Sealyham Terrier
Sealyham Terrier on a leash (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on November 07, 2019
Fact Checked

The Sealyham Terrier is a rare breed of dog that originated in Wales.

Weighing no more than nine kilograms (or 20 pounds), the Sealyham Terrier is a medium-sized dog.

These rough-coated canines were used as a working dog for pest control.

However, the Sealyham Terrier enjoyed a brief surge in popularity with the British Royals and some members of Hollywood.

Nowadays, they’re recognised as a vulnerable dog breed.

These Terriers are known for their coat’s hypoallergenic qualities, making them potentially ideal for someone who has an allergy to dogs.

Sealyham Terriers have developed a reputation as great family pets or a working terrier in the right environment.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of Sealyham Terrier, examining their breed standard, temperaments and whether they’ve got any health problems.

We’ll break up this article in the following sections:

What Is A Sealyham Terrier?

The Sealyham Terrier is a brave and spirited Welsh dog that originated in the 19th century.

Bred to hunt pests such as small vermin, they’re muscular with a low centre of gravity.

The American Kennel Club write that they’re often described as the “bruiser” amongst the short-legged terriers.

How To Pronounce Sealyham Terrier

You’d be forgiven for getting your tongue twisted trying to pronounce this rare breed.

For those struggling, Sealyham is pronounced “see-lee-ham”.

History of the Sealyham Terrier

The Sealyham Terrier gets its name from the Sealy Ham estate on the Seal River located in southwestern Wales.

A British army captain John Edwardes is credited with creating the breed during his retirement in the 1800s (estimated to be around 1851).

Dubbed “the father of the breed”, Mr Edwardes dedicated his post-military life to developing his dream dog, the Sealyham Terrier.

Edwardes’ creations served a key purpose within the estates of Sealy Ham. They were bred to support his Otterhound pack. They were responsible for hunting otters, who were considered pests at the time due to the depletion of the fish population.

The American Kennel Club explain that Mr Edwardes bred his terrier to be strong and tough enough to dig out an otter from its lair.

The Sealyham Terrier was used to hunt other pets or small game, such as badgers.

Mr Edwardes did not keep a record of the breeds he used to create the Sealyham Terrier.

The AKC suggest Bull, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White terriers were used. However, the Daily Telegraph claim the Welsh Corgi, Fox Terrier (Wire) and the now extinct English White Terrier played a part in the Sealyham’s development.

The first Sealyham Terrier Club appeared in 1908 before the Kennel Club granted these Welsh dogs status in 1911. Two years later, the American Sealyham Terrier Club was founded.

They had a surge in popularity between the First and Second World Wars in the United Kingdom and the United States. Indeed, they’re sometimes described as American’s favourite dog of the Prohibition Era, winning Westminster’s Best in Show award three times during that time.

Sealyham Terrier proved popular with stars of the big screen with Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant just some of the Hollywood stars who owned members of the breed.

Princess Margaret helped boost the breed’s standing in the UK thanks to her two Sealyham Terriers called Pippin and Johnny.

Their numbers have dwindled and in 2008, only 43 new puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in the UK. As a result, they’re considered a Vulnerable Native Breed in the Great Britain.

The American Kennel Club ranks the Sealyham Terrier as the 164th most popular dog out of 193 as of 2018.

Are Sealyham Terriers endangered?

As we touched upon above, the Sealyham Terrier is considered a Vulnerable Native Breed.

The breed’s decline in popularity is sometimes accredited to the increase in availability of designer dogs.

Sealyham Terrier Breed Standard

Before we take a closer look at certain traits of the Sealyham Terrier, let’s examine the American Kennel Club’s breed standard:

The Sealyham should be the embodiment of power and determination, ever keen and alert, of extraordinary substance, yet free from clumsiness.

The AKC goes to add:

The Sealyham Terrier is brave and spirited, but not as spiky as smaller terriers. These sturdy, outgoing companions are recognized by their “fall,” the mass of hair covering the forehead. Sealy fans enjoy their dog’s sly sense of humor.

Sealyham Terrier Size

Sealyham Terriers are a medium-sized dog. They don’t grow to be taller than 10.5 inches, while they can weigh between 23 and 24 pounds.

Sealyham Terrier Colors

Sealyham Terrier have a white double coat, with a dense undercoat and wiry outer coat.

These working Terriers can have a range of different colorings on their face.

These include lemon, black, brown, blue and badger (mix of brown and black).

According to the breed standard, heavy body markings or excessive ticking is discouraged.

Sealyham Terrier Temperament

Sealyham Terrier portrait on grass (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Sealyham Terrier portrait on grass (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Sealyham Terrier were initially bred to be working dogs, hunting pests, small game and vermin.

However, they developed a reputation for being working dogs that were happy to snuggle by the fire at the end of the day.

Although they’ve got a reputation for being muscular, no-nonsense dogs, the Sealyham terrier has an affectionate and funny side.

They’re outgoing canines that like to interact with other people given their big personalities.

Sealyham Terriers are alert and vocal, so they tend to make great watchdogs.

Credited with being stubborn at times, they’re still considered to be highly trainable.

Sealyham Terrier Training

Sealyham Terriers are relatively easy to train. They’re bright dogs. However, as with any dog irrespective of breed, they’ll benefit from consistent and persistent training from a young age.

Are Sealyham Terriers smart?

Sealyham Terrier are generally considered to be smart dogs that are quick learners.

In the Intelligence of Dogs, published in 1994, Stanley Coren ranked the Sealyham Terrier as the 107th smartest dog in the world.

Based upon his research, the Sealyham Terrier tend to understand new commands in 40 to 80 repetitions and obey a first command 30 per cent of the time.

Sealyham Terrier Agility

Given their muscular and robust physiques, Sealyham Terriers are suited to agility. You can even find a book on Amazon dedicated to Sealyham Terrier Activities (Tricks, Games & Agility).

Can Sealyham Terriers Swim?

You can probably hazard a guess that Sealyham Terriers are usually good swimmers. Given they were initially bred to hunt otters, it’s no surprise they’re comfortable in or around water.

A quick search on YouTube will produce clips of these ardent swimmers making a splash.

Are Sealyham Terriers Hypoallergenic?

The Sealyham Terrier is considered to be a hypoallergenic dog breed. A hypoallergenic dog is one that is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in someone with an allergy to dog.

The Kennel Club in the UK list the Sealyham Terrier as one of 31 dogs that they recommend for dog lovers looking for dogs that don’t shed or which are less predisposed to shedding their coat.

Do Sealyham Terriers Shed?

So, you’ve guessed it, Sealyham Terriers are low shedding dogs. They’ve got a double coat that is made up of a dense, thick undercoat and a coarse, wiry outer coat.

Their weather resistant coat doesn’t shed, which makes them a big hit with dog lovers who suffer from allergies.

How To Clip/Groom Sealyham Terrier

While Sealyham Terriers don’t shed, they do have some grooming requirements. It’s recommended that you brush your Sealyham Terrier a couple of times a week. This is to prevent their coat becoming tangled or matted.

Given these Welsh dogs have a low centre of gravity, it’s easy for their coat to becoming dirty as it touches the ground on their daily walks or trips to the dog park. As a result, it’s a good idea to bathe Sealyham Terriers every month.

Their coat doesn’t shed but must be hand-stripped or clipped on a regular basis. The American Kennel Club suggests pet Sealyhams can be kept trimmed short with minimal furnishings, which makes their care easier.

Other things to consider are checking on their ears and eyes during grooming sessions. Nails should also be kept trimmed.

Sealyham Terrier Health Problems

Sealyham Terriers are prone to suffering from some allergy problems, but the AKC write that these don’t tend to be that serious.

There are a few genetic problems that plague the Sealyham Terrier, such as an eye condition called lens luxation. This is when the lens slips out of position in the eyeball due to weakening fibers.

Other eye problems include glaucoma. This is a condition in which pressure is placed on the eye, causing inadequate fluid drainage in the eye.

Responsible breeders will do health checks for such conditions.

They’re also prone to ear infections, which is why it’s important to check their ears during grooming sessions.

Sealyham Terrier Life Expectancy

Sealyham Terriers have an average life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. Of course, some healthy Sealyham Terriers can live beyond the age of 14.

How much do Sealyham Terriers cost?

Sealyham Terrier puppy can cost an average of $1000. However, the price may vary from breeder to breeder.

Sealyham Terrier Breeders

If you’re thinking about getting a Sealyham Terrier, we recommend contacting an established breeder.

The American Sealyham Terrier Club have a list of breeders who have signed up to the organization’s code of ethics.

Their list indicates which breeders are expecting litters in the near future as well as contact details.

Sealyham Terrier Puppies

If you’re thinking about giving a Sealyham Puppy a forever home, you’ll need to consider the additional costs associated with dogs.

After the initial investment to purchase your puppy from the breeders, you’ll have to get pet insurance, dog food, vaccinations and much more.

We don’t recommend buying a Sealyham Terrier pup – or any dog – online, at a pet store or third party dealer.

You should always ask to see the puppy interact with its parents.

Sealyham Terrier Club of America

If you want further information about the Sealyham Terrier, you can always reach out to the STCA to find out more.

Sealyham Terrier Rescue

Of course, you may prefer to rescue an older Sealyham Terrier rather than purchase a puppy. In that case, you can contact the STCA who can provide further information.

Sealyham Terrier Photos

More to follow.

Sealyham Terriers To Follow On Instagram

We often find that Instagram and other social media platforms can prove a useful tool if you’re looking to learn more about particular dog breeds.

Usually dog owners are more than happy to provide an insight into their canine companions. With that in mind, here are five Sealyham Terriers to check out on Instagram.

1) Sally (@sally_potts)

2) Sherlock and Arti (@sealyhamadventurers)

3) Sealyham Eddie (@sealyhameddie)

4) Allie (@sealygram)

5) Colette (@colette_thesealyhamterrier)

Sealyham Terrier Mixes

You can also find another of Sealyham Terrier Mixes, that are usually the result of inadvertent breeding between a Sealyham Terrier and another Terrier breed.

Sealyham Terrier x Airedale Terrier mix = Sealydale Terrier

Wrapping Up – Our Final Thoughts

We’ve reached the end of our feature on the Sealyman Terrier.

They’re a breed recognised by the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club.

The Sealyham Terrier is considered a vulnerable dog breed due to their declining numbers.

They proved particular popular after World War I, especially in the prohibition era in the USA.

Famous owners include Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant.