The Welsh Terrier is alert and spirited.The Welshman was bred to do battle with badgers, otters, and other dangerous opponents. It’s impossible to say when Welsh Terriers came into being, but the breed as we know it took shape sometime in the 1700s. They were bred to hunt fox, otter, and badger in the remote mountainous region of northern Wales. Badgers, especially, are dangerous adversaries, and digging them out of their lairs took bravery. Welsh Terriers, with their powerful forequarters and punishing jaws, along with typical terrier courage, were equipped for the task of going head to head with sharp-toothed, razor-clawed prey.
Welsh Terrier Appearance
Welsh Terriers are up to 15 inches tall and weigh up to 20 pounds; approximately as high as he is long. The Welsh Terrier is a sturdy, compact, rugged dog of medium size with a coarse wire-textured coat. The legs, underbody and head are tan. The tail is docked. Care of the Welsh Terrier’s coat is similar to that for other broken-coated terriers. The hair can be plucked by hand, commonly referred to as hand-stripping. This type of grooming is a continual process and an art that takes years to master. Pet grooming for a Welsh Terrier is not complicated. The dog should be clipped every 8 to 12 weeks, leaving the coat longer in cold weather. The nails should be trimmed at least weekly, and the dog brushed once or twice a week. Usually bathing between clippings is not necessary, but if it is, use a good shampoo that contains moisturizers.
Welsh Terrier life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. Welshies are cheerful, intelligent dogs who love to have fun and is always affectionate. He’s energetic and has a playful nature. Loyal and devoted to his family, he can nevertheless be quite the social butterfly. He loves to amuse both himself and his family, and he’s not as hot-tempered as some other terrier breeds. His loving disposition and energy makes him an excellent family companion who’s great with children.
The Welshie can be independent, which may lead to some training difficulties (especially with inexperienced owners). But this is usually offset by what most people love best about the Welsh Terrier: his happy, fun-loving zest for life. The Welsh Terrier is a loving dog who can be patient when he needs to be. Add to that a hardiness that allows him to enjoy a fair amount of roughhousing, and you’ll find that he makes a wonderful companion for children.
He’s also basically compatible with other dogs and can do well in homes where he isn’t the only canine companion. He is a Terrier though, and he may be dog-aggressive if not properly socialized or trained. He’s not recommended for homes with small pets that might be viewed as prey, because all Terriers have a strong prey drive and will give chase. He’s a born watchdog and a house with a small fenced yard is better suited to his energy and noise, particularly if you don’t mind a few holes in the lawn here and there.
Caring for a Welsh Terrier
Next, we’ll go into how you should care for a Welsh Terrier.
The Welsh Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to becoming overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Welsh Terriers are high-energy dogs and require at least an hour of daily exercise. They enjoy getting exercise by doing activities with their owner such as playing ball or catching a flying disc in a fenced yard. They should have lots of running time in an enclosed area, as well as a long walk every day or so. Once the dog is an adult, and only if he is in good health, let him run and play until really tired out, but not exhausted. They are fond of toys and will burn off ample energy playing by himself with his favorite squeaky toy.
The Welshie is known for having a mind of his own and he’s not the most obedient of breeds often testing limits. Train him with positive reinforcement and consistency. Harsh corrections can shut down progress. The Welsh Terrier can also become bored easily, so he requires an interesting training routine. Breaking training up with fun games, avoiding repetition, and providing something to work for are excellent ways to get him more interested in training. Socialization is important with a Welsh Terrier. He can be combative with other dogs and animals, but this trait can be corrected with proper training and early and ongoing socialization.
Welsh Terriers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions, including the following:
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a heritable condition in which the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
- Allergies: There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew.
- Epilepsy: This is a neurological condition that causes mild or severe seizures.
- Glaucoma: This is a painful disease in which pressure in the eye is abnormally high due to improper drainage of normal eye fluids. This causes damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and blindness.
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It’s thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions.
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