Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Sealyham Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Sealyham Terrier
The Sealyham Terrier is a charming little dog, but unfortunately their numbers have fallen so low they have been placed on The Kennel Club's vulnerable native breeds list. They are short-legged and long in the body being native to Wales where they were developed by crossing Bull Terriers with West Highlands, Welsh Corgies, Dandie Dinmonts and Wire Fox Terriers. Sealies were bred to hunt, but they are also known to be wonderful companions and family pets thanks to their loyal and devoted natures. However, anyone wishing to share their homes with a Sealyham Terrier would need to register their interest with breeders for the pleasure of doing so.
The Sealyham Terrier was first bred by Captain John Edwards during the 19th century and he spent over 40 years developing the "perfect" hunting dog. They were bred to hunt badgers, otters and foxes which they proved to be extremely good at. Dogs needed to be small enough to "go to ground" after their quarry and they had white coats so the hounds would not mistake them for their prey and the result of the Captain’s efforts proved to be just that.
It is thought he used Corgis, Bull Terriers, Dandie Dinmonts, Fox Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and other terrier-types to create his breed and the result of his efforts are the small white dogs we see today which are named after the Captain's estate, Sealyham. Sadly, he did not keep any records of his breeding programme. However, a club dedicated to the breed was founded in 1908 and Sealyhams were recognised by The Kennel Club two years later in 1910.
Sealyham Terriers remained a popular breed during the early part of the 1900's more especially in the show ring. However, they have not been as popular as companions and family pets as other terrier breeds although celebrities in the USA often chose Sealyhams over other breeds. One of the biggest fans of the breed was Princess Margaret, but sadly over the years breed numbers were seen to fall with very few puppies being registered with The Kennel Club every year and as such they have been placed on the list of vulnerable native breeds. Today, anyone wishing to share their home with a Sealyham Terrier would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so.
Height at the withers: Males 30 cm, Females 30 cm
Average weight: Males 9 kg, Females 8 kg
The Sealyham Terrier is a robust, sturdy, short-legged dog and one that boasts having a lot of presence. They have slightly domed heads which are quite wide between a dog's ears and they have powerful, long jaws. They have black noses and their eyes are dark in colour, medium sized being well set on a dog's face. Their ears are moderately big with slightly rounded tips which dogs carry close to their cheeks. The Sealyham Terrier has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
They have rather long, thick and well-muscled necks that merge smoothly with their well laid shoulders. Front legs are strong, straight and short with a dog's chest being well let down between their front legs. They have moderately long bodies with nice, flexible well sprung ribs. Their chests are deep and broad being nicely let down. They have very powerful hindquarters for such small dogs and their back legs are muscular with well-developed thighs. Feet are very cat-like being a round shape with thick, firm pads. Their tails are moderately long which adds to the well balanced look of a Sealyham being thicker at the root before tapering to the tip. Dogs carry their tails upright when alert or excited.
When it comes to their coat, the Sealyham Terrier boasts having a long, wiry and hard top coat with a much softer, denser undercoat. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
Sealyham Terriers are known to be feisty little dogs that boast an independent side to their natures. They are true terriers and therefore boast a pretty high prey drive. They are also highly intelligent and form a strong tie with their owners. They are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be trained and handled by people who are familiar with the specific needs of this type of smart, independent and often tenacious terrier.
Unlike other terrier breeds, the Sealyham is not as "driven" which sees them being calmer by nature. They are often referred to as being a little on the "lazy" side. They are not quite as vocal as other terrier breeds either, although a Sealie would be quick to let their owners know when anyone is about. However, once a person enters their home, these little terriers would give them a warm welcome rather than shy away.
It's really important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation has to include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it has to be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Sealyham Terrier is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
The Sealyham Terrier is a smart dog and a fast learner. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. As such, their training has to begin early and it has to be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what’s expected of them. The key to successfully training a Sealyham Terrier is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions short which helps dogs stay more focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored.
They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved being careful not to give too many food rewards because Sealies have a tendency to gain weight far too easily.
Sealyham Terriers become devoted to their families, however, they are best suited to households where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around dogs. They are not the best choice for families with younger children and any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone being knocked over and hurt, albeit by accident.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Sealy would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care has to be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets because of their high prey drive as such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Sealyham Terrier is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Sealyham Terrier is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these lovely little dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Sealies need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The Sealyham Terrier has a double coat that consists of a long, hard and wiry outer coat and a softer, denser undercoat. They are quite high maintenance on the grooming front because they need to be brushed every day paying particular attention to the longer hair on their legs, bellies, faces and tails where knots and tangles tend to form all too easily. Their coats also need to be professionally groomed and handstripped every 8 to 12 weeks which makes it a lot easier to keep them tidy and in good condition in between visits to the grooming parlour.
They shed little hair throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Sealyham Terrier is an energetic, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need anything from 40 to 60 minutes a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Sealy would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Sealy puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Sealy puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Sealyham Terrier, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Sealyham Terrier in northern England would be £22.55 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.75 a month (quote as of August 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Sealy and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Sealyham Terrier would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred puppy.
Click 'Like' if you love Sealyham Terriers.