Welsh Terrier

The Welsh terrier, lovingly referred to as just the “Welsh,” or “Welshie,” is a tough yet adorable dog. Originally bred to hunt badger, fox, and otter, this breed exhibits tenacity and courage. These dogs definitely retain the classic terrier spunk, but are more easy-going than most. They can readily become a fun companion in an active home. Read on to learn more about the Welsh terrier.

Description of the Welsh Terrier

These dogs are sturdy and tough. They’re balls of muscle packed into a compact little parcel: a proper terrier. The Welsh terrier had to be rough to protect against the sharp teeth of the badgers they were bred to catch.

Their dense hair gives them a rather squared off appearance, with adorably turned down ears. The Welsh terrier’s coat is tightly packed in wiry curls. They have some extra scruff around the muzzle, which can give them the appearance of having a beard.

The Welsh has a black and tan coloration. In fact, they look like miniature Airedales. It is thought that they are both descendants of a breed called the “old English black and tan terrier.”

Life Expectancy and Size

The Welsh terrier is a healthy breed. They usually live to be between 12 and 15 years old.

This breed has a very convenient size, generally standing at 15 inches tall, and weighing about 20 pounds. Don’t let their small stature distract from their athleticism. The Welsh is still a very capable hunter, or perhaps hiking partner.

Protective Ability

This breed is known for its spunk, but is by no means a protector. They are notorious for a willingness to fight, if provoked. However, they are not ones for confrontation. Plus, because of their size, they would probably be more suited to fighting off a large rodent than an intruder!


The Welsh terrier is an efficient learner. These dogs should not be difficult to train with a consistent owner. Starting early in a puppy kindergarten can help them become polite adults that are much easier to handle.

They are generally well-behaved and enjoy listening. The Welsh thrives off of positive feedback and desires to be a good dog. For this reason, positive and rewards-based training is essential. Harsh words are counterintuitive to their learning style.

That does not mean the Welsh terrier does not get sassy. A firm and confident owner will help guide these dogs through their stubborn streaks, especially when using treats to guide and reward good behavior.

Socialization is also important. These dogs generally have a happy and friendly demeanor. Properly socializing them while young will ensure this positive personality trait remains intact even in difficult situations.

Energy Level

Terriers are very high energy. However, the Welsh does not have quite the same level of hyperactivity as many dogs in this group.

It is still important to provide them with adequate exercise. Ensuring that they have time to use up their energy productively will help to keep them out of trouble. These dogs can turn to destructive behaviors, like chewing and barking, if they are under-stimulated.

What Living with a Welsh Terrier is Like

The Welsh terrier is a fun dog to own. They retain the spunk of the terrier without as much excess energy. This makes them the perfect versatile pet. They can both keep up with active owners, and come home to be an enjoyable family dog.

These dogs have fewer health problems than many other breeds. Their life expectancy is also quite high.

They may be sassy or bossy. Barking is also not uncommon. Although they can get along with other family pets, it is important to socialize them first. Otherwise, issues like food hoarding may arise.

The Welsh may not be the best fit for small children. They tend not to tolerate rough play well, and may snap at an energetic child. These dogs do better with adults, who they respect more.

Care of the Welsh Terrier

Caring for the Welsh terrier is quite straightforward. As long they get adequate exercise, and learn obedience and social skills from a confident and kind owner, they should flourish.

Environmental Needs

These dogs are rough and tumble creatures. They can handle a variety of weather conditions quite well. As the Welsh terrier was bred for life in Wales, it was meant to live in the cold and wet.

It may be advantageous to allow their coats to grow out in winter. This will keep the Welsh more comfortable in lower temperatures. As always, make sure to provide proper access to water and shade in all weather conditions.

Exercise Needs

As a hunting dog, the Welsh terrier still requires a good amount of exercise. They enjoy play, and may be able to get most of their energy out by running around a safe, enclosed area. These dogs love human interaction. Games like fetch or Frisbee are good options to keep them interested and moving.

Be careful to supervise this inquisitive dog during play. If left alone, he may get himself into trouble, rather than fruitful activity. As badger hunters, Welshies enjoy following their noses. You may find them digging holes in – or out of – the yard!

Adding one walk a day, or at least every other day, is another good idea. Remember that the Welsh is most likely to stay out of trouble if he is stimulated both mentally and physically.

Shedding and Grooming

This breed requires more general maintenance than most. While shedding from this breed is relatively light, breed aficionados practice “hand-stripping,” in which they pinch off individual pieces of hair. This is something of an art. Many people think that the practice is antiquated, however. Most prefer to clip the dogs a few times in certain areas, to avoid the time consuming and somewhat painful process.

Brushing a few times a week will keep the Welsh’s coat shiny and healthy. Baths are generally only needed a few times a year. The breed is prone to skin irritation, so make sure to use the appropriate bathing products.

Ideal Home Environment

The Welsh terrier is perfect for a loving, athletic owner that desires the spunk of a terrier without as much excess energy. Their compact size can be great for smaller homes, as long as they have access to adequate outdoor space.

These dogs are not the best with children, who they often try to boss around. Older kids should be fine as long as the dogs are properly socialized, starting in puppyhood.

As a happy and friendly dog, the Welsh terrier does well with other canines, again after proper socialization. If not taught to interact politely, this dog may become bossy, or even aggressive when provoked. Because of their small animal-hunting nature, Welsh terriers are not recommended for households with rodent pets.

Health Concerns

This breed is remarkably healthy, being much sturdier than many other breeds of their size. As they age, they may begin to develop hip problems. Maintaining their fitness and a healthy weight is the best way to avoid this debilitating issue.

The Welsh terrier is also known to have skin allergies. Watch the use of harsh grooming products. If allergies persist, discuss the dog’s diet with your veterinarian.

Behavior Problems

The Welsh terrier’s behavior problems are similar to those of other terriers. If left alone in the yard, their hunting instincts can begin to kick in. This could mean digging, barking, or chasing.

Their behavior tends to improve when they receive adequate exercise. To avoid problems, socialize these dogs early, and begin obedience classes to ensure that they still listen when there is something exciting to chase around.