Originating in Wales, this sturdy member of the Terrier
Group was bred to hunt badger, fox, and otter. Historians generally
agree that the Welsh Terrier is descended from the Old English Black
and Tan Terrier. Some of England's earliest sporting prints portray
couples of roughcoated black and tan terriers, similar to the modern
Welsh Terrier. It is reported that as far back as 1737 considerable
in-breeding took place in order to preserve the purity of the breed-a
practice which, no doubt, established the strong Welsh character
The first show at which separate classes were held
for Welsh Terriers was held at Caernarfon, Wales in 1885. Then,
as the popularity of the breed grew, classes were put on throughout
the British Isles. In 1886 The Kennel Club (England) sanctioned
the Welsh Terrier breed standard and, basically, this same standard
is in use today. In Britain a slightly larger dog is preferred.
This is one of the characteristics that distinguishes this breed
from the Lakeland Terrier, whom the Welsh Terrier closely resembles.
Another is his coat which is always black (or black grizzle) and
tan. Because of this colouration the Welsh Terrier is popularly
compared to a "miniature Airedale." But the Welshman is
very much his own breed. Spunky, loyal, and an excellent watchdog,
the breed still retains much of its hunting instinct. It is said
that with very little training he could be used as a gun dog.
The first two specimens of the breed came to America
in 1885. Both were imported and shown by Mr. Prescott Lawrence.
The Welsh were first shown in separate classes in 1888 and in 1903
the first Welsh Terrier champion was recorded in the American Kennel
Club Stud Book.
In Canada the breed was first shown at a Toronto dog
show held in conjunction with Canada's Industrial Exhibition. These
were British-bred Welsh Terriers imported from Glansevin Kennels
by Miss Beardmore of Torrington Farm, Toronto.
Image courtesy of Darwyn Welsh Terriers