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  • 10/16/2023 2:20 PM | Web Team (Administrator)

    The Centennial Celebration of the American Kennel Club's recognition of the Kerry Blue Terrier in the United States was held  in May, 2023 at Purina Farms.  The event featured four Specialty shows, a Barn Hunt,  a gala featuring a video of Kerry Blues over the years in the United States as well as a Parade of Kerrie's on Saturday night.  The Centennial Chronicle features the history of the breed and over 60 pages of Kerry Blues.  Click HERE to download the Centennial Chronicle..

  • 05/10/2011 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    BlueprintsSome Interesting Facts
    Many of you have received the latest issue of Blueprints, so I thought you might be interested in some information I came across.
    (By the way, a big thanks to Janie MacBryde, Blueprints Editor, for her continued hard work on this project.)

    Facts Found in the 1958 edition of Blueprints

    • The 1958 edition was 19 pages, one sided on legal size paper.
    • Blueprints cost the club $100 an issue and looks like to was done on a mimeograph machine.  That cost includes postage.
    • The USKBTC had 81 members.
    • There were a number of different chapter clubs in 1958. KBTC of Atlanta, KBTC of Kansas City, KBTC of New England,
    • The first annual specialty show of the KBTC of Kansas City was held in February of 1958.
    • There was a tribute to Edward Megargee who died March 15, 1958.
    • USKBTC thanked Dr. Montgomery for working on the KBT book of the breed and for agreeing to judge their fall specialty held at Westchester KC.
    • Some of the BOB winners of the time were:

    KBTC of Atlanta  – BOB – Ch. Slugger McGee- Owned by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Wilson.
    KBTC of Chicago -  BOB – Ch. Tailteann’s Marcie’s Son – Owned by Mrs. Eileen McEachren
    KBTC of Kansas -  BOB -  Ch. Tailteann’s Marcie’s Son – Owned by Mrs. Eileen McEachren
    KBTC of Northern California – BOB Kilkraney Caprice, 15 Kerries entered.
    KBTC of New England – BOB Connemara’s Carmel Quinn – Bred by Connie Pierce
    Heart of America KC BOB – Ch. Dorcliff Damsel – Owned by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Weil

    • Awards given by the KBTC of New England, which at that time, was one of the oldest chapter clubs having hosted 16 specialties are noted below.

    Bluecoste Befriend, UD was given the Bluecote Obedience Challenge Trophy for the highest scoring Kerry in obedience for the year.
    Ch. Connemara’s Carmel Quinn was given the Outstanding Kerry for 1957 award.
    Glady Titcomb was given the Outstanding Member Award.

    • It was reported that in 1958 there were a total of 5 KBTs in Japan, but only one registered in the Japan Kennel Club, Int. CH. Garnet’s Patrick, CD owned by Lt. Col. & Mrs. John Bankus.
    • The Kerry Blue Terrier Club of ENGLAND issued a list of the number of CC’s won by Kerries as of January 1958.  The top holder of CC’s (25) was Ch. Acquire Best Blue.
    • There was  a call for more active members of the USKBTC.
    • Gaelic words were translated.  Just three of the Gaelic words mentioned are below.

    Chairraighe – Kerry
    Gorm – the color blue
    Banba – ban’uv, a pet name for the Ireland of old, of the days of great feats, of mythology.

    • Tips For The Coming Weather (Please remember this was placed in the 1958 edition of Blueprints.)

    For the Kerry that is not being shown, clip the hair from  the feet up to the hock.
    For the Kerry that is being show, slip plastic bags over his feet and hold in place with rubber bands, one placed above the hocks and    one placed below.”

    Things have really changed.

