Welsh Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

This is a square-proportioned, compact, sturdy dog of medium size, capable of running at good speed for long distances and then bolting or dispatching its quarry. Its gait is free and effortless, with good reach and drive. Its coat is double, with a short, soft undercoat and a hard, dense, wiry outer coat. The expression and demeanor are confident and alert.

The Welsh, although more mild-mannered than many terriers, is still playful and mischievous enough to provide plenty of entertainment and challenges, yet it is calm enough to be a reliable house pet. It is independent, inquisitive and sensitive, reserved with strangers and possibly scrappy with other dogs and pets. It needs daily exercise in a safe area. It tends to dig and bark.


FAMILY terrier



ORIGINAL FUNCTION otter, fox, badger, and rat hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 15-15.5 Weight: 20

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: <15-15.5 Weight: 20


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Welsh terrier needs a moderate walk on leash every day or an invigorating play session. If allowed to run off leash, it should be in a safe area because it tends to hunt. The Welsh can live happily outdoors during nice weather, but it should sleep inside in cold weather. It does best when allowed access to house and yard. Its wiry jacket needs combing two to three times weekly, plus shaping every three months. Shaping for pets is by clipping, and for show dogs is by stripping. The ears of puppies may need to be trained in order to ensure proper adult shape.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: lens luxation
• Occasionally seen: cataracts, patellar luxation, distichiasis
• Suggested tests: eye, (knee)
• Life span: 12 – 14 years
One of only two terriers native to Wales, the Welsh terrier probably descended from the old black and tan rough terrier that was popular in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. By the late 1700s, a distinctive strain — known as Ynysfor — was running with otterhounds in North Wales. At the same time, a similar dog, the "Old English broken-haired" terrier, was being bred in northern England. The two strains were so similar that when they began to be shown, the same dog could compete successfully as either breed, and they were classified together. Eventually, they all became known as Welsh terriers, regardless of their origin. After all, both strains had shared similar backgrounds and were used to hunt otter, fox and badger. In 1886, the English Kennel Club recognized the breed. The early dogs were too rough to be competitive in the show ring, and breeders sought to improve the Welsh's lines not only by selective breeding but also with crosses to the racier wire fox terrier. The result was a dog that in some ways resembles a miniature Airedale terrier. It became a competitive show dog, but for some reason it has never attained the heights of show ring success that similar small, long-legged terriers have achieved.