixed breeds and Kerries. Bailey was the embodiment of this description of a Kerry: "Well nigh faultless, if a slight tendency to demolish the cat population be excepted." I don't know how many times I looked into Bailey's brown eyes and told him he really was "well nigh faultless", but it was often.

As my first dog, and my first agility teammate, Bailey was a blessed gift that introduced me to the world of dog ownership. He changed my life. Through our agility training and competitions, I met the most wonderful, supportive group of friends and acquired a genuine respect and appreciation of how smart, sensitive, forgiving, sweet, honest, innocent and willing these amazing creatures are. Bailey taught me how to train a dog -- how to help him succeed so he would enthusiastically *want* to do what I asked. He was a beloved character around the agility ring, known as the dog with the soccer ball because he always carried or slept with his plush soccer ball. Oh, how he loved that darn ball! The last few years, running him in agility was like putting on a pair of comfortable, old slippers, although we were always trying to improve with new handling moves and he enjoyed changing things up...and keeping him on his toes.

I would be remiss not to pay respect to his agility accomplishments, although, honestly, just waking up to his wagging tail and Kerry kisses was the best blue rosette ever.

5 time Master Agility Champion -- the first Kerry to achieve MACHs 4 and 5
7 time Top 5 Kerry Invitee to the AKC Agility Invitational (including 2013)
3 time Top Kerry at the Invitational
6 time qualifier for the AKC Agility Nationals (including 2014)
Top AKC Agility Kerry 2009 and 2011
Numerous USDAA agility titles

I loved him deeply and miss him horribly, but would do it all over in a heartbeat despite the incredible heartache of losing my best friend.

Always by my side, he truly was, and will forever remain, My Bleu Heaven.

Tracey in Newton, MA
Sweet Isobel, puppy mill survivor with a heart of gold MACH
Piper, wicked cute and brilliant Border Terrier
Waiting at the Bridge, forever in my heart and soul, forever by my side,
MACH5 Bailey

July 2013


What constitutes "old"? Many of our older Kerries continue to act like youngsters well into their dotage. They are definitely a breed that remains young at heart throughout their lives. Our "Best of KBL" for July is a post from Kanako Ohara regarding this question. Seems like some breed clubs and shelters consider 5 or 6 to be too old for adoption. But, of course, we know better. Hopefully the powers that be will soon realize that these older dogs have much love to offer a family in their "senior" years.


Date: July 23. 2013
From: Kanako Ohara
Subject: What is a senior Kerry anyway?

I asked that question when I was looking for an adoption plan for our Kerries in case of the unimaginable. Basically I was told by the UK Kerry Club that they would be too old to be considered for adoption and at > that time they were at age 5 and 6. That was a bit shocking because I never considered mine to be "old," much less "undesirable" even though I do understand at some level what they meant. I don't think Kerries come up for rescue in UK much, but if they do, I would absolutely consider fostering and adopting. Louie was a rescue to begin with (at 1 1/2 years) and I cannot imagine a dog that can be more attached to us than him. Kerries are remarkably forgiving and affectionate breed. Anyway, said Louie turned 8 years old this month, and here is my little Prince in full swing of celebration:

We are forever thankful that he came into our life.

-Kanako in London with Louie and Sakura

June 2013


Here's one for the Health and Genetics committee. A newly discovered defective gene has been indentified in several of our beloved Kerries. Our "best of" for June 2013 is a post from Regina Corry detailing her experience with this devastating affliction! Please read Regina's post to learn how to recognize the symptoms of PuNK disease!