    Carol Kearney

  • 09/02/2008 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    Who was Mrs. Gladys S. Titcomb and what is in the collection she donated to the USKBTC?
    In an ad in the 1964 USKBTC Handbook, Mrs.Gladys S. Titcomb wrote, “Owned Kerries since 1937, registered in the AKC in 1943 and was a member of the USKBTC since 1941.” An ad she had in the 1968 USKBTC Handbook listed some of the Kerry she had owned or bred. Some of their names follow.
    Ch. Hilarious of Gayterry, (Her foundation matron, a double daughter of Rackety Packety.)
    C. Dabster of Delwin
    Ch. Deeds Show Off
    Ch. Blucote Bawcock
    Int. Ch. Breeze’s Blan of Homeplace
    Ch. Embargo’s First Lady
    Ch. Clonkilty Morning Star
    Int. Ch. Blucote Breeding Tells
    Ch. Carnageal Shamrock
    Ch. Orcheem of Maeveen
    Ch. Blucote Brocade C.D.
    Ch. Blucote Bonanza
    Ch. Blucote’s Show Off and many, many more.

    Take a look at the Kerry Pedigree Database on the USKBTC website to see if you have any of her dogs in your pedigree. Look under her kennel name of Blucote or some of the other’s mentioned above.
    In the 1954 Dog World Annual, the following information was included:
    She was a Governor of the USKBTC, serving as Vice President for eight years, and was Governor of the KBTC of New England and was an Honorary Life Member of the KBTC of England. Her AKC registered kennel name was “Blucote Kennels.”

    A Blueprints article in October of 1967 explains her “Kerryana” collection and her donation to the USKBTC. (This is the collection that is now being scanned and saved on CDs in order to preserve the original material.) The article is reprinted below in its entirety, exactly as it appeared in the 1967 edition of Blueprints. There is no specific author of the article listed.

    Gladys Titcomb Donates Her Kerryana to the U.S.K.B.T.C.

    If it were early American it would be called Americana. The word usually covers all types of early materials, pictures and records. So we coin the word – “Kerryana” in the hopes of finding a description for Gladys’ endeavors. However, words never will suffice for it.

    Since 1923 Gladys has kept personal scrapbooks, as anyone might, without an idea of them becoming historically important. In them she put other than Kerryana. As time passed she showed her books to visitors who were fascinated to see the early pages of English and American dog magazines, ads from catalogues and magazines, all illustrating dogs and kennels that are now legend. The extra material in Gladys’ books add flavor of the times. There are pictures of the President of the U.S.A. as he changed, a new picture can be found. There were letters telling of the cancelation of a show due to World War II. These are fun to fall upon amongst the Kerry material. Gladys does want any of you who see her books to understand that she had not originally prepared them as public display.

    In addition to the scrapbooks she has made an index of their contents. Seeing is believing. There is no way to describe the effort that went into the index. Each dog is listed by name and the place where the picture appears is noted by page and scrapbook number. There are 1,113 pictures of dogs. Of 1,113 dog, that is.

    Gladys had a complete file of Blueprints, of the AKC Gazette columns and a cook of catalogue pages from the bigger shows. Also indexed are the pictures pf the English and American Kerry Handbooks. However, Gladys needs the handbooks for reference.

    There are some hard cover books which are either written about Kerries or Terriers and which are long out of print. The three volume Dog Encyclopedia of Hutchinson is a rare collector’s item. Books by A. Croxton Smith, Violet Handy and more. One on Badger Digging.

    All this Gladys has donated under the title “The Gladys S. Titcomb Collection.” Ideally we should have a small museum building. Until that day we plan to offer the sturdier part of the collection to the various members of the Committee to exhibit to those interested. It would be desirable to construct some traveling boxes into which the materials might be placed and from which it could be displayed or reshipped without damage. Details remain to be worked out. In the meantime, the material is housed in a dry room of fairly constant temperature at the home of the Chairman of the Committee which Gladys chose, Mrs. Walter L. Fleisher, Jr. Other members she chose are Mrs. Edith Izant, Major Frances M. Reynolds, Mrs. Fern Rogers and Miss Audree Weiland, all of who have agreed to serve. The Board of Governors of the USKBTC will have the right to replace any committee member should for any reason is no longer able to serve.

    The best words written are those of Gladys herself: “ May if give all members and Kerry Blue Terrier lovers as much pleasure as it gave me to trace the breed from the very early days up to the present time. It is an education in the progress the breed has made from a “jack-of-all-trades” to the beautiful terrier who can hold his own in the show ring against any other terrier breed.”

