Other names: Welshie
Originally bred in Wales, the Welsh terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds known. Previously named the Black and Tan terrier, when the breed was standardised in 1885 by the UK Kennel Club, the name was changed. Welsh terriers were bred for vermin control on farms and also to hunt otters, badgers and foxes. The happy and energetic terrier has a zest for life and a wonderful attitude and certainly great self-determination.
Key facts about the Welsh Terrier
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Origins and history
The Welsh Terrier is one of the oldest known dog breeds in the UK, dating back many centuries. With his high energy levels and abilities to eradicate vermin and hunt small game, he is a competent working dog. In some circumstances, the breed has been used alongside hunting hounds, giving chase to otters, badgers and foxes.
Previously known as the “Black and Tan Wire-Haired Terrier”, the breed name was changed to “Welsh Terrier” in 1885 in the UK. Although many of these dogs are now used for showing purposes, the breed appears to be dying out and is now classified by the UK Kennel Club as a rare breed.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 3 - Terriers
Section 1 : Large and medium sized Terriers
Physical characteristics of the Welsh Terrier
Female : Between 14 and 15 in
Male : Between 14 and 15 in
Female : Between 20 and 22 lb
Male : Between 20 and 22 lb
Black and tan, or black grizzle and tan.
Type of coat
Medium length hair.
The Welsh Terrier has a double coat that is dense, wiry and coarse.
Dark eyes that are round in shape.
This breed has a very similar appearance to the Airedale and the Lakeland Terrier. This breed is of medium build with a wiry coat, and either black and tan or black grizzle and tan in colour. Even though it’s an illegal practice, tail docking does sometimes take place. New-born puppies from this breed are generally born solid black, then their coat changes shade as they get older.
Good to know
The Welsh Terrier dog is among just a very few dog breeds that sweat or perspire. As he is a very active dog, you may notice an obvious body odour. You certainly cannot use antiperspirant deodorant on him, so we would suggest frequent baths to keep him smelling sweet!
Certainly, the Welsh Terrier is quite mild-mannered, yet he is still quite mischievous and playful. With early socialisation, he will often become attached to one member of the family. It’s usually the puppy that decides this, not necessarily the owner.
With an inquisitive and playful personality, the Welsh Terrier is always ready for a game of fetch. Welshies are usually a bundle of fun even though they maintain their sparky terrier attitude most of the time. He is very happy when engaged in a tug of war or a game of frisbee in the garden.
Although we think of a terrier dog as being high energy and full of attitude, the Welsh terrier is less excitable, more sensible and a steadier dog, even though he is still brimming with drive and energy. These dogs have a sensitive side and they love nothing better than being calm and quiet and spending time with the family at night.
This very intelligent breed uses its brain as well as its body. The dog can however bore very easily and will become quite mischievous if he has nothing to occupy him.
As a working dog, the Welsh Terrier is efficient and spirited in the field. He is playful, alert and active and is always eager to please.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This breed may initially be wary of strangers, but soon overcomes this shyness and enjoys the company of anyone who wishes to get to know them.
This dog has a fun-loving, happy personality and is usually quite independent. This independence however, can lead to some difficulties when training the Welsh Terrier.
Behaviour of the Welsh Terrier
If this dog is raised to understand that he is sometimes left alone during the day, he shouldn’t have any problems with solitude. He has a laid-back attitude and is quite adaptable to different situations. If he is left alone at home, he can easily become bored. You can counteract this by giving him plenty of interactive toys to keep him busy and prevent him from destroying the soft furnishings.
Easy to train / obedience
Once you begin the training process, the Welsh Terrier is usually happy to commit. His independent streak will sometimes mean he doesn’t listen to you, but on the whole, he is keen to learn new skills. It’s advisable to teach the dog that his master is the pack leader and try to vary the training activities to keep the dog keen.
Welshies can certainly bark and make themselves heard. It’s very important that you teach this terrier to be quiet when you command, otherwise he will drive you and the neighbours mad with his barking.
Tendency to run away
The Welsh Terrier has hunting instincts that mean he will chase after everything that runs in front of him. Any outside area needs to be fenced securely, gates closed and made dog-proof.
