Complete Guide To The Welsh Terrier: Personality, Health, And Where To Find One

Welsh Terriers are friendly but fiery. Intelligent, brave and independent, they’re tougher than their twenty pounds suggests.

I have a handful of Welsh Terriers in my veterinary practice and have loved each one’s feisty temperament and playful attitude. They’re like miniature Airedale Terriers, only with far less body mass to deal with.

How Big Do Welsh Terriers Get?

Male15″20 lbs
Female14″18 lbs

What Do Welsh Terriers Look Like?

Welsh Terriers average 18-22 pounds with a square body and rectangular muzzle. Compact with a sloping back and powerful hindquarters, the traditional bearded clip gives them a tall, streamlined look. A docked tail and high-set, semi-erect ears create near-perfect balance.

Their official color is “black and tan,” but the tan is a deep reddish hue. A grizzled pattern with white or tan hairs that make black appear gray is common. They’re similar in appearance to the smaller Lakeland Terrier and the much larger Airedale.

What Is The Personality Of A Welsh Terrier?

Welsh Terriers are spunky but more relaxed than some of their terrier cousins. They’re energetic but rarely high-strung. Adaptable, they’ll thrive in most environments as long as they get enough activity —they’re no couch potatoes.

Affectionate, they’re playful companions for children but need training to be tolerant of other dogs. Prey-driven, they’ll chase cats and other small animals, but with supervision can learn to tolerate other pets. Early socialization helps make the most of their delightful personalities.

How Much Exercise Does A Welsh Terrier Need?

As typical Terriers, the Welsh Terrier needs a good deal of exercise in order to be well-adjusted and happy. These are not the best dogs to be left at home alone all day while you are at work.

Long walks are a favorite activity, and because their legs are longer than the average terriers, they make good jogging partners as long as the distances aren’t too long. Agile, Welsh Terriers are surprising tricksters — they love playing Frisbee in the park. Earthdog and flyball competitions are fun pursuits for sports-minded families.

Check out our Canine sports articles to learn more about agility, flyball, barn hunt, and more!

How Much Grooming Do Welsh Terriers Need?

Welsh Terriers need more grooming than most dogs, but the process is straightforward, and the results are worth it. A combination of home and professional grooming is ideal for most owners.

Like most terriers with broken coats, Welsh Terriers are ideally hand-stripped to maintain their texture and color. But hand-stripping is a time-consuming task that takes years to master. Practically speaking, clipping is more in tune with most owners’ busy lifestyles.

You can learn to trim them at home, but a professional spa day every 8-12 weeks includes a bath, nail trim and ear care — it’s a great value. Dogs will look their best and maintenance grooming will be a breeze — pencil in a nail trim every 3-4 weeks to keep the nails short. They don’t shed much, a plus for allergy sufferers, and rarely need baths between trips to the groomer.

What Is The Best Dog Food For A Welsh Terrier?

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Welsh 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 Welsh Terrier. 

How Long Do Welsh Terriers Live?

12-15 years according to the AKC

What Health Problems Do Welsh 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

To find out more specific information about the breed, the national breed club has a list of articles that you may want to read if you’re considering a Welsh Terrier.

Where Can I Find Out More About Welsh Terriers?

Welsh Terrier Club Of America

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find A Welsh Terrier?

I love how the Welsh Terrier Club of America educates prospective owners with this page that goes into depth about how a quality puppy comes from a quality breeder. Anyone interested in purchasing a puppy from a breeder should start with this page.

When you’re ready, check out their breeder listings. If you’re looking for a little more help, they also have breeder referral contacts.

Maybe you’re looking for an adult Rescue? Welsh Terrier Rescue is where you need to go!

Interesting Facts About the Welsh Terrier

There’s a lot to learn about Welsh Terriers. Here’s what you need to know.

The Breed Is at Least 500 Years Old

No one knows for sure when Welsh Terriers originated, but records show they existed in the early 1700s. There’s evidence of similar breeds dating back to the 1300s, but descriptions could refer to the Welsh or any of its cousins.

They’re Been AKC-Recognized Since 1988, But…

Welsh Terriers were among the first fifty breeds to be officially recognized by the AKC, but they have yet to win Best in Show at Westminster. They’re top competitors in conformation and have won several lesser titles, but they’ve never been champions. “Dazzle” of Knoxville, Tennessee, however, won Best in Group in 2019 for being tops among terriers.

Why the Long Legs?

Dogs of this era were purpose-bred — few people from the lower classes could afford dogs that didn’t earn their keep, so they were developed for specific tasks, usually hunting. Welsh Terriers were created to chase prey down burrows, digging for them by throwing soil back between their hindquarters, a job for which long legs were useful.

First Dog

Few know that President John F Kennedy had a special relationship with a Welsh Terrier, Charlie. A gift from wife Jacqueline, the two were inseparable, swimming laps with the President and accompanying the first couple on their evening walks.

• It’s Better Than the Evil Eye

Welsh Terriers are known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves, conveying displeasure with a “stink eye.” The habit is so renowned that a Welsh Terrier Rescue organization in Greenville, South Carolina host an annual Stink Eye Walk and Social to raise money for their cause.