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Sealyham Terrier

The Sealyham Terrier is a robust, rectangular built dog, slightly longer than they are tall with a long, harsh wire coat. The ears are attractively dropped forwards and when stripped and tidy, they feature an appealing beard and eyebrow combination that gives them a workmanlike appearance. 

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Weight:  9kg for males and 8kg for females 
Height:  31cm 
Colours:  White or white with coloured markings usually found over the ears/eyes and around the tail
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Terrier 


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 4/5
Sealyham Terrier standing on the grass


Full of character, the Sealyham is a ‘gentleman’ (in the personable yet slightly disreputable sense), game and fearless but loving and friendly towards those they know. Alert and quick witted, they will bark to attract attention, and are unlikely to hold back should another dog pick a quarrel! They make an excellent companion for those who understand terriers and how to get the best out of them! 

Sealyham Terrier playing in the garden

History and Origins

The Sealyham Terrier with their characterful appearance, is a working terrier, bred to go after otter, fox and badger and to quote a breed enthusiast ‘give as good as he got, or even better’!

Quite a recent breed, the Sealyham Terrier takes their name from Sealy Ham Mansion, in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales. There in the 19th Century, Captain John Tucker-Edwardes decided to perfect his own line of working terrier. It is thought that the Captain used a variety of existing breeds including the Corgi, West Highland White Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dandie Dinmont and the Cheshire Terrier in order to get the courageous, assertive and fearless dog he wanted. 

Unfortunately, the Captain kept no records but it seems he only kept those dogs who worked well alongside his Otterhound pack, and culled those who didn’t come up to his demanding standards. After his death in 1891, their numbers declined until in 1908 a group of terrier enthusiasts (including members of the Tucker-Edwardes family) laid the foundations for the breed club - which was followed by The Sealyham Terrier and Badger Digging Association which was founded in 1912. 

 Since this time the breed has changed so much that it’s unlikely Captain John would recognise his breed today. The Sealyham Terrier has become both heavier and more docile and is one of the friendliest of the terrier dog breeds

Health and Common Issues

The Sealyham Terrier is generally a healthy and robust breed. Like many breeds they can suffer some inherited eye conditions and so eye testing recommended. For the most up to date health information visit the Kennel Club website or consult the breed club.

Exercise Needs

A Sealyham will enjoy at least an hour of dog exercise per day and will especially enjoy being provided a variety of scents via different walking routes. Pay attention to keeping their mind occupied and satisfied via exercise and training, as they are an independent thinker who will make decisions for themselves if it looks like you are not up to the job or if they are bored! 

Space Requirements

A small dog, the Sealyham does not need a vast space to live in, however their coat is a mud-magnet and you’ll want somewhere suitable to let them dry off properly after a walk and space to keep on top of grooming. A secure garden is a must, as is access to a variety of interesting and secure walks.  

Nutrition and Feeding

Small dog breeds, such as the Sealyham Terrier, have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion. Discover more about how to offer your dog a balanced diet with our easy-to-follow guide. 

Grooming Sealyham Terrier

Daily dog grooming will keep the non-shedding coat of the Sealyham Terrier tangle-free. Mats will otherwise develop, with the long, hard top coat and thick undercoat tangling together. Pay attention to beard/moustache as this area can easily mat with food/water/saliva.  The coat is trimmed expertly for the show ring – a labour-intensive, skilled process that will take some practice to get right! Your breeder will help to advise you. Many pets are clipped uniformly all over. 

Training Sealyham Terriers

Early dog socialisation to cats and other animals is vital but shouldn’t be relied upon. The Sealyham is fearless and willing to tackle anything they believe is a threat or that looks like fair game so you must work hard to ensure they do not find themselves in such situations. This terriers is easily trained if you understand the terrier mind and know how to motivate and engage them using food, and the opportunity to engage in inherently rewarding activities such as scent work, digging and ‘killing’ suitable toys. 
Pay attention to teaching a solid recall and work hard on teaching a ‘quiet’ cue as they are inclined to bark! 

Best Family Dog Breeds

A fun dog for the outdoor, active family with robust older children. The Sealyham is not given to tolerating manhandling or challenging treatment however and this may rule out smaller children who are too young to understand dogs or even older boisterous ones. 

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with each other and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them. 

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Whilst many terriers can claim to exist due to the whims and desires of the noble classes, the Sealyham Terrier can lay claim to some very interesting human ancestry indeed! Their founder, Captain John Tucker-Edwardes was descended from the 16th century Admiral Thomas Tucker R.N., who it is claimed killed the famous Pirate Blackbeard. Whether that is true or not, he did go on to capture various Spanish ships laden with rich cargoes, meaning either he was a privateer (legal pirate) or simply a pirate himself! 
  • Subsequently, the Sealyham has been owned by a very long line of royals and film-stars, including the Queen Mother, and Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock and two of his Sealyham’s had a cameo role in his 1963 film ‘The Birds’. 

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