Welsh Terrier

FCI standard Nº 78

Great Britain
Group 3 Terriers
Section 1 Large- and medium sized Terriers
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Saturday 23 October 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Last update
Wednesday 19 January 2011
En français, cette race se dit
Welsh Terrier
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Welsh Terrier
En español, esta raza se dice
Welsh Terrier
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Welsh Terrier



Brief historical summary

The Welsh Terrier is a breed with a truly working background, he is perhaps rather less exuberant than some of the other members of his group. Like so many of his cousins, he was originally used in hunting the fox, badger and even otter. The Welsh and Lakeland Terriers, which have considerable similarity, may well have had a common origin prior to the Roman invasion of Britain when their Celtic owners retreated to the Welsh mountains and the Lake District.
He is a neat, workmanlike dog with a tight wiry coat normally of black and tan.

General appearance

Smart, workmanlike, well-balanced and compact.

Behaviour / temperament

Affectionate, obedient and easily controlled. Happy and volatile, rarely of shy nature. Game and fearless but definitely not aggressive although at all times able to hold his own when necessary


Cranial region

Flat, of moderate width between ears. 
Not too defined.

Facial region

Medium length from stop to end of nose.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws powerful, clean cut, rather deep and punishing; strong with perfect, regular scissor bite, i. e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Relatively small, dark, expression indicative of temperament. A round, full eye undesirable.
V-shaped, small, leathers not too thin, set on fairly high, carried forward and close to cheek.


Moderate length and thickness, slightly arched and sloping gracefully into shoulders.


Good depth and moderate width. Well ribbed up.


Previously customarily docked.
Docked: Well set on. Carried erect but not too gaily.
Undocked: Well set on. Carried erect but not too gaily. In overall balance with the rest of dog.



Long, sloping and well set back.
Upper arm
Legs straight and muscular, possessing ample bone.
Perpendicular to body, working free of sides.
Upright and powerful.
Small, round and cat-like.


Upper thigh
Muscular, of good length.
Hocks well bent, well let down and with ample bone.
Hind feet
Small, round and cat-like.

Gait and movement

Fore-and hindlegs carried straight forward and parallel. Elbows move perpendicular to body, working free of sides, stifles turning neither in nor out.


Wiry, hard, very close and abundant. Single coat undesirable.
Black and tan for preference, or black grizzle and tan, free from black pencilling on toes. Black below hocks most undesirable.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Not exceeding 39 cms.
9 – 9,5 kgs.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.




Detailed history

The Welsh Terrier looks like a Fox a little strong and of unusual color. It should not be inferred that he proceeds from this English race. It is, as its name suggests, a pure Welsh.

Some authors, however, make it come down from the Old English Black Terriers and Broken Broken Piles (broken coated Old English Black and Tan Terriers), spread throughout much of England and involved in the development of many modern Terriers. The Welsh Terrier's Welsh character would then reside essentially in the fact that it was selected by hunters and miners from Wales.

There is no doubt that the ancient English Black and Fire Terriers and the ancestors of Welsh have many common characteristics. The question is which is the descendant of the other. Several texts establish the presence of Terriers, that is to say, small dogs chasing badgers and foxes into their den, in Wales since time immemorial. There is one dating back to the 11th century. The mention of this type of dog then returns in various Welsh hunting writings between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, and its typical black and fire color is noted several times. It is therefore excluded that the Burrow is an English import, old or not. Moreover, as we know that the Welsh language was (many centuries ago, it is true) spoken even in the Midlands, it could well be, on the contrary, that the English Black and Fire Terriers have a Welsh origin.

The work of the Welsh consisted essentially of completing the packs of common dogs, whether they were composed of Welsh Fox Hounds (descendants of the current Celtic and perhaps Norman dogs), characterized by their hard hair, for the fox hunt, or else Otterhounds, for the pursuit of the otter. The Terriers had to dislodge foxes and otters if by chance they managed to take refuge in their underground lair. Welsh was also a specialist in badger and marten.

By the mid-eighteenth century, the Jones family, of Ynysfor, had made a specialty of the breeding of this Terrier, in order to fight against all those stinking, which were numerous in the wild and mountainous regions of Merionethshire and Caernarvonshire (in North Wales). Then, in the nineteenth century, the Welsh found itself in a more modest environment, that of coal miners. His arrival in the dog world is, probably a little later than that of other Terriers. Nevertheless, it can be noted that the oldest pedigrees date back to 1854 and were presented on the occasion of the first Welsh agricultural shows, during which there were sheepdog contests (the oldest known in 1873). In 1885, he participated for the first time in a dog show proper, in Pwllheli. That same year, a special Club was created for the breed. It was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1886. Finally, note that its presence was very noticed in 1889, during the exhibition of Llangollen, sponsored by Queen Victoria.

It is certain that the Welsh has significantly evolved during this period; at least morphologically, because his aptitudes and temperament have remained the same. The older guy was higher on legs, which is easily explained: the dog had to be able to follow the hellish train that was imposed, for example, during thefoxhunting. In addition, the head was stronger and shorter, and often a few white marks embellished the dress on the chest and lower legs (perhaps the memory of some fortuitous alliances with hounds).

The modern selection has brought the Welsh closer to the Fox for the format, while leaving it a slightly stronger constitution (it weighs 1.5 kg more, which is not negligible for dogs from 7 to 9.5 kg ) and an appearance traditionally described as more "virile", especially in the head. Moreover, it was not until 1947 that the standard fixed a size limit, from 39 to 39.5 cm for the male (today, the new standard recommends a height not exceeding 39 centimeters).

Without becoming very popular (or being overused), the Welsh has made an enviable place among Terriers lovers. In Great Britain, he saw his number of births increase until about 1960, which called this period "the golden age of the Welsh Terrier". To put things more precisely, there are two figures: in 1922, the Kennel Club recorded 186 subjects; in 1960, 350. During these years, Cruft's large dog exhibition devoted it twice (which, without a doubt, was not without repercussion on its diffusion). The famous "best in show" was won first by Twinstar Dyma Fi, in 1951, then by Sandstorm Saracen, in 1959.

The Welsh Terrier has taken advantage of these successes to spread throughout continental Europe, sometimes as a working dog (eg in Czechoslovakia). On the other hand, it had already happened for several decades in the United States, probably because a certain number of Americans have Welsh roots. The American Kennel Club registered its first copy (a certain T'Other) in 1888, and, ten years later, the Welsh was regularly featured in American exhibitions. A club formed in 1900, the breed was entitled to separate classes at the largest American dog show (the Westminster Show) in 1901. The immense working qualities of the Welsh Terrier were never disputed. It must nevertheless be acknowledged that it is as a show dog and as a companion that he has established himself.

Work, exhibitions, company: The Welsh Terrier knows how to do everything because it has character. This dog, frank and whole (but also very affectionate and sensitive) does not hide his requirements: a certain dose of activity, sustained care for his dress, a master at the height. Always used in hunting rifles or ferrets, he is also a good water dog and an excellent retriever. It shows remarkable courage and pugnacity, as well as an unusual resistance to fatigue.

Similarly, his reputation among "handlers" (dog presenters in exhibitions) is as much the fact of his hot dress in warm tones, which lends itself to grooming the most neat, as its excellent temperament, its very lively intelligence , of his dignity. His hair, it should not be hidden, requires a long and careful preparation, but this passage in the hands of an expert makes a real "sculpture". It must not be inferred that he is servile and submissive. On the contrary, it becomes champion only the dog showing determination. And if the Welsh race is regularly among the competitors of the "best in show" (final competitions of the exhibitions, where are found the best of each group of races), it is that it shows an unequaled pride.

The person willing to spend the time necessary to "trim" and groom his dog will find in the Welsh Terrier an incomparable companion. Its moderate size makes it possible to take it everywhere; moreover, he loves traveling and is comfortable wherever he is. Very active, loving games, long walks, swimming, it is quite in the tone of our hectic time. Observer, curious, he quickly made a big place in the family and in the house. In the street, it does not go unnoticed, with its elegant silhouette and beautiful color.

His independence and pride are still within reasonable limits: he will certainly not be a circus dog or a pitre on command, but he knows how to play mischievous on occasion. In an article published a few years ago, E. Colomb pointed out that the Welsh "needs a lot of presence and attention," that he "gives a lot but also asks a lot. Indeed, he is not the type to doze in his corner while waiting quietly for his little daily walk. He asks to participate in the life of his master, shares his joys and sorrows, and, if he needs to be able to spend time in the open air, he adapts perfectly to a city life that is neither sedentary or too recluse.

For a persevering master, available and careful, the Welsh Terrier will be a four-legged partner very elegant, spectacular and at the same time robust, both very good guardian and overflowing with kindness with his intimates, small size but able to be done respect. French breeding is in the hands of very serious experts who only offer puppies from the best lines. Without being widespread in France, the breed has enough numbers so that the potential buyer can hope to get a dog within acceptable time.

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