  • 09/01/2008 5:59 PM | Anonymous

    Read about what was happening in the world of Kerries in April of 1936. The five page article was taken from “Western Kennel World” magazine and was written by Pearl Bank Steward. The article linked in the PDF file below discusses show results, breedings, Kerry type and temperament, and people in the breed. You can also find out their definition of a “Kerrier,” a word they invented.
    A few old ads and pictures are also included.

    These articles are part of the Gladys Titcomb Collection, which was generously donated to the USKBTC.

    Are You A Kerrier? Kerry Klippings April 1936

  • 07/28/2008 5:58 PM | Anonymous

    What did people think about the Kerry breed in 1939? There are a few articles in the linked PDF file below that discuss a Kerry’s skull, eyes and coat. A few old ads, picture and a brief discussion of the first Kerry in America is also included.

    These articles are part of the Gladys Titcomb Collection, which was generously donated to the USKBTC.

    A Kerry’s Skull,Eyes,Coat and more in 1939.

  • 03/06/2007 4:58 PM | Anonymous


    Among the 13 trophies donated by Mr. Daniel A. Brennan to the USKBTC was a cup awarded to a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog at the Irish Kennel Club show on St.Patrick’s Day in 1938. The trophy was won by Mr. Patrick Blake’s Ch. Kingdom Leader, the FIRST Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to become a champion. Kingdom Leader won both his bench and field trial certificates within 12 months.

    Mr. Blake, along with Dr.G.J. Pierce, initiated the drive to have the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier recognized as a distinct breed by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934. Matt Blake, Patrick’s son, was a founder of the International Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club and served as it’s chairman.

    Recognizing the importance and contributions of both Blakes and Kingdom Leader to the SCWTCA, the USKBTC Board voted unanaimously to gift the five inch trophy cup to them.

    Helen Moreland, President of the SCWTCA and Gay Dunlap, with whom I first discussed the possible transfer of this trophy at the Sun Country Terrier Club show in Scottsdale AZ, are most appreciative of the USKBTC Board’s decision.

    How best to effect the transfer is being discussed. If not before, the trophy will be delivered at the Montgomery show in October.

    Tom Rogers President USKBTC

  • 03/04/2007 4:56 PM | Anonymous

    Personalities from the Past

    Mr. Patrick Blake

    (This information published in the first half of the 1900’s is reprinted with the permission of Daniel Brennan, who was generous enough to donate to the USKBTC Charitable Funds pictures, trophies and articles associated with Mr. Blake.

    In Ireland, Mr. Blake promoted Wheatens and Kerries in the 1920’s through 1950. Mr. Blake died at age eighty-three. Please note that the article below is reprinted with the spelling used in the original article. No author was mentioned, and unfortunately no publication date was included. The first paragraph below and the very last paragraph are especially true for any time period.)

    Mr. Blake in Dublin

    Won in 1929 by Iveagh Lass

    Blake’s pups

    Many of us are inclined to forget the older men among us and the work they have done for dogs and canine affairs. Their early efforts in both breeding and administration laid the foundations for our excellent present-day organizations and the fine standards of our modern pedigree dogs.

    One of the grand old men of Irish dogdom is Mr. Patrcik Blake, who was born at Moyne, Templemore, Co. Tipperary, 82 years ago, and is still going strong after a life-time of association with terriers.

    Like many another boy reared in the country, hunting rabbits with terriers was his principal hobby over 70 years ago, and when he came to Dublin, his affection for dogs remained with him and he availed of every opportunity to indulge his favourite pastime. Irish Red Terriers and Wheaten Terriers were his favourite dogs and he showed and worked many a good one. When he attended his first show, and when he won his first prize, are events so far back that his memory refuses to disclose their details.

    Early in the 1920’s he began to specialize in Irish Blue Terriers, and his bitch, Ch. Iveagh Lass, was one of his first champions on the bench and at field trials, and was reputed to be one of the biggest winners in Blues. He also owner Int. Ch. Blue Sensation, whom he purchased from the late Mr. Mick Sammon, and he bred its grandson, Ch. Ch. Ballyblue Boy. The last-named, he believes, is the last Irish Blue Champion to receive the award under I.K.C. Rules; Moinard Boy was another Blue he made a field trials champion.

    A member of the Council of the I.K.C., in the 1930’s, he was responsible for having the rule passed which allowed a dog to be called a field trials champion after 2 wins. In 1934, with the late Dr. G. J. Pierce, he began organizing to have Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers recognized by the Kennel Club and registered as a distinctive Irish breed, and it was one of his proudest moments when recognition was granted and the Wheatens could compete as a distinctive breed. His Ch. Kingdon Leader was the first Soft-coated Wheaten to become a champion and the dog won his bench and field trial certificates within 12 months.

    Mr. Blake attended the first meeting of the Working Terrier Association in June, 1929, and became it first Hon, Sec., which office he held for 22 years. During all this time he was actively engaged in organizing and running field trials and in training dogs to qualify for minor and major certificates; every one of his own dogs held field trial certificates.

    The All-Ireland Kerry Blue Terrie Club, which claims to be the oldest Blue club, was reorganized in the mid’thirties, and its headquarters transferred from Tralee to Dublin, and, again as first hon. Secretary, he held office until 1951; his latest fight is to have the name Irish Blue Terrier altered to its original Kerry Blue.

    Owning 44 dogs, he also kept a few Sealyhams and Bull Terriers. He officiated as judge from 1928 to 1940 at field trials and at shows for Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers. He always refused to judge Kerry Blues because he was so actively associated with them that he felt he must remain neutral at all times. His last appearance as an exhibitor was on St. Stephan’s Day, 1950.

    His son, Matt Blake, who has taken over the hon. Secretaryship of the two clubs, which his father relinquished in 1951, is carrying on the family tradition. As founder-member of the International Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier Club, he is its chairman since the foundation, and he has represented the Kerry Blue Terrier Club on Ard Comhairle since 1941. Spcialising in Blues and Wheatens, he has owned Sealyhams and Fox Terriers; his Sealyham bitch Vennie Og, which was working at field trials up to three years of age, was Reserve Green at her first showing at the St. Patrick’s Day Show, and he has had many Green Star winners. His bitch, Holmenocks Highflyer, was best Wheaten bitch in Blackpool three years in succession, and on account of foot-and-mouth disease could not travel last year. He has had the distinction of owning the first Wheaten bitch to win a first prize under English Kennel Club rules.

    Matt Blake has been judging since 1941, and has made the awards at field trials and on the bench with Kerry Blues, Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers, Sealyhams, Bull Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Fox Terriers, Smooth and Wire Lakelands, West Highland Whites, Pomeranian and Litters.

    Always keen on developing the working ability of terriers, the Blakes, both father and son, have proved that bench champions can also be field trials champions; all they require is a little training.

    Judge Miss Green at an Irish K.C. show.

    Blue Lenster Abuh
  • 08/24/2003 5:55 PM | Anonymous

    (The following article discussing the standard of the Kerry Blue terrier was written by Edwin Sayres in 1934 and was published in the American Kennel Gazette. This material has been made available to the USKBTC from the collection of Mrs. Anne Katona.)

    Kerry Blue Terriers

    The entry at the Bronx County Kennel Club show was, indeed, the best the breed has had for some time. The quality of the exhibits was of the highest order, and the judging was carried on in an efficient way. Much credit is due to Lewis S. Warden, who passed on the breed, for his thorough and efficient knowledge, and the manner in which he examined the dogs. We all hope to have him judge again in the near future.

    I have had in mind, for some time, to make mention of some of the highlights of the breed since 1922, and of the progress and improvement made in correct type and of breeding closer to the standard of points as laid down for the breed. I think that I am safe in saying that the Kerry blue terrier has come rapidly to the fore, establishing for itself a secure place among the more familiar breeds of dogs.

