Kerry Blue Terriers are active, spirited, and intelligent. Their energy and endurance stemming from their versatile farm dog background means the Kerry Blue Terrier requires physical and mental challenges as pets. They enjoy dog sports such as agility, earthdog trials, flyball, herding, hiking, retrieving, tracking, Frisbee, musical freestyle, and both rally and standard obedience as sport, as well as using their swimming skills by retrieving items such as tennis balls and floating toys. They can also bond with people by being good jogging companions or as service dogs in law enforcement, search and rescue, and animal-assisted therapy. Kerry Blue Terriers seem to be good with children; however, as with all dogs, extremely close supervision is needed to prevent accidental injury to the dog and the possibility of its subsequently developing fear-based defensive aggression.
The Kerry Blue Terrier, developed in Kerry, is the national dog of Ireland. Its origins are unknown, but many legends abound. One such legend states that when only Irish nobility were permitted to hunt with the Irish Wolfhound, peasants developed the Kerry Blue Terrier in order to poach. The speculation is that the Irish Wolfhound was mated to the basic terrier breed (Irish Terrier or English Terrier) in order to produce the Kerry. There is another tale that speculates that the Kerry is the offspring of the Russian "Blue Dog" that swam ashore when a Russian ship wrecked in Tralee Bay in southwest Ireland. The Russian Blue Dog was purportedly mated with local terriers to produce the Kerry Blue. A similar tale supposes that the shipwreck was part of the Spanish Armada. The Kerry Blue was first shown in 1916 and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1924.