Welsh Terriers: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Welsh Terrier temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Welsh Terrier dog breed

Welsh Terrier Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Welsh Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


The compact Welsh Terrier, who looks like a miniature Airedale, is steadier, more sensible, and less excitable than some terriers, yet still full of energy and drive.

The more exercise you can offer, the better. Always alert and ready for a game, his inquisitiveness and tenacity can get him into tight spots (literally) unless your fences are secure and/or he is well supervised.

The Welsh Terrier does best with active owners who are confident and consistent, for he has a marked independent streak and will take advantage if indulged.

Welsh Terriers are more amiable with other dogs than some terriers, but they won't back down if challenged. They have a high prey drive, which means little creatures (often including cats) will be stalked.

Most Welsh Terriers are friendly and outgoing with everyone, though proper socialization is important to develop this self-confidence. The alert Welsh Terrier can be counted on to sound the alert when anything is amiss; in fact, excessive barking may need to be controlled.

True terriers, they love to tunnel and dig and can be possessive of their food and toys.


If you want a dog who...

  • Looks like a small Airedale
  • Is dynamic, sturdy, and tough -- not a delicate lapdog
  • Makes a keen watchdog
  • Is not as boisterous or argumentative with other dogs as some terriers
  • Doesn't shed too much

A Welsh Terrier may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
  • Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
  • Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
  • Stubbornness
  • Digging holes
  • Barking
  • Regular brushing and clipping

A Welsh Terrier may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Welsh Terriers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
  • Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Welsh Terrier to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

More traits and characteristics of the Welsh Terrier

If I was considering a Welsh Terrier, I would be most concerned about...

  1. The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense.
  2. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Welsh Terriers are active go-getters who require regular opportunities to vent their energy and romp about in a safely enclosed area.

    Terriers should not be trusted off-leash. They will take off, oblivious to your frantic shouts, after anything that runs.

  3. Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
  4. Animal aggression. Welsh Terriers are more congenial with other dogs than most terriers, but they are still a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster.
  5. Mind of their own. Like all terriers, Welsh Terriers must be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss). You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Welsh Terrier to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Read more about Welsh Terrier Training.

  6. Potential defensive reactions. I do not recommend Welsh Terriers for small children. Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
  7. Grooming. Welsh Terriers require clipping and trimming every few months. Breed purists may say that terrier coats should never be clipped because it makes the coat softer and more prone to matting. Instead they advocate hand-stripping (each dead hair pulled out so a new one can grow in its place). But in my opinion, stripping is too time-consuming and uncomfortable for the dog. Many groomers won't do it anymore. For pet dogs, I think clipping is just fine.

To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

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