    The breed had been exhibited for some years at Irish dog shows, but it was not until 1922 that the breed was first recognized by the English Kennel Club, and soon after by The American Kennel Club. Since then, steady, if not sensational, progress has been made, and the standard has consistently improved. It is now no unusual thing for a Kerry blue to be judged best in show, most coveted of awards.

    The standard of points laid down by our club gives the height of 17 inches to 20 inches for dogs, and 16 inches to 19 inches for bitches. This was a revision of a few years ago from the 18 inch standard. The idea for this revision was, I presume, to have a more uniform size in the show ring. Personally, I prefer a dog between 18 inches and 19 inches, and a bitch not over 18 inches at shoulder. A dog should weigh from 33 to 37 lbs., 35 lbs. being the most desirable weight to aim for, a bitch weighing proportionately less. The coat is soft, plentiful and wavy, the texture being silky, rather than woolly.

    With regard to color, any shade of blue, from silver to dark blue, is correct. A shade of tan on head and legs is permissible in puppies, as is also dark color up to the age of 18 months. Puppies are born black, and some turn blue sooner than others, but definite signs of changing color should be visible by eight or nine months.

    The head should be strong and well balanced with slight stop; the cheek-bones flat; the foreface long and powerful; the jaw strong and muscular. The teeth should be level, and the gums and roof of mouth dark in color. The ears small to medium and V shaped, the eyes hazel to dark hazel and small to medium in size, with keen terrier expression.

    The neck is moderately long, well set on shoulders and graceful. The shoulders as flat as possible, with elbows carried close to the body and never protruding. The forelegs are straight, and feet round and well padded. The chest should be deep; and the body well knit with good spring of rib; the quarters large and well developed, with perfect freedom of hind action; and the tail set on high and carried gaily.

    The general impression should be of an upstanding, well-knit and well proportioned dog, showing a developed and muscular body, with definite terrier style and character throughout.

    Much of the charm of the Kerry blues appearance is due to its coat. The dense, silky growth and the unusual and attractive color catch the eye immediately. The dog should be groomed regularly to keep the coat in good condition, but the result amply justifies any trouble that the work entails. The trimming of the Kerry blue, as practiced in America and England, has done much to improve the appearance of the breed. In Ireland these dogs are show untrimmed. The black puppy coat changes color gradually, usually passing through a rusty stage before the real blue hue is attained.

    The first dog to win a British championship was the Irish-bred Ch. Martells Sapphire Beauty. About the same time, three other Irish-bred dogs imported into England made their debut, all destined for championship honors, and all to exercise considerable influence, through their progeny, on the future of the breed. These were Brachill of Bailey, Joe of Leysfield, and Nofa Jorabin. Since then, there have been many beautiful champion dogs.

    Among the highlights which were imported to this country were: Chs. Bantry Beauty of Oakcrest, Victor of Leysfield, Blue Devil of Leysfield, Grabhaire, Roman Anne, BenEdar B rigid, Leinster Leader, Ben-Edar Blaise, Muircroft Victor, Kingdom Hero of Cheriton, Princeton Dorenda, Princeton Blue Demon, Ben-Edar Bawcock, Patty of the Chevin, and others.

    As a pal, the Kerry blue is hard to beat. Affectionate and devoted, it possesses, in a marked degree, the capacity for attaching itself to one person, and is a dog of strongly individual character. It has a great gift for companionship, never so happy as when at its master’s side. By nature, it is a hardy dog and thrives in a healthy, out-of-door life, with freedom and exercise in plenty. The bitches are excellent mothers and easy whelpers.

    For some years the breed had a considerable reputation for fighting, and their behavior in the show ring was noisy and disorderly, every dog doing its best to fight with its neighbor. Owing to judicious breeding, this trait has largely disappeared, though gameness and sporting characteristics are unimpaired. The Kerry blue now lives peacefully with its canine brethren, and it is a quiet and well-disciplined assembly which parades before the judges.

    At the recent specialty show of the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Orrin H. Baker won winners dog and bitch, the latter taking the honor of best of breed. This bitch was recently imported by Mr. Baker, thus adding to his kennels another flier.

    The Kerry Blue Terrier Club of America will hold its annual show in conjunction with the Morris and Essex fixture next May. The judge will be announced later. With the coming of the Westminster show, Kerries should turn out a good entry for George S. Thomas, the judge elect. Mr. Thomas? experience in terriers is well known, and I am sure the fancy will give him a large entry.

    Edwin SAYRES, Secretary, Box 183, Peekskill, N. Y. 1934

    American Kennel Gazette

  • 08/24/2003 5:55 PM | Anonymous

    (After reading an interpretation of the standard written in an issue of Blueprints 1946 edition, Mr. Henry W. Coughlin wrote a five page letter to the secretary and editor of Blueprints. He expressed his interpretation of the standard and his “consternation and distress” over the previously printed article.)

    January 23, 1946

    Dear Roessle:

    I read the recent issue of the Kerry Blueprints with some consternation and a real distress. I speak particularly, and with such restraint as I can muster, of this business of a Kerry Blue being contained in an 18—inch square.

    When I first saw the sketch of the hemmed—in Kerry on page 39 of the Club’s Breed Book, to which the last Blueprints refers, I devoutly hoped it was a draftsman’s error and you were lost for something to fill up the page. After reading the recent issue of the Blueprints, however, with its recommendation that judges should frown upon Kerries over or under the dimensions you refer to, the necessity of taking it seriously became urgent indeed. If it is not quickly subjected to the spotlight of thorough scrutiny, the original error can lead to a full comedy of errors.

    I have no quarrel with the objective of producing Kerries standing 18 inches tall or thereabouts. It is with squeezing an 18—inch Kerry’s body into 18 inches from the point of shoulders to the face of the buttocks that I take vehement exception.

    This error, an egregious one, flows from the too common failure to distinguish between short bodies and short backs. Neither the standard, nor reason, nor plain Kerry sense calls for a short body from the point of shoulders to the rear face of the buttocks. A consideration of Kerry anatomy will make demonstrably clear that to foreshorten that dimension will compel sacrificing power and proper angulation of the front and rear.

    The standard could, and I think properly, demand a fairly short back, although it doesn’t. By back, I mean the distance between the withers and the stern or point of set—on of tail. Additional length of body on front of the withers and behind the pelvic region means additional power, flexibility and free movement, of which the Kerry is particularly capable because of its well—developed and powerful quarters.

    Only with that additional length in front can you secure the long shoulder blade and its approach. to a right angle with the bone of the upper arm. A shoulder well laid back gives the long forearm which, in combination with a short back, is so desirable in any Terrier or Hunter. And it is only with the additional length behind that you can have the wide hams, long thighs and well—bent stifles which can properly support the weight in movement, and which enable a terrier to stand like a cleverly made hunter, covering a lot of ground. So much for the significance of a short back as against a short body.

    Turning now to the Kerry standard, it does not specify that the back be short, but weasels with the words “medium 1ength”. I quote:

    “BODY——Back strong and straight, medium in length, well— coupled. Loin short and powerful, ribs fairly well—sprung, deep rather than round.”

    The word “medium” is, of course, open to interpretation. The dictionary defines it as, “that which lies in the middle; hence, middle condition or degree.”

    Just what the specified Kerry back length is in the middle of is not clear. I am sure we all would agree that the Boston terrier’s back should not come into consideration as defining the lower limit of short back length. It is so extremely short that it gives rise, along with stifling free movement, to the Caesareans and other whelping troubles which are all too common in this breed. Confining ourselves to the Terrier Group and checking the other terrier standards, it would be a fair conclusion that the shortest end of the scale for reference is the ultra short back demanded in the fox terrier. What the long end of the scale should be, as to which the Kerry length would be medium, it is difficult to conjecture. Possibly only one point of reference is necessary, namely, the short end.

    The Irish Terrier people handle the problem with the inimitable Gaelic approach of defining the short back by what it ain’t. Their standard states, quite bluntly, “The short back, so coveted and appealing in the fox terrier, is not characteristic of the Irish terrier. It is objectionable.” The merit in the Irish Terrier people’s approach~ should not be dismissed too lightly.

    It would be putting it too mildly to state that the suggestion that a Kerry body be contained within an 18—inch square confuses the accepted Kerry standard. If one were to follow both these instructions and force a Kerry 18 inches tall having a medium, not a short length, back into the square, the customary section of the Kerry which lies forward of the withers, if any section remained at all, would give you a nightmare instead of a dog, I shudder at the thought of such a Kerry in motion, if he could move at all, with the resulting flattening—out of the angulation of the shoulder.

    One of the most impressive attributes of a well—made Kerry, and which, to a large extent, makes him stand out in the Terrier Group is the controlled power and beautiful freedom of movement which he exhibits, as contrasted with the stilted gait of many of the smaller terriers. To sacrifice this characteristic, as this square box would do, should give us deep and serious pause.

    I made it a point to trace the origin of this square concept and found that it ran back to the book, “The Modern Kerry Blue Terrier1’, written a number of years ago by Mrs. Violet Handy, the British handler. On page 13 of that book, where the offending drawing appears, she states, referring to the Kerry Blue:

    “The chief points for consideration are the relative proportions of the skull and the foreface, length of the head, length of neck, height at withers and length of back from withers to set—on of tail. The ideal proportion is reached when the height and length measurements are the same. (See drawing.) A more detailed description of each point follows. This description is only to help novices, and, of course, there is no hard and fast rule. But if a Kerry Blue is as well—balanced as this, and has the other essential points, he should be a very good one.”

    The drawing is a typical Fox Terrier, with little resemblance to a Kerry Blue, and it may well have simply reflected Mrs. Handy’s personal feeling, at that time, that a Kerry should look like a Fox Terrier, in which breed she was also interested.

    Having a Kerry in mind, with its typically freer and more powerful movement that the Fox Terrier, I found it very difficult to reconcile the above Statement on balance with the “other essential points” of Mrs. Handy’s book. Typically, on page 17, she illustrates her idea of the correct body with the shoulder blade making approximately a right angle with the bone of the upper arm, in reference to which on an earlier page she states,

    “SHOULDERS——Front View: They should slope steeply downwards from the withers to the elbows. Side View: They should be long, well laid back, and should slope obliquely backwards from points to withers, which should be clean—cut. A shoulder well laid back gives the long forearm, which, in combination with a short back, is so desirable in any Terrier or Hunter.”

    I was finally compelled to the conclusion that Mrs. Handy was simply attempting to give rough guidance and only for the novice as she expressly states, for her Fox Terrier type standard would raise great ructions with the Kerry Blue’s usual conformation.

    Sometime since ‘the book was written, Mrs. Handy must have had occasion to change her views, for in a recent public statement she is now advocating a conformation radically at odds with this original idea of forcing a Kerry into a square.
    In the January 1946 issue of the American Kennel Gazette our esteemed George Proctor quotes from a lecture by Mrs. Handy on Kerries at a recent English show, as follows:

    “Shoulder angulation”, according to Mrs. Handy, ‘can make or mar a Kerry. Balance in a Kerry may be confirmed by the following rough measurements: Nose to occiput should equal occiput to withers and withers to stern should be two and one—half times the length of either of these. From the withers to the toes should be a similar measurement, giving a square, balanced In his column Mr. Proctor comments that Mrs. Handy has a lot of truth in what she says.

    Adopting the above proportionate measurements, a Kerry having a 7 1/5—inch head length would be 18 inches from the withers to the stern and 18 inches high at the withers. This is a far cry from the compression of a Kerry into an 18—inch square from the point of shoulder to the face of the buttocks. Such a Kerry would be more nearly framed by a rectangle 18 inches high and, I would estimate, 21 to 23 inches long. The body length in excess
    of 18 inches would obviously be the greater the better the angulation of shoulder.

