Welsh Terrier

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black and tan; black grizzle and tan
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Pros Cons
  • devoted friend
  • excellent watchdog
  • cheerful
  • wonderful family companion
  • independent
  • willful
  • chases small animals
  • requires a vast training and socialisation

The Welsh Terrier’s aspiration for life is to have fun and enjoy it to the fullest. It is a native Briton and has all characteristics of true terrier such as being enchanting, self-assured and inquisitive. Being the oldest existing breed in the UK, today it found itself in a very unsafe situation with less than 300 puppies registered every year.

The origin of the Welsh Terrier dates back to the XIII century’s North Wales and England and can be traced to two very similar breeds – the Old English Terrier and the Broken (or Coarse-Haired) Black and Tan Terrier, both of which doesn’t exist anymore. These breeds served for several hundred years as a back up for hounds hunting for otters, badgers and foxes. They dived into the dens of these animals and drove them out. At the beginning of XIX century these two breeds looked so alike that they were reckoned to be an identical breed, known today as the Welsh Terrier.

The Welsh Terrier was recognized by the Kennel Club (England) in 1855 and for the first time took part in a dog show in 1886. In 1888 the breed reached the United States and in that same year was acknowledged by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Gradually the popularity of the Welsh Terrier grew and its potential of being a show dog was discerned. The breeders realized a necessity for changes in breeding practices to make its appearance more appropriate for the show ring. They crossed the dog with the more exquisite Wire Fox Terrier to get the Welsh Terrier we know today.

The most of the Welsh Terriers are essentially kept as family companions but the breed preserves much of its hunting and digging drive. It has an opportunity to reveal its hunting and tracking talents in such competitive game as «Earth Dog». In this trial the dog is allowed to chase prey in the number of man-made tunnels.

The Welsh Terrier is a watchful, energetic and lively dog which is endowed with high intelligence and ability to obey. Inquisitive and tough, it is one of the best dog choices for the family with an active lifestyle.
The affectionate and tender Welsh Terrier is great in relationship with children. In most cases the dog is going to put up with rough play and won’t show signs of aggression.

It gets along with strangers as well but without timely socialisation can become shy and restrained when meeting new people. The Welsh Terrier is eager to protect its family and will make an excellent watchdog.

For hundreds of years the Welsh Terrier has been used to assist the pack of hounds in driving the prey, therefore it tolerates other canine animals and can live together with it relatively problems free. But remember that one your dog started to fight it won’t back down. On the other hand cats and other home pets are at significant danger in a presence of this dog as the hunting instinct still strongly controls its behaviour.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• allergies;
• eye problems;
• Addison's disease;
• Cushing's disease;
• epilepsy;
• megaesophagus.

The Welsh Terrier’s coarse and wire-like coat is not so difficult to take care for. A few times a week it should be thoroughly brushed. Moreover three or more times a year (depending on the state of the coat) plucking is required, which can be done by the owner himself. The breed doesn’t shed and loses its hair during active play or exercise.


The Welsh Terrier was bred to make self-reliant decision in tough situations while hunting, so it’s difficult to make it obey when it doesn’t perceive it’s necessary or isn’t in the mood to train. This stubborn dog is recommended to be handled by an experienced trainer who has already worked with this breed. Enthusiastic and eager learner, the Welsh Terrier isn’t susceptible to harsh techniques and will does best with reward-based type of training.

Important condition in the up-bringing of the dog is to assert a calm and confident authority. It’s also decisively important to set up concrete rules of behaviour from the early age.

Socialisation is integral part of the training process of the Welsh Terrier that should be introduced from the puppyhood to different situations, animals and people. It will guarantee absence of different issues with the dog’s manners, especially in unusual situation.

Hardy and resilient, the Welsh Terrier is unstoppable either in the game or in hunting. Get prepared to prolonged daily walks (an hour at least) as the dog has substantial exercise requirements. When the opportunity presents itself it will eagerly play with a ball or just run off-leash. Make sure though that no other animals are in sight of the dog as it will chase everything it sees. From time to time take your dog to the pond as the breed is really keen on swimming.