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Sealyham Terriers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Sealyham Terrier temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Sealyham Terrier dog breed

The AKC Standard says, "The Sealyham Terrier should be the embodiment of power and determination, ever keen and alert, of extraordinary substance."

Though not as boisterous as some terriers, the Sealyham is more independent and more self-willed.

One of the few terriers who is calm, relaxed, and undemanding indoors (though he can play the entertaining clown), the Sealyham Terrier does need his walks and an occasional romp – but only in a safe, enclosed area, for he has strong hunting instincts and will pursue whatever runs.

He is devoted to his family, aloof with strangers, and can be scrappy with other animals.

His great stubbornness calls for early training, but emphasize food, praise, and gentle corrections. Demonstrating consistent leadership so that a Sealy follows your rules and respects your decisions  is more important than trying to teach advanced obedience exercises.

Possessiveness of food and toys is a potential behavioral trait that must be nipped in the bud. Also, Sealys are powerful diggers with a surprisingly deep bark.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is a "big dog with short legs" i.e. built low to the ground, but with a robust body, heavy bone, and a strong temperament
  • Is calmer and more dignified than most terriers
  • Needs only moderate exercise
  • Makes a determined watchdog with a surprisingly deep bark
  • Doesn't shed that much

A Sealyham Terrier may be right for you.

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

  • One of the most self-willed and independent of the terriers
  • Aggression toward other animals – chasing instincts
  • Regular clipping/trimming of the coat
  • Waiting lists and a high price tag

A Sealyham Terrier may not be right for you.


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In this brand new series, I'll help you decide which dog breed traits would best suit you and your family, your home and yard, and your lifestyle, so you can choose the best dog breed for your family.

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.

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More traits and characteristics of the Sealyham Terrier

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

  1. Strong mind of their own. Sealyham 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 are 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.

    In other words, you must teach your Sealyham to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Follow my free online training programs.

  2. Defensive reactions. 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.
  3. Animal aggression. Like all terriers, Sealyham Terriers can be scrappy with other dogs of the same sex. They are a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. And because of their hunting background, 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!
  4. Grooming. Sealyham Terriers require clipping and trimming every few months, to keep their coat short and free of mats. But don't expect your pet Sealyham 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.
  5. Finding one. This is a very uncommon breed, so you should expect to go onto a waiting list.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
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