The Sealyham Terrier is an independent and outgoing hunting dog known for their long, cascading coat. Originating in southwestern Wales in the late 1800s, Sealyham Terriers were bred to hunt otters, which were considered pests at the time. The breed is named after the Sealy Ham estate on the Seal River in Wales, where they were first bred by an army captain named John Edwardes.
Today, Sealys are successful show dogs, having won the Westminster’s Best in Show award three times, as well as making wonderful companion and therapy dogs. The Sealyham Terrier ranks 164 out of 193 in the AKC’s Breed Popularity Ranking.
Characteristics of the Sealyham Terrier
Here we will go into more detail about the appearance and temperament of the Sealyham Terrier.
The Sealyham Terrier is classified as an AKC small dog breed. The Sealy’s height is 10.5 inches and weight is 23-24 pounds with females being slightly smaller than males. Their legs are short in proportion to their body length. The Sealyham Terrier is a long-lived breed with a life span of 12-14 years.
Sealyham Terriers pack a sturdy and well-muscled body into a small package, and they move low to the ground with a determined and graceful stride. Their weatherproof coat is predominately white with distinctive facial hair. Their coat can be kept in a long, classic style for shows or a short, lower maintenance clip. Their coat is non-shedding but requires regular bathing and brushing and occasional trims or hand stripping. Check out our recommendations for dog brushes and dog shampoo to help keep your Sealy’s coat in top shape.
Sealyham Terriers are amusing, affectionate companion dogs as well as excellent watchdogs. Their loud, deep bark is suggestive of a much larger dog, and they are alert and protective of their homes and families. They are calmer than most terriers while still being high-energy and humorous.
Sealyham Terriers have strong chasing instincts and can act aggressively towards animals they perceive as prey, which includes cats and pet rodents. They can also be dominant and aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex, and quick to start a fight. They may be able to live with another dog in the household if they are socialized from an early age.
Sealys are aloof and not recommended for households with small children, as they are not tolerant of nonsense or clumsy behavior and can react defensively. They are also highly possessive of their toys and food and will not behave well if they perceive any sort of competition. However, they will do fine as a part of families with older children. Sealys also make suitable travel companions and are tolerant of car rides and even plane trips.
Sealyham Terriers are independent and are fine being left alone at home for hours at a time. They enjoy playing by themselves and almost never get bored. Investing in some durable dog toys is recommended – they are sure to get plenty of use!
Caring for a Sealyham Terrier
To ensure you are providing your Sealyham Terrier with everything it needs to live a long and happy life, it is essential to understand the quirks of the breed and what works best for them. Following are preliminary tips on health and training your Sealyham Terrier so you know what to expect. However, remember that each dog is unique, even within a specific breed.
A high-quality dog food will give a Sealyham Terrier everything it needs to thrive. Dog food can be purchased from a store or prepared at home. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a recipe or dog food brand and pay close attention to diet recommendations for your dog’s age. Use treats sparingly and do not feed your dog table scraps. To avoid weight gain and obesity, careful monitoring of calorie consumption is important, especially for small dog breeds. It’s a good idea to get an automatic dog feeder or slow-feed dog bowl.
Sealyham Terriers have moderate exercise needs. They enjoy long walks with their owner or time to run in an enclosed area such as a park or fenced backyard. Their thick coat causes them to overheat easily, so minimize exercise in hot or humid weather. Sealys will also enjoy playing inside with toys – independently or with their humans. Regular exercise will help your Sealy stay physically fit, happy, and well-behaved.
Sealyham Terriers are moderately difficult to train. Their independent personality and natural tendencies towards undesirable behaviors necessitates a firm and dominant owner. However, Sealys react negatively to harsh comments so positive reinforcement-training methods should be utilized. Consistent, frequent training sessions from a young age are necessary to teach your Sealy to respect you and understand the word “no”.
Sealyham Terriers are especially prone to wariness and aggression towards strangers, especially other animals. Early socialization will minimize this type of behavior later on. Sealys can also be food guarders, so be sure to be firm about nipping this behavior in the bud early in their life. They are also quick to bark when someone is at the door or something is amiss.
While generally healthy, Sealyham Terriers are prone to some serious genetic diseases and ailments. Eye diseases and eye infections are common due to the breed’s long eyebrows. Ear infections are also common due to the position and structure of the ears. Their ears should be checked weekly and any excess dirt or wax should be removed to minimize the risk of infections. Teeth should also be brushed often with a dog-specific toothpaste. The breed is also prone to allergies, but they are not usually serious and can be treated easily.
The National Breed Club recommends certain tests for Sealyham Terriers, including an ophthalmologist evaluation and PLL DNA Test. Be sure to choose a dog from a responsible, certified breeder. This will give you the highest chance of having a long-lived and healthy Sealyham Terrier.