Sealyham Terrier Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Sealyham Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
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 obedience training, but use food and praise methods and don't jerk this proud breed around. Physical punishment doesn't work with terriers, only leading to greater obstinacy and/or retaliation. Teasing will produce the same results. Demonstrating consistent leadership so that a Sealy respects your decisions is more important than advanced obedience exercises.
Possessiveness of food and toys is a potential behavioral trait that must be nipped in the bud. 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.
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 Sealyham 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 Sealyham 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 Sealyham Terrier
If I was considering a Sealyham Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- 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." Read more about Sealyham Terrier Training.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Finding one. This is a very uncommon breed, so you should expect to go onto a waiting list.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
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.
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.
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.