Sealyham Terrier

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Occasionally you come across a small breed of dog that at first glance is difficult to pigeon hole, but I think that this is because the Sealyham Terrier’s character ticks so many boxes when it come to finding a dog. It is good for the farmyard, good for the kids, good for families and good as a lap dog for the elderly or a companion dog for the disabled.

What is a Sealyham Terrier? The Sealyham is an intelligent, healthy and loyal little Terrier. Believed to be originally cross bred over some 40 years, from the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, The Fox Terrier, The West Highland Terrier, a Corgi, possibly the Pembroke Welsh and added to this the possibility of the extinct Cheshire Terrier and a small white Bull Terrier. It was deliberately bred to have a white coat, be lively in nature, fearless and loyal as well as intelligent enough to easily train. It was originally bred by a Captain John Edwards as a very successful hunting dog.  

Quick Facts about Sealyham Terriers

The Sealyham Terrier is also known as The Cowley Terrier or The Welsh Border Terrier.

Males and Females grow to about 30cm or 12 inches at the withers

Generally about 8kg or about 18 pounds for the Female
and 9kg or 20 pounds for the Males

They generally live to about 13 years and are usually healthy

What Does the Sealyham Terrier Look Like

The main colour is white with occasional grey or black shades appearing in a variety of shapes or places.

Sealyham Terrier
The Sealyham Terrier with Curtain Undercarriage

A well proportioned body to head length with a slight curve to the back, a high thin tail. Short legs with good structure but not muscular. A short but thick neck leading to a square head with a stout nose and forward flopping short ears that stand up when attentive.

The KC’s accepted cut appears as though the dog is floating on a curtain, practicality though and given a short cut they look like a cross between the West Highland and the Scottish Terrier.

Sealyham Looking Like A Scottish Terrier
When the haircut is similar the Sealyham (above) can be mistaken for a Scottish Terrier

History of the Sealyham Terrier

First bred in the 19th Century by a Captain John Edwards, he wanted a hunting dog that could easily be spotted when running through undergrowth or in dense grasses and woodland. It also had to be small enough to be able to follow its prey such as otters, foxes and the like and also be tough enough to take on such an animal as the badger.

The name comes from the Sealyham Estate on which Captain John Edwards lived and worked and became an exceptionally popular breed often sought after by those with money. However, as hunting methods changed so did the popularity. It then became a popular breed during the 1920’s and 40’s but its popularity declined again during the second world war and has struggled with its popularity since.

Sealyham Pair
Sealyham Terriers

It is a recognised Kennel Club breed and has in fact been registered as one of their rarer breeds. My own feeling is that this has much to do with the rather expensive price tag it gained as it took on a celebrity status with such owners as HRH Princess Margaret, Actors Cary Grant and Elisabeth Taylor.

Maybe if the current breeders want it to become more popular they should reduce the price tag of around £1000 for a puppy.

When searching for one of these dogs they are occasionally referred to as the Cowley Terrier or the Welsh Border Terrier.

Character of the Sealyham Terrier

These are plucky intelligent good-natured dogs. Best trained from a puppy they need a good steady hand to ensure they do not develop ‘small dog syndrome’ as they are fearless when it comes to larger dogs, but developed and introduced correctly they will bond very well with any existing dog at home.

They are really good with children and will happily play with them for hours, chasing balls or running around the garden with them.

They love attention so they will sit patiently while you groom or fuss over them, something that kids and the elderly alike love doing with this cute little fur ball.

Sealyham Terrier Pup
Sealyham Terrier Puppy

As you might expect they can have a steely determined nature so a firm hand during training is a must but once trained well they remain exceedingly good at remembering their place.

They also make very hard-working loyal dogs and will easily adapt from life in the farmyard to being a lap dog. Any farmer or country lad who keeps the coat short (assuming you’re not showing at the kennel club) will find a dog that is almost as useful as a collie.

As a lap dog they will gladly sit with an elderly person and can also make very good companion dogs for those with disabilities.

Their character and temperament really can make them an all-round dog.

If there is one fault with them it could be that same old habit that is common with ALL terriers, put in the garden with your rabbit or in the house with your family gerbil and it will take more than a passing interest and like as not your Sealyham Terrier will be far quicker than you when it comes to catching it, with probably only one result.

Grooming your Sealyham Terrier

This is probably one of the most important areas that will need constant attention. You have a choice of allowing the hair to grow and combing or brushing almost daily to avoid the inevitable hair knots and tangles of longer hair and if not cleaned or shampooed can lead to matting.

Despite the fact that they can grow long hair when not regularly cut they do not shed a lot of hair. They have a double coat very similar to that of the Westie.The other choice of course is having your dog groomed with a short cut.

Dog Being Trimmed
Can you trim your own dog?

Either way unless you yourself are capable of trimming your dog, then you will need to visit the grooming parlour every 6 to 8 weeks. Experience here at Top Lap Dogs is that, if you are walking your dog on a regular basis then a short cut particularly around the legs and undercarriage can save you a lot of work.

Exercising your Sealyham Terrier

Daily exercise can sometimes be as much about stimulating their minds almost as much as it can be about keeping their bodies nimble. If exercising on a daily walk outside then throwing a ball indoors and finding them puzzle toys can be an excellent replacement, as with any small dog this kind of exercise can be very rewarding for them and for you.

Top Lap Dogs Conclusion

If you want a well rounded character of a dog that needs to be versatile to a changeable family life or one of many members then this would make a fantastic little dog.
The robust nature of this dog will save you many worries and trips to the vet and as such, maybe the initial cost of this dog will save you money in the long term.
I have never seen one of these dogs at any rescue home but this may simply down to the fact that they are essentially a rare breed these days and remember if you are trying to find one they are also known as the Cowley Terrier or the Welsh Border Terrier.

This page is linked to the A to Z of Lap Dogs

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