AKC Dog Breeds: Sealyham Terrier

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Terrier Group
Height:9-11 inches   Weight: 19-25 pounds  Color: white or yellowish white

The Sealyham terrier is a small dog that thinks it is a big dog. This breed has an interesting history. The Sealyham terrier derives its name from Sealy Ham, Haverfordwest, Wales. Captain John Edwards developed this breed around 1848 as a hunting dog for vermin and fox. Captain Edwards did not keep any records of his endeavors but later students surmised that the original terriers were probably descendents of white-haired terriers which Edwards' Flemish ancestors brought to Wales at the time of the Norman Conquest. It is also assumed he used a small white terrier resembling a bull terrier which is now extinct to begin the breeding. The Sealyham's first recorded show appearance was in 1903 at a local affair in Wales and the breed was first imported to the U.S. in 1911. A favorite with many worldwide celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s, these dogs were bred to hunt otters, badgers, and foxes. This breed is relatively uncommon and quite rare in the United States. Sealyham Terriers have a devoted following and is one of the calmest of the terriers.

General Appearance
Small in size and sturdy in build, the Sealyham Terrier is a robust little dog with an alert expression. The Sealyham Terriers are white or yellowish-white with dome shaped skulls, a large nose and powerful jaws with sturdy teeth and very long canines. Its eyes are round and dark and its ears are wide and carried against its cheeks. The neck is long and muscular and the tail is docked and carried upright. Its front legs are short and straight; the hind legs are powerful and muscular. Their coats are bristly, coarse, and long and require stripping.

A determined, alert, and willful small dog, the Sealyham Terrier is an independent and undemanding dog. These dogs can be very strong headed and stubborn making training something of a challenge - he is best suited to a confident and assertive owner with some experience of dog ownership. The Sealyham Terrier needs to be socialized early on to promote a stable temperament, and firm, consistent training is important. These dogs enjoy digging, have a loud bark, and can be possessive of his belongings and food, so don't expect a quiet life when you have a Sealyham Terrier around. They also do not enjoy being handled roughly or teased, which is why they are better around older children that will not pester them. Although the Sealyham Terrier can be very entertaining when he wants to be, he can also be calm and steady. These dogs are loyal and devoted when it comes to their families, but are not clingy pets. They are not overly active, but do enjoy regular walks as well as somewhere safe and secure to play - this is important, as the Sealyham Terrier tends to wander off chasing anything that makes the mistake of running away from him. These are adaptable dogs that will be happy living in an apartment as well as a house. His loud bark and devotion to his family makes the Sealyham Terrier an effective watchdog. He can be stand offish and wary around strangers, and early socialization is advisable with other animals. They can also easily enter into quarrels with other dogs. Although the Sealyham Terrier can be bossy, he is intelligent and a quick learner, so with the right owner training can be less challenging.


The Sealyham Terrier requires professional trimming and stripping of the coat. They need to be brushed twice weekly to prevent mats from forming. Bathing should only be done when necessary using a mild shampoo. Dry shampoo as needed. This breed does best in cooler climates. Special care should be taken when cleaning your Sealy's ears. While grooming your Sealy, always take a moment to examine its eyes for any signs of problems or infections.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
Sealyham Terriers have very few health problems. They are allergic to fleas, are prone to deafness, and may have skin sensitivities. One of the most important health issues for the Sealyham Terrier is the potential for getting an eye disease that is known as lens luxation. All Sealy owners should stay alert to the possible symptoms of the onset of lens luxation. The disease tends to appear most frequently in dogs 3-4 years old and older. If you suspect lens luxation, you may only have a matter of a few days to get a diagnosis and treatment to save the eye.  The life expectancy of the Sealyham Terrier is around 12-15 years.

Activity Level

The Sealyham Terrier requires moderate exercise. They enjoy securely leashed walks. They thrive on family activities and play sessions. The Sealyham is well suited for apartment and condominium living, but is equally at home in the country setting.


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