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Often mistaken for a Wire Haired Fox Terrier or miniature Airedale, this dog is not thought to be related to either, but in fact is a very old, if not the oldest breed of native Terrier to the UK. It is sadly now on the list of 'vulnerable native breeds' being that less than 300 new pups are registered each year.
Experts believe that the Welsh Terrier is one of the oldest pure bred terriers native to the UK. Research and evidence indicates that it has changed very little from the all round working Terrier developed several hundreds of years ago in the high mountains and hidden valleys of Wales, notably in Caernarvonshire. It became very popular in the 19th century when it became more exposed to the rest of the UK via the new fangled railways. It's popularity as a hunting dog soared and it was game enough to tackle badgers and otters and it was particularly prized over many other Terriers. Its use as a hunter limited its exposure to the show ring until later that century.
Average height to withers: Males can grow up to 15 inches, with females being slightly less.
Average weight: Both sexes up to 10kg.
This is a medium sized Terrier, and is one which is perfectly proportioned. The overall shape is quite square, and this is enhanced by the shape of the head, which is boxy and elongated with a whiskery chin. The ears are v shaped and folded forwards, just about touching the tips of the eyebrow area. The nose is always black as are the eyes. The smooth profile of the neck gives way to strong shoulders and a straight back. The tail is held erect and was traditionally docked.
The coat is wiry, hard wearing and often described as 'abrasive' on its outer layer, with the inner coat being softer. In colour, they are born black or at least very dark. This changes over the course of its first year to the typical black and tan grizzle colour, with the black being evenly spread over its back, neck and some parts of the hind quarters.
Often described as the least quarrelsome of the Terriers, the Welsh has all the bravery, alertness and courage of a true terrier combined with the common sense and dignity of many larger working breeds. This happy blend of temperaments makes it quite easy to train and suitable as a family pet. It is quite patient with children of all ages and can be an ideal playmate being that they can take rough house play with a disposition rarely displayed in Terriers. They can live with other pets, so long as early socialisation has taken place. On occasion though, they can be unpredictable with small furries or dogs of the same sex. While not normally aggressive, they will defend themselves or their family if they have to. As an active and busy dog, a lot of exercise is required and if its requirements are not met, it will let you know vocally or by chewing your possessions! This dog thrives in the company of people and is a true and faithful companion.
Of an average intelligence, training can be done via positive methods and continually reinforced. It is an independent dog though, and its mind can have a tendency to wander sometimes. A good recall is essential if you plan to let this dog off the lead in unfenced areas as it is nosey and will track down anything its sets its sights on.
This dog can live up to around the age of 13 years in good health, which it usually has. There are no reports of any particular health issues that regularly affect it.
The wiry coat will need occasional hand stripping and this is something a professional can do for you if you are unsure how to do it. In terms of exercise, it is suited to living with an active family who enjoy being outside and can take their dog with them.