From: Regina Corry
Date: June 8, 2013
Subject: Identifying/treating PuNK gene

With all the other health work, have we made any strides with the dreaded PuNK disease? I fear our puppy has a bad case of it. We he first came to live with us, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Indeed, he would look at us for permission to take the butter, and sweetly ask if he could have it in his mouth. On the drive to meet him, we toyed with registering him as "I'm Your Huckleberry," call name of Doc or Huck (Tombstone is a favorite movie). But that didn't seem to suit his personality, so in a moment of extreme hubris we decided his call name had to be Deaghlan - full of goodness. Our wise vet laughed out loud, but it didn't deter us. The disease began to show it's course in a few short months. Now, in it's early stages we know it closely resembles spoiledrottendog. But, clearly it can't be us: we offer Mr. Good Boy and Miss Jess as evidence. We just realized that it's been less than six months since he's come to live with us (really???), but the disease has completely overtaken Deaghlan. Just a few examples from the past six weeks: -at graduation from his obedience class, he barked the last 45 seconds of his downstay (and other tests) to register his displeasure with the whole thing. His "graduation" is in question, and I'm not quite sure if they are happy that he's back next month for nosework. Early punk, more puppy/Kerry. -with the hot weather, he decided that he will lay on the floor vent in each room to get the maximum benefit of the air conditioning - Punk. -the only food he dislikes is popcorn. I reminded him of this, but he insisted. So I gave him a piece. He declined, but came back asking for more. I explained it was the SAME thing he just spit out. He insisted he wanted some, but make it better this time. I explained it was the SAME thing. He insisted. Same routine. Then he mocked me for arguing with - and losing to - a dog. Punk. -Just when I was congratulating myself on his recall (he'll come tearing down two flights of stairs at top speed), he recalled himself. He did a perfect recall to tell me that it was time for a puppy popsicle, before I called him or got the treat out. Punk. -While he does well in the ring, he reserves his best show dog trot for when he has a shoe in his mouth: then he happily parades through the house in top form. Punk. -Thursday night, he suddenly launched himself into the chair with me, in an attempt to get help with his Kong. Since this had never happened before, and he isn't allowed on the furniture, we had a serious discussion. He looked chagrined. Ten minutes later - he launched himself up again, sending my eyeglasses flying. PUNK. -Friday morning, he launched himself onto the kitchen table to get my attention, sending my coffee flying, then walked across my laptop. PUNK!!! Has anybody else had success slowing/reversing the progression of PuNK? I know the normal course of treatment is obedience, but that only seems > to be palliative, as we are just chasing behaviors. Are we checking for this in breeding?

Regina & Deaghlan (what can I do next....hum....) Arlington, VA

May 2013


Following her rescue in 2006 from a puppy mill, Olivia, aka Livvy, gave birth
to seven lovely little Kerries. Through the efforts of the Foundation, Livvy and
her babies all found forever homes and continue to live happily ever after. Our
"best of KBL" for May is Rita Lockwood's post which brings us up to date on
Livvy and her "kids", eight Kerries who escaped the horror of the mills thanks
to our amazing rescue team.


Date: May 16, 2013
From: Rita Lockwood
Subject: Magnificent Seven

Seven years ago May 16th Olivia, aka Livvy, gave us seven beautiful puppies. The Magnificent 7 - five boys & two girls. Olivia was rescued from a puppy mill. Skinny, dirty, plagued with parasites, and carrying a secret we didn't know about until shortly before she gave birth a month before her third birthday. Though she had given birth to other litters, she got to stay with these pups long enough to know & enjoy her babies. And we learned that she was beautiful, & smart & funny. Eileen Andrade transported her from my arms to Lorna & John Jennings in California. They have loved her right from the start. Lorna tells us Ms Livvy is a Kerry who does her breed proud. She is still Livvy; but she is also Miss Bossy Boots! - Did I mention she is Kerry! Although her first KBT friend there has passed away, she convinced the Jennings to get another male KBT for her. And to keep the Wheaten they had at home "temporarily" (You read the "Miss Bossy Boots" part, Right?) In Lorna's words "She taunts them when they are chewing on their bully sticks and then steals them at the first opportunity! Livvy loves yogurt popsicles but always shares with Blu and Buddy. Livvy sleeps on our bed with us and religiously sits up at seven a.m. and stares at John to let him know she wants to go outside to do her business. Also, at that time, she expects John to turn on the garden hose as she likes to drink the water from it. The only time Livvy ever shows any aggression is when John accidentally touches her with his foot during the night and then she yells at him! To make up for it, she smothers him with kisses when he gets up in the morning!

" Well - what about those seven puppies... Paddy, formerly known as Alfie, now lives in Florida. His primary job there has always been to capture hearts. He's very good at it. He is a loving, peaceful, fun boy who enjoys everyone from senior citizens to little ones. His extended family includes 'cousins'. Some are human, one is a Kerry, one is a Dalmatian, & I think I have forgotten one. Zen, formerly known as Fergie lives in Ontario, Canada, with Pete & Rhonda, & his little redhaired sister - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Halo. . He is King of his Kingdom, his Kingdom is Fun & he lives it from the time he gets up in the morning. He greets you with a toy in his mouth & glint in his eye that says come play with me! He is very smart, well loved, & "a true joy & a real jewel" Teddy, TedDog, Ted - lives in Portland, Oregon with Brian, his daughter Lily, &Teddy's KBT "sister" Demi. Teddy loves life. As far as we know, he is the only one of the litter that sings. He sings or yodels to every siren, & occasionally for no known reason. Ted is very social, very smart, very loving, also very protective; especially of children. Jamie lives with me. You hear about him often. Of course he is the most brilliant, most beautiful, most loving, funniest, best, etc. etc. etc. To the best of my knowledge he is the only one of the litter with a serious health issue. He had a growth on top of his head removed when he was a few weeks old; but was basically healthy until February 2011, when he was diagnosed with Addison's. That leaves us with Guiness, in Canada, - Bella, in Canada - & Aoife, in Gig Harbor, Washington. Last I heard they were all three in good health, & all well loved. I had hoped to hear from them, but haven't yet. If I do, I'll let you know. Meantime, I do have some pictures that I'm sending to John for the website.

Rita Lockwood Oregon USA

April 2013


A new puppy is always so exciting so we were all delighted to hear about Sharon Burnett's new baby girl, Rauri, especially when Sharon is such a good storyteller!


Date: April 27, 2013
From: Sharon Burnett
Subject: R Gruppe Expansion

As many of you will recall, we learned at the end of March during our discussions about the Kerry Rule Book of the existence of a US Kerry Union - KBTU#1922. We also learned that Rocket is the NW Region local rep. Timely information. I had no idea that I would soon be engaged in union contract negotiations that spanned both the US and Canada. Through Facebook, I learned on December 19, 2012, of the existence of a new-born litter of Kerries in northeastern Canada.

From hour 2 my eyes were drawn to 2 of the 7 puppies in the litter - a male to be known as "Green Boy" and a female known as "Orange Girl". With each fresh posting of still shots and video my attraction to these 2 puppies remained consistent. Orange Girl was the first to do everything - leave the whelping box, eat solid food, climb the stairs, etc. She seemed smart, sharp, and very clever. Loved her rear and her over-all style. Lots to think about especially with the realization that Rocket is now 12 and my baby girl Renny is 9.

If I was going to add a puppy this seemed to be the time. I made an inquiry - yes Orange Girl was available and her breeder wanted her to go to a performance home believing that of all the puppies in the litter Orange was the performance Kerry. Nothing rattles her. She is as we later described her - grounded. So I asked the R Gruppe if we should get a puppy. Holly cats did I ever open a can of worms! Not only did we have to renegotiate our US union agreement, but we had to open up an entirely new international union agreement since Orange Girl is Canadian. Thank heaven for Rocket - he was all over it often negotiating deep into the night. Apparently our biggest hold-out was Renny. Renny has wide-ranging thoughts on property rights. She wanted to change the clause that covers ownership of toys specifically chew toys. In her mind whether she has used a toy in the last 5 years or not, it is still hers and she does not want to share. Although these negotiations are still in progress and many other Kerries are involved in the re-drafting of the original property right agreement, I made an executive decision to bring Orange Girl to Seattle.

So Wednesday morning, Candi (Marzano) and I met the Air Canada flight that brought our new Gruppe member to the States. I opened her crate. She was wearing an adorable little green scarf with shamrocks. Her ears are set, she is beautifully groomed. I took her out, placed a slip lead around her neck and took her over to a grassy area. She hesitated for about 15 seconds, jumped up on me, gave me kisses, and bonded with me right there in a noisy air freight parking lot. I named her Rauri.

