Meet the Breed: The Welsh Terrier



  • Height: Up to 15"
  • Weight: 20-21 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunting
  • Modern function: Companion, hunting, agility
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Welsh Terrier looks like a miniature Airedale Terrier. The head is rectangular in shape. The eyebrows are bushy, The muzzle has a mustache and beard. The teeth may meet in a scissors or level bite. The eyes are small, dark brown and almond shaped. The ears are V-shaped and fold forward. The front legs are straight and the paws are small and cat-like. The topline is level. The tail is customarily docked in the U.S. The double coat features a soft undercoat and a wiry outer coat. The coat color is black and tan with a black saddle. Puppies are born all black and everything but the saddle lightens as they mature.

History of the Breed:

The Welsh Terrier was originally called the Black and Tan Wire-Haired Terrier, or the Old English Terrier. This breed originated in Wales where it was used for hunting badgers, foxes and otters. They would hunt with a pack of hounds by driving the prey from their dens. The breed was first shown in England in 1884 and was brought to America in 1888. 


The Welsh Terrier has the usual happy, lively, busy personality of a Terrier, which can also include a stubborn streak. They are generally friendly with people and dogs. This breed can do equally well in the city or the country when given adequate exercise. Training this dog can be a bit of a challenge that requires consistent reinforcement from a calm, confident leader. They can be difficult to housebreak. The Welsh Terrier is a devoted and hardy dog plays well with children. Socialize well and early with a wide range of people and social settings. May get into mischief if not properly exercised daily.

  • Best suited for: Active families, allergy sufferers. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This adaptable dog will do well as long as they get regular exercise. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This coat needs to be stripped two to three times a year. The beard needs regular cleaning and brushing. This coat sheds very little. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog. 
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to eye or skin irritations.

Breed Club Links: Welsh Terrier Club of America Perfect Pairings: Top Performance Top and Tail Wipes to clean facial fur after meals.

Have any stories about a Welsh Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Derek Purdy.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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