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Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers | Lois Grier

Lois Grier Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers


Interview with Lois Grier, Breeder of Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers


Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Lois Grier: We are fortunate to live on 10 acres nestled in beautiful Iowa farmland. Our Kerry Blues have room to romp outdoors as weather permits. I grew up on a dairy farm, so working dogs were always part of my life. After college, marriage, 10 years of teaching school, and then a career in interior design, our kids were soon going off to college. So, I went looking for a dog to show. Funny thing was that I had never been to a show but had the urge.

Finding a show dog wasn’t all that easy, but a new friend along the journey helped me locate my first Kerry Blue Terrier in 2002. She became my mentor in all things related to showing and raising purebred show dogs, with an emphasis on good ethics and structure. My first litter was born in 2005. That was just the beginning, as CH Valtera’s Miss Krisma Revlin became the No. 2 top-producing dam in the history of the breed when her daughter, “Liviah,” became No. 1 with over 20 titled offspring to her name. Added to this, we have bred 100 champion-titled dogs to date.


What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Lois Grier: I chose the name Krisma for my kennel name because I think it is one of the best adjectives to describe the Kerry Blue Terrier. They are the happiest people-orientated breed I have ever met. I normally have six adults in our home, and young a puppy or two to raise up and show.

Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers
Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers – Lois Grier


Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on my decision to breed dogs?

Lois Grier: I would have to say that it was a decision that was easily made given the success “Revlin” had in the ring with the advice of an experienced partner. (Revlin soon finished her championship at 18 months. I went on to special her a year later for the second half of the year, after whelping her first litter, and still she ranked in the Top 10 of her breed with multiple Group placements.) My partner had been in Kerries for approximately nine years before we met. She was familiar with all of the top KBT breeders worldwide at the time and bred under the name of Beltane Kerries.

Another of my mentors is an English Springer Spaniel breeder with an extensive medical background who comes in very handy when raising dogs. In this breed and many other coated breeds, it takes great mentors to help one be successful. I would encourage anyone with a passion for purebred dogs to take the time to mentor new owners and exhibitors, no matter which breed they have.


Can I talk a bit about my foundation dogs? How have they influenced my breeding program?

Lois Grier: The success of our breeding program all goes back to my foundation bitch. It is essential to start with the best you can. Then educate yourself, no matter what you think you know, by learning from anyone you can who has been successful. Without a great foundation bitch and mentors who knew volumes about the breed’s structure, I would not have become a successful breeder, owner, and handler.

Revlin was a very typey, solid, working-style Kerry who matched up well with the dogs she was bred to, even though they were all outcrosses. She allowed each male to stamp the puppies without adding negative attributes. Her second litter with CH Beltane’s Double Vision produced a male, GCH Krisma’s License To Thrill ROM, and a female, GCHS Krisma’s Lotsa Lottie Da For Liviah Gold ROM, so that nearly all of our lines over the years go back to Revlin.

Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers
“Revlin” – The foundation bitch of Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers

I am still building on that today. Only twice in 20 years have I imported a Kerry to add new blood that had what I thought our lines could use to improve on; not because I was looking for the next big-winning show dog, but for what they could add to our bloodlines.


What about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Lois Grier: Our Kerry Blue Terriers live in our home. I have a separate room that includes a built-in tile tub, storage, counters, refrigerator, microwave, food prep area, room for a hydraulic grooming table, lots of natural lighting, and access to four separate yards. Puppies are whelped in our great room on a raised whelping table that I designed and my husband built to save my back, knees, etc. The puppies spend the first three weeks in one of our bedrooms for peace and quiet, then they are moved to the great room for three weeks for more socialization, and finally, they are moved to the kennel room where they have access to outside and room for crate training. This system works great for me.

Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers
Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers


Do I have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?

Lois Grier: I am sure everyone has their own process, but for me, I am evaluating them to a point from birth, but I’m careful not to put too much emphasis on much more than temperament and personality until they are closer to 8 weeks old. My favorite time to really evaluate is between 8-1/2 & 9 weeks, to decide on show prospective puppies and finish matching them up with new owners. At that time, I use a chart that I made up years ago to see what my mentor was looking at when she evaluated them.

