First Kerries on the US Westcoast

Submitted by Judith Bruno

KERRY BLUE TERRIERS also are finding their way out to the Coast, and if the right blood is fostered-like the Kentish-bred bitch recently purchased by Mrs.
C. E. Van Der Oef, of the Gainmore Kennels at Los Angeles and which was bred to the noted English winner and sire, Breezehurst Bluebeard, before leaving
England-the future for this game and most devoted terrier in the West should be particularly bright, as the California fanciers are starting right,
having acquired the very best blood lines. It is to, be hoped that the craze for harsh coats, as seen in the Irish terrier, will not be sought for.
This was the mistake made in the early days of the Kerry blue terrier in the East, but the modernized standard emphasizes the fact that the coat should
be of a soft, silky texture.

We recall our first meeting with the Kerry
blue. It was whilst judging several terrier breeds, including Irish, at the Ladies Kennel Association Show in the Rotunda on Sackville Street, Dublin,
in May, 1899. In a big novice class we espied a large bluish-wheaten dog of about thirty-five pounds, and remarked to our steward, the noted Irish
terrier expert, D. Y. Yarr, “What right has the docked Bedlington here?” to which he replied, “Hush! That is not a Bedlington; that is a Kerry terrier,
one of the oldest breeds in Ireland.” We often have thought that the Bedlington cross was sought in modernizing this game breed, which is now one of
the most fashionable of the broken-haired terriers in England and Ireland, and now are fetching as many guineas as they did shillings when we judged
the Dublin show in 1899.

Many of England’s and Ireland’s best have recently crossed the Atlantic, among them, and possibly the most prominent, are the pair that Mr. Esmond O’Brien
(at right, with his brace) purchased during his recent motor tour through Europe. It seems that Mr. O’Brien, one of the most enthusiastic of the younger
set at Southampton and New York, caught the Kerry blue fever last year when he saw Mrs. William Randolph Hearst’s very select kennel and purchased
a promising puppy which he named Tammany. As a proof that his judgment was right, his acquisition won both the novice and American-bred classes at
New York and received special commendation from the English expert, Mrs. Cora Charters, to be followed by wins at the Queensborough and other nearby
shows. With the fever raging at a very high temperature Mr. O’Brien cabled his old friend, Lord Fermoy, who was at his south of Ireland estate near
Kerry, asking him to keep an eye open for some good Kerry blues. The result was that, on his arrival in England, Mr. O’Brien’s wise purchases were
the, noted champion, Festive Bells, which he promptly bred to the popular sire and champion, Afon Jacobin, and the Taunton sensational debutant, St.
Margaret’s Summons, which have arrived in perfect form and may be seen at the fall shows.

We recall the time when a Kerry blue appeared in a miscellaneous class at an eastern show and was promptly “gated” by the judge who declared there was
no such breed. Since then, however, they have become most popular, especially with prominent priests who crowd the ring when the classes are being
judged and are as keen as any of the terrier fancy.

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