In the Mid Nineteenth centery in Pembrokeshire, Wales, a sportsman by the name of Captain John Edwardes set out to develop his ideal of the perfect working terrier, one that performed equally well as a hunt terrier in company with Edwardes’ pack of Otterhounds and as a vermin router that was small enough to slip down a badger hole.
Edwardes kept no records of the breeds he used to create the Sealyham-so named after his family’s Wales estate. Nor did he imagine that his terrier would become a recognized breed destined to achieve great honour in the show ring. His only concern was to develop an uncommonly game terrier and, to this end, young dogs had to survive harsh testing before Edwardes considered them acceptable.
Thus the breeds used to develop the courageous Sealyham remain a matter of guesswork. Those assumed to be included in the breed’s ancestry are the Welsh Corgi, Flanders Basset, Dandie Dinmont, Bull, West Highland White, Wire Fox, and Old English White Terriers.
After Edwardes’ death in 1891 others took up the cause of the Sealyham. Most significant was the work done by Fred Lewis, who is regarded as the father of the breed. It was Lewis who founded the Sealyham Club in Britain in 1908, an organization which was successful in gaining official breed recognition from The Kennel Club (England) in 1911. In that same year the Sealyham was also accorded breed status by the American Kennel Club. The first registration of a Sealyham Terrier in Canada is recorded in The Canadian Kennel Club Stud Book for the years 1916 – 1917 when one individual was registered.
Although still not seen in great numbers at championship shows on this continent, the quality of the entry remains high.