Welsh Terrier

A Welsh Terrier poses on a close-clipped green lawn.

The happy-go-lucky Welsh Terrier lives for fun. You'll often find them leaping off of furniture and bounding down hallways with gusto—even after a long walk. Their high energy level, combined with their terrier-like stubbornness, can make the Welshie a difficult first-time dog. They need a firm, yet gentle, owner who can put up with rambunctious behavior and win good behavior. Consistent training is important when it comes to living with a Welsh Terrier, but so is the ability to laugh at her antics.

Other Names

The Welsh Terrier is nicknamed the Welshie.

Physical Description


The weather-resistant double coat of the Welsh Terrier consists of a hard, wiry overcoat in black and tan, as well as a soft undercoat.


Average Height: 15 inches


Average Weight: 20 pounds

Breed Standard & History

The Welsh Terrier is a sturdy, compact dog of medium size. She is tan, with a black 'jacket.' Her rectangular head holds small, dark eyes and is topped with V-shaped ears that fold over. She should convey a confident, alert expression. Her build should suggest a rugged dog able to work, with muscular legs, strong hindquarters, and a free and effortless gait. The hard, wiry coat is black and tan, with a black jacket covering from her neck to her tail and down the thighs, and reddish to light tan elsewhere. The muzzle and legs possess wiry furnishings. A docked tail creates a square look. The Welsh Terrier is an intelligent, eager breed with no shyness or viciousness. – AKC Breed Standards

The Welsh Terrier may look like a mini Airedale Terrier, but was developed separately—the Welshie being the older of the two breeds by a few hundred years. Originally called Black and Tan Wirehaired Terriers, Welsh Terriers were developed in Wales to hunt fox, badgers, and otters—and though small, they're sturdy enough to tackle the job. As the Welshie's development continued in Britain, they were still used mainly as a rugged hunting breed rather than in show.

The AKC recognized the Welsh Terrier in 1888. Once a common working dog on farms and on the hunt, Welsh Terriers are now considered rare, with an average of fewer than 400 Welshies registered with the AKC annually.

AKC Breed Category

Terrier Group


General Temperament

The playful Welsh Terrier is always thrilled to spend time with family. Though a Welshie comes with plenty of terrier qualities, this intelligent breed is often eager to please—as long as you present your request in the right way. The more fun something is, the happier the Welshie. She's a goofy, inquisitive, and affectionate dog.

Family Life

Are Welsh Terriers Good with Kids? Of the terriers, the Welsh Terrier is one of the better choices for a household with children. Welshies are rugged and can tolerate the high-energy play that comes with children—they often love the rambunctious activity that comes with kids. Nipping and tugging at clothing tend to occur when a Welshie plays, which is an important consideration for households with small children. Nipping and tugging should never be allowed during play, especially with children in the home. This behavior should be ignored or redirected, and never encouraged. Though usually trustworthy with kids, no dog should ever be left unattended with children.

Are Welsh Terriers Good with Other Pets? Though often a good choice for a household with other dogs, Welsh Terriers may be territorial or possessive of belongings or food thanks to that terrier personality. They're not a good choice for small animals such as rats, hamsters, or birds. They may be able to live with dog-experienced cats, but are likely to chase in play.


Watchful Welsh Terriers will bark to alert you of an approaching stranger, but the alarm is likely all you'll get out of him. The friendly dog's loyalty is easily swayed with treats or petting, which means they make lousy guard dogs.

Energy Levels

Rambunctious Welsh Terriers have plenty of energy to spare. They are always ready to play, even if they've just finished a game. Tearing through a fenced yard and running laps through the house are favorite Welshie activities.

Specific Concerns



Welsh Terriers can be rowdy indoors, but with plenty of exercise and an acceptance of the fact that they will likely use your furniture as a springboard, Welshies make loving indoor companions. They may adapt to apartment living, but access to the outdoors and an area to run off energy is necessary. They are terriers, so barking is to be expected.


Time outdoors is a top priority for the Welsh Terrier, but they shouldn't be expected to live outdoors full time. Neither should they be trusted outdoors alone for any amount of time as they have a propensity to wander. They have a wiry, weather-resistant coat that can manage inclement weather, but it's not made for full-time outdoor living. As terriers, they also possess a love of digging and can excavate a lawn in no time.


Outdoor exercise—30 minutes to an hour per day—is necessary to keep the Welsh Terrier happy and healthy. They can get some of their exercise through indoor play, but outdoor romps are necessary to prevent unruly behavior inside.


Welsh Terriers were built for work, and their high endurance has stuck with them throughout centuries. They've got the stamina to play all day, and then some.

Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: Welsh Terriers are often able to manage runs of three to five miles, if well-conditioned.
  • Hiking Miles: An adult Welsh Terrier may be able to hike up to eight miles, but they have a high prey drive and may wander, so leashes are recommended.


The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food to feed an average weight Welsh Terrier is ¾ to 1 cup per day, split between two meals.

While terriers tend to display food guarding behaviors, these behaviors are not more prominent in the Welsh Terrier than in other breeds. Regardless, children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.

Alone Time 

Welsh Terriers require plenty of exercise and play throughout the day. With at least an hour of exercise, and plenty of attention during the day, they can be left alone for five to eight hours during the day. They are people-oriented, energetic dogs—hiring a dog walker will help give them a break to burn some energy during the day. Crate training can help prevent destructive behaviors while unsupervised.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

12-15 years


Regular brushing will keep the Welsh Terrier's wiry coat in top condition. Stripping the coat is necessary every 8 to 10 weeks. Bathing is needed only as necessary.

Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail. Terriers may be sensitive about having their paws touched, so get your Welsh Terrier used to it early.

Common Health Issues

The Welsh Terrier may be prone to breed-specific health concerns, such as:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Achalasia
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome
  • Addison's disease
  • Eye concerns including glaucoma
  • Allergies and food sensitivity
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism

You can minimize serious health concerns in a Welsh Terrier by purchasing her from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.



Welsh Terriers are intelligent, but may be stubborn. The best way to get a Welsh Terrier to do what you ask is to turn it into a game. They live for play, so make basic obedience training as fun as possible—try short training sessions, with varied activities and plenty of rewards. Enthusiastic praise and positive reinforcement are the ways to earn a Welshie's best behavior.

Advanced Training

Agility, advanced tricks training, rally, and flyball are activities that Welshies may enjoy. Though the Welsh Terrier tends to make up her own mind about what rules to follow, if you turn it into playtime she'll likely be game. The more mental and physical stimulation you provide a Welsh Terrier, the happier she is.

Sporting Dog Training

Though not a common choice as a sporting dog, the Welsh Terrier still holds on to its hunting instinct. Welshies may appreciate the ability to put that instinct to use in Earthdog competitions.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Welsh Terriers.

Explore Other Breeds

No, the Welsh Terrier is not a miniature Airedale Terrier. Though they look similar, the Welshie has been around for centuries longer than the Airedale—and there's a bigger difference between the two than size alone. Welsh Terriers are rambunctious, outgoing terriers with a big dog in a small body complex, while Airedales are often more aloof. Neither breed is known for having a biddable nature, but the Airedale is considered the easier-to-train of the two. Welsh Terriers may be more rambunctious, and rough play is common with the breed. Airedales are playful, but the Welsh Terrier takes play to another level—their high-energy play is often quite rowdy.

Though no dog has zero risk of causing a reaction in allergic people, the Welsh Terrier is considered a hypoallergenic breed. Because dander and saliva also contribute to allergies, one should not assume that a Welshie will not trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals—but they may be less likely to do so than other breeds.

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