He may look like a small Airedale, but the Welsh Terrier has his own personality. It’s certainly a strong personality, and no wonder–he was bred to hunt badgers, foxes, and otters. Although not many folks hunt badgers these days, hunting cookies in the yard is a solid alternative.
Smart as can be, this party boy excels in agility, flyball, tracking, earthdog, and obedience competitions. He’s also been involved in both search and rescue work and therapy.
The Welshie is a lot of dog in a medium-sized package, and first-time owners would do better with a less independent breed. However, other dog lovers may wish to step up to the challenge of life with a freethinker whose prime desire has nothing to do with pleasing you. He’s a problem solver, which can be wonderful and terrifying. Don’t underestimate his problem-solving skills, because if he’s bored, that’s a problem to be solved.
He’s not for the faint of heart, or for those looking for a quiet companion or for instant obedience. As a matter of fact, obedience might be a long time in coming–but it will eventually, with repeated effort. He needs intellectual stimulation, and if you can provide that in his training, there’ll be no stopping him in competition.
First and foremost, this boy has to burn off steam every day or you’ll be scraping him off the ceiling. He has a ton of energy and requires–not just needs–an hour of exercise every day. If you’re looking for a jogging companion, he’s your man; and he’ll be up early brewing your coffee while waiting for you to get your running shoes on.
Regardless of how much exercise he gets, you should still expect to see some rough play in the house that can result in Welsh Terriers flying off couches or knocking over lamps. They’re surprisingly tough when it comes to this kind of play (whereas some gentler canine souls dislike the wild play of children). The kids will have a great time with him as they roughhouse–and nap–together; Welshies are terrific with kids.
A word of caution: If you play with your Welsh Terrier inside the house, don’t expect him to not race through the house at other times. It becomes an accepted behavior, and he’ll launch himself off furniture whenever the mood hits. And that might be often, since he enjoys being in high altitudes and will frequently relax on picnic benches and tables.
A Welshie is intelligent, and while that helps him grasp concepts easily, he can be difficult to train. You won’t get anywhere with boring, rote lessons–in fact, repetition is the best way to get a Welsh Terrier to ignore you. On the other hand, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with fun, positive training that convinces him that you’re the one in charge. He was bred to be freethinking, like a child of the sixties, so if you work with this trait instead of against it, you’ll have more fun than you can imagine.
He can do well in homes with other dogs, but he needs to be properly socialized to keep him from being dog-aggressive. He’s definitely not recommended for homes with small animals due to his strong prey drive.
Although it’s not ideal, the Welsh Terrier can live in an apartment. He’s a born watchdog and will bark when he sees or hears something suspicious–which can be a problem in buildings with noise restrictions. 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. Like many other terriers, the Welshie has a great time digging and can easily make a mess of gardens and yards. Despite his hardiness, he does better living indoors with the people he loves rather than outside in a kennel.
The Welsh Terrier can be a perfect, devoted companion for an active family who has the time to care for him and meet his exercise requirements. He’s independent enough to not yearn for or demand excessive attention, yet he’s affectionate enough to enjoy time spent cuddling on the couch. He’ll fill the house with the sounds of life and just might grace your furniture and tables. The Welsh Terrier is proof that life can be lived to the fullest and that not all good things come in big packages.
Although the history of the Welsh Terrier is not completely clear, we can ascertain from paintings and prints that the breed is quite old and may have been one of the first Terriers.
He was originally known as the Black-and-Tan Wire Haired Terrier or the Old English Terrier. Although associated with Wales, he lived in many parts of England during the 19th century. He was commonly used to hunt foxes, otters, and badgers, and he excelled at eradicating vermin.
He was commonly shown and categorized as an Old English Terrier, a category under which many Terrier breeds were classified. It wasn’t until 1885 that he was classified as a Welsh Terrier by the Kennel Club of England.
Welsh Terriers began arriving in the United States in 1888, though their importation was erratic. By 1901, however, the Welsh Terrier finally established a footing in the United States, and his popularity grew at a steady pace.
The Welsh Terrier is a medium-sized dog. The average height is 15 to 15.5 inches, females being slightly smaller than males. The average weight is usually 20 pounds, but weight should be in proportion to the height and bone density of each individual dog.
The Welsh Terrier is a cheerful, intelligent dog who loves 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.
Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who’s beating up his littermates or the one who’s hiding in the corner.
Always meet at least one of the parents–usually the mother is the one who’s available–to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you’re comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
Like every dog, the Welshie needs early socialization–exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences–when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Welshie puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
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