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Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier is an alert, workmanlike dog with a compact, sturdy build. Under the hard wiry protective coat, the Welsh Terrier has reasonably long legs, and stands square, up on his toes, ready for action.

  • 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
  • Chatty and 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 – 15 years
Weight:  9 – 9.5kg 
Height:  39cm or less in height
Colours:  Black and tan or black, grizzle and tan  
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Terrier



Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5
Welsh Terrier laying on chair


An intelligent, active and cheerful dog, the Welsh Terrier is affectionate with family but may be reserved with strangers. As with most terriers, an independent nature and sharp mind mean this is not a dog to be left to their own devices or allowed to become bored. Introduced to resident cats when young, the Welsh Terrier will consider them family, but all bets are off with strangers, particularly if diligence is not applied in training a responsive ‘leave’ and a ‘as reliable as possible’ recall. 

A fun companion for the active outdoors family, the Welsh Terrier is capable of long walks, and taking part in dog related sports or activities.

Welsh Terrier standing on the field with green grass

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Wales

Although broken coated black and tan terrier types have been recorded in Wales as far back as 1450 it is likely the Welsh Terrier we recognise today dates from around 1800. Needing legs long enough to cope with rough terrain, and the ability to follow a horse rather than be carried across the saddle, the Welsh Terrier still needed to be small enough to go to ground and deal with badgers, otters, marten and fox.

These exacting requirements produced a dog with a weatherproof, protective coat, sufficient stamina to run all day, and a ‘never say die’ nature when faced with formidable quarry.

Health and Common Issues

The Welsh Terrier can suffer from inherited eye conditions. Testing is available. Check with Breed Clubs and the Kennel Club for the latest health updates.

Exercise Needs

Welsh Terriers being by design, capable of following horses all day and then going to ground to work, are an energetic breed with incredible stamina. Attempting to physically exhaust one is a foolish endeavour, but with sufficient training and mental stimulation the Welshie will not mind a cosy day on the sofa from time to time as long as there are plenty of opportunities to play appropriate games.  Normally an hour of dog exercise per day is needed, but more will be appreciated. 

Space Requirements

Small and compact, the Welsh Terrier takes up little space, but he will appreciate a decent sized secure garden to rootle and run in. Access to a variety of walking routes is important, but otherwise the Welsh Terrier will live happily in town or country and any size of home.

Nutrition and Feeding

Small dog breeds, such as the Welsh 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 Welsh Terrier

Welsh Terriers need their coats plucked two or three times a year, which can be done professionally, or at home. Brushing and combing should be done two or three times a week. Check ears and between paw pads daily. Find out more about dog grooming and daily care with our article. 

Training Welsh Terrier

Welsh Terriers will enjoy dog training, as long as it is fun and you use positive reinforcement methods. This is a sharp and independent minded breed so you will have to work hard to motivate them to want to work with you, and building a strong recall and a reliable cue to leave or drop/swap is key. 

Best Family Dog Breeds

While an excellent dog for an active family, the Welsh Terrier may not suit those with smaller children. Although appearing cute and fluffy, the Welshie is not predisposed to tolerate toddler behaviour, but would be an excellent companion for those with older children and teenagers. 
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?

The Welsh Terrier has been popular with politicians; former Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond owned Rex during his time at No.11 Downing St, and Charlie the Welsh Terrier lived somewhat more lavishly in the White House, during John F. Kennedys term as President of the USA.

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