Don’t Get a Kerry!

Interested in getting a Kerry Blue Terrier? Before it’s too late, you need to know that the Kerry is not the ideal dog for everyone. Think long and hard before buying or adopting one. You will be committing yourself for up to 15 years.

DON’T get a Kerry if you are attracted to the breed chiefly by its appearance.Behavior, temperament, and trainability are what you actually live with. Be sure that the Kerry personality truly suits your own personality and lifestyle.

DON’T get a Kerry if you are unwilling to spend time and money on frequent grooming.The nonshedding Kerry coat demands thorough brushing and combing at least 15 minutes or more, 3 or more times a week, and once-a-month professional trimming which can cost up to $65 or more.

DON’T get a Kerry if you aren’t prepared or willing to learn to effectively handle a potentially dog-aggressive dog. Kerries don’t back down when challenged by another dog, and therein lies a huge responsibility for its owner. This is not a breed for the faint of heart.

DON’T get a Kerry if you don’t intend to train the dog. Basic obedience training is a MUST if your Kerry is to be a well-mannered companion. Kerries are independent thinkers, and often require imaginative training techniques.

DON’T get a Kerry if you are unable or unwilling to assert yourself as the undisputed boss of the household. Kerries are NOT submissive by nature; they tend to take advantage of wishy-washy non-alpha owners. You must be self-assured, consistent, and firm, as well as fair, calm, and kind.

DON’T get a Kerry if you dislike daily physical exercise. Kerries need exercise and the mental stimulation of a walk, jog, or run to keep them happy, healthy, and out of trouble.

DON’T get a Kerry if you are unwilling to share your house and life with a “shadow.” Kerries are extremely people-oriented and will follow you everywhere. They are family-oriented house dogs-NOT outdoor dogs. (Actually, few dogs are happy if “exiled” from the house and family.)

DON’T get a Kerry if you work long or irregular hours or travel frequently. No dog deserves a life alone. Kerries thrive on love and attention and the security of a structured environment.

DON’T get a Kerry if you don’t appreciate a high-energy intelligent dog. While not usually “hyperactive,” Kerries are Alive with a capital A-both mentally and physically.

DON’T get a Kerry if you believe that dogs should run “free.” No dog should run free and unsupervised, either in an urban or rural setting. Kerries were bred to flush out and kill its quarry-mice, rats, rabbits, and even fox and badgers–and that includes the squirrel or your neighbor’s cat across a busy street.

DON’T get a Kerry if you can’t afford to buy one, or pay for grooming, good-quality food, and veterinary care for the 10-15 years the dog may live. Kerries are one of the more expensive breeds, and providing proper grooming, food, and medical care costs hundreds of dollars per year.

DON’T get a Kerry if you already own a dog and are unwilling to provide the training and supervision that is often necessary to prevent fights.

DON’T get a Kerry if you own cats, birds, or small animals (such as rats, hamsters, or ferrets) and are unable to closely supervise the dog’s behavior to safeguard these pets. Some Kerries consider them prey. If these animals are your children’s pets, the children need to be supervised when playing with them in the presence of a Kerry.

DON’T get a Kerry if you are unwilling to commit yourself for the dog’s entire lifetime.Every dog deserves lifetime loyalty from his owners-no matter what! A Kerry dumped at a pound or shelter has almost no chance of escaping death. Almost all problems can be solved through counseling and training of owner and dog. If you must place your Kerry, do so only through the dog’s breeder, a Kerry Rescue group, or a Kerry Club.


If all of the preceding “bad news” about Kerries hasn’t turned you away from the breed, then by all means begin investigating the “good news” about the breed. Kerries are every bit as wonderful and lovable as you have heard. It may be the perfect breed for you!

Be sure to research all attributes of the Kerry or any breed you are considering. Spend time meeting each breed in a variety of settings (the show ring presents only one dimension), seek them out in obedience and agility trials, at dog club functions, and at the homes of responsible owners. Then you’ll be better equipped to decide if the breed suits you, your family, and your lifestyle. And don’t forget to research the breeder if you are considering a puppy. For help, see How Do You Choose a Kerry Breeder? and Finding a Responsible Kerry Breeder. Also check out our FAQBreeders Directory, available Rescuedogs, and available Litters.

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Dave Loveless
Dave Loveless

Looking to adopt or getting a puppy. Am retired and have time and money to take care of and train. Is there a breeder or rescue near Spokane WA?

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