Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Welsh Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Welsh Terrier
The Welsh Terrier is one the UK's lesser known breeds and is considered to be a vulnerable native breed with only around 380 dogs having been registered with The Kennel Club in 2015. They are happy characters with much calmer dispositions than many other terrier breeds. They are known to be particularly good around children and true to their working ancestry, Welshies are compact little dogs that boast a thick wiry coat and lots of hair around their faces which adds to their charming appeal.
It's thought that the Welsh Terrier boasts having a common ancestry with the Lakeland Terrier and looking at the two breeds, it's easy to understand why considering the two breeds similarity. There is some belief that the Celts took their dogs with them when they sought refuge in the mountains and Lake District during the time of the Roman invasion. However, the true origins of the Welshie remains a bit of a mystery. They are considered to be the oldest terrier breed in the UK with some experts believing the breed could be directly linked to the Old English Black and Tan, although this is hotly debated.
During the 1800's, the people of Caernarvonshire thought highly of their terriers and the purity of the breed. It was during this time that they were called as the Carnavonshire Welsh Terrier. These active terriers were first bred to hunt vermin which included rats, foxes or badgers. They excelled at their job throughout the following centuries. But these workmanlike terriers were only recognised as a breed in their own right here in the UK in 1885, although in the States they were still categorised as being Old English Terriers right up until 1901.
Today, the Welsh Terrier remains on the UK's vulnerable native breed list with very few puppies being registered with The Kennel Club in 2015. As such anyone wishing to share a home with a Welshie would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list, but the wait would be well worth it because these little terriers make wonderfully loyal family pets that are a pleasure to have around.
Height at the withers: Males 39 cm, Females 39 cm
Average weight: Males 9.0 - 9.5 kg, Females 9.0 - 9.5 kg
The Welsh Terrier is a compact, sturdy, well-balanced little dog and one that boasts a tremendous amount of appeal with their endearing looks and calm natures. Their heads are rather flat between the ears and they boast having extremely powerful, clean cut jaws which are perfect for the job they were originally bred to do. They have a subtle stop and a nice black nose. Their eyes are quite small, being dark in colour with Welshies always having an alert and kind expression in them.
Their ears are small and V-shaped being set quite high on a dog's head. They carry their ears forward and close to their cheeks. The Welshie has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long and quite thick being slightly arched before it slopes neatly into a dog's shoulders. Shoulders are long and well set back with dogs having muscular, straight front legs showing a good amount of bone.
Their chests are quite wide and their backs are short with dogs having nicely developed ribs and strong loins. Their back legs are strong with muscular thighs and feet are very cat-like being small and round in shape. Tails are well set and dogs carry them upright gaily which adds to their overall balanced, happy appearance.
When it comes to their coat, the Welsh Terrier boasts having a hard, wiry coat that lies very tight to their body and a softer, denser undercoat. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
Welshies are known to be extremely affectionate characters and because they are so smart and willing to please, they are easy to train. They form strong bonds with their owners and families becoming a valuable member of a household and one that thrives in being involved in everything that goes on around them.
They can be a little aloof and wary of strangers, but rarely would a Welshie show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a person they have never met before, preferring instead to keep their distance until they got to know them. With this said, if a Welshie feels threatened in any way, they will not back down. They are outgoing, confident little terriers that are always ready to stand their ground when the occasion arises and this includes when they feel threatened by other dogs.
It is really important for Welsh Terriers to be well socialised from a young enough age for them to grow up to be well-rounded mature dogs. This should involve introducing them to lots of new situations, people, noises, animals and other dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also important to gently curb their strong herding instincts which if left unchecked can turn into a real problem.
Welshies are a great choice for first time owners as long as they have the time to dedicate to their canine companions, bearing in mind that their grooming needs are high and that these little terriers need to be given a ton of exercise too. It’s worth noting that Welsh Terriers thrive in a home environment when they are the only dog and do not do so well when they have to share an environment with other dogs.
Welsh Terriers are smart little dogs, but they can be strong willed at times. As such their training has to be consistent and always fair. They need to be handled with a firm, yet gentle hand so they understand their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household. These little terriers need to know who they can look to for direction and guidance. They also need to know what an owner expects of them to be truly obedient, well-balanced dogs.
Their training has to start early paying particular attention to the “recall” command because if a Welshie picks up an interesting scent or see something in the distance, they might not be able to resist taking off so they can investigate what it is. Like many other breeds, they are sensitive little terriers and therefore they do not respond to any sort of harsh correction or heavy handed training methods. They do, however, answer very well to positive reinforcement which brings out the best out in Welshies every time.
Welsh Terriers thrive in a family environment and love nothing more than to be playing interactive games with kids because they revel in the attention. However, it's best for any interaction between children and a dog to be supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with a child being knocked over.
Care has to be taken when Welshies are around small animals and pets because they could well see them as prey. If they have grown up with a family cat in the home, they usually get on well together. However, any other cat would be "fair game" to a Welshie which means they would happily chase them off whenever they got the chance to.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Welsh Terrier is between 12 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Welshie is known to be a healthy, robust little dog. However, there are a few conditions that are worth knowing about which seem to affect the breed the most. These are as follows:
It's worth noting that because a Welshie's coat is so thick, harsh and dense it can be very hard finding the right sort of flea and tick treatment to use on them. As such owners should ask a vet for their recommendations and advice.
As with any other breed, Welsh Terriers 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.
A Welsh Terrier's coat is moderately long and they have a double coat with their top coat being harsher to the touch, whereas their undercoat is dense and that much softer. As such they need to be groomed regularly to keep any shed hair under control and ideally this has to be every day. They also benefit from being taken to a grooming parlour two to three times a year for their coats to be hand stripped which makes keeping it tidier and in good condition that much easier in between visits to a professional groomer.
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 in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Welsh Terrier may be small in stature, but they are known to be energetic characters. They are also very smart which means they not only need to be given the right amount of daily exercise, but these little terriers need to be given a ton of mental stimulation on a daily basis too. They need to be given anything from 60 to 80 minutes exercise a day and more if possible because there's nothing these terriers like more than to be in the great outdoors doing something.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Welsh Terrier 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 Welsh Terrier 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 or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them 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 Welsh Terrier, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to be put on a waiting list. You would also need to pay anything upwards of £800 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Welsh Terrier in northern England would be £18.12 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 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 Welsh Terrier 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 Welsh 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 pedigree or other puppy.
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