(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