The American Kennel Club, Inc © defines the breed;The Welsh Terrier is a friendly and spirited breed. Their intelligence and desire to please are evident in their attitude. Welsh Terriers are friendly, outgoing to people and other dogs. They are usually patient with children and can withstand a bit of rough play, but can be difficult to housebreak. They are best suited with a young, active family. Welsh Terriers like to chase after things, so they shouldn’t be let off lead except in an enclosed area. They need to have their coat plucked several times a year and their bushy facial hair should be combed twice a week.
The Welsh Terrier is a Welsh breed of dog. It was originally bred for hunting fox, rodents and badger, but during the last century it has mainly been bred for showing. Despite this, it has retained its terrier strength of character. The Welsh Terrier originates from Wales and has been claimed to be the oldest existing dog breed in the UK according to research. The Welsh Terrier was a latecomer to the British show-ring (being primarily a working dog) and was not officially registered as a breed until the 19th century. It is currently on the UK Kennel Clubs list of breeds that are in danger of dying out, having as few as 300 or so pups registered annually, as compared to the nation’s most popular breeds that are registered in the tens of thousands each year.
Appearance. The Welsh Terrier is colored tan on the head, legs and underbelly while having a black or sometimes grizzle saddle. This is not always the case with female terriers as they are sometimes a simple darker tan all over. The breed is a sturdy and compact dog of about medium size that can grow up to 15.5 in with a weight of 20–22 pounds. The tail was usually docked until this was prohibited in the United Kingdom in 2006, being preferred in order to complete the image of a square dog, as tall as it is long. The body shape is rectangular, with elongated, “brick-like” face. This shape is formed by the whiskers and beard. With pedigrees the face can take a more oval shape and be finer boned and more distinct.
The hair contains two layers, an undercoat that insulates and an abrasive fur on top that protects against dirt, rain, and wind. Welsh Terriers are born mostly all black and during the first year they change the color to standard black and tan grizzle.
This breed does not shed; however, the coat requires regular maintenance including brushing and hand stripping.
An undocked Welsh Terrier tail is only an inch or so longer than a docked tail and does not make a great deal of difference to the overall appearance. The coat does not molt out but old hairs will eventually be stripped out through play and movement if the coat is not regularly raked. Ungroomed coats can also fade and thin out as the old hair loses color and texture. to keep a molt free house and a good coat on your Welsh Terrier it is necessary to rake out the coat on a regular basis. Welsh terriers need some grooming. Their fur grows a little long.
Temperament. The Welsh Terrier has a typical terrier temperament. In the right hands, it is a happy, lively, and seldom shy or timid dog, but sometimes can have an attitude. The Welsh Terrier is generally friendly with people and dogs but when a challenge is perceived, he will not back down. Dogs of this breed can be devoted friends and can function either as city dogs or as country dogs. Welsh Terriers were developed to hunt independently and this required that they be very assertive and stoic dogs. As a consequence, developing obedience in a Welsh Terrier is a long-term proposition and one has to constantly work on and reinforce the training. This, however, does not mean that Welsh Terriers fail to learn or understand commands, just that they tend to make their own decisions; thus the need for constant reinforcement. When acting on their own, they are quite creative and quick in decision making. They also have the potential for excessive barking. Like other terrier breeds, the Welsh Terrier enjoys digging.
A Welsh Terrier is full of energy and requires regular exercise. A run around the yard during the day is insufficient. They become yappy, and if bored, they may explore and potentially cause mischief and damage. Welsh Terriers need a challenge to keep them entertained. For example, they love chasing toys and love swimming (a good example would be lake activities with their families).
As with all breeds, it is important to socialize Welsh Terriers as early as possible to a wide range of dogs, people, and experiences
Notable Welsh Terriers
Charlie, pet of John F. Kennedy
Clement Attlee, Ist Earl Attlee, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1945-1951 owned a Welsh Terrier. The dog is incorporated into Earl Attlee’s coat-of-arms
Gwen, Welsh Terrier pet of Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII.
Feature Picture of Ziggy and friend by Juliet Shalam, London UK