Randy A. Hayes
Kerries and Kids: Do the two get along? For the most part, the unreserved response of the newslist is “Yes.” There are several caveats mentioned, however.
Howard Brody indicates that his Kerry, Dino, tends to use his front paws with some small children, rearing up and smacking the child with his front paws in a playful manner. To avoid possible injury to small children, Howard keeps Dina away from kids under 12 years of age or under 5 feet tall.
Cindy Hatzfeld’s suggestion is that ‘it depends on the Kerry,’ and sites several instances where Kerries she has known over the years have been somewhat aggressive with kids who were either misbehaving or getting more attention than the Kerry. Overall, Cindy feels that her current Kerry is very gentle and is the perfect dog for her sons.
Charlotte Dahl points out (January 21, 2003 post) that the book, Celebration of Irish Breeds, lists guarding hearth and children as part of the development of the four terriers native to Ireland. This seems to be the experience of contributors to the newslist.
Mike Huie, who grew up with a Kerry, sites that their Kerry seemed to think that his kids (now grown) were actually hers, insisting, for example, that he or his wife pick up their baby when she cried. He further adds that their Kerry was very protective of the children, following them around in the back yard. Mike adds that the only way to have children is to have a Kerry to help out.
Sharon Burnet adds that both her Kerries (and her Irish Terrier as well) are wonderful with children, but they also get upset when children cry. Sharon’s advice is: Never leave a dog alone with any child!
Susie Sigman tells how her Kerry seems to try to parent her children, trying to break up fights between her sons, and herding them off to bed when mom tells the boys it’s time to go to bed.
Caroline Proctor states that “kid” is her Kerry’s middle name. Although not having children in her own home, Caroline’s Kerries are therapy dogs that love children. She also sites selling a Kerry to a family with a disturbed child, and that the dog handles the child’s problems well.
Robyn Shumer adds that her Kerry is great around kids and toddlers, giving them sniffs and kisses, and them ignoring them to sit on the couch and look out the window.
Shelley Kilcoyne also tells how her Kerry is affectionate with everyone, including her children who use him as a pillow.
Jennifer Grapentine sites how her Kerry, Murphy, follows her daughter around and attends to her, adding that Murphy loves the attention from all the kids. Jennifer has a further caveat that gives advice on the topic of Kerries and kids: “Assuming the KBT is socialized properly they are excellent with well behaved children!”