The Welsh Terrier is as alert and spirited as any self-respecting terrier, but a bit calmer than most. It was bred to do battle with badgers, otters, and other dangerous opponents. Sturdy, compact, and rugged, with a tight-fitting black-and-tan coat and a rectangular head featuring folded ears and a jaunty beard, Welsh Terriers are constructed along the classic lines of Britain's long-legged terriers. They stand about 15 inches at the shoulder, a little larger than the Lakeland Terrier but much smaller than the mighty Airedale. All three breeds, however, share a family resemblance: An ancient breed called the Old English Black and Tan Terrier is thought to be the granddaddy of these and some other British terriers.
The Welsh of today has changed little over the last hundred years. While its appearance has evolved slightly from the rather scruffy earthdog of its forebears to the handsome, sturdy, compact dog of today, it remains a rugged dog of medium size with the same coarse and wire-textured coat and black and tan coloring. Welsh Terriers were always required to be steady, affectionate and easily controlled since the dogs lived with the family, played with the children, had to get along with other animals on the farm and still maintain their prey-drive in the pursuit of vermin. These terriers are independent thinkers, physically very tough and active with the stable temperament that serves them well on the farm or as family pets.
The Breed Standard calls for the Welsh Terrier to be a game dog, in other words alert, aware, spirited but at the same time to be friendly and show self-control. Aggressiveness or shyness are not only undesirable but are uncharacteristic traits. ‘Sensible” is often a word used in describing this breed. He’s also a good watchdog, loves people and makes himself right at home wherever home happens to be, thus older dogs change homes easily.
A Welsh Terrier will fit into many individual family situations where firm, consistent guidance from puppyhood on can be given. Responsible older children will find a perfect companion in a Welsh Terrier. Although the Welsh Terrier is intelligent and has a great loyalty to those around him, obedience training will take patience and consistency on the part of the owner. Maintaining a sense of humor helps, too! The Welsh prefers the country, adapts well to city life, is happy with daily walks and playtime but will be ecstatic if given the chance to demonstrate his natural expertise in earthdog tests and experience the fun of agility training and other active events. A Welsh Terrier requires a leash for safety, or a securely fenced area at a minimum. Electronic fences are generally not recommended due to the breed’s natural curiosity, speed and prey drive.
Welsh Terriers are friendly and outgoing, but puppies need to be adequately socialized by their owners to encourage polite behavior around other dogs. All Welsh should be taught to be under control and tolerant of other dogs when walking on lead. Lots of exercise and attention help this energetic dog become the affectionate, well-behaved companion he was born to be.
Welsh Terriers are a hardy breed with a lifespan of 12-15 years. Potential buyers are encouraged to discuss health issues with their breeder.
The Welsh Terrier coat maintenance is similar to other broken-coated terriers. The hair on such terriers can be “plucked” by hand, commonly referred to as hand stripping. Welsh competing in AKC conformation classes must have their coats hand stripped. This type of trimming is a continual process and is an art that requires years to master. Hand stripping is required for the conformation ring because this technique is the best way to maintain the texture of the wiry coat and furnishings that is required by the breed standard. Pets and dogs competing in AKC performance events usually have their coats clipped and scissored. Pets should be clipped every eight weeks. This, in addition to weekly brushing and combing will keep your Welsh Terrier looking his best. With proper coat maintenance the Welsh Terrier does not shed.
Welsh terriers participate in and are eligible for many American Kennel Club events that include, but are not limited to, the following: conformation classes; earthdog tests; obedience; agility; junior handling; and other performance events.
As with all purebred dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club, there is an approved Breed Standard for Welsh Terriers which is a written description of how the ideal Welsh terrier should look, move and behave. All responsible breeders strive to produce dogs that conform to the Breed Standard.