|...Life With Welsh Terriers...
|You’ve just brought home your smart, sweet, willful, lively little black-and-tan ball of fuzz. Of course, he did not come from a
puppy mill via a pet shop or from someone breeding his pet Welsh to any available male. He came from a knowledgeable, caring
hobby breeder, probably from a litter containing a couple of show-quality puppies – maybe he is one of them! What should you
expect from life with little Cymro (“Welshman” in Welsh) as he grows up?
The first thing which strikes owners of a first Welsh is their activity level. Busy, busy, busy. While they aren’t “bouncing off the
walls” active, they make it their business to follow you everywhere, investigate everything in their domain and trying to entice you
into play as often as possible. This need for activity makes it essential to give puppies enough stimulation and exercise, since
bored puppies can be spectacularly destructive.
These dogs are very sensitive to movement – rather like sight hounds -- so movement either indoors or out quickly gets their
attention. This and their lightning-quick reflexes make them excellent vermin killers (everything from mice on up). As
independent hunters, Welshes weren’t bred to look up to a master for orders as sporting dogs were. For the terrier it’s “Go
down the hole, drag out the fox.” This same delightfully tough independence can make Welshes a challenge to train; everything
distracts them! Fortunately they usually show extreme devotion to food. Thus, reward-based training is definitely the way to go.
Friendliness to people is a particularly engaging breed trait. Don’t expect a Welsh to be a guard dog, though he will let you know
when someone comes. Every guest gets the “A” welcome from Cymro! Friendliness with other dogs can be an entirely
different matter, though dogs vary tremendously in this regard. A puppy altered young, before sexual maturity, will lose a lot of
that inborn dog-aggressiveness, especially if he has also been exposed to lots of other dogs in play situations. Despite this, it’s
always a good idea to introduce a Welsh to another dog very carefully. He may not want to start a fight, but he will certainly
Don’t expect little Cymro, sweet as he is, to have more than a few functional brain cells until he’s about a year old, with real
maturity upstairs arriving at about age 2. But by all means start obedience training right away, since nobody likes an out-of-
control adolescent brat. Repetition and food rewards should produce some results – mix in a lot of patience, too. Training,
besides making Cymro a little more civilized, also impresses on him who’s boss.
That MUST be you, or very bad things can happen when the adorable puppy hits adolescence. For instance, puppy “mouthing”
turns into something a lot less cute when all those very large adult teeth come in. It may be cute to watch a little puppy protect his
food or toys, but not when he decides to attack any “thief.” Cymro has to learn that you are his God, the source of everything
good in his life -- things which can be taken away as well as given. This may all seem obvious, but the Welsh’s baby cuteness
makes it easy to forget the strong will inside that hard little head. A leading cause of dogs’ being given up to Rescue is out-of-
control behavior leading to “I’m in charge” aggressiveness.
An adult Welsh, past all the baby and adolescent bumps in the road, will be a delightful companion for 12 or 13 years, often
longer. Unlike big dogs, Cymro will be “young” and playful right up to old age. Successful 10-year-old agility competitors are
certainly not unknown! Though Welshes can be afflicted by any disease dogs can have, they typically retain their health, beauty
and vigor into old age. Take good care of him, and Cymro will be the best dog you’ve ever had.