America's first and only Irish Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, also brought the first and only Welsh dog breed into the White House: Charlie, his daughter Caroline's Welsh Terrier. (Charlie's own religious leanings have been lost to the annals of history.)
Though the Welsh Terrier is a bit more laid-back than some terriers, their energy levels and tendencies toward playful mischief are true to their group. Originally bred as small-game hunting dogs, today's Welshes are cherished canine companions and eager competitors in earthdog trials.
Originally from — you guessed it — Wales, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to an average of 20 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Terrier group.
|Breed's original pastime||Hunting|
|Average lifespan||12-15 years|
|Date of origin||1700s|
|Original function||Vermin hunting|
|Today's function||Earthdog trials|
|Average size of male||Height: <15-15.5 Weight: 20|
|Average size of female||Height: <15-15.5 Weight: 20|
|Energy level||Medium energy|
|Affection level||Moderately affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Shy|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Shy|
|Ease of training||Easy to train|
|Protection ability||Not very protective|
|Grooming needs||High maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Medium tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A WELSH TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Don't let their (comparatively) mild manner fool you — Welsh Terriers are every bit as full of spunk and spirit as other terriers. These dogs are friendly, courageous, and intelligent. And like many other terriers, these dogs live to chase small furry creatures like squirrels, rabbits, and the cat next door. They're generally good with kids, though their level of joie de vivre could be a bit overwhelming for a toddler.
WHAT IS WELSH TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a somewhat active breed. Welsh Terriers don't need to run for miles every morning, but regular daily exercise is non-negotiable. An unsupervised Welsh is going to re-landscape your yard and drive the neighbors bonkers with her barking. With enough exercise, however, a Welsh Terrier can be a calm, alert housedog.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A WELSH TERRIER?
Welsh Terriers are people-pleasers who respond well to training. She can be a bit stubborn — what terrier can't? — but patience and consistency will go a long way with this pup. These dogs are intelligent but easily distracted, so keep training sessions short and fun. Early, frequent socialization is essential. Reward good behaviors with praise, play, and treats.
There is no amount of training that is going to convince your Welsh Terrier not to chase squirrels or chipmunks, so this breed is not a great candidate for off-leash play outside a well-fenced area. This breed is also sometimes slow to housetrain.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO WELSH TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Welsh Terriers are seasonal shedders who will require weekly grooming. With proper upkeep, their coats don't shed much. Show coats will require plucking at least every six months. Otherwise, regular clipping and twice-weekly combing — especially those beards — should do the trick. Bathe as needed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO WELSH TERRIERS HAVE?
As a breed, Welsh Terriers are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to eye disease and slipping kneecaps.