Breed history.

The Sealyham Terrier is a native Welsh breed that was created through the efforts of Captain John Tucker Edwardes of the Sealyham Estate, from which the breed takes its name, in Pembrokeshire West Wales in the mid 1800’s.

Captain Edwardes was a soldier and sportsman. He retired in 1848 at the age of 40 years. He spent a lot of his retirement hunting around his home. The local game being fox, badger, otter and polecat. For this he used Otterhounds in packs and the small local terriers. These terriers didn’t suit Captain Edwardes for many reasons. The terrier he wanted should be a small shortlegged active dog capable of entering an earth, with a powerful jaw. He also desired the terrier to be mainly white.

It is not known for certain which breeds the captain used to create the Sealyham Terrier. It is thought that he used the Welsh Corgi for its size, length of back and lowness to ground. Others however say the Sealyham was in fact the progenitor of the Corgi itself! In his book “Terriers of the World” Tom Horner says that without no doubt the Dandie Dinmont was used to shorten the legs. The Cheshire Terrier, a small Bull Terrier was probably used for gameness. But here there is disagreement among the historians. Sir Jocelyn Lucas, kept , bred and worked with Sealyhams for many years , he suggests in his book "The new book of the Sealyham" (1929) that the white, smooth-coated breed known as the Cheshire Terrier was the natural choice for Captain Edwardes to use. It had what he was looking for in his terrier and lived fairly close by. Other historians dismiss both the Dandie Dinmont and the Bull Terrier and put forward the West Highland White Terrier instead as being the breed that Captain Edwardes used. This is based on Captain Edwardes friendship with the Marquis of Bute who owned estates in Wales and was a personal friend of Colonel Malcolm of Poltallock in Scotland, on whose estate the West Highland White Terrier, formerly known as the Portallock Terrier, was first bred. Another breed that was probably used in the development of the breed was the Fox Terrier.

In 1908 the Sealyham Terrier Club was formed and the breed was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1910. The breeds first Champion was St Brides Demon, made up in 1911. In 1912 the Sealyham Terrier Breeders and badger digging Association was formed to promote and protect the working instincts of the breed.

In its early days the breed grew very quickly in popularity. At some of the very early shows entries were in the hundreds. At one show held at Slade, Pembrokeshire in 1914, called the “Pembrokeshire Hunt Hound Puppy and Sealyham Terrier Show” there were 19 classes scheduled. There was no entry fee and the judges were Mr H Ridley and Major Harry Jones. There was an entry of 600 dogs at this show with 71 in the Open Dog Class and 64 in the Open Bitch Class! That entry was astounding and has never been equalled since.

In more present times however the breed has not held onto its early popularity and is on the Kennel Clubs list of native vulnerable breeds. These day’s entries at shows are much lower than in the early days. The breed still has a dedicated band of breeders and exhibitors though and can still be a challenge to the numerically stronger breeds in the terrier group competition at shows.


The breed standard.

General Appearance
Free-moving, active, balanced and of great substance in small compass. General outline oblong, not square.

Sturdy, game and workmanlike.

Alert and fearless but of friendly disposition.

Head and Skull
Skull slightly domed and wide between ears. Cheek bones not prominent. Punishing square jaw, powerful and long. Nose black.

Dark, well set, round, of medium size. Dark, pigmented eye rims preferred but unpigmented tolerated.

Medium- sized, slightly rounded at tip and carried at side of cheek.

Teeth level and strong with canines fitting well into each other and long for size of dog. Jaws strong with regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Fairly long, thick and muscular on well laid shoulders.

Forelegs short, strong and as straight as possible consistent with chest being well let down. Point of shoulder in line with point of elbow which should be close to side of chest.

Medium in length, level and flexible with ribs well sprung. Chest broad and deep, well let down between forelegs.

Notably powerful for size of dog. Thighs deep and muscular with well bent stifle. Hocks strong, well bent and parallel to each other.

Round and cat-like with thick pads. Feet pointing directly forward.

Customarily undocked.

Undocked: Medium length of tail to give a general balance to the dog. Thick at root and tapering towards tip. Ideally carried erect, but not excessively over the back, and with no curl or twist. Quarters should protrude beyond set of tail.

Brisk and vigorous with plenty of drive.

Long, hard and wiry topcoat with weather-resistant undercoat.

All white or white with lemon, brown, blue or badger pied markings on head and ears. Much black and heavy ticking undesirable.

Height should not exceed 31 cms (12 ins) at shoulder. Ideal weight: dogs approximately 9 kgs (20 lbs); bitches approximately 8 kgs (18 lbs). General conformation, overall balance, type and substance are main criteria.

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.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.