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 © 2000-2015
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
- Digging holes
- Regular brushing and clipping
A Welsh Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 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...
- 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.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Welsh Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things.
- 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!
Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
- Fence security. Many terriers are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
- 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. If you work all day and have close neighbors, terriers are not the best choice for you. For the same reason, terriers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some terriers have high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.
- Mind of their own. Welsh Terriers are not Golden Retrievers. They must still 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) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your terrier to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Welsh Terrier Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
I do NOT recommend 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.
- Grooming. To keep their wiry coat free of mats, Welsh Terriers require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months. But don't expect your pet Welsh Terrier to look like the show dogs you've seen in books or on TV. That particular look takes hours of work by experienced show groomers.
To learn more about training Welsh Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Welsh Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Welsh Terrier. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Welsh Terrier might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Welsh Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Welsh Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Welsh Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Welsh Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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