Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Standard
Reading and understanding the breed standard are great ways to get acquainted with Kerries. The standard outlines not only the look of the dog, but the correct temperament and conformation. The beauty of the dog comes from how closely he fits this standard. Feel free to contact us at any time for more information.
The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well-knit, and in good balance—it should show a well-developed and muscular body with definite terrier style and character throughout. Correct coat and color are important. A low-slung Kerry is not typical.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The ideal Kerry should be 18½ inches at the withers for a dog—slightly less for a bitch. In judging Kerries, a height of 18 to 19½ inches for a dog and 17½ to 19 inches for a bitch should be given primary preference. Greater latitude should only be taken when the comparative superiority of a specimen outside of the ranges noted clearly justifies it. In no case should it extend to a dog over 20 inches or under 17½ inches—or to a bitch over 19½ inches or under 17 inches. The minimum limits do not apply to puppies. The most desirable weight for a fully developed dog is anywhere from 33 to 40 pounds, with bitches weighing proportionately less. A well-developed and muscular body is preferable. Legs should be moderately long with plenty of bone and muscle.
The head should be long—but not exaggerated—and in good proportion to the rest of the body. Well balanced. Eyes: dark, small, not prominent, well placed, and with a keen terrier expression. Anything approaching a yellow eye is very undesirable. Ears: V-shaped, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog, of moderate thickness, carried forward close to the cheeks with the top of the folded ear slightly above the level of the skull. A "dead" ear, hound-like in appearance, is very undesirable. Skull: Flat, with very slight stop, of moderate breadth between the ears, and narrowing very slightly to the eyes. Foreface: full and well made up, not falling away appreciably below the eyes but moderately chiseled out to relieve the foreface from wedginess. Little apparent difference between the length of the skull and foreface. Jaws: deep, strong and muscular. Cheeks: clean and level, free from bumpiness. Nose: black, nostrils large and wide. Teeth: strong, white, and either level or with the upper incisors slightly overlapping the lower teeth. An undershot mouth should be strictly penalized.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck: clean and moderately long, gradually widening to the shoulders upon which it should be well set and carried proudly. Back: short, strong and straight (i.e., level), with no appearance of slackness. Chest: deep and of moderate breadth. Ribs: fairly well sprung, deep rather than round with a slight tuck-up. Loins: short and powerful. Tail: should be set on high, of moderate length and carried gaily erect—the straighter the tail, the better.
Shoulders: fine, long, and sloping, well laid back and well knit. The elbows hanging perpendicularly to the body and working clear of the side in movement. The forelegs should be straight from both front and side view. The pasterns should be short, straight, and hardly noticeable. Feet: strong, compact, fairly round, and moderately small, with good depth of pad free from cracks, the toes arched, turned neither in nor out, with black toenails.
Strong and muscular with full freedom of action, free from droop or crouch, the thighs long and powerful, stifles well bent and turned neither in nor out, hocks near the ground and, when viewed from behind, upright and parallel with each other, the dog standing well up on them.
Correct coat is important. It is to be soft, dense, and wavy. A harsh, wiry, or bristly coat should be severely penalized. In show trim, the body should be well covered but tidy, with the head (except for the whiskers) and the ears and cheeks clear.
A mature color is any shade of blue, gray, gray-blue, dark slate, or light blue gray—the color must be uniform throughout. The only sections of the coat that are allowed to be slightly darker are the muzzle, ears, head, feet, and tail. Kerry color should be in the process of "clearing" changes from an apparent black at birth to the mature gray blue or blue gray. The color passes through one or more transitions—involving a very dark blue (darker than deep slate), shades or tinges of brown, and mixtures of these, together with a progressive infiltration of the correct mature color. The time needed for this "clearing" process varies with each dog. Small white markings are permissible. Black on the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet is permissible at any age. A black dog 18 months of age or older is never permissible in the show ring and is to be disqualified.
Full freedom of action. The elbows hanging perpendicularly to the body and working clear of the sides in movement; both forelegs and hind legs should move straight forward when traveling, the stifles turning neither in nor out.
A black dog 18 months of age or older is to be disqualified immediately. White markings on a black dog 18 months of age or older does not constitute clearing or mature color and the dog should be disqualified.