Hunting Kerries

The Kerry Blue Terrier was bred as a multi-purpose farm dog, which needed to combine herding, guarding, hunting, retrieving and vermin destroying talents.
Although rarely, some of the Kerries are still used as a hunting dogs.

Despite his classifying between “terriers” (terra means “earth” in Latin), Kerry is not
a typical earth-dog.

Terrier owners interested in hunting can apply for membership in the American Working Terrier Association (AWTA.)

For “above the ground” hunting test all terrier

breeds recognized by major kennel clubs (AKC, UKC, FCI, etc.) and terrier crosses are eligible to compete.

Earth-dogs needs to be small enough to fit in a nine-inch artificial den. Dogs compete for “Certificate of Gameness” in different classes, depending on
size. There are usually two groups of terriers- 12 inches and less, called “short-legged” and more then 12 inches tall-called “long legged”.

A Kerry can successfully compete in different hunting tests above the ground. All depend on owner’s preferences.

The AKC licenses or sanctions individual clubs who, under AKC Rules and Regulations, sponsor Hunting Tests and Field Trials.

In Hunting Tests, the dog’s ability to perform is judged against a standard of perfection established by the AKC Regulations; theoretically, every dog
can be a winner! Dogs receiving Qualifying Scores at a number of tests achieve titles of Junior Hunter (J.H.), Senior Hunter (S.H.) and Master Hunter
(M.H.); each successive title requires more skill.

In Field Trials, the dogs compete against each other for placements and points toward their championships. Successful dogs earn an F.C. (Field Champion)
title in front of their names on AKC records. Dogs can also earn Amateur Field Championships in Amateur Stakes.

Most of the European dogs are listed under FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) and owners of dogs used for hunting need to be members of official
organization for hunters as well. Some terriers in Europe still need to pass official hunting or other tests to obtain breeding license. Kerries, because
of its multipurpose use, are not one of them.

This time I know about three Kerry Blue Terriers from Europe, which were used as hunting dogs. Two of them passed an official hunting tests.

Ch. Bianca Kerrydom (owned by Natalia Samaj, Cross The Rubicon kennel)

Ch. Czak Gokaiba (owned by Ireneuzs Bialecki, Gokaiba kennel)- hunting test

Ch. Henry v.Melenzee (owned by Rundt’s family, Braudag kennel)- tracking test

There are many different tests, but in each of them, the dog has to prove, that the dog is able to track, find and bring any dead or wounded pray and show
instinct for this type of work. Some of the tests are simple, some of them are multipurpose. The dogs can compete in public contests organized by hunting
clubs in different countries after complying with the conditions stated by the country, which organize the contest.

The results- points and description of work are listed in a chart.

For example, in Czech and Slovak Republic, Kerries can compete in:

TEST OF WORKING ABILITY/INSTINCT, where can be included:

1. “Nose”- smell

2. “Loudness”- barking

3. Obedience

4. Acting after shooting

5. Leading on /off the leash

6. Searching (for pray)

7. Tracking ? alive prey

8. Tracking- the master

This test is a basic for “higher” level tests as :

AUTUMN TESTS for terriers, include:

9. find and retrieve “feather” pray

10. find and retrieve “furry” pray at field

11. retrieve a duck from deep water (duck are hunted in autumn, when migrating)

After passing this test, the terrier is approved for work in the region with a small pray.

FOREST TEST for terriers:

Includes work on blood marked track 1-4 hours old and chasing.

After passing this test, the terrier is approved for work in the region with ungulate pray as deer or elk.


Includes enthusiasm working in deep water, retrieving duck from deep water, chasing and fining dead or wounded birds in reed, obedience and behavior at

TRACKING TEST used for areas with ungulate prey (different for deer and wild boar):

1.leading on and off leash

2.command “stay” on and off leash

3.working at 12 hours old track


This is the highest type of hunting tests. The dogs which pass this exam are listed in a breeding book as U (universal) dogs, which is prove of their use
in a forest, field or water.

Besides classic test there is included: searching, tracking of alive pray, finding and retrieving of “feather” pray, retrieving of “furry” pray on a field
(usually rabbit), working in the water, following, work at bloody track-1-4 hours old and chasing.

Marina Semenowa’s hunting Kerries in Kazakhstan

And, of course I’d be happy to answer any questions if I can.Natalia Samaj

Cross The Rubicon KBT


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