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  • Temperament: Friendly, Spirited, Intelligent
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 111 of 192
  • Height: 15 inches (male), porportionally smaller (female)
  • Weight: 20 pounds, porportionally smaller (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Welsh Terrier is a sturdy, compact, rugged dog of medium size with a coarse wire-textured coat. The legs, underbody and head are tan; the jacket black (or occasionally grizzle). The tail is docked to length meant to complete the image of a “square dog” approximately as high as he is long. The movement is a terrier trot typical of the long-legged terrier. It is effortless, with good reach and drive. The Welsh Terrier is friendly, outgoing to people and other dogs, showing spirit and courage. The “Welsh Terrier expression” comes from the set, color, and position of the eyes combined with the use of the ears.

HEAD

The entire head is rectangular. The eyes are small, dark brown and almond-shaped, well set in the skull. They are placed fairly far apart. The size, shape, color and position of the eyes give the steady, confident but alert expression that is typical of the Welsh Terrier. The ears are V-shaped, small, but not too thin. The fold is just above the topline of the skull. The ears are carried forward close to the cheek with the tips falling to, or toward, the outside corners of the eyes when the dog is at rest. The ears move slightly up and forward when at attention.

BODY

The neck is of moderate length and thickness, slightly arched and sloping gracefully into the shoulders. The throat is clean with no excess of skin. The topline is level. The body shows good substance and is well ribbed up. There is good depth of brisket and moderate width of chest. The loin is strong and moderately short. The tail is docked to a length approximately level (on an imaginary line) with the occiput, to complete the square image of the whole dog. The root of the tail is set well up on the back. It is carried upright.

FOREQUARTERS

The front is straight. The shoulders are long, sloping and well laid back. The legs are straight and muscular with upright and powerful pasterns. The feet are small, round, and catlike. The pads are thick and black. The nails are strong and black; any dewclaws are removed.

COAT

The coat is hard, wiry, and dense with a close-fitting thick jacket. There is a short, soft undercoat. Furnishings on muzzle, legs, and quarters are dense and wiry.

HINDQUARTERS

The hindquarters are strong and muscular with well-developed second thighs and the stifles well bent. The hocks are moderately straight, parallel and short from joint to ground. The feet should be the same as in the forequarters.

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welsh terrier illustration

About the Welsh Terrier

Sturdy, compact, and rugged, with a tight-fitting black-and-tan coat and a rectangular head featuring folded ears and a jaunty beard, Welsh are constructed along the classic lines of Britain’s long-legged terriers. They stand about 15 inches at the shoulder, a little larger than the Lakeland Terrier but much smaller than the mighty Airedale.

All three breeds, however, share a family resemblance: An ancient breed called the Old English Black and Tan Terrier is thought to be the granddaddy of these and some other British terriers.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Welsh Terrier

Find a Puppy: Welsh Terrier

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Care

NUTRITION

Welsh are usually easy keepers, but they do require a good protein source and a quality dog food —with no soy, and preferably only a small amount of grain. Picky eaters seem to do better on a grain-free food, and to have fewer allergies as a result.

GROOMING

Care of the Welsh Terrier’s coat is similar to that for other broken-coated terriers. The hair can be plucked by hand, commonly referred to as hand-stripping. This type of grooming is a continual process and an art that it takes years to master. Pet grooming for a Welsh Terrier is not complicated. The dog should be clipped every 8 to 12 weeks, leaving the coat longer in cold weather. The nails should be trimmed at least weekly, and the dog brushed once or twice a week. Usually bathing between clippings is not necessary, but if it is, use a good shampoo that contains moisturizers.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

Welsh Terriers are high-energy dogs. They enjoy getting exercise by doing activities with their owner such as playing ball or catching a flying disc in a fenced yard. They should have lots of running time in an enclosed area, as well as a long walk every day or so. Once the dog is an adult, and only if he is in good health, let him run and play until really tired out, but not exhausted.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Welsh Terriers are friendly and outgoing, but puppies need to be adequately socialized by their owners to encourage polite behavior around other dogs. All Welsh should be taught to be under control and tolerant of other dogs when walking on lead. Lots of exercise and attention help this energetic dog become the affectionate, well-behaved companion he was born to be.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Outgoing

