UK Kennel Club Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Standard (last updated 2007)
A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
General Appearance: Upstanding, well knit and proportioned, well developed and muscular body.
Characteristics: Compact, powerful Terrier, showing gracefulness and an attitude of alert determination, with definite Terrier style and character throughout.
Temperament: Disciplined gameness.
Head and Skull: Well balanced, long, proportionally lean, with slight stop and flat over the skull. Foreface and jaw very strong, deep and punishing; nose black; nostrils of due proportion.
Eyes: Dark as possible. Small to medium with keen Terrier expression.
Ears: Small to medium and V-shaped; carried forward but not too high.
Mouth: Gums and roof of mouth dark with perfect, regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck: Strong and reachy, running into sloping shoulders.
Forequarters: Shoulders flat as possible with elbows carried close to body while standing or moving. Legs straight, bone powerful. Front straight, neither too wide nor too narrow.
Body: Short-coupled with good depth of brisket and and well sprung ribs. Deep chest. Topline level.
Hindquarters: Large and well developed, stifle bent and hocks close to ground giving perfect freedom of hind action.
Feet: Round and small. Nails black.
Tail: Previously customarily docked. Docked: Set on high and carried erect. Undocked: Set on high of moderate length to give an overall balanced appearance. Thick at the base and evenly tapering to tip, straight as possible and carried jauntily. An excessively gay or curled tail undesirable.
Gait/Movement: Free and powerful. Fore- and hindlegs moving straight and parallel, stifles turning neither in nor out.
Coat: Soft and silky, plentiful and wavy.
Colour: Any shade of blue with or without black points. Tan permissible in puppies, also a dark colour up to the age of 18 months. A small white patch on chest should not be penalised.
Size: Ideal height: dogs: 46-48 cms (18-19 ins) at shoulder; bitches slightly less. The most desirable weight for a fully developed dog is 15-17 kgs (33-37 lbs), and bitches should weigh proportionately less, but 16 kgs kgs (35 lbs) is the most desirable weight to aim for.
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Breed Standard Ireland Date of Publication of Last Approved Breed Standard: 19.04.2005
Utlization: Used in the hard job of tackling otters in deep waters, to engage badger underground and hunt vermin. A good watch dog and loyal companion.
Classification F.C.U.: Group 3 Terriers; Section 1 large and medium sized Terriers; Without working trial.
Brief Historical Summary: 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 references 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 counties 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. By 1928 this impressive balanced terrier with its beautiful soft blue coat became popular worldwide and its reputation as an excellent working and companion dog agreed with the breed assessment as (well nigh perfect).
General Appearance: The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well-knit and well proportionated, showing well developed muscular body with definite terrier style.
Behaviour/Temperament: Terrier character throughout. The all-important factor-expression must be keen and alert.
Head: Showing plenty of hair. Dogs should be stronger in head and more muscular than bitches.
Cranial Region: Skull : Strong and well balanced. Stop: Slight.
Facial Region: Nose – Black, nostrils large and wide. Muzzle – The foreface should be of medium length. Teeth – Teeth large even and white, scissor bite (level bite acceptable). Jaws – Jaws strong and muscular (punishing jaws). Mouth – Gums and roof dark. 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.
Neck: Well proportioned, well set on shoulders and moderately long.
Body: Back – Medium length, level. Loin – Moderate in length. Chest – Deep and of moderate width. Ribs well sprung.
Tail: Thin, well placed and carried erect and gaily.
Limbs: Forequarters – Shoulders: Fine, sloping, well-knit. Forelegs: Straight in front, bone good. Hindquarters – Hindlegs well set under dog. Thighs : Muscular, well developed. Hocks: Strong. Feet: Compact, pads strong and rounded, toe nails black.
Gait/Movement: Good coordination, with legs parallel, forelegs reaching out and powerful drive in the hindquarters. When the dog is moving the topline should remain level and the head and tail should be carried high.
Coat: 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.
Size and Weight:
Height at the withers: Dogs: 18 – 19,5 inches (45,5 to 49,5 cm). Bitches: 17,5 – 19 inches (44,5 to 48 cm).
Weight: Dogs : 33 lbs to 40 lbs (15 to 18 kg). Bitches: proportionately less.
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog: Flesh coloured gums; Yellow or light coloured eyes; Roach back or hollow back; Narrow chest; Protruding elbows; Teeth undershot or overshot; White or bone coloured toe nails; Dewclaws on hind legs, or marks of their removal; Close, cow-hocked or stilted hind action; Dogs whose heads or tails are held up by exhibitors or handlers should be penalised; Hard, wire or bristle coat; Any colour other than blue with the exception stated above; Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
NB: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
US Breed Standard approved October 10, 2005 and effective January 1, 2006
General Appearance: The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well knit and in good balance, showing a well-developed and muscular body with definite terrier style and character throughout. 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 18-19½ inches for a dog, and 17½-19 inches for a bitch, should be given primary preference. Only where the comparative superiority of a specimen outside of the ranges noted clearly justifies it should greater latitude be taken. 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 from 33-40 pounds, bitches weighing proportionately less. A well-developed and muscular body. Legs moderately long with plenty of bone and muscle.
Head: 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, houndlike in appearance, is very undesirable. Skull-Flat, with very slight stop, of but 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) teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth. An undershot mouth should be strictly penalised.
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 but moderate breadth. Ribs fairly well sprung, deep rather than round. A slight tuck-up. Loin short and powerful. Tail should be set on high, of moderate length and carried gaily erect, the straighter the tail the better.
Forequarters: 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 short, straight and hardly noticeable. Feet should be 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.
Hindquarters: 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.
Coat: Correct coat is important. It is to be soft, dense and wavy. A harsh, wire or bristle 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.
Color: Color is important. The correct mature color is any shade of blue gray or gray blue from the deep slate to light blue gray, of a fairly uniform color throughout except that distinctly darker to black parts may appear on the muzzle, head, ears, tail and feet. Kerry color, in its 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 to be disqualified. (White markings on a black dog 18 months of age or older is never permissible in the show ring and is to be disqualified. Disqualification – A black dog 18 months of age or older is to be disqualified. (White markings on a black dog 18 months of age or older does not constitute clearing or mature color and the dog is to be disqualified.)
Gait: 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.
Disqualifications: A black dog 18 months of age or older is to be disqualified. (White markings on a black dog 18 months of age or older does not constitute clearing or mature color and the dog is to be disqualified.)