Showsight - March 2022



T he Kerry Blue Terrier is a long-legged Terrier that originated in southwestern Ireland, sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s. It was developed as a multi- purpose farm dog, and was used by mostly peasants to hunt vermin, guard livestock and serve as a companion dog. The General Appearance section of the US Kerry Blue Terrier standard highlights key elements of the breed: • upstanding, well-knit; • well-developed and muscular body of definite Terrier style and character throughout; • good balance;

Be cautious of over-angulation of the rear assembly. When viewed from the side during motion, the reach in front and the extension of the rear on the same side should be nearly equal, forming a “tri- angle” in appearance at the point of full extension. A good mov- ing Kerry will reach in front to the level of the nose, or even past. Dogs with good reach and drive will have a tendency to drop their head down when moving; those carried high may be ewe-necked or straight shouldered. When viewed moving from the front or rear, the Kerry does not double-track; there is some tendency towards convergence in the cent (but not true single-tracking either). COAT AND COLOR Proper type in the Kerry requires proper coat texture and color. It is one of the breed’s defining hallmarks. The standard states the coat is to be soft, dense and wavy. A harsh, wiry, crispy, or bristle coat is to be severely penalized. There are too many Kerries being shown (and often rewarded) that sup- port a wiry, nappy, tight-curled, harsh or bristle coat. Coats that are “packed” by their groomers like a Poodle coat should be heavily penalized. The body coat should have the required wavy coat— visualize a “Marcel” or pinched wave. An excellent coat will have row after row of rippled waves. The coat is a single coat—no undercoat. There is no such thing as an “open” coat. The beard is blown dry straight, or left natural with a slight wave. The upper part of the legs have a wavy coat; the lower legs are blown dry straight and sculpted. Lighter colored dogs (silver, silver-blue, silver grey) often have a tendency to have looser waves, while darker-colored Kerries (darker grey-blue, slate blue) tend to carry a denser coat with tighter waves (but not small/ tiny waves). Light silver Kerries used to have a tendency to have a cotton-textured coat, but not so much anymore. Darker Kerries should not have a packed—Poodle type coat. The coat is hand scissored—not clippered. The only areas clip- pered are the neck, ears, sides of the head, between the foot pads, the abdomen and below the anus/scrotum/vulva. Talented groom- ers can hide a number of faults with clever scissoring—you must go over the dogs with your hands. The color range is broad: from silver, to silver-blue and silver- gray, to blue-gray and into slate blues. Slate blues are not black. In natural light, slate blues will show a bluish hue and colored hairs can be found dispersed throughout their body coat. A Kerry is born black and develops its color as it matures. Some bloodlines are slow in developing color, but will eventually get color at an older age. Up to 18 months of age in the young dog, black is permis- sible. A black dog 18 months of age or older is to be disqualified. A white mark on a black dog over 18 months of age does not con- stitute clearing or mature color and the dog is to be disqualified. Some lines support a black mask on the head, with or without dark points on the lower legs. Black on the muzzle, head, ears, tail and feet is permissible at any age.

• a low-slung Kerry Blue is not typical; • correct coat and color are important.

Proper balance and proportions, correct movement for a long-legged Terrier and the breed’s hallmark coat are items to be

particularly stressed. BODY STRUCTURE

The standard does not specifically describe body proportion; Kerries are slightly longer than square (height versus length). Square Terriers include Lakeland Terriers and Miniature Schnau- zers—Kerries do not have this square proportion. But they are also not long-backed. They are not low-slung (short leg length in relation to back length). The neck is to be clean and moderately long—well set and carried proudly. A short-necked Kerry will look long-backed and often will have upright shoulder angulation. The chest is deep/moderate breadth, ribs fairly well sprung/ deep rather than round. Slab-sidedness is faulty. Shoulders should be long and sloping, well laid back. The front assembly of a Kerry is more like a sporting/working dog; it does not have the shortened forearm of the Fox Terrier—which is reflected in its movement. The back is short, strong and straight (level) (note: short back not referring to overall dog length). There is a slight tuck-up, short loin. The dog should not be waspy-waisted. Tail set on high, mod- erate length, carried gaily erect/the straighter the tail the better. This does not mean long tails. This does not mean tails curving to the side like a Chinese Shar-Pei. There are dogs that are un-docked that have moderate tail length and proper carriage. MOVEMENT Kerry Blue movement is more akin to sporting/working dog movement than movement seen in Fox Terriers. They do not have a shortened forearm/humerus. Restricted reach and drive in the breed is faulty. Gait should have full freedom of action. Kerries do not goose-step in a pendulum motion when moving in the front— there is a bend of elbow and pastern which then extends out to full extension and reach. A problem seen in the breed is poor front movement often related to poor angulation—restricted reach in the front is the result. This is a difficult fault to breed out of— it often takes generations. Hindquarters are strong and muscular and provide the power for good reach and drive during motion.


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