Welsh Terrier

AKC Terrier Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Welsh Terrier was originally developed in Wales to hunt otter, fox, and badger in their dens and also to hunt with hounds in packs. The breed was probably an offshoot of the old British Black and Tan Terrier. The Welsh Terrier was first shown in England in 1884 and first imported to the United States in 1888. Today’s Welsh Terrier is primarily a companion dog, but still retains his hunting ability.


The Welsh Terrier looks like a small Airedale Terrier, compact and rugged-looking, with a wiry coat. The head is long, flat, and rectangular, with bushy eyebrows, mustache, and beard. The muzzle is squared at the end, never pointed. The V-shaped ears fold forward. The nose is black, and the almond-shaped eyes are small and dark. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite (scissors bite is preferred). The cat-like feet are small and rounded. The top of the back forms a straight, level line. Dewclaws on front and back legs are removed. The harsh, wiry coat comes in tan with a black or grizzle jacket. Puppies are born all black. The extremities then lighten gradually, leaving a black “jacket.” The tail is docked and carried gaily.

Key Facts

  • Height:  14 to 15-1/2 in.
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  18 to 20 lbs.
  • Availability:  Difficult to find
  • Talents:  Hunting, tracking, watchdog, earthdog, agility, and performing tricks


Can be difficult to housebreak, especially bitches. Coat needs regular attention. A little calmer than the other long-legged terriers. Likes to chase after things, so don’t let off lead except in an enclosed area unless the dog is very well-trained. Likes to swim. Some like to dig. Some bloodlines are prone to skin and eye problems.


Loving, loyal, and hardy. Curious and playful. Happy, energetic, and spunky. Best with a young, active family. Generally brave, though some tend to be timid when touched unexpectedly. Socialize well when young to combat this tendency. Some are very combative with other animals, while some are not quarrelsome at all.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Not particularly dependent or independent
  • Dominance:  High
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Can be a bit dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Very active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Professional trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Wiry coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Welsh Terrier Breed Standard


Welsh Terrier Breed Club


Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the Welsh Terrier


Welsh Terrier Gifts