All about the Welsh Terrier, a popular dog breed in Britain

Physical traits, character, attitude and care tips

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By Alex

The Welsh Terrier is one of the many breeds belonging to the large English Terrier family. It originates from Wales and is still used in fox hunting today. It is an ancient breed that gained recognition by the British Kennel Club in 1886. Let’s find out more about what it is like and what its temperament is, to understand how best to care for it.

Origins of the Welsh Terrier

There is no absolute certainty about the origins of the Welsh Terrier. Most likely, it originated in North Wales where it was already present in the early 1800s.

However, for its official debut in exhibitions one must wait until 1880. After this event, the first breed club was established, thus contributing to the recognition achieved in 1886 by the English Kennel Club.

The Welsh Terrier is a highly regarded and widespread breed in Britain. Even today, in fact, these dogs are used in fox hunting along with Foxhounds.

Physical characteristics of the Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier is a dynamic dog with a compact and well-proportioned physical structure. Here are its physical characteristics in detail.

  • Body: compact, with a short back and well-supported trunk
  • Paws: straight, long and muscular, with small pads below the paws
  • Head: broad, flattened skull
  • Mouth elongated and square
  • Eyes: small, dark, and very viscous
  • Ears: small and triangular in shape, have a high hairline and are carried forward
  • Tails: medium length
  • Mouth: strong jaws and scissor-closed teeth
  • Hair: hard and rough, rather thick
  • Coat color: black-focused and black-gray-focused.

Because of the characteristics of its coat, rough and thick, it is sometimes confused with the Airedale Terrier, which, however, is larger in size and also has other differences in appearance and structure.

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Height and weight

This is a small dog. The maximum height at withers is 39 cm, while the average weight is around 9-9.5 kg.

Character of the Welsh Terrier

This dog is active, affectionate, intelligent, cheerful and also brave. It tends to form a very close relationship with its family. It adapts nicely to apartment life, although it loves very much to be outdoors for runs and walks. After all, this is the natural attitude of a hunting dog.

The Welsh Terrier has a proud and fierce temperament. It can hold its own against other dogs, even against bigger specimens. Although it generally does not attack, if attacked, a Welsh Terrier knows how to defend itself. It is  affectionate, cuddly and loves to play with the rest of the family.

It tends to chase cats. However, if you socialize them early and gradually, they can get along fine.

Welsh Terrier
The Welsh Terrier is often confused with other rough-coated terrier breeds, but it is a fine distinct breed.

Health and typical diseases of the Welsh Terrier

In general, this dog breed enjoys good health. However, it may be prone to developing allergies and having seizures.

Other typical diseases of the breed include glaucoma and hypothyroidism.

As for hereditary eye diseases, reliable genetic testing is available to make an early diagnosis.

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Care of the Welsh Terrier

Now, a few simple caring tips. Welshies are very active and energetic dogs. They need to move a lot and every day. Therefore, they need to be guaranteed at least one hour of daily exercise. Besides running and playing, these dogs also love to swim.

Given the characteristics of its coat, this should be cared for regularly. It should be brushed and combed 2-3 times a week and it should also be thinned 2-3 times a year. In preparation for competitions and exhibitions, this type of dog should be stripped by a good groomer. This is in fact a long and special treatment to be performed strictly by hand: it takes at least 3 hours!

Regarding feeding, like all small dogs, the Walsh Terrier has a very fast metabolism and a not very large stomach. Therefore, it is ideal to feed it frequent meals throughout the day, preferring foods designed specifically for small dogs that are easy to chew, swallow and easily digested.

Welsh Terrier
A cuddly Welsh Terrier puppy.

How long does a Welsh Terrier live?

With an average life span of 10-14 years, it is a rather long-lived dog.

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