Certainly this breed can become destructive if left alone for long periods or are fed-up and bored. Young puppies tend to chew when they are teething. It may help to place your puppy in a dog crate to prevent him from destroying things in your home. Walk him before you place him in the crate and give him plenty of dog toys to keep him occupied and all should be fine.
Greedy / Gluttony
The Welsh Terrier is a greedy dog, so take care not to overfeed him at mealtimes.
If you are looking for a decent watchdog for the home, this Welshie is definitely a good choice. He will alert you to any strangers who approach and will be a terrific watchdog. Remember though, that he will also bring every other sound or sight he sees to your attention too.
As a breed that is very easy to train, and as a very sociable pet, he will make a brilliant choice for a first time dog owner. Remember however, that you will need to dedicate time to his training if you do not want a rowdy, boisterous terrier on your hands.
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Welsh Terrier in a flat
Providing this active dog receives sufficient daily exercise, he will be okay in a flat or small house. Likewise, he doesn’t need much outside space if he can manage a daily gallop around the exercise field.
Need for exercise / Sporty
A Welsh Terrier just loves to run around and burn off excess energy. He needs a vigorous exercise regime to prevent him becoming destructive, bored and noisy in the home. Tire him out with plenty of activities and he will be more relaxed and rested in the house.
Travelling / easy to transport
As this dog is a medium sized breed, he is suitable for transporting in a vehicle. He will be extra keen to get into the dog crate in the boot of your car if he knows he is going to the playing field for his daily run and to chase after a ball.
Welsh Terrier and cats
This happy go lucky dog will get along ok with cats when they are raised together from a young age. However, something to bear in mind is that the Welsh Terrier is also a hunting breed and he may have a tendency to chase after cats and other small animals.
Welsh Terrier and dogs
In most cases, the Welshie isn’t likely to incite a fight with another dog for no reason, however if challenged he won’t back off, no matter how small or large the other dog is. Your Welsh Terrier pup must be socialised with other canines from a young age so that he understands that other animals are not always a threat to him.
Welsh Terrier and children
There is a high chance that your child and the Welsh Terrier will become great buddies and companions. However, early socialisation together from a young age, certainly helps the situation. The Welshie loves nothing better than a game with the children and is generally gentle and watchful around younger kids too.
Welsh Terrier and the elderly
This dog breed can have two personalities – he will either be a couch potato, or an active pet. Ideally, a home where he receives abundant exercise is recommended, but likewise, he’s just as happy curled up on the sofa next to you. These loyal dogs make excellent family pets.
The initial purchase cost to buy a Welsh terrier puppy is between £650 to £950.
They aren’t known to be an expensive dog to care for and feed. As hardy canines, their health visit costs won’t be too high. Consider though that they do need to visit the grooming salon to strip out their thick coats several times a year. You should budget between £40 to £50 overall monthly cost for this breed, to take into account pet insurance, grooming, veterinary visits, vaccinations and of course his food bills.
The outer coat of this breed is quite thick and at a minimum, weekly brushing or combing is suggested. In addition, because of the wiry dense coat, the dog will need to be trimmed a few times each year. Hand stripping the coat hair is a possibility, but it's very time consuming.
This dog generally has no loss of hair through moulting, hence the need for him to be trimmed around 3-4 times annually.
Nutrition of the Welsh Terrier
Many dogs of this size have a faster metabolism than others. Taking this into consideration together with his high energy levels, he must be fed little and often. A nutrient-dense and good quality diet is suggested, possibly a small-size kibble. As this breed are prone to gaining weight if they don’t do enough activities, hold back on the fattening treats.
Health of the Welsh Terrier
This breed often live to a ripe old age of between 12 to 14 years.
Strong / robust
As a member of the canine “Terrier” group, this dog is a brave, hardy pup who is bred to pursue rats, badgers and foxes.
As a canine with a thick dense coat, trimming and stripping the hair is advised, especially during the warm summer months. However, this robust dog generally tolerates the heat quite well, with no issues.
This delightful terrier has a double-layer coat that protects the dog, no matter what the weather. His waterproof coat offers protection when he is out hunting in all climates, even in rain and snow.
Tendency to put on weight
Providing he receives a sufficient amount of daily exercise, and this breed needs quite a lot, his high energy activities will prevent him from gaining too much weight. On the other hand however, a pup that remains at home and lays on the sofa most of the day, will certainly become overweight very quickly.