Scratch Dog or Not – Are Kerry Blue Terriers Hypoallergenic?
The good news is; for those wanting to purchase or adopt a Kerry Blue Terrier, the chances of a runny nose, hives, streaming eyes, congestion, and sneezing is greatly reduced with these spirited yet gentle all-purpose dogs.
This affectionate, working dogs, which hail from Ireland, like all terriers, are strong-willed. But, for families wanting an active, outgoing, low-shedding dog, that won't produce a nasty rash, they make a fantastic choice and here's why:
Is It True, Are Kerry Blue Terrier Dogs Hypoallergenic?
The Kerry Blue Terrier can be found in any list of low dander dogs and can generally live happily in homes with sufferers of low to moderate allergies or asthma without triggering a reaction, so, the good news is YES, the Kerry Blue Terrier is classed as one of the hypoallergenic breeds of dog.
What does hypoallergenic actually mean?
This question crops up in nearly all discussions about allergies and is a bone of contention for many, how often have you heard people say there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog? In fact, there is. There is no such thing as an allergy-free dog, but that is not what the word means.
Cosmetics, products, and dogs described as hypoallergenic have a lower chance of causing a reaction, that does not mean that there is no chance at all, allergy symptoms vary, as do reactions to certain breeds, even different dogs within the breed so always be cautious before bringing any dog into your home environment.
3 Reasons Why the Kerry Blue Terrier is a Choice Breed Among Allergy Sufferers
The Kerry Blue has a non-shedding coat, which is why it is one of the breeds most often recommended for allergy sufferers.
Also, like the poodle and Schnauzer, the Kerry Blue Terrier sheds its skin around every 3-4 weeks producing less dander which is one of the main causes of allergies.
Most terriers are tough and quite independent so while they love a cuddle they are not constantly licking and in your face like some of the smaller hypoallergenic breeds, saliva can be a huge trigger of allergic reactions so this is definitely a bonus.
Kerry Blue Terriers and allergies - What should I do?
Although Kerry Blue Terriers are winners for those suffering from allergies, unfortunately, reactions can and do occur. The last thing you want is your canine companion setting off a sneezing fit as this may result in the dog having to be rehomed. To ensure a Kerry Blue Terrier will fit in with your lifestyle and not cause any allergic misery you should.
5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of an Allergic Reaction from Your Pooch
All about the Kerry Blue Terrier - Origin of the Breed
The Kerry Blue Terrier or Irish Blue Terrier as it is known in its country of origin is one of 3 closely related, working terriers which include the Irish terrier and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. The Kerry as a separate breed appeared later than the Irish and Wheaten, not being mentioned by dog enthusiasts until the latter part of the 19th century.
The Irish wolfhound was not allowed to be owned by the working classes in Ireland so farmers and crofters began breeding terriers as working dogs. These working farm dogs needed to excel at herding, hunting, retrieving, guarding and destroying vermin as well as being part of the family, crosses between various dogs including hounds and perhaps even Spaniels were made to obtain these traits.
The first Kerry Blues to arrive in America were five pets imported in 1918 and the breed soon made an impact in the show ring The Kerry Blue Terrier Club of America was formed in 1925 and held its first specialty show in 1927. In 1936, it merged with the newly formed United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club and became the USKBTC which is still the foremost resource for the breed today.
Kerry Blue Terriers are an all-purpose dog and have been used for retrieving, herding, vermin control sheep and cattle, and in the United Kingdom, they have been used as military guard dogs during World War ll and even as police dogs. Famous owners of the breed include the world champion heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey, Alfred Hitchcock, and Bill Crosby
There is no mistaking the Kerry Blue, powerful and muscular medium sized dogs, the accepted Kerry Blue Terrier size is between 18-19.5 inches for males and 17-19 inches for females. They usually weigh between 30-40 lbs.
The head is long, well-balanced, and similar to the schnauzer, sports a beard, and eyebrows, which give the Kerry Blue dog a distinctive style. they have small expressive dark eyes and V-shaped ears which fold forward, the tail is of medium length, carried high and straight.
The Kerry Blue Terrier's coat is wavy, soft and dense, it comes in all shades of gray from light blue to a deep almost black, slate gray. Kerry Blue puppies are born black but lighten as they get older.
A typical terrier, the Kerry Blue is highly intelligent, energetic and strong willed. They need firm and consistent training along with early socialization to produce a well-rounded adult. They are good with people and other animals although like all terriers they will not back down from a fight.
As with all terriers they can forget who is in charge and are not recommended for first-time or indulgent owners because they can and will take advantage of a lack of leadership. The Kerry Blue Terrier's temperament is complex, they have a profound sense of justice and can sulk if they think you are being unfair or harsh.
The Kerry Blue will usually get on OK with other dogs and cats too if properly socialized but were bred to hunt an instinct which still remains, so it is best to avoid smaller creatures. They make excellent watchdogs but do not do well left outside, they need lots of exercise and plenty of mental stimulation otherwise you will have problems.
Kerrie's get on great with children and are robust enough to take a bit of rough and tumble, though as with any dog children must be taught how to treat them with respect and never be left unsupervised.
With an active family, the Kerry Blue is energetic, gentle loyal and playful he excels at agility, obedience, herding and makes a great therapy dog. He is adaptable, affectionate, clever, and a fantastic choice for families wanting a medium-sized hypoallergenic dog breed, which will bring a lot of fun into their lives.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a hardy dog with an average lifespan of around 12-15 years, and doesn't suffer from as many pre-disposed conditions as some breeds, but, like all purebred dogs there are certain health issues associated with the breed which include:
An infected wound which can be found anywhere on the dog's body.
Firm or fluid filled lump, the dog may show signs of fever.
A vet will drain and clean the wound possibly prescribing antibiotics.
These are a benign growth
These are usually light in color with a cauliflower appearance
A vet may perform a biopsy but these are normally left alone
Benign and mainly found in male KBTs
These are hard hair-like lumps found mainly on the hocks
Usually left alone unless extremely itchy
Allergic reaction caused by an irritant
Small lumps or blisters which are incredibly itchy
Antihistamines or steroids
Thick hairless area usually found on elbows or joints
Use softer bedding and try a moisturizer for dog calluses
Basal Cell Tumor
Slow growing cancerous lump
Small nodules filled with fluid, could ulcerate
Surgical removal is necessary
Follicular or Sebaceous Cyst
Common in KBTs, benign
Nodules on skin which may contain thick yellow secretion
Surgical removal can be an option
Colored blue to reddish-black
Needs to be surgically removed often requiring amputation
Calcium deposits in the skin become hard and Mineralize due to corticosteroids
Hard nodules with crusts that ulcerate
Try natural alternatives to corticosteroids, surgery may be an option
Acral lick Dermatitis
The skin becomes red and inflamed due to self-licking through boredom or stress
Redness, hair-loss small lumps which can become infected
Medicated creams and behavior modification
Fatty benign tumor
Soft lump which can become large
Surgical removal if affecting movement
Mammary Gland Tumor
Seen in un-spayed females can be malignant
irregular shaped lumps under the skin which may drain or ulcerate
A biopsy is required and surgical removal
Benign tumor seen in younger dogs
raised red lump found on head, legs or ears
No treatment necessary though surgery is an option
Single dark lump
Some of these problems are rare but they can and do occur. Kerry Blue Terriers are also susceptible to allergies caused by both food and irritants. An allergy sufferer is perhaps the best owner for a dog with allergies as they understand the importance of finding the source and reducing or eliminating the problem.
Medications can be prescribed to control the itching and Piriton can also be used for dogs as long as the correct dosage is given, another important factor is diet, switch to a hypoallergenic dog food and discuss options with your vet.
As mentioned above there is a chance your Kerry Blue may suffer from allergies so it is also advisable to a quality dog food which does not include these ingredients:
Kerry Blue Terriers can be prone to obesity so make sure you take into account the amount of exercise they are getting when feeding and limit snacks. A good diet throughout the different stages of their life will ensure your canine companion lives a long, and healthy life.
Finding A Good Kerry BlueTerrier Breeder
A great place to start in your search when looking for Kerry Blue Terrier puppies for sale is the USKBTC who have a list of resources including breeders They also have news on regional events. Going to one of these will give you an idea if you are tolerant to the breed. It is also a great way of making contacts and getting recommendations of good breeders nearby.
You can also join groups online dedicated to the breed, which will give you information and recommendations for good breeders. Make a shortlist and be sure to visit 2 or 3 before selecting the right one for you.
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Adopting a Westie from a Rescue or Shelter
Before buying a Kerry Blue Terrier pup you need to ask yourself:
If you have answered no to even one of these questions, it might be worth considering a different breed or perhaps adopting an adult dog.
A purebred Kerry Blue will be a rarity for most shelters so it would be better to contact a breed specific rescue. They normally have better knowledge of the dogs in their care and will try to match the right pooch to the right owner. Many are looking for volunteers to foster their rescues a perfect way for you to see if the dog causes a reaction before you go ahead and adopt.
How Much Will a Kerry Blue Terrier Set You Back?
Kerry Blue Terrier cost is not cheap, a quality puppy from a good breeder will set you back anything from $800-$2000 depending on the sex of the dog and how many champions are present in their pedigree, you may also have to be on a waiting list for quite a while, the Kerry Blue is ranked 127th in popularity by the AKC and litters are few and far between.
Adopting, of course, is a much cheaper option; the fees can range from $75-$400 a small price to pay although once again you may have to keep your ear to the ground and wait a while.
It's a Wrap
The hypoallergenic Kerry Blue Terrier is a great choice for people suffering from allergies but they can be a handful and possess all the typical terrier traits such as digging and chasing.
They are busy, people dogs and need lots of exercise, consistent training and plenty of mental stimulation to prevent them becoming bored which can result in behavioral problems. Like most terriers give them an inch and they will take the proverbial mile.
Cheerful, active, loyal and friendly this medium hypoallergenic dog will steal your heart With their stunning looks, cheerful and energetic personality, they are a great addition to an active household where allergies are a problem.