The Welsh terrier is a breed of dog from Wales in the UK, it was originally bred for hunting foxes, rodents and badgers, but in the 20th and 21st centuries it as been mainly used for showing, in spite of this it as retained the terrier strength of character.
Although it wasn’t recognised by the British Kennel club until the 19th Century, due to being primarily a working dog, the Welsh terrier as been claimed to be the oldest dog breed in the UK. It is currently on the UK Kennel clubs list of dog breeds in the most danger of dying out, having as few as 300 pups registered annually, compared to the most popular breeds which have tens of thousands.
The Welsh terrier as a tan head, underbelly and legs with a black or sometimes grizzled saddle, in some cases the female may be tan all over. The breed is medium size, sturdy and compact they can grow to 15.5in, and weigh in at 20-22 pounds, the body shape is rectangular with a brick like head and snout which as whiskers and a beard.
The coat on the Welsh terrier is made up of hair in two layers, an undercoat which insulates and an abrasive fur on top that protects against rain, wind and dirt. When the Welsh terrier is born it is usually all black, and during the first year they change the colour to the standard black and grizzle.
An undocked Welsh terriers tail is only an inch or so longer than a docked tail and does not make much difference to its overall appearance. The coat does not moult but old hairs will eventually be stripped out through play and movement if it is not brushed regularly, an ungroomed coat can also fade and thin out as the old hair loses colour and texture. The Welsh terrier looks similar in appearance to the Airedale terrier.
When treated properly the Welsh terrier as a typical terrier temperament, it will be a happy, lively dog with an outgoing character, it is generally friendly with people but can have a bit of an attitude, if challenged by another dog it will not back down.
Bred to be independent hunting dogs, this required them to be assertive and stoic dogs, as a consequence developing obedience in the Welsh terrier is a long term proposition and requires constant work. When acting independently they are quite creative and make decisions quickly, like most terriers they like to dig, and they also have a tendency for excessive barking.
The Welsh terrier is full of energy and needs regular exercise, a quick run round the garden won’t suffice, they can become excited and if bored they may get up to mischief or cause damage. Welsh terriers need a challenge to keep them entertained, for example playing with toys or swimming. As with all breeds it is important to socialize Welsh terriers as early as possible to get them used to people, other dogs and experiences.
The body of the Welsh terrier is normal and healthy so that the physique is durable and lasting. A healthy Welsh terrier lives for about 12-13 years on average, and stays active and alert to a high age, if it is well taken care of and healthy.