Meeting Rocket was a non-event. He sniffed her and said yep...a puppy. Pretty much it. Renny was a different story. She has been guarding toys and growling. I'm involved, but letting them sort it out. Renny has tried to start something several times. Rauri just walks away or gets a different toy. Outside is a different story. Rauri likes to play with balls. I've never had a dog of any sort that would bring me a ball. This one will until my arm falls off. We've had great weather, so I took the time to clean the old sports court in the back yard so we can play ball. At first Renny would run after the ball and Rauri would bring it back. Finally Renny brought the ball back too. So now we have 3 balls because Rocket played retriever yesterday too.

This kind of activity is helping the girls establish a relationship. I've actually caught Renny trying to get Rauri to chase her outside in the yard. Rauri starts her first training class next Sunday. So far she's been easy to train. She offers a sit for a cookie (I haven't had one this food-motivated since Rio the Redd Raider). Her recall is surprisingly good. Lead training is progressing. She traveled in her crate in the car no problem. I've divided the dog room so the puppy has her own space. Rocket wants her out with him. Not happening.

So that's our big news. It has been 9 years since there was a puppy in my life. Yesterday I logged 16,000+ steps on my Fitbit One. Granted I did mow the lawn, but most of the extra movement was from doing something with these dogs :) I've started working with a professional trainer again. If there is agility in our future it is important for me to work more on balance along with core and flexibility. I figure by the time Rauri is in pre-agility I'll be in better shape. Not that I'm in bad shape, but we can always stand to improve.

All the best!

Sharon Burnett
Rocket (I'm crashed on the couch - union work is tiring)
Renny (All toys are mine!!)
Rauri (I'm being good for now....)
University Place WA

March 2013


If you're new to Kerries, you may never have heard of PNA, a hereditary movement disorder that affects Kerry puppies. An affected pup develops normally until about 4 months of age. Then their head starts to shake, and rather than becoming stronger and more coordinated, they develop exaggerated movements which progress until they are incapacitated. I have been around Kerries for many years and have unfortunately seen what this horrible disorder does to puppies. So it was absolutely wonderful news that Jana passed on to us last month, the news that finally there is a simple test for PNA available. Now with this tool and conscientious breeding, Kerry puppies will no longer have to suffer and die from PNA. Sincere thanks Jana, from all of us and all the Kerries, for your work on this project.


From: Jana Deaton
Date: Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Subject: [KBL] PNA - We're all in this together

Back in 1995 I discovered the joy of the Kerry Blue, it was two more years before my first Kerry arrived in this world and into my life. Her existence changed my world in so many ways. She gave me intense joy and brutal agony and shaped who I would become over the next 15 years. It was because of her life, and ultimately her death that I became passionate about this breed. I spent countless years and funds working for a solution despite political pressure, threats and slander. There were some who quietly supported me and they helped me through the rough times more than they will ever know. The scars of the abuse I took are still visible, those wounds run deep. In the end I hoped it would all be worth it and the work would yield the necessary fruit that would help us all defeat the disease that took my beloved River.

On August 21st, 2012 I got a call that made all the struggles worthwhile. The puzzle had been solved thanks to River's DNA and the geneticist who refused to give up the search. I've kept this quiet until the test was ready and available to everyone. Today is the day I finally get to share the news with you all. We have a test for PNA (now called MSD). It is a simple and affordable cheek swab that can be purchased through OFA. PNA can finally be buried along with those puppies it took from us, and never again cause the Kerry community strife. If we all work together to test breeding stock, breed wisely considering carrier status and cooperate with one another it will be gone from our gene pool in a few generations.

It has been a long and difficult road, many people don't have any idea about the history of the disease and what it has done to Kerries and breeders over the last several decades. We can finally talk about it now with the knowledge that the solution is here, no more specter that was PNA lurking in the shadows. I know this means more to me than it does to many of you, but I hope you all can acknowledge the importance of this breakthrough and the huge positive impact it will have on our breed and it's future. For more information about this test and how to place an order for a test kit visit

Please join me in raising a glass to Drs. Johnson & O'Brien & their staff at the University of Missouri - Columbia.

