The Sealyham Terrier (Welsh: Daeargi Sealyham) is a rare Welsh breed of small to medium-sized terrier that originated in Wales as a working dog.
The breed was developed between 1850 and 1891 by Captain John Edwardes, at Sealyham House, near Wolfscastle in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire. Originally the breed was used for pest control, to hunt small game, and to eliminate vermin, particularly badgers, which he usually relocated. The Welsh Corgi, Fox Terrier (Wire), and the now extinct English White Terrier all played a part in the makeup of the Sealyham although Edwardes did not keep records. He wanted a small white dog with a strong jaw, and a wiry coat. The white coat was particularly prized, as it meant that the hunter in the field could distinguish the dogs from the quarry.
The Sealyham reached peak popularity between World War I and World War II. Famous owners of Sealyhams include Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Alfred Hitchcock. Sealyhams were also popular with British Royalty in the mid-20th century.
Sealyham Terriers have a white double coat which requires regular brushing with a wire comb in order to prevent matting. It has a dense undercoat, while the outer coat is wiry and weather resistant.
Markings on the face can be in a variety of colours including lemon, black, brown, blue, and badger, which is a mix of brown and black. Heavy body markings or patches or excessive ticking on the coat are discouraged Sealyhams are low to the ground, and in muddy weather their long coats can become quite dirty. They can easily be clipped short all over and still keep a distinguished look.
Although happy in the company of others, they are fine if left alone. Sealyham Terriers are suited for both the town and country. They can be stubborn and boisterous but also full of personality.
While they make for loyal family companions, they can be trained to be working dogs, making them excellent mousers or ratters. They can also be taught as a puppy to get along with other animals, including cats and birds.
Sealyhams have a wonderful sense of humour and are always ready to play. Because they were bred to hunt in a pack, they typically gets along well with other dogs in the home, as well as people.
Although loyal and affectionate with their families, Sealyham Terriers can be a bit reserved around strangers and therefore make good watchdogs. Their bark is surprisingly loud and deep, but they can be trained to be quiet on command. They are fond of chasing rabbits, birds, and even other dogs and cats.
Sealyham Terriers are happy little dogs, but they can have a dominant personality if not kept in check by a firm, consistent master. Successfully training them requires firm, consistent handling. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as food rewards, praise, and play. All Terriers are rambunctious, even the laidback Sealyham.
Sealies are generally good with other pets, including cats, especially if they’re raised with them.