Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier is the only breed to win Best in Show at Crufts on four occasions. However, despite its glamorous appearance and image, like all terriers, it was bred originally to control rats.


Today's Welsh Terrier emerged from the ubiquitous Broken-haired Black and Tan Terrier, which has been the basis of so many terrier breeds. Black and Tans have existed in Wales since medieval times and were written about by poets and bards. For years, they were virtually unknown outside Wales, because of the remoteness of the country, so breeding was close and type fixed.

The advent of railways and dog shows changed all that. Welsh Terriers found themselves competing against the mongrel Black and Tan Terriers, with some purporting to be Welsh Terriers. In 1885, the Welsh appealed to The Kennel Club for recognition of their breed, while the English appealed on behalf of theirs. The Kennel Club granted recognition to the Welsh Terrier but refused the English on the grounds that they did not breed true. The Welsh Terrier went on to become one of the biggest winning terrier breeds in the history of dog showing.

Jaunty and highly intelligent, the Welsh Terrier is quite easy to train but can be very stubborn.


This dog has a laid-back personality, not given to or seeking aggravation. It happily plays with any breed of dog but will give a good account of itself if it is attacked. Intelligent and good with children, it is not a noisy dog but is still a good guard. Quiet, patient training usually achieves good results. This is an affectionate dog who likes to be close to its family.

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This robust terrier is comparatively free of genetic faults, although there are some rare cases of glaucoma.


A square, well-proportioned dog, deep-chested and muscular, the Welsh Terrier is built for running and jumping in the Welsh mountains and hunting for prey in the crevices and caves. It has a black and tan, weatherproof, wiry outer coat, which does not moult, and a woolly undercoat. Dogs and bitches should not exceed 39cm (15.5in) in height.

Strangers 3/5

A good, alert guard

Temperament 4/5

Affectionate, happy

Exercise 4/5

Walks at least twice daily and free running

Grooming 3/5

Combing twice weekly; hand-stripping every three or four mouths

Other dogs 3/5

Non-aggressive but will defend itself


Loyal, friendly family pet

General care

This dog needs to be kept in hard condition, which is achieved by regular exercise. Walks two or three times a day. plus free running, games and training in the garden will keep it fit and stimulated, making for a more relaxed dog. The non-moulting coat can matt if neglected, but combing twice weekly prevents this. The coat should be hand stripped three or four times a year to preserve texture and colour: don't clip as this softens and lightens the colour.

Gallery of Welsh Terrier