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Welsh terrier lying on grass

Source: Shleiderbmx (

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Terrier group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 15 inches
  • Weight — 20-22 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Dense, wiry, and with a double coat.
  • Coat color — Typically either black and tan, grizzle and tan, or black grizzle and tan. Black grizzle and tan isn’t a standard color, according to the AKC.
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Very often
  • Life span — 12-15 years
  • Temperament — Energetic, independent, and brave
  • Hypoallergenic — Yes
  • Origin — Wales

Welsh terrier fun facts

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Welsh Terriers Teddy; Bentley is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Welsh Terriers love Bella, then Molly.

  • Welsh terriers have a high prey drive. Bred to hunt, “Welshies” have a high prey drive, so they may not be ideal for homes with multiple or smaller pets.
  • They have a classic terrier temperament. Many terrier owners are familiar with their terrier companions’ feisty, independent streak. Welshies are no different.
  • Coat colors change with age. While all purebred dogs ultimately have just a few colors, all Welsh terriers are born almost completely black.
Welsh terrier sat in a garden

Welsh terrier temperament and characteristics 

While smaller, Welshies have big personalities. Welsh terriers are highly intelligent, making them (at times) easier to train and prone to mischief when bored. But their loyal and playful personality makes them a great choice for families. It’s important to note that Welshies typically have a high prey drive and may not be an ideal choice for multi-pet households.

Because of their protective and loyal nature, they make excellent guard dogs. Pet parents should condition them to strangers and guests early on and train them to stop barking on command.

Common Welsh terrier health problems 

While overall a healthy breed, Welshies are more likely to develop certain health issues with age. Pet owners need to keep up with annual vet visits to catch any potentially painful conditions before they progress.

  • Glaucoma. Symptoms of glaucoma include red, teary eyes and squinting with a whitish-blue sheen. Glaucoma is a very painful disease and requires medical attention.
  • Primary lens luxation (PLL). Caused by a breakdown of fibers in the eye, lens luxations occur when the lens shifts out of place. PLL is very painful and can result in permanent loss of sight.
  • Allergies. Welshies are more likely to develop food or environmental allergies. Look for signs of itching or discomfort and then consult your vet.
  • Hypothyroidism. The most common, well-known signs of hypothyroidism are weight gain and lethargy, but epilepsy and certain skin conditions can also be a sign.

Cost of caring for Welsh terriers

Depending on the overall health of your Welshie, monthly costs may be less than $100 for food, treats, and preventative medications. Pet owners can save money by purchasing preventative products combining multiple medicines, such as Simparica Trio. Another way to offset costs now, and in the event of unplanned emergencies, is with pet health insurance, and by creating a pet budget.

History of the Welsh terrier

There are numerous terrier breeds, but experts believe that the Welsh terrier is one of the oldest ones. Red and black terrier dogs have been recorded for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1700s that Welsh terriers picked up popularity in Wales. Their feisty and brave personalities made them ideal for hunting pests, and digging out badgers that posed a risk to cattle and crops.

Over time, the breed spread beyond the farmlands and to the show ring. The Kennel Club of England initially classified Welshies as Old English terriers. In 1888, they were eventually recognized as Welsh terriers when breed standards diverged into other similar terrier breeds.

Today, Welshies are somewhat rare, but they have a loyal following with organizations like the Welsh Terrier Club of America. Often, new dog owners quickly become enthusiasts with this breed, and Welshie fans have included some pretty notable figures throughout history, like U.S. President John F. Kennedy and U.K. Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

John F. Kennedy, Jr., stands on the stairs of a tree house with his dog watching


Caring for your Welsh terrier

Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. We can even help you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething.

No one likes to think about losing their new dog but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared just in case. Here are some other basics specific to Welsh terriers.


Terriers are working dogs bred to chase and eliminate pests. Because of this, they have high energy levels that need to be burned off with plenty of playtime and exercise. Welshie owners should spend at least an hour a day doing different exercises for expending energy and stimulating them mentally.

Owners should consider providing their dog with a sandpit to dig in and puzzle toys that are mentally stimulating for this intelligent breed. Providing enough appropriate exercise will prevent problem behaviors that can arise from boredom.

Welsh terrier running in woods during fall


Compared to other breeds, Welsh terriers have a low-maintenance grooming routine. Beyond the typical things, like nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing, owners should brush their dog once a week to remove errant hair, and occasionally hand-strip their coat to keep it shiny and tidy.

Hand-stripping can be difficult for new or inexperienced dog owners. Book an appointment with a groomer to avoid causing pain or discomfort for your dog.

No breed is truly hypoallergenic. Allergic reactions occur due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva. Dogs that are considered hypoallergenic simply shed less, and thus have a smaller effect on those with dog allergies.

Diet and nutrition

All dogs, regardless of breed, should be fed an appropriate proportion of high-quality dog food that provides them with the essential building blocks that keep them healthy. That being said, Welshies are more prone to allergies than other breeds, so it’s best to avoid foods with a lot of fillers and preservatives. Opt for dog foods that have simple ingredients, and when switching dog foods or treats, introduce them slowly and one at a time.

👉For Welshies with allergies, homemade dog food might be an option, but it’s important to consult with a veterinary nutritionist first!

Training your Welsh terrier

Welshies are intelligent, yet stubborn dogs. This can make training a challenge for new dog owners, but positive, reward-based training is one effective way to train Welsh terriers. Because of their high prey drive and hunting instincts, focusing on recall is important, particularly for dogs that may be off-leash.

Pet owners may also want to focus on alert barking due to how alert and vocal Welshies can be. Explore these tips from dog trainers, or consider dog obedience training to help your pup develop great manners.

Welsh terrier on a running track

Source: Томасина (

Breeds similar to the Welsh terrier

Not quite sure that a Welsh terrier is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Miniature schnauzer. Slightly smaller, miniature schnauzers have the same wiry coat as their Welshie cousins, but with a German origin.
  • Cocker spaniel. One of the smallest breeds in the Sporting group, Cocker spaniels have a distinct look, but like Welshies, are pros at hunting.
  • Cairn terrier. Small and lovely, Cairn terriers are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a celebrity dog: Toto from The Wizard of Oz was a Cairn terrier!

Frequently asked questions

What is the typical temperament of a Welsh terrier?

Welsh terriers are lively, intelligent and confident. These dogs are renowned for their friendliness, courage, and their love for fun, making them an excellent companion for families.

How much exercise does a Welsh terrier need on a daily basis?

Welshies require a lot of exercise — at least an hour each day. This can consist of a combination of walks, playtime, and other forms of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

How often does a Welsh terrier require grooming and what type of grooming routine is recommended?

Welsh terriers require brushing weekly, and grooming every 4-6 weeks including bathing, ear cleaning, nail trimming, and professional hand-stripping to maintain the texture and color of their coat. Regular teeth cleaning is also recommended for dental health.

What are some common health issues one might encounter with a Welsh terrier?

Welshies are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to some common health issues like hypothyroidism and allergies. Eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts may also occur in this breed.