Sealyham Terrier

By PetMD Editorial on Oct. 6, 2009

The Sealyham Terrier is the embodiment of power and determination. Always keen and alert, this breed from Wales is small, strong, and coordinated.

Physical Characteristics

This short-legged standard terrier is slightly long in proportion to its height. However, its short legs and strong body gives it flexibility and assists in steering itself in narrow places.

The Sealyham's weather-resistant coat is comprised of a dense, soft undercoat and a wiry, hard outer coat that is white in color. It also bears a determined, alert, and keen expression.

Personality and Temperament

The Sealyham’s playful, friendly, and outgoing nature makes it adorable. It shows complete devotion to its human family but tends to be reserved towards strangers. Even though it is one of the calmest of terriers, the Sealyham always springs to action, enjoying such things as chasing, digging, and investigating.

In fact, this can be problematic when the independent Sealyham becomes bored, as it will dig ceaselessly.


Best suited for life indoors, with access to the yard, the Sealyham can also adjust to life in an apartment. When it comes to a good exercise regime, this breed is not very demanding: a lively game session or short walk every day is good for it. As it tends to go where a scent takes it, the Sealyham Terrier should be allowed to walk off-leash only in a secure area.

The dog’s wiry coat requires combing two or three times a week and shaping once every three months. For show dogs shaping is done by stripping, while clipping is done for Sealyham dogs kept as pet .


The Sealyham Terrier, which has an average lifespan of 11 to 13 years, may be troubled with minor health problems like retinal dysplasia and lens luxation. The breed may also be susceptible to deafness. To identify some of these issues, your veterinarian may recommend eye and hearing exams for this breed of dog.

History and Background

Although there is some earlier evidence that a small, long-backed white terrier was imported to Wales in the 15th century, the Sealyham Terrier was not documented until the mid-19th century.

The Sealyham Terrier derives its name from Sealyham, Haverfordwest, Wales, the estate of Captain John Edwardes, who worked tirelessly between 1850 and 1891 to develop a small breed that always remained alert and which was suitable for quarrying badger, fox, and otter. Although the breeds he used for creating the Sealyham remain a mystery, some believe Captain Edwardes may have used the Dandie Dinmont Terrier as a base.

In 1903, the Sealyham Terrier gained entry into the show ring, as its striking appearance made it a natural for dog shows. In 1911, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed. As these terriers were outstanding hunting dogs and competitive show dogs, the demand for them increased. Even today, the Sealyham Terrier is considered an excellent dog, both in the field and in the ring.

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