The Welsh terrier is a medium-sized terrier breed that is compact and well balanced. It has small, well set eyes which are dark in colour with small v-shaped ears set fairly high on the head and carried forward close to the check. Bushy eyebrows, a squared-off beard, and a moustache are some of the more prominent features of the Welsh terrier. The teeth form a regular scissor bite. The head is carried gracefully by a slightly arched medium-sized neck. It also features straight and muscular front legs with evenly muscular thighs that strongly carry the terrier’s body. Small and round cat-like feet provide adequate cushion. The tail is commonly docked and carried erect. It has a wiry, hard, very close and abundant double coat which protects the breed against dirt and the weather. The coat comes in black and tan or black grizzle and tan colours.
The Welsh Terrier originated from Wales, England. It was developed during the late 1700s for hunting fox, birds and badgers and as a companion dog. It is believed to be bred from the coarse-haired Black and Tan terrier which has been in existence in England since the 13th century. At the same time, a similar dog known as the Old English broken-haired terrier was being used in northern England for the same purpose of hunting otters, fox and badgers, but the only difference is that it was believed to have come from the Airedale and Fox terrier. Because these two breeds were almost identical, they were classified together and became known as the Welsh terriers. Selective breeding further improved the lineage which was also later on crossed with the wire Fox Terrier that resulted in a breed identical to a miniature Airedale terrier. The breed was officially recognized in 1886 and the breed standard written in 1901. Since then, the popularity of the Welsh terrier increased and has become more common than its predecessors.
The Welsh Terrier is a happy, energetic, and is neither shy nor timid. It is a devoted and obedient companion but with a typical terrier temper. It has a natural yearning to please its family which makes it highly trainable. The breed can also be quite curious and sometimes independent which can also lead to a tendency to become mischievous at times. In addition, the Welsh Terrier is typically timid around strangers and its strong hunting instinct makes it prone to fight with other dogs and animals. This breed loves to go in the water, has a fond for digging and may also bark excessively. Bitches are especially difficult to housebreak.
The Welsh Terrier has an independent streak which may sometimes disobey commands so training should be consistent and firm. Early socialization is recommended to lessen the breed’s timidity. Although other lines may tend to be combative, socialization with other animals will lessen this tendency.
The wiry coat needs several times of brushing every week and clipped every three months and should only be bathed when necessary. Experts recommend a base diet with a mixture of fish, mutton, poultry, corn wheat and potatoes.
The Welsh Terrier is normally healthy and robust with no known hereditary issues. A healthy, well maintained Welsh Terrier has an average life expectancy between 10 to 12 years and characteristically remains active and alert even at an old age
The enormous amount of energy that the Welsh terrier possesses should be channelled to daily exercise. This highly energetic breed needs to be taken off its leash in a secured open space so that it can run about freely. It is not recommended for an apartment living although if given sufficient exercise, it will do equally as well. It is very active indoors and will do best living in a house with a secured yard. Never let the breed off leash in public places since it can chase other small animals.
It is a very patient breed and gets along well with children, with a playful attitude that loves following a child as it plays. The Welsh terrier loves playing with children and will typically last longer in play than the child.