HEALTH

Allergy problems, both inhalant and contact, occur with frequency in most terrier breeds. hip dysplasia and Legge-Calve-Perthes disease are somewhat prevalent as well. Missing teeth are fairly common and not life threatening but of concern in breeding stock. Acalashia, a disease of the esophagus, shows up once in a while. Welsh puppies without genetic complications are hardy, thrive with regular care, and don’t seem to be as fragile as many other puppies. Welsh of 15 to 18 years old are not uncommon, but the average lifespan seems to be 12 to 14.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • PPL DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terrier

History

It’s impossible to say when Welsh Terriers came into being, but the breed as we know it was taking shape sometime in the 1700s. They were bred to hunt fox, otter, and badger in the remote mountainous region of northern Wales. Badgers, especially, are dangerous adversaries, and digging them out of their lairs was no job for sissy dogs.

Welsh Terriers, with their powerful forequarters and punishing jaws, along with typical terrier courage, were equipped for the task of going head to head with sharp-toothed, razor-clawed prey.

Did You Know?

Caroline Kennedy had a Welsh named Charlie.
The Welsh Terriers' native home is Wales and was used extensively as a sporting dog.
The direct descendant of the old English wirehaired black-and-tan sporting dogs from which have come many of the present-day terriers, the Welsh terrier was renowned for its gameness on badger, fox, and otter.
In old times the Welsh Terrier was known as Old English Terrier or Black-&-Tan Wire Haired Terrier.
Welsh Terriers were shown in dog shows as early as the 1800s.
He is a friendly, outgoing, and playful dog who loves people.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Welsh Terrier is a sturdy, compact, rugged dog of medium size with a coarse wire-textured coat. The legs, underbody and head are tan; the jacket black (or occasionally grizzle). The tail is docked to length meant to complete the image of a “square dog” approximately as high as he is long. The movement is a terrier trot typical of the long-legged terrier. It is effortless, with good reach and drive. The Welsh Terrier is friendly, outgoing to people and other dogs, showing spirit and courage. The “Welsh Terrier expression” comes from the set, color, and position of the eyes combined with the use of the ears.

HEAD

The entire head is rectangular. The eyes are small, dark brown and almond-shaped, well set in the skull. They are placed fairly far apart. The size, shape, color and position of the eyes give the steady, confident but alert expression that is typical of the Welsh Terrier. The ears are V-shaped, small, but not too thin. The fold is just above the topline of the skull. The ears are carried forward close to the cheek with the tips falling to, or toward, the outside corners of the eyes when the dog is at rest. The ears move slightly up and forward when at attention.

BODY

The neck is of moderate length and thickness, slightly arched and sloping gracefully into the shoulders. The throat is clean with no excess of skin. The topline is level. The body shows good substance and is well ribbed up. There is good depth of brisket and moderate width of chest. The loin is strong and moderately short. The tail is docked to a length approximately level (on an imaginary line) with the occiput, to complete the square image of the whole dog. The root of the tail is set well up on the back. It is carried upright.

FOREQUARTERS

The front is straight. The shoulders are long, sloping and well laid back. The legs are straight and muscular with upright and powerful pasterns. The feet are small, round, and catlike. The pads are thick and black. The nails are strong and black; any dewclaws are removed.

COAT

The coat is hard, wiry, and dense with a close-fitting thick jacket. There is a short, soft undercoat. Furnishings on muzzle, legs, and quarters are dense and wiry.

HINDQUARTERS

The hindquarters are strong and muscular with well-developed second thighs and the stifles well bent. The hocks are moderately straight, parallel and short from joint to ground. The feet should be the same as in the forequarters.

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welsh terrier illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 018
GRIZZLE & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 110
BLACK GRIZZLE & TAN 025

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