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The truth about the breed

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The FCI Standard for the Kerry Blue Terrier


© 2016

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14 rue Léopold II
6530 THUIN
BelgiumFCI-Standard nº 3 / 21.3.199O / GB





Used in the hard job of tackling otters in deep waters, unrivaled as a ratter, charming as a companion, trust-worthy as a watch-dog.


Group 3 (Terriers)
Section 1 (Large and medium sized Terriers).


Like the other Irish Terrier breeds it is assumed that the Kerry Blue has been in the country for centuries, but, once again, because of its humble origins as a rat catcher and all-round farm dog, there are few, if any, references to the breed before the 20th century. The first probable literary reference to the Kerry Blue dates from 1847: the author describes a bluish slate-coloured dog, marked with darker blotches and patches, and often with the tan about the legs and muzzle. This blackish-blue Irish terrier was supposed to be prevalent in Kerry but it has been developed in other countries as well.

The blue didn't make its first appearance on the show benches until 1913, and the Dublin Blue Terrier Club was formed in 1920. The Kerry Blue became quickly so popular as a sort of mascot for Irish patriots that there were actually four clubs promoting its interests for a short time, and between 1922 and 1924 these clubs sponsored no fewer than six shows and six field trials.

When the breed came to the attention of people outside Ireland there was great interest and enthusiasm from the new owners. Though the Kerry Blue has sometimes suffered from a reputation for surliness, fanciers and most owners in England and the United States would agree with the assessment of the breed as"well-nigh perfect".

The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be up-standing, well-knit and well proportioned, showing well developed muscular body with definite terrier style.

Terrier character throughout. The all important factor-expression - must be keen and alert.

Strong and well balanced, showing plenty of hair. The fore-face should be of medium length. Dogs should be stronger in head and more muscular than bitches.

Stop: slight.

Nose: black, nostrils large and wide.

Teeth: level, large and white, scissors bite.

Mouth: gums and roof dark.

Jaw: strong and muscular (punishing jaws).

Eyes: dark or dark hazel, medium in size and well placed, keen in expression.

Ears : thin and not large, carried in front or close to the sides of the head, in a forward position, again to express the keen, sharp terrier expression.

Well proportioned, well set on shoulders and moderately long.


Shoulders: fine, sloping to the body, and well knit.

Chest: deep and of moderate width ribs well sprung.

Back: medium length, level and not long over loins.

Tail: thin, well placed and carried erect and gaily.


Forelegs: straight in front, good bone.

Hindlegs: thighs muscular, well developed, strong hocks, hind leg well set under dog.

Feet: compact, pads strong and rounded, toe nails black.


Hair: soft, plentiful and wavy.

Colour: blue of any shade with or without black points. Black is permissible only up to the age of 18 months, as is also a shade of tan.


Height at the withers: for a dog 18-19 inches (45,5 to 49,5 cm).
For a bitch 17-19 inches (44,5 to 48 cm).

Weight: for a dog 33 lbs to 40 lbs (15 to 18 kg)
For a bitch proportionately less

Objectionable Features

Head : flesh-coloured gums; teeth undershot are objectionable; but when teeth are only slightly over they are not to be regarded as a blemish.

Eyes: yellow or gooseberry eyes.

Front: narrow chest.

Back: roach back or hollow back.

Legs: protruding elbows; white or bone-coloured toenalis; dewclaws on hind legs, or marks of their removal.

Gait-Movement: close, cow hocked, or stilted hind action.

Dogs with heads or tails held up by exhibitors or handlers should be penalized.

Coat: hard, wire or bristle coat.

Colour: any colour other than blue with the exception stated above.

NOTE: male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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