Sealyham Terriers are a vulnerable Welsh breed.
These medium-sized white terriers were created in the 19th century to hunt pests, such as otters, badgers and other small game.
Sealyham Terriers climbed the canine social ladder after the First World War as they became increasingly popular in the UK and in the USA.
Some of Hollywood’s biggest names such as Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant.
However, their numbers have dwindled in the second half of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century.
Sealyham Terriers are now recognised as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the Kennel Club.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Sealyham Terrier pros and cons to give prospective owners an insight into this unique breed.
Sealyham Terriers were created by a British army captain John Edwardes. Sources suggest he created these terriers to support his Otterhound pack. They were responsible for hunting otters. As they evolved, Sealyham Terriers hunted small game. Given their role in pest control, these dogs had to have a brave and fearless streak. These are still key traits, as Allie (@sealygram) told hellobark.com: “Sealys are fearless and willing to take on any challenge”. Sealyham Terriers are often described as independent and strong willed. The Welsh breed can grow to 10.5 inches in height but don’t be fooled by their size. The American Kennel Club describe them as among “the strongest and most substantial of what we think of as small dogs”.
Although these compact terriers are brave and fearless, Sealyham Terriers are affectionate and devoted to their family members. The word loyalty is often used alongside Sealyham Terriers to underline the connection that they’ve got to their pet parents. Don’t be fooled by their independent streak, they’ll still be content to curl up by their owners on the couch or in their dog bed in front of the fire after an active day.
Yes, there is nothing we enjoy more than sitting on the couch with her curled up next to us, or waking up to find her snuggling on our pillow. She’s completely devoted to us.
Sealyham Terriers have one famous trait: they’re a hypoallergenic dog breed. The Kennel Club in the UK list the Sealyham Terrier as one of 31 breeds that they suggest for dog lovers looking for a hypoallergenic dog. Sealyham Terriers don’t shed a lot – or hardly at all. Given dog hair can carry allergens such as dander and pollen, this makes Sealyham Terriers appealing. Alternatively, you may just hate finding dog hair everywhere. Either way, Sealyham Terriers are hypoallergenic and that’s a big pro to the breed.
Yes… no shedding ever! She does require regular grooming since her coat can get matted, but not having to deal with furballs in the house/cars is fantastic.
We can be handstripped which produces a wiry coat or clipped like my good self and have a soft, fluffy and slightly curly coat. Show Sealyhams often have longer hair on the face and tummy, but I am kept shorter for ease of care. We are also hypoallergenic and don’t tend to smell too ‘doggy’!
Size and versatility
These sturdy terriers can reach a height of 10.5 inches, while they can weigh around 23-24 pounds. Sealyham Terriers are often described as well-muscled with a low centre of gravity. They’ve got robust bodies that allowed Sealyham Terriers to effectively hunt small game. Dubbed bruisers for their stocky bodies, Sealyham Terriers are able to adapt to life in the city or the countryside. While they require regular exercise, Sealyham Terriers are one of the calmer varieties of terriers.
We are very versatile and enjoy exercise, especially running around, tootling, snuffling and digging. However, once that’s done, we also love to sit on the sofa and have a cuddle or a snooze – because of this we have been called ‘The couch potato of the terriers’!
This is a two-for-one. Sealyham Terriers don’t tend to be particularly loud dogs, unlike some other terrier breeds that have a reputation for being yappy. In fact, they’re relatively quiet dogs unless they need to alert their pet owners to something or someone. Sealyham Terriers are great watch dogs due to this alertness. If they spot a disturbance outside or hear an unusual noise inside the home, these dogs will bark. The American Kennel Club write that Sealyham Terriers have a “big-dog bark”.
We’re not ‘yappy’ dogs (I only bark when its necessary!) and even though we think we’re massive units, we can be easily picked up (which is good for cuddles and being elevated onto and over walls!)
While Sealyham Terriers have a fearless spirit, they’re quite stubborn dogs. These Welsh dogs do have a stubborn streak. As a result, it’s a good idea to train a Sealyham Terrier pup from a young age to master basic obedience commands. These self-willed terriers are eager to please their dog owners, while they’re food motivated, which can help when it comes to training.
As with any terrier, patience is required since terriers need to approve of any command they are given before they will actually follow it! Allie, in particular, is very food-motivated so teaching tricks is relatively easy with a food reward. However, she has been working on her agility titles, and since food is not permitted on the course, it’s proven to be a bit more difficult to train.
Sealyham Terriers don’t shed a lot, so you won’t encounter a lot of dog hair on your clothes or around the home. However, they do have some grooming requirements. It’s recommended that you brush a Sealyham Terrier at least three or four times a week to prevent their coats from becoming matted or tangled. The American Kennel Club say that their coats must be hand-stripped or clipped on a regular basis.
No shedding means that the coat can get matted and regular grooming is required.
Hard to find
As we mentioned at the start of this article, Sealyham Terriers are a rare breed. In fact, the British Kennel Club included these Welsh terriers among the Vulnerable Native Breed. Given Sealyham Terriers are particularly common, you can expect to be placed on a waiting list if you’ve got your heart set on one of these dogs. Some people even travel to the USA from Europe to get a Sealyham Terrier. They usually cost between $800 and $1000. There are two Sealyham Terriers breeders in the UK endorsed by the Kennel Club.
It wasn’t too difficult here in the UK. There are often new Sealy pups available if you are willing to look around, travel and sometimes wait. It’s good to contact clubs and other Sealyham owners as they will help you out. Social media has been great for this.
Touching upon the Sealyham Terrier coat once again, another potential con is how dirty their hair can become. These dogs have a low centre of gravity so their coarse, long outer coat can often drag along the ground. In doing so, the tips of their coat can become dirty. Therefore, a Sealyham Terrier will likely need a bath every month or so. Alternatively, you can make a trip to a professional groomer. The American Kennel Club suggest pet Sealyham Terriers can be kept trimmed short with minimal furnishings, which makes their care easier.
Our coats are naturally white but we tend to enjoy digging in the filth with our big paws and beardy faces…so we need grooming and cleaning fairly regularly!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sealyham Terriers have a high prey drive. The breed was initially created and developed to hunt small game. Therefore, Sealyham Terriers could dart off after a squirrel, a rabbit or a cat if they spot one in the backyard or on their daily walk. Sealyham Terrier owners will want to make sure they’ve got their dog’s recall down to a tee to make sure they respond to the command. Alternatively, you can keep your terrier on leash and make sure your garden is secure.
We have quite a high prey drive which means I like to try and chase squirrels and birds, though I wouldn’t know what to do if I actually caught one!