Complete Guide To The Sealyham Terrier: Personality, Grooming, Health and More

The Sealyham Terrier is the little dog that can. Multi-talented, they hunt, protect, befriend and entertain.

How Big Do Sealyham Terriers Get?

The Sealyham Terrier averages 24 pounds and less than a foot tall. Wide-set ears drop forward, accentuating a long muzzle, dark eyes and distinctive facial hair. Compact but sturdy with a perky cropped tail, they’re short-legged but high-spirited.

What Do Sealyham Terriers Look Like?

Their wiry coats come in a single color — white. Tan tips and badger marking are common on their head and ears. Bred from the finest European stock, they’re one of a kind but share traits with the Dandie Dinmont and West Highland White Terriers.

What Is The Personality Of A Sealyham Terrier?

Sealyhams take center stage in any room with their sly sense of humor and zest for life. Plucky but less headstrong than the typical terrier, they’re adaptable to both city and country life. Outgoing and affectionate, they’re vigilant watchdogs and courageous for their size.

Like most terriers, Sealyhams adore their families and are playful with children, But they can also be sensitive and defensive with their food — supervision is important. Intelligent, early socialization and training channel their protective instincts in positive ways.

How Much Exercise Does A Sealyham Terrier Need?

Sealyhams need less exercise than some terriers, but they’re no couch potatoes. They enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities from walks to swimming and need at least a half-hour of daily exercise. Their short legs aren’t ideal for running with people — they can’t keep up — but they’re always ready to chase a ball and like nothing more than a good game of Fetch.

Hunters at heart, they enjoy activities like agility and Barn Hunt, an athletic event where dogs and owners track rats — protected from harm — through mazes. Susceptible to overheating in hot weather, keep sessions short when the mercury skyrockets.

How Much Grooming Do Sealyham Terriers Need?

Sealyhams have profuse double coats with long furnishings and abundant facial hair. They rarely shed, a plus for allergy sufferers, but grooming can be time-consuming. Traditionally, the Sealyham is sculpted to achieve its trademark look, so professional care is recommended.

Prone to matting, they need brushing every few days — use a metal comb to tease out knots. A rake helps thin the undercoat, but like most terriers, twice-yearly hand-stripping is ideal.

Low to the ground, the feathers on their limbs and bellies attract mud and debris, so dogs with full-length coats need bathing every two to four weeks. Stick to gentle shampoos formulated to prevent over-drying — light conditioning discourages tangles. Pet dogs can be clipped to a more manageable length — shorter feathers equal a cleaner home.

Like all dogs, Sealyhams need routine ear cleaning and nail trims — care owners should know how to provide. But these services are also part of professional grooming, making a monthly spa day a time-saver and an excellent value.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Sealyham Terrier?

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Sealyham Terrier. This particular breed has pretty large teeth so as long as the kibble isn’t too large it should be fine.

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your dog a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

It is important always to give your dog high-quality dog food. Monitor the number of treats and “people food” you give your dog to keep him healthy and fit. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is the best and easiest way to extend the life of your Sealyham Terrier. 

How Long Does A Sealyham Terrier Live?

12-14 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can  Sealyham Terriers Have?

All of the smaller Terrier breeds have the following health issues that owners need to be aware of:

  • Dental Disease
  • Luxating Patella
  • Obesity

Where Can I Find Out More About The Sealyham Terrier?

Sealyham Terrier Club

AKC Breed Profile

Where Can I Find A Sealyham Terrier?

Breeder Listings from the Sealyham Terrier Club

Looking for a Rescue? Check with the Sealyham Terrier Forever Foundation.

Interesting Facts About the Sealyham Terrier

The Sealyham Terrier has a short but fascinating history.

Did you know?

• They Were Developed in Wales

Army captain John Tucker Edwards, an avid sportsman and Wales native, developed the Sealyham Terrier on his estate by the same name. Though he kept no written records, researchers believe he used the Dandie Dinmont and West Highland White terriers plus the Wire Fox and now-extinct English White Terriers as breeding stock.

• Sealyhams Were Bred to Hunt Otters

Otters were once considered pests, depleting the fish stocks locals relied on for food. Edwards bred the petite Sealyham to dig them out of their burrows for his Otterhounds to dispatch — it was quite a feat for dogs not much larger than their quarry. Today, Sealyhams are skilled ratters.

• Why White?

In a world where a cleanliness is valued, breeding a white dog seems counterintuitive. But as hunters, it was easy for the typical brown terrier to blend into the brush and risk being shot. White is still the only recognized color for Sealyhams, though lemon and gray markings on their heads are permitted.

• Hello, Hollywood!

Despite their limited popularity, Sealyhams were once embraced by the biggest names in film. A favorite of royalty — Princess Margaret had two — famous owners included Hollywood’s elite from Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor to Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s two Sealyhams made a cameo appearance in “The Birds,” exiting the pet shop where Tippi Hedrin’s character, Melanie Daniels, purchased a pair of lovebirds.

• Unlikely Champions

A credit to contentious breeding, the Sealyham’s claim to fame is racking up show wins. Despite their short history and relative rarity, they’ve scored four coveted Best in Show titles at Westminster and a Best in Show at Crufts, the largest dog show in the world.