Jana Deaton
AKC Breeder Of Merit
Beltane Kerries
Nevada, Iowa

February 2013


A major initiative of the Foundation is Health and Genetics. It seems many of our members have dogs suffering from pancreatitis and last month Judi Young asked for questions for our guest veterinarian consultant about this disease. If you have a dog with this disease, I hope you took the time to forward your questions. As Kerry owners, our dogs' health is of vital importance to us and the Foundation continues to provide information and fund research to help us understand our dogs' health issues and their treatments. Just another reason why the Foundation is the best source of information about Kerries on the internet.


From: Judi Young
Date: February 12, 2013
Subject: Questions about Pancreatitis

For the next edition of the KBTF newsletter coming out this spring we have a guest physician author from the Gastrointestinal Laboratory at the prestigious Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine preparing an article on pancreatitis. There have been a number of posts lately about this disease so we decided to go to the experts in the field to help us understand what the pancreas does, its diseases and treatments. The GI Laboratory at Texas A&M is one of the top laboratories in the country. Dr. Kretzschmar, the author, asked me if there are specific questions anyone might have about this topic so he can be certain to cover it and perhaps focus more on it for his article. If you have any specific questions or specific things you would like to have discussed, please send them my way on my personal email no later than February 23rd so he can include the answers in the article. Send questions to This is a great opportunity for you to have input into just what you would like to see in the article so please, send me your questions.



Judi Young Editor, KBTF Newsletter

January 2013


While on the topic of amazing behaviour, Deb Harper wrote to tell us of some of her experiences. Our dogs seem to have a sixth sense about people and, like Deb, I tend to pay close attention to their people radar. Their judgement is uncannily accurate!


Date: January 28, 2013
From: Deb Harper
Subject: I'm amazed again!

I too, have a couple of dog recognition stories to share....My brother lives on the East Coast in Ontario and I live in BC on the West Coast. My Kerries have ALWAYS known he 'was family' even though I might only see him every 8 years....Do we have the same mannerisms, or scent or energy? How do they (2 different Kerries over the years) know that this big 6'1 guy is my baby brother? My Kerries have always known their breeder even if they have not ever been back to their birth home. This past summer my breeder stayed on my farm in her motor home for several days...and yet Liam knew her immediately.

And on the other side of the coin, my dog before I got into Kerries was a Bouvier. Amber seemed to sense something funny about my landlord....I am hearing impaired and once the landlord decided to 'visit' when his wife was out of the country and after I turned down an invite for dinner (eeww.... you are married....NO!) he decided to use his key and try and break into my house after I went to bed...(I know...GROSS...!) but Amber hit the door, barking and snarling and when I got up to investigate, saw his vehicle winding back down the long driveway from the barn. Later, many years later...after I had moved away onto a different farm, he decided to look me up and come and visit....At least 4 years had gone by, he was driving a different car and the dog and I were living on different property, and yet when he got out of the car and we exchanged pleasantries (me...not so!) she came and sat beside me and glared at him. I had had her protection trained, but Bouviers are known for being rather laid back and rather than bark or lunge or even growl...she just put herself between him and me and stared at him with a steely look that said "Go ahead...make my day". How did she know it was him? He never left the side of his car. The old landlord mentioned something about my dog not liking him and left within minutes. Creepy...but I have a lot of respect for dogs that somehow sense the good and bad in people. I have always trusted my dogs to tell me. They are my people radar.

Deb Harper Abbotsford, BC

Share This Article

Question of the Week

Previous Questions of the Week Ideas

Today is July 19, 2019

On this day in 1953:

Ch. Foxhill's Thunderbolt won Best in Show at the Lions Kennel Club show in Salem, Oregon

About Us

The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Kerry Blue Terrier breed in the areas of education, rescue and health & genetics. Learn More.


Join Our Email Newsletter List.

Contact Info


P. O. Box 1495
Solvang, CA 93464

Box 109
11420 - 142 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5M 1V1


Corrections? Feedback?

Contact the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation