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Kerries—fluffy and fierce

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The Best of KB-L for 2016


December 2016


During the holiday season, as we spend more time entertaining family and friends, our Kerries are right there welcoming company into our homes. And while there's a lot of extra attention for them, for some dogs there's also extra stress. Our last "Best of KBL" for 2016 comes from Patricia Carleton in response to a QOTW "Does your Kerry enjoy having company visit his family?". She writes about her Kylie's reaction to company coming to visit.


Date: Dec 25, 2016
From: Patricia Carleton
Subject: QOTW Does your Kerry enjoy having company visit his family?

Happy holidays to all you Kerries an Kerry parents out there. We hope Santa was good to all. Ms Kylie loves company, however she gets a little out of hand and sometimes confused about defending and greeting. We keep her leashed when visitors arrive as there will be hooting and jumping and carrying on. Once she has figured things out that no one is going to make off with the family silver, she is an equal opportunity charmer( for pats and rubs). We often leash her up again when people leave, especially if in a group. I don't think she had many opportunities to socialize in puppyhood.

The Carletons
In sunny (cold) Maine

November 2016


Keeping up with Miss Sammie, our 'best of KBL' for November is an update from Rita Lockwood all about her Thanksgiving.


Date: Nov 30, 2016
From: Rita Lockwood
Subject: Miss Sammie's Thanksgiving 

My youngest son Brian, & his 9 yr old daughter, Lily, came the weekend before Thanksgiving. Sammie was every body's darling, so that suited her just fine. They came back Thanksgiving Thursday with a buddy, Troy, & their Kerry, Teddy.

She loved the attention from the humans. She said that she wishes to keep them. Poor sweet Teddy... Gentle, Caring... & Happy, & Enthusiatic, & Energetic. Plus he occasionally Barks. His quick movements & his bark startle her. I think 5 or 10 yrs ago she would have just told him to sit down & be quiet. At this point, she just avoids him if possible. However, she had a good weekend. She is quite fond of turkey, & sweet potato is also good.

I have not told her yet that we may go to Portland for about 10 days...
Yes, we'll stay with Teddy & family

Rita & Casey & Sammie
Oregon. USA

October 2016


At seventeen years of age, Sammy found herself in a shelter. Her owner had died and no one in the family wanted her. It looked like the end of the line. The chances of an old dog being adopted are slim to none. But luckily for Sammy, some very determined Kerry people heard of her plight. They rescued her from the shelter and managed to transport her from California to Oregon, to a new home with Rita Lockwood. Our "Best of KBL" is Rita's post written on Sammy's arrival at her home. Don't you just love happy endings!


Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2016
From: Rita Lockwood
Subject: Sammie

I've learned - been reminded - that not everyone is on Facebook. I don't promise to keep quite as current here, but... My thanks to everyone who helped get her up here. It wasn't a walk in the park for anyone, but Eileen Andrade traversed the equivalent of a bridge over troubled waters...
And did it because she cares...

So Casey & I met her & Sammie in Salem Oregon WedAM, we brought her home from there. We got home about noon. I carried fragile little Sammie up the three steps from street level to yard level, put her down, & unloaded the car... While I was unloading, She climbed the 6 - 7 steps to house level by herself, walked in the open door & explored. Her wet beard told me she found the water bowl.

All unloaded, I went to the kitchen & she stated clearly that she was hungry. I didn't read her notes first, I just fixed her & Casey the same thing, just a smaller amount for her. She. - cleaned - her bowl. Kibble, (TOTW) chicken, broth, & yogurt. After I read her notes I learned that she is "a finicky eater" & "doesn't like kibble" ummm ... She requested & ate 3 meals before bedtime. She continues to eat heartily, & is gaining weight.

This is Oregon, not southern California, so I bought her a pretty red sweater. At first she didn't want it on. After she found out how soft & warm it is, she doesn't want it taken off.

From the records it appears her owner was with caretakers before she died Oct 08... Looks like Sammie was placed in the shelter Oct 10. Sammie may or may not have received quality care while her owner was ill, but she has almost certainly been stressed lately. However, she seems very comfortable & happy now. She certainly doesn't hesitate to make her requests known. I don't give Casey yogurt with every meal, & one night I forgot to give her some with dinner. She didn't eat it, just turned around & stared at me until I added it. We ran out of dark meat cooked chicken, so I cooked white meat.. .. .. She sniffed her dish, walked off, went over to check Casey's, (he wasn't happy) then walked away. After a few minutes, she decided to eat hers anyway.

Yes... Elderly, wobbly, fragile, other age related issues, but adorable. Elegant, fiesty, sweet as can be, & clearly Kerry.

Rita Lockwood
In Oregon with Casey & Sammie

September 2016


Many of us have followed the exploits of Sharon Burnett's Kerry gang, the R Gruppe, through  the years. Now a new member, Ryder, has arrived and we look forward to hearing all about his adventures. In our "Best of KBL" for September, Sharon introduces him to us. I'm sure it won't be long before Ryder becomes a fully accredited member of the Gruppe.


Date: September 2, 2016
From: Sharon Burnett
Subject: Updates from the R Gruppe

Five weeks ago my friend and I took a drive up to Vancouver BC to meet a flight from Montreal. On board was are newest recruit joining the R Gruppe.Ryder a 5 month old KBT baby boy. He is Rauri's nephew from her sister Layla.

Ryder made the long trip to the west coast, popped out of his crate to meet me his new "mom", and then back in his crate for the long drive home near Tacoma, WA. Yes we took our breaks on the trip home. It took us 5 hours for a 3 hour trip (we hit rush hour all the way home). Finally home and Ryder officially meets Renny and Rauri. It was almost 8:00 PM. We had our dinner, hung out, and relaxed. We had the Pacific NW Highland games the next day. A big weekend for a little guy!

Renny liked Ryder right away. I knew she missed Rocket, but had no idea how much. She took to Ryder immediately and started bringing him toys, taking tours of the yard, showing him where to stand to get the best view of the squirrels, and just generally adopted the little guy.

Rauri had her nose out of joint right away. She has been super slow to warm up to Ryder especially after I started to let him sleep on our bed! She looked at me as if to say don't you know there are laws against all this????

Ryder attended both days of the Highland Games, met 100's of people, met lots of Celtic dogs (we were set up next to the Glen of Imaals). We had 6 Kerries on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. Ryder and his 8 month old cousin, Pepper, were huge hits. We were overwhelmed by the amount of attention and interest the Kerries received. Ryder walked with me and Rauri in the parade both days. I showed him in the mock dog show. We had a UKC judge. We made the cut taking a 5th place out of 8. The judges feedback was pretty cool. All goes well Ryder will be a breed dog (yes me back in the ring after a very long time.2000 I think with Rascal).

So there you go. The R Gruppe has all 3 positions filled. Rauri is busy filing grievances with the Union. Renny is busy tormenting the puppy, and I am hoping that we will be moving back home (I'm having our house remodeled) by Thanksgiving.

All the best!

Sharon Burnett with Renny, Rauri, and Ryder

Puyallup WA

August 2016


It seems some Kerries love water while others don't. Mine were always paddlers not swimmers.
This month's "Best of KBL" is a post from Jann McQuay, an answer to QOTW 'How does your Kerry react to a body of water on a hot day?' Seems Pepper is not really a water baby.


Date: August 6, 2016
From: Jann McQuay
Subject: QOTW #714: How does your Kerry react to a body of water on a hot day?


There was no answer for me to check. I will not even step in a puddle! Recently we were at a cottage and Mum insisted that I ease myself in. It was a forced, on the leash entry which eventually ended up with me in over my head. I swam back to the dock with a very panicky, splashy dog paddle soaking Mum completely. We repeated this several times until I could calmly swim like a lab. There was lots of encouragement and praise. That was nice. I still would prefer to stay dry!! I shook and sprayed as much water off as possible, all over everyone on the them! This happened almost every time we were at the lake. Another day 12 ducks floated by, really close. I think we were on their sunning dock as there was lots of quacking. My buddy, Tumi, dove into the water. I followed right behind with Mum at the end of the leash. This was great fun; a real chase, but sadly, we did not catch even one duck. Now swimming has a purpose and I'm glad I know how. I need no more lessons. I am not a lab! And I still do NOT like water, except to drink.

Pepper, Whitby, ON Canada. 

July 2016


Squirrels may just be one of our Kerries' favourite prey animals. But many other animals lurk in our yards and neighbourhoods and you never know what your Kerry might catch for you.

Fran's Colm is honing his skills on bigger prey and her post of July 4th is our 'Best of KBL' for this month.


From: Fran Fein

Date: July 4, 2016 

Subject: Chasing 

Colm sees squirrels mostly outside of our pool cage where the little buggers hang on and flick their tails at him while he loudly goes berserk. Otherwise he's on a lead and totally in my control. However.......a few months ago in the early evening I spotted a grandfather-sized possum on the sidewalk and hoped he wouldn't spot it. Right. So I decided to let our bred-for-this terrier to have a chance to chase the critter. Colm lunged for it, possum scooted for the bushes, Colm did the "into the bushes, around the bushes, back into bushes" for about a minute until he started to dig for the very first time in his four years of life. At this point I started to stop him but decided this is what he was born for and let's let him have a little fun. The possum is safe enough. A few seconds later, dirt-faced Colm emerges from the bushes with a huge possum hanging from his mouth, perfectly balanced. I don't know which of us was more surprised: Colm, the possum, or me. I immediately told my not-always-obedient dog, "Drop it!" He did. We turned to walk in the other direction. Possum disappeared, and we haven't seen one that size again.

Fran Fein and Colm, Sarasota, Florida     

June 2016


Another QOTW that got a lot of response asked "Does your Kerry follow you around the house?" Well I speak from experience when I say once you are owned by a Kerry, you're never alone. Wherever you are, they will be there. Eileen Schneegas knows the feeling and tells us about her Kerry shadow in this month's Best of KBL.


From: Eileen Schneegas
Date:June 4, 2016
Subject:Re: #705: Does your Kerry follow you around the house?

Dancer girl was my constant shadow, never more than a few feet away and now she remains still so close in heart and thought! Like Patricia's Kylie, Dancer had a schedule. We used to joke she wore the watch in the family. Our Wheaten, Sailor, is more laid back about such things. Dancer was my walking buddy, my studio partner, dog in lap, shoulder to cry on when needed....I called her my Velcro dog, among other sobriquets, but always with love. Toby was my other Kerry and my first. He was my clown, totally stole my heart and also stuck close, we had lots of adventures. He loved (most) everyone and was always curious. Wheatens in general seem to be a little more willing for sharing the place rather than the shadow. Ours seem to like finding the midway point between us wherever we are at home (2 story home) or in a room. After cancer took our Wheaten Tess, I did not think another it fair to expect another Wheaten to fill her space. That is why I went looking and found a Kerry. We need a low shedding breed and obviously don't mind high maintenance (!) along with energy for adventures and a big heart. So we are now a two breed family, except my breed has gone to wait at the bridge. I hope another Kerry will find me, sooner rather than later. I'll ask some opinions as to the best age/sex match for our elder, rescue guy later. More experienced dog people with less sore hearts may have good answers to my thoughts, ruminations and considerations.

My opinion, but Kerry's Rule! 👑 Toby & Dancer always in my heart

Eileen & Sailor Schneegas, Washington

May 2016


Always an issue that generates lots of sometimes heated discussion, tail docking was the subject of a QOTW. Here's Margaret's take on it, our 'best of KBL' for May.


From: Margaret O'Carroll
Date: May 15, 2016
Subject: Tail Docking

I have read the replies to this QOTW and my comment. I have been breeding Kerrys for about 40 years now. For many of these years I used to take my puppies to the vet for tail docking and dew claw removal. It was not a very nice thing to do, but as it was the fashion I did do this. The past ten or more years I have done this myself. The difference between the vet's work and mine is like night and day.

The first problem is having to either leave the mother at home or take her too neither a happy situation. Left at home she would get into quite a state that her puppies were away somewhere and to take her too she fussed as she heard puppies crying. The vet felt it necessary to put a stitch into the wound. Admittedly tails were docked a lot shorter those early days. When a friend of mine who bred mini schnauzers showed me how she docked tails I decided to do this myself too.

It is done on the third or fourth day and in my bedroom where my puppies spend their first four weeks. The whelping box next to my bed and mother and pups quite at ease. The tail cut was just a very small squeak; the dew claws done at the same time - there is a little more of a squeak; some permanganate of potash crystals on the wounds; put puppy back with mother who has hardly noticed anything and the puppy is licked and goes back to suckling. The stitch the vet thought necessary was not a good thing.

The problem that this no docking is causing is more than one would think. Here in South Africa the public think it’s the law to not dock tails, but it's just the vets who don’t want to do this. Many of the breeders of the various breeds who can be docked do this themselves or not at all. Tails are a lot longer now and mostly very nice. The puppies I had last year I decided not to dock tails. What a lot of variations in tails. As tail docking has been done since forever we never knew what would happen to tails now they are long. We used to see what is known as "squirrel tails" lying flat on the Kerrys back. Totally curled tails, tails with a sideways style with a curl at the end. All of these curls are better than what some Kerrys have had - a tail being just a stump of 2 inches (5 cms) long - very ugly.

I would like to see some information from Europe and the UK regarding docking. The Scandinavian countries, being the first to stop docking, seem to have been able to get nice right-up tails. I wonder if the British breeders have been able to breed with nice upright tails. Long tails do need some getting used to, and really a nice long tail is so much nicer than a short stump.

Yes I do wonder why the terrier breeds were docked. Some of the other breeds, like spaniels that did work in the fields, did damage tails so that has a purpose. Dogs like Great Danes have never had tails docked, but just kennel them and the mess the tails get into is awful. So tail docking is really controversial and very often just unnecessary. I have seen Old English Sheep Dogs with long tails and they are splendid. The strangest thing that has happened with dog grooming is what groomers who are not very clever wonder what to do with a long tail on a Standard Poodle.


Erindel Kerry Blue Terriers
South Africa

Apri1 2016


Another interesting QOTW "Does your Kerry hold a grudge?" brought this reply from Eileen Andrade. Seems her Kerry Genie does indeed hold a grudge against her Dad. And they wonder why we anthropomorphize our dogs.


Date: April 2, 2016
From: Eileen Andrade
Subject: Does your Kerry hold a grudge?

None of the answers suit. Most of my Kerries forgive and forget - but my foundation bitch, Genie, was different. Many years ago she decided to dig under the hedge while I was at work and go next door to the neighbors. The neighbors, knowing that I was at work and over an hour away called my parents who lived nearby. My dad went over to the neighbors and yelled at Genie - telling her she was a bad girl and that she should go home, which she did.

From that day forward she refused to acknowledge my dad at all, turning her head away from him always, refusing to take treats from him and even refusing to eat her breakfast or dinner if he was the one that offered it.

About a month after this event I had Lydia Hiby do a reading of Genie and asked the question "what is the problem with Reg and Genie". Lydia thought for a while and then with a laugh said that she had never seen this before except in Dobermans. She said that Genie was holding a grudge against Reg because he told her she was wrong and had done a bad thing when she was perfectly good!

We were never able to reconcile Genie and Reg, no matter what methods we used. She carried this grudge to the grave.

This was also the dog that insisted on being groomed at every possible moment. If a grooming table was empty she would jump up on it and demand to be brushed.

Miss that girl!


March 2016


Rescue depends on available foster homes to temporarily house the dogs we save until a forever home can be found. Recently Bruno's plight prompted some to wonder if Kerry experience is necessary for a foster home. Dianne Collins' reply is our 'best of' for March and speaks to the challenges of rescue.


Date: March 19, 2016
From: Dianne Collins
Subject: A Foster Urgently Needed

I think this is an excellent question and I would like to address it.

The first preference for a Kerry foster home would always be with someone who has/ had a Kerry and the knowledge of some of the Kerry traits and how to handle them. This is in an ideal world. There is almost never anything about rescue that is ideal. Almost all rescues are put together with bated breath, frustration, frantic appeals, dozens of emails, texts and phone calls, bubble gum and popsicle sticks. The fact that successful rescue to adoption situations occur with some regularity constantly amazes me. I think it speaks well of the humans involved and the love of a very special breed.

The "reaching out to friends" that Carol mentions here is the second best solution and one I wish more Kerry owners would think of and pursue for possible fostering. Come on now, how many times have your friends and neighbors stopped you to mention how much they love your dog and how they wish they could have one? The good thing about this situation is the Kerry owner who has experience and the ability to mentor someone who has not been fortunate enough to be strung along by a Kerry that is at least as smart as their owner!

So, the answer is yes. We would be delighted to have a non-Kerry household foster a Kerry if there is someone with Kerry experience who could mentor, help and act as a backup for the foster.

There was another question about using "other terrier rescue groups". I think you
will find that most groups are in the same position of having too few resources and
too many dogs that need help. We do try to work with one another but it generally
it involves transporting, pulling or notifying the breed group that one of their own
is in trouble. Please see the website write up on Sunny. He came to us by notification
from another terrier rescue group that he was in trouble from both threat of euthanasia
and life threatening stones.

Again, the problem is not locating a dog in trouble, it is having a place for them to
go to be evaluated, vet checked, sheltered and loved until a permanent home can be found.
We will kennel if we have to, simply to save the dog and give us a chance to find him a
permanent home. That is what it is all about, chances and an opportunity to have a life
with love and comfort.

I will be blunt and tell you that the last 50 or so Kerries that have come into rescue
have been handled by less than half a dozen people who, time and time again, take in
"one more foster" and change their homes and lives around for a short time to try and
help a dog. We have shipped dogs across the county time and time again to the same
people with the same request....we need a foster. We are close to saturation and cannot
continue to operate with just a small number of people who will take a chance. If things
progress in this manner, there will come a day when we know there is a Kerry in trouble
and we will have to turn away from him......if we cannot get more help.

I did not sign up to be the "executioner of last resort" and I do not want to see it come to this.

Thanks for the inquires.

Dianne Collins

February 2016


Does your Kerry watch television? Mine didn't though one liked to watch the second hand on the clock go 'round. Jean Birkland's Jubie however loves television and has been watching it for years. Jean's answer to the QOTW "Does your Kerry recognize other dogs on television?" is our 'best of KBL' for February.


Date: February 20, 2016
From: Jean Birkland
Subject: New QOTW about Kerries and TVs

Most of the time??? Are you kidding. If a paw, or a tiny part of a dog is on the screen she recognizes it. Even cartoon animals. She is a TV savant.

She remembers her favorite commercials and gets excited when the music or announcer begins until the dog, cat or any animal appears. We have NEVER Had a dog that we could get or cajole into even looking at the screen. The closest we ever got was our 2nd Kerry who would tilt her head back and forth to the Whistling Theme song to the Andy Griffith Show. When we brought this one home as a new puppy, we turned on the set at some point and she sat right down in front like a little kid, mesmerized. It hasn't changes and she is pushing 13. Makes it hard to watch dog shows. Have to keep her on the couch and a hand on her back as she reacts to some breeds more than others and especially the close ups... OMG!

Any ball game catches her interest too. She watches the ball fly and tracks it back and forth. Tennis matches are hysterical.

Jean Asta Birkland
Seattle, WA

January 2016


A new year, and a time for resolutions. Replying to a QOTW #682, Patricia Carleton tells us of her Kylie's resolution for 2016 and also comments on beards. Oh yes, as all of us who own dogs with beards can relate, beards are fine tools for anointing furniture, pant legs, and so on. Seems to be my mattress that suffers the most from the beards as my dogs love to rub up and down it in the morning. But the sofa takes a hit too, especially right after dinner.


Date: January 2, 2016
From: Patricia Carleton
Subject: Beards and resolutions

We missed the resolution question (#682) so I will start with that. Kylie's resolution is to take herself for her own walks rather than waiting for me. My resolution is to increase her walks as she dearly loves them (pee mail you know), she is getting older (10 in June) and we both could use the exercise.

Last year she achieved a goal she had been set on since Day 1 with us....sleeping on our bed. My husband, who used to be "not a dog person" finally relented. Kylie charmed him and made a large place in his heart...which she smugly occupies.

As to wet, dirty beards (#683), she will sneak a joyful prance down the back of each sofa, the corners of upholstered chairs and walls with any wood trim. She puts her whole body into it and gets a side scratch as well. When I manage to redirect her to her is an all out bum in the air affair, complete with snorts! She also follows Nunzio's lead with the wet beard, adoring gaze routine.

The Carletons

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