    I am relieved indeed to see that Mrs. Handy has let the Kerry out of that trap, free to breath and move as beautifully as is his wont. I say this without expressing any opinion as to the merits of her newest suggestion until it has been the subject of thorough analysis and critically explored Meanwhile I wonder what happened to the Kerry which anybody might have bred on the strength of Mrs. Handy’s earlier recommendation that the whole body be hemmed within an 18—inch square.

    This now leaves the current recommendation of the sauare in the lap of Kerry Blueprints which is proudly holding the sack from which Mrs. Handy, its original sponsor, has wisely seen fit to vanish.
    If you still feel that a Kerry Blue Terrier’s body should fit into an 18—inch square I feel it at least should be made a subject for thorough analysis and discussion by the Club members. Meanwhile, I would suggest, with propriety, that any action be suspended in conveying the above recommendation to judges, as the Kerry Blueprints has in my opinion ill—advisedly and prematurely suggested.

    I have no doubt that you will wish to print this letter in full in the next issue of the Kerry Blueprints so that it will come to the attention of the same recipients as the Kerry Blueprints issue which evoked these comments. It will at least serve to caution the recipients against taking breeding steps or other unfortunate action until the question is finally and officially settled.

    Henry W. Coughlin

  • 08/24/2003 5:54 PM | Anonymous

    (The following excerpt was taken from the January 8, 1946 edition of Kerry Blueprints. The editor and secretary of the club was Roessle Mc Kinney of New Canaan, Connecticut. Original copy courtesy of the Mrs. Walter Fleisher Collection.

    After reading this edition of Blueprints in 1946, Mr. Henry W. Coughlin wrote a five page letter to the secretary of the club expressing his “consternation and distress” over this interpretation of the Standard. His letter entitled, “Coughlin’s Defense of the Standard,” can be found on this site.)

    And now for a little discussion about height and color in Kerries!

    The ideal Kerry fits into an 18″ square as follows:

    The horizontal top line of the square is the top line of the back of the Kerry; the two sides of the square are the chest and stern of the Kerry, while the bottom of the square is the ground. This is all shown on page 39 of the Club’s Breed Book.

    The breeding of Kerries, particularly dogs, over 20″ in height at the shoulder, should be discouraged, as should also dogs under 17.” The same thing is true of Kerry bitches-height not over 19″ or under 16.”

    Judges should frown upon dogs and bitches over or under these dimensions and dogs approximately the correct size should win in the ring–all other things being equal.

    We have hear that in the West they are breeding dogs and bitches bigger than in the East. This should be discouraged, as the height of the ideal Kerry is approximately 18″ at the shoulder.

    And now a word about color–and I quote from President William L. Day’s interpretation of the Standard, as given in “information fro Judges about Kerry Blue Terries.”

    “Kerry Blue Terriers are born black. A few puppies have tan markings and these are, as a rule, destined to become lighter colored “silver” Kerries. No puppy should have any white markings whatsoever.

    It is desired by all breeders that the Kerry shall turn some shade of blue, as even as possible in all sections before the age of eighteen months. Dark colored animals are not to be preferred over light colored, nor vice versa. The most desirable color is an even bright lead color and, all other things being equal, a dog or bitch of this most desired color should win. However, the Standard is explicit in eliminating from penalty all really blue dogs of light, medium or dark shades.

    It is notable in breeding Kerry Blue Terriers that while weight of coat and profusion of leg and face furnishings have been remarkable improved in recent years, color has not improved.

    Judges are requested to consider color more seriously in the future and to fault (1) all dogs over 18 month of age that are black; (2) all over 18 months old that are gray mixed with brown, presenting a “dirty” appearance; (3) all of any age that have white spots anywhere on the coat.

    Though no Judge has a right to fault a dog of brownish cast up to the age of 18 months; it is undesirable to show dogs that are turning blue in this manner; for most Judges do not understand that a Kerry turns from black to brown to blue and will fault a brown dog under 18 months when they should not do so.

    We think this covers the matter of color as completely as can be done and you may take this as an authoritative interpretation of color for the Standard of the breed.

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