It’s taken me four years to master grooming my Kerry Blue Terriers. Oh my, that sounds truly arrogant; as if I have finally arrived. Heck no, that may not be so. For grooming a Kerry is not just a skill that may be developed, but an evolving dynamic art.
I got my first Kerry with full knowledge there was a grooming requirement. I asked the breeder whether 15 minutes a day would keep my new kerry pup in good shape. Yes, was the answer; and that is partly true. 15 minutes every day will keep a pup brushed out. If you skip one, 30 minutes is more the case. If you skip two, 60 may be required. …You get the drift.
Now in addition to this basic act; there is the need for bathing, scissoring, clippering and plucking. In the beginning I waited with bated breath for a month to pass, as I understood the need was to groom in full at least once a month. My understanding was it takes the breeder about 2 hours to groom a kerry from start to finish, but the reality was it took me all day. Still, being the stubborn sort, I waited in great anticipation for the hair to grow and another stab at getting it right.
In the beginning I literally pinned my girl to the bed for the plucking of ears and snipping of toenails. I had a make-shift table with a nice grooming arm for the grooming, but I struggled to find sufficient lighting. I remember each snip was slow precise and deliberate. Hours later I had a raggedy pup to show for my efforts. At the end of the day the feedback was always, “She looks the same to me…” For the longest time I did not have a Kerry like I saw on my breeder’s website. Mine was more of a screwed up mutt. Despite the frustration, I refused to quit. I refused to cut out a mat or clipper my Kerry to the flesh.
Then one day I recognized a need for change. By waiting for a month to pass, I was essentially starting over from scratch. My bitch just never looked good. So I started grooming every 10 days. And at that point the progress was appreciable, but most likely to the knowing my work was less than serious – more like humorous. …Still I refused to quit, refused to cut out a mat or clipper my Kerry to the flesh.
In reality I’ve invested as much time as it’s took, and spent thousands of dollars on equipment and still more on travel to where my mentors live to learn to groom this fabulous breed. Unique – yes… Elegant – yes… For everyone – …no. But I will say this: If you get totally fixated on the Kerry, and you know in your soul that you can’t live without; You can do this if you don’t quit. And if you’re in my neck of the woods, I’ll be happy to help.