We have a list of items that we measure and make note of to determine structure, angles, and balance of each puppy. After checking how each puppy measures up, we compare our favorites and then watch them move and interact with each other as well as in strange places. This makes it all sound pretty simple, but it isn’t usually that black and white. It really takes an experienced eye, and I still like to get my mentor’s opinion of each litter even though, as she reminds me, we usually agree on our choices… it still makes me feel better.


How do I choose the homes for my puppies? Is puppy placement important to me as a breeder?

Lois Grier: As a breeder, matching up each puppy to the best possible owner is the most daunting job we have. I start by answering inquiries with a general email about our process and provide a questionnaire to fill out to be returned for my file. Puppies are never promised to anyone until they are born and I do not take a deposit until more in-depth interviews by phone (and/or personal visits when possible) are done. I remind everyone that choosing a breeder should be just as important as determining which breed is right for you. This should be a lifelong relationship.

Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers
Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers


Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?

Lois Grier: I am not quite sure what this question is asking. Our breed has been one that can be shown on the ground or on a ramp at the discretion of the judge. I prefer using the ramp, as I think it makes them easy to view and provides a better picture for the judge to see the silhouette as they approach the dog. Seems a better option for exhibitor and judge.

Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers


Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?

Lois Grier: One reason why I chose Kerry Blue Terriers as my breed was the fact that they are a generally an overall healthy breed. Our parent club asks for hips and eyes to be evaluated, but in addition, and more importantly, we health test for DM and CMSD which can be even more devastating if breeding two carriers. Choosing the correct, balanced food and quality supplements is also important to give your Kerry a long, healthy life. This is something to discuss with your breeder.


In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?

Lois Grier: Thankfully, the Kerry Blue Terrier is not a breed that has been overly exploited by large breeding facilities, possibly because they require the right training and are not suited to being raised in kennels. They are very intelligent, people-oriented dogs that need a job and they do well with a schedule and new things to try.

In the show ring, fronts have been an issue affecting proper movement. Upright shoulders, short forearms, and improper balance front-to-rear are things that we as breeders need to keep focused on or else the dogs would not be able to do the job they were meant to do. Ease of movement, front-to-rear, should allow these dogs to work effortlessly in the field and not just look pretty standing still.


Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?

Lois Grier: As with any breed, it is very important to do your research before deciding on any breed to add to your family, to be sure that it is well-suited and fits your expectations. Yes, they are very good family dogs; loyal, high energy, and very intelligent. They are trainable by experienced Terrier owners, yet adaptable to different lifestyles—within limits. They are good with children of all ages when your Kerry is well-bred and matched up to each owner’s needs.

Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers
Krisma Kerry Blue Terriers

One thing that I think people don’t understand is that they were bred to be working farm dogs with a high prey drive. This means that they may not be friendly with other small pets or with animals running through the yard. They can also be dog aggressive with dogs they don’t know, especially of the same sex. It is important to understand that Terriers are not couch potato dogs and are certainly not for dog parks. You must be sure that you know what to expect when considering a Kerry Blue Terrier.


Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?

Lois Grier: The Kerry Blue Terrier is not high on the list of litters bred each year. I have never felt there is an over-abundance of puppies, so I guess the answer is that we could use more serious preservation breeders in our breed. I have strived for two decades to introduce and mentor people interested in this breed, to make sure it has a bright future, and I always have more interest than puppies to place.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?

Lois Grier: This is always a tough question, as these dogs are very animated, have a great sense of humor, and love to play non-stop. One of my top show dogs had a habit of leaping up in the air to do a quarter turn at the end of the down and back, only to land a perfect stack for the judge. This had to be pointed out to me, as it just became his thing to do because he loved toys and it had become a habit. Someone caught a great photo of him in mid-air doing this during his first time at Westminster, which was posted. One posted comment (that we all scratched our heads about and laughed at) was wondering why I was hanging the dog by the lead. Go figure… but they were serious, I guess.



Are you looking for a Kerry Blue Terrier puppy?

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?

Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.


Want to help rescue and re-home a Kerry Blue Terrier dog?

Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.


Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Magazine

Showsight Magazine is the only publication to offer dedicated Digital Breed Magazines for ALL recognized AKC Breeds.

Read and learn more about the smart Kerry Blue Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Magazine.


Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight