“Can they See?”

Edward Cardona

FIN, DK & S CH, FINW-91, -92, -93 GEIJES QUIZZICAL QUEEN (CH Geijes Part One x CH Lingus Special Geijes Edition)

Breeder: Mia & Aya Lundsten, kennel Geijes, Finland

Owner: Mia Lundsten & Markus Brenner, Finland

We have all wondered why Kerries have so much hair over their eyes. Why not cut it off and allow them to see better. Edward Cardona wrote an article in defence of the “fall.”

First, I think it’s sacrilegious to cut the fall. The amount of time it takes to grow back this traditional Kerry hairloom (hehehe) should stop you. This is such an identifying feature for our breed. It really makes the dog look like a Kerry and not just any other terrier or God forbid, a POODLE. Not that Poodles aren’t terrific dogs, I’m just tired of everyone telling me how lovely my “Poodle” is.

Second, dogs rely on peripheral vision much more than humans do. Your vet might be anthropomorphizing when he comments “sympathetically” that your Kerry can’t see. Humans rely mostly on binocular vision for sight. Binocular vision requires both eyes and creates a visual field directly in front of the human eyes of about 100 degrees. Peripheral vision in humans adds an additional 45 degrees on either side. In dogs, binocular vision accounts for a 60 degree field in front of the eyes and peripheral vision adds a whopping 95 degrees of sight on either side of the dog’s head. In other words, a dog’s peripheral field of vision on either side of its head is equivalent to the binocular field of vision that we normally use in front of us. That amounts to twice the visual field peripherally as compared to our frontal field of vision. The fall affects binocular vision in a Kerry and leaves him with his crucial peripheral vision intact.

Third, most dogs with the exception of sight hounds have poor vision to begin with. They rely heavily on their sense of smell for direction and their ears for balance and directional stability. Bloodhounds, for instance, are near blind and can find any item they seek with their noses. Dogs aren’t the only animals that don’t require perfect eyesight. Bats, for example use sonar and can catch insects in flight. Try that with a pair of human eyes! We should create a breed of bats with a fall and call them Kerry Blue Bats. But I bet your vet would want to cut the fall on those bats too!

Fourth, a good argument to cut a fall would be to keep the dog’s eyes clean. However, if you trim properly around the eyes, the hair won’t intrude. The fall can then actually serve to prevent foreign particles from falling in the dog’s eyes.

Fifth, Kerry boys don’t like Kerry girls without those cascading frontal locks. For some odd reason they just never FALL for them!

Editor’s note:

An interesting web site about dog vision: http://www.vetinfo.com/dogsee.html

Are Kerries color-blind? Find out at http://www.uwsp.edu/acad/psych/dog/dvision.htm

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