Originally published in the AKC GAZETTE - November 2020
The Welsh WAG - February 2021
Welsh Terriers are wonderful dogs for the right people, but no breed of dog is right for everyone. Hopefully, people will research the different breeds before they start to search for a puppy of any breed, and not just by looking at photos of cute little puppies and deciding from the photos that they want a dog of that breed. Right now, with so many businesses temporarily shut down, people who are laid off or furloughed have time on their hands, and many others are working from home for a while. For many families this seems like a great time to add a puppy to the household. Unfortunately, some people make that decision without doing much research or stopping to think of what will happen when they go back to work, and the dog is left alone for hours at a time. For many of these people this is their first dog, or the other dogs that they had were when they were growing up, and they may not be really planning well before purchasing the dog.
A Welsh Terrier puppy is an active dog who is always getting into things and often destructive unless well supervised. If the prospective owners have not done their research and planning before even starting to look at puppies, the results may well be disastrous. If this will be your first terrier, please do the research beforehand. Talk to Welsh Terrier breeders. Visit with people who have Welsh Terriers as pets. If you live in an area where there are now a few dog shows going on, go to the shows, talk to the breeders, and ask questions. Read a number of books on training dogs. A great book for firsttime Welsh Terrier owners is When Pigs Fly, which offers insight on special approaches for raising and training terriers. Ask veterinarians who have had experience with Welsh Terriers if they think the breed would be a good choice for you. Also visit with a few people who have Welsh Terriers as pets, and see the dogs in their home environment. If possible, talk to several people who run boarding kennels and have had Welsh Terriers as regular clients. Ask the kennel owners if they would recommend the purchase of a Welsh Terrier as a pet, and if so, from whom would they suggest getting the dog.
Those of us who have bred and shown Welsh for many years will be very selective in where we place our puppies. Most breeders have fewer than five litters a year, so every dog is special, and we do not want the dogs going to the wrong homes. I tell prospective buyers that Welsh puppies are very active, easily bored, and likely to be destructive if not supervised and trained from the day they first come into their new homes. A cage and an exercise pen must be part of the equipment when the puppy arrives in the home. A fenced yard is ideal; if that is not possible, an exercise run of at least 15 by 15 feet in size and five feet high is necessary. Welsh are often diggers, but they are seldom able to climb out of a five-foot run.
Don’t be surprised if breeders will not sell you a puppy if your children are toddlers or under 4 or 5 years old. While people who have had terriers before and understand the proper use of crates, exercise pens, and leashes can often train a puppy and a toddler at the same time, people with limited experience may need some assistance doing so. Often puppy classes are very useful. It has been the experience of many breeders that in such cases often the dog is returned to the breeder or becomes a “free, give away to good home” ad in the local paper. Most breeders will honestly say that they care more about what happens to the puppy than they care about hurting the feelings of an unsuitable purchaser. Our obligation is to our dogs. Personally, after 60-plus years of breeding and showing terriers, I would rather disappoint a possible puppy buyer than put a puppy in an unsatisfactory home where the dog will not be loved, well cared for, and properly trained. There are times when the only thing to do is refuse to sell someone a puppy. And yes, like most other breeders, I have managed to aggravate a few people by refusing to sell them a puppy.
Please spend the time to research the breed and honestly evaluate your situation, and make sure that you really want a Welsh Terrier and that you will care for and train the dog even when other activities are available once again to keep you busy. A dog is a longtime commitment. Do it well, and the dog will bring you much pleasure and joy.
Welsh Terrier Club of America
AKC Gazette – November 2020
Welsh Terrier Column
Reprinted with permission from the AKC Gazette