Wales is not just blessed with stunning countryside, beautiful coastline and monumentous mountains. They also have the most incredible dog breeds that are full of character and ruggedness that almost mirrors their surroundings.
Welsh dog breeds have a long history of being working dogs. They have always been active and have strong working instincts. Difficult tasks undertaken such as herders, vermin catchers, otterhounds, hunters, or game retrievers have always been part of their daily life in years gone by.
Although these Welsh breeds have been known to be hard working dogs, the majority will be most comfortable resting in normal homes with busy lifestyles. Over the past century, several varieties have become extinct, but seven from Wales are still going strong.
Here are six living Welsh canines that continue to exist in the homes, hearts, and minds of people in Wales and around the world. We’ve also added in two that have unfortunately become extinct.
The Welsh Terrier or Welshie is a small, square dog breed that looks like a miniature Airedale Terrier. The Welshie has a short straight back with a tail that is docked in countries where permitted. The legs are straight with small, round cat’s feet. The head is flat with no apparent stop and the natural ears are set high and carried folded forward.
The Welsh terrier is an old breed that was seen in old paintings and prints. This breed used to be known as the Old English Terrier or the Black-and-Tan Wire Haired Terrier and obviously shared some common ancestry with the Airedale Terrier. The Welshie has changed very little over time and its colors seem the same as they were in the 19th century.
The Welsh Terrier is less excitable than many terriers but still full of energy – so the more exercise he gets the better he will behave indoors. Welshies like most terriers have an independent streak and will take advantage of their families unless they are confident and consistent about applying the household rules.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small-to medium-sized dog breed although it acts more like a “big dog” on short legs. The Pembroke has a fairly strong body with short strong legs and either no tail or a shortened tail which is usually docked in countries that permit it. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi can be distinguished from its cousin, the Pembroke, because it has a longer body and a brush-like tail.
The Pembroke was probably developed in Wales from progenitors brought to 12th century Pembrokeshire, Wales, by Flemish weavers. Welsh Corgis were developed to herd cattle, guard the farm and hunt rats and other small animals. The Pembroke has always been popular with the British Royal Family.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an energetic, agile, intelligent, gentle and loving dog. The Pembroke is devoted to its family and makes a terrific companion dog. Pembroke’s are calmer than Cardigans and tend to be a little less accepting of unfamiliar people and dogs. Pembroke’s get along fine with older considerate children but not toddlers or very young children.
Although this breed can be difficult and requires effective training, Sealyham Terriers are a loving and low-energy dog that would make a wonderful addition to any home.
The Sealyham Terrier was once a very common breed, but it is currently one of the rarest terrier breeds in existence.
The affluent owner of Sealyham House in Wales first reared this tenacious, resilient, and little dog in the early 1900s. It was employed to flush out otters from the river.
Welsh Hillman (Extinct)
The Welsh Hillman herding dog is an extinct breed that were prevalent in Wales, up until the late 20th century. These big canines were employed for herding and droving animals.
They are said to be related to the prehistoric Welsh herding dogs. Some even assert that these dogs were afterwards mixed with North African herding breeds.
Clams have also been made that this breed descended from the “Welsh Wolfhounds” or “Old Gellgi,” which were in use around 1,000 years ago.
It’s so sad that this breed is now extinct, and that nothing was done to preserve this wonderful type of dog. Due mostly to a lack of use and preservation, the Welsh Hillman went extinct in the latter half of the 20th century.
The last dog of this breed, named “Jess,” was bought from a hill farm close to Hay-on-Wye in 1974.
Welsh Springer Spaniel
A popular dog breed in Wales and the United Kingdom, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is a near relative of the English Springer Spaniel. They were developed in the 1800s by Welsh gentry to serve as hunting dogs on their estates. They have a magnificent red and white coat.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is nimble and athletic, has a good nose, and enjoys swimming. The breed is quite sociable and is capable of developing strong ties with his family. The Welsh Springer Spaniel is therefore better suited to homes with lots of activity throughout the day.
Black and Tan Terrier (Extinct)
Another sad tale of a Welsh dog breed becoming extinct is the Black and Tan Terrier.
It was one of the oldest terrier breeds and is believed to be the ancestor of all modern Fell Terrier breeds and the Welsh Terrier. Their coat was usually wire-haired but also could be smooth or woolly.
They came in any combination of black, tan, red, blue, brown, sandy, grizzle, liver or white.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi can be distinguished from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi by its brush-like tail and very long body. The Cardigan is often referred to as ‘the Corgi with the tail’.
The Cardigan is thought to have originated in early 13th century Wales from the same ancestors that produced the Daschund and a Swedish Spitz-like dog. Welsh Corgis were used to herd cattle, guard the farm and hunt rats and other small animals.
The Corgi has enough courage and intelligence to learn to do anything it is taught. Since the Corgi is also vigilant and somewhat territorial, it requires early socialisation and obedience training.
A native breed to Wales and the British Isles, Welsh Hounds are very similar to English foxhounds when it comes to their appearance. They were once used in fox hunting throughout England and Wales, as they are a scent-hunting hound. They hunts in packs and has adapted to the country’s rough and hilly terrain.
It moves quickly, has a long lifespan, and can virtually “speak” to the hunter and the pack by making certain vocalisations.
The breed continues to engage in drag hunting, a fabricated type of hunting, even as fox hunting is currently outlawed (without killing a fox at the end).
They are a placid and amiable breed that also makes ideal inside pets. Although they are challenging to teach and demand consistency and firm leadership, they are incredibly devoted, kind, and tolerant of young children and other animals.
List Of All The Welsh Dog Breeds
- Black and Tan Terrier
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Old Welsh Grey Sheepdog
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Sealyham Terrier
- Welsh Corgi
- Welsh Hillman
- Welsh Hound
- Welsh Sheepdog
- Welsh Springer Spaniel
- Welsh Terrier