The breed originated in the county of Kerry in Ireland and has been pure bred in that part for well over a hundred years. Lovable and intelligent, this breed is used mainly for hunting small game. However, it has the adaptability to be used also as a herding dog for sheep and cattle. He is also very good at ridding farms and homes of vermin such as rats.
The Kerry is a dog of many accomplishments and has been found to be very trainable. He is an excellent watchdog and adores his family. He has been used for security work and is a long living breed when properly reared.
The general appearance of the Kerry is of an upstanding dog with a muscular body, wellknit together, with very definite terrier character and style. It should never appear short in the leg. The coat is of utmost importance in both texture and colour. In size, a male should be around 45.5 cm - 49.5 and females 44.5 cm - 48, however size can be given a little leeway when judging the breed, if a superior dog who is over the prescribed size should be preferred but in no case should it exceed 50.5cm nor be under 44.5.
The head is long but not excessively so. The eyes are dark and small. Never prominent. They should be well placed and have a keen terrier expression. Light eyes are most objectionable. The head is furnished with a long beard and moustache and also the eyebrows are grown over the foreface, covering the eyes.
The ears are small and v-shaped. Not too thick and carried forwards close to the cheeks, with the top fold rising slightly above the skull line. The jaws should be deep and strong. The nose is large and black. Teeth strong and white. The forequarters of the Kerry are fine, long and sloping but the hindquarters are strong and muscular. The hocks are near the ground and the good turn of stifle is what propels the dog in the powerful way it covers the ground.
The coat is most important. It should be soft and wavy and of a blue/grey colour. Black on the head, ears, tail and feet is permissible at any age but a dog which is black all over after the age of 18 months HAS to be disqualified from the showing. You will need to find a good groomer to trim the Kerry into the required shape but with practice you can probably manage to keep it trimmed yourself so that parlour visits are not too frequent!
As I have previously said, this is a breed which is a typical terrier and therefore requires exercise to keep its mind busy. It is a good home dog and great as a guard. To keep the Kerry clean and smelling sweet, it is a good idea to wash the face after feeding as otherwise he will gather food into the long beard and the smell will not be good! Otherwise just a good brushing daily will keep him clean and tidy.