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’s coat is wiry and hard and dense. The young Welshie is born black but by about 4 months of age the black is replaced by a reddish brown or tan color on the head, chest and legs and leaving only a black or grizzle back and saddle. Welsh Terriers should be less than 15.5 inches tall at shoulder height and weigh from 18 to 25 pounds.
Welsh Terriers are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Terrier Group.
Welsh Terrier History:
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 breed was a sporting dog used in Wales for hunting otter, fox and badger. The Welsh Terrier was shown in 1884 in England and at Westminster in 1901. Today the Welshie is popular as a family dog because it is less pugnacious than most other terrier breeds.
The Welsh Terrier was ranked 90th out of 154 dog breeds registered by the AKC in 2005.
Welshies are energetic, alert, inquisitive, loyal and devoted to their families. 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. Welsh Terriers won’t back down if challenged by other dogs and they have a high prey drive towards all small creatures including cats.
Welshies are friendly and outgoing but need early socialization and ongoing obedience training to minimize problems and develop their self confidence. Welsh Terriers do well with older children as they are patient and always ready for a game but they are too possessive of their toys and food to be around young children. Welshies respond best to positive training methods and rewards. Welshies are wary of strangers and make good watchdogs and do fine with active novice owners.
Welsh Terriers need more exercise than playing games indoors and should be taken for a couple of brisk walks each day along with playing some energetic ball or frisbee games. Welshies should be kept on a leash and need a fenced yard so they don’t wander off in search of prey. Welshies are terriers and they love to dig. Welsh Terriers are intelligent and with the right approach can be trained to compete in sports such as agility and flyball.
Grooming requirements for this breed depend on whether it is a show or a companion dog. Show dogs will require hand plucking or “stripping” of the dead hair every month or two. Pets can be clipped and the bottom trimmed for cleanliness. Most owners have their Welshies professionally groomed every few months. Welsh Terriers are a low-shedding dog breed and are said to be hypoallergenic and good for people with allergies.
Welsh Terriers are generally very healthy and can be expected to live for 12 to 15 years. Some blood lines have shown inherited diseases like epilepsy, glaucoma, skin allergies and hypothyroidism (low thyroid).
Prospective buyers should ask for the breeding parents Canine Eye Registry (CERF) recent ophthalmologists report for eye disorders. Neutering male non-show dogs before 6 months of age will prevent leg lifting and reduce aggressiveness.