by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 17, 2009)
Just as the Welsh people are the purest of British lineage, so is the Welsh Terrier of the oldest type of British Terrier. It is said that one of the earliest Welsh Terriers were brought to Harlech in 1854. The dog was described as being a great improvement on the old Welsh Terrier stock.
The rough-haired black and tan Terrier is found in many old prints and paintings of even earlier days and the type commonly known as the Old English Terrier or Black and Tan Wire Haired Terrier was one and the same with the Welsh. However the latter came to be bred on slightly longer legs and a larger head was desired rather than the short, stumpy head considered correct at an earlier period. The color of the Welsh, however, is as it was a hundred years ago.
As late as 1886, only one class was allotted by the Kennel Club Stud Book for Welsh or Old English Wire-haired Black and Tan Terriers which bears out the fact that they were the same. In 1888 the class in the Kennel Club Stud Book was altered to Welsh Terrier. Although an attempt was made to form an Old English Terrier Club, it failed and the name of the breed, as such, was eliminated from combination with Welsh. However, the similarity was still so marked that in the Darlington Show in 1893, a Welsh Terrier was entered in two classes, both as a Welsh Terrier and Old English Terrier, winning first prize in the former and reserve in the latter. He continued his dual role until 1896 and then emerged as third in the Old English Terriers.
The Welsh Terrier displays great gameness. He is alert, aware and very spirited. He has a great desire to please and is highly intelligent.
Welsh Terriers should stand about 15 inches and weigh about 20 pounds. The head should be broader than that of the Fox Terrier but the skull should be very flat and the eyes set fairly far apart to give the characteristic and unmistakable Welsh expression so different from other Terriers.
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