Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Sealyham Terrier: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Sealyham Terrier lies on a grass outdoor

Sealyham Terrier: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Sealyham Terriers are a charming and spirited breed known for their distinctive appearance and affectionate nature. Originally bred in Wales, they have a rich history dating back to the 19th century. Despite their small size, Sealyhams possess a big personality and make wonderful companions for the right owner.

Read along as we delve into the world of Sealyham Terriers, including their history, characteristics, care needs, health considerations, and more.

Breed Overview


10–12 inches


20–24 pounds


12–14 years


All white or white with lemon, brown, blue, or badger markings

Suitable for:

Families or singles, can live in large or small homes; needs supervision when around small children


Strong-willed, boisterous, intelligent, inquisitive, outgoing

These terriers have a charming and affectionate disposition, although they can be reserved with strangers. They are known for their intelligence, determination, and lively personality. Sealyhams are generally good with children and other pets when properly socialized from a young age.

Sealyham Terriers Characteristics

Sealyham Terriers Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Sealyham Puppies

sealyhamm terrier puppy standing on the grass looking at the camera
Image by: Wild Carpathians, Shutterstock

Sealyham puppies are adorable little bundles of energy. They embody many of the same traits as their parents: independence, a loving nature, and a tendency to be stubborn. Socialize a Sealyham puppy early and often to ensure they know how to act around people and other dogs.

Because they are considered rare, particularly in the United States, you will need to go through a breeder if you are looking for a purebred puppy. You can find a reputable and ethical breeder by contacting local dog shows, local breed clubs or using the American Kennel Club’s online list of breeder referrals.

Sealyham Terrier Origin & History

The Sealyham Terrier breed was developed in the 19th century by Captain John Edwardes of Sealyham House in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Captain Edwardes aimed to create a small terrier breed suitable for hunting small game, including otters, foxes, and badgers. He crossed various terrier breeds, including the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Bull Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, and possibly others, to achieve the desired traits. The breed was officially recognized by The Kennel Club (UK) in 1910 and gained popularity both as a working terrier and as a companion dog among the British aristocracy.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Sealyham Terrier

Sealyham Terriers are renowned for their unique temperament and intelligence, making them cherished companions for many dog owners. Understanding their temperament and intelligence can provide valuable insights into their behavior and needs as pets.

Sealyham Terriers are known for their affectionate nature towards their owners and family. They often form strong bonds with their humans and enjoy spending quality time together. These terriers are fiercely loyal to their families and often exhibit protective instincts towards their loved ones. They may be wary of strangers initially but can warm up quickly with proper introductions and socialization, preferably from puppyhood. Despite their small size, Sealyham Terriers are courageous and confident. Historically bred as working terriers, they have a bold and tenacious nature, which makes them excellent watchdogs and mousers/ratters.

Sealyhams are independent thinkers with a streak of stubbornness at times. While they are intelligent and eager to please, they may have their own plans and require patient and consistent training. These terriers are playful and energetic, often enjoying games and activities that stimulate their minds and bodies. They thrive on interactive play and regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Sealyham Terriers are considered highly intelligent dogs, capable of learning and mastering a variety of commands and tasks. Their intelligence makes them quick learners, but it also means they need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and behavioral issues. Due to their intelligence and problem-solving abilities, Sealyhams may exhibit a curious nature and a knack for getting into mischief if left unattended for too long. Providing them with appropriate toys, puzzles, and training challenges can help focus their energy and prevent destructive behaviors.

While intelligent, Sealyham Terriers can also be independent-minded, which may pose challenges during training. Positive reinforcement-based training methods, consistency, and patience are key to successfully teaching them obedience and good manners.

Despite their small size, Sealyham Terriers are adaptable dogs that can thrive in various living environments, including apartments, suburban homes, or rural settings. They are equally content indoors with their families or exploring the outdoors during walks and adventures.

Sealyham Terrier and golden retriever dog playing together
Image Credit: Utekhina Anna, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Sealyham Terriers make a good match for families that want to shower these little fireballs with affection and give them lots of opportunities to release their energy. They love to play and interact with their humans. Sealyhams should be well socialized and trained before being around small children, as they can accidentally play too rough with pets, eliciting a defensive response from the dog.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽

Sealyham Terriers can be friendly and sociable companions who enjoy the company of other dogs when properly socialized and supervised. By providing them with positive experiences, training, and guidance, you can help ensure that they develop good manners and enjoy fulfilling relationships with their canine companions.

Because of their natural hunting instinct, exercise caution when your Sealyham is around cats and keep them away from small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs altogether.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

Things to Know When Owning a Sealyham Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Provide a balanced diet formulated for small to medium-sized breeds. Ensure that their food meets their nutritional requirements and avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, which can lead to health issues. Buy the highest quality food you can afford for your favorite pooch.

Exercise 🐕

Sealyham Terriers are active dogs that require regular exercise to stay mentally and physically healthy. Daily walks, play sessions, and interactive games are essential to prevent boredom and excess energy.

Training 🎾

Sealyham Terriers are intelligent dogs but can be independent and stubborn, which may pose challenges during training. Consistent and positive reinforcement-based training methods work best with this breed. Early socialization with people, other animals, and various environments is crucial to prevent shyness or aggression towards strangers or other pets.

Two white sealyham working terrier dogs running across a river
Image Credit: Kirsty Cussens, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Their wiry coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Brushing several times a week, along with occasional baths, will help maintain their coat’s health and appearance. Additionally, regular trimming of the coat, especially around the eyes and ears, is necessary for hygiene and to prevent irritation.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies to certain foods, environmental allergens, or grooming products
Serious Conditions
  • Genetic eye diseases (lens luxation)
  • Deafness
  • Bladder infections
  • Intervertebral disc disease

Male vs Female

While individual personalities can vary widely among dogs, some general characteristics may help you decide which gender is the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences. Male Sealyham Terriers are slightly larger, more territorial, can be more aggressive or dominant, and are more sociable. Female Sealyham Terriers are slightly smaller, go through heat cycles if not spayed, and have strong maternal instincts and an affectionate nature.

Again, these are just general guidelines and individual dogs of either sex can differ widely from each other.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Sealyham Terriers

1. They are popular with celebrities.

The Sealyham Terrier 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 the British royal family in the mid-20th century. Both Queen Elizabeth II’s mother and sister, Princess Margaret, had Sealyhams.

2. The movie The Birds featured two Sealyhams.

The famous film director Alfred Hitchcock owned two Sealyhams, and they have a short cameo in his renowned movie, The Birds. In one of the first scenes of the film, the two terriers exit a pet shop with their owner.

3. They excel as show dogs.

This rare breed holds four Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show titles and a Best in Show title at Crufts, the international show dog championships. In 2023, the judges of the AKC National Dog Show in Philadelphia awarded a Sealyham Best in Show.

Sealyham Terrier Dog wet playing outdoors
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

Final Thoughts

Sealyham Terriers possess a delightful blend of affection, loyalty, courage, and intelligence, making them wonderful companions for individuals and families alike. Having one of these small but mighty dogs as a pet will certainly make you unique, as they are considered a rare dog breed. Understanding their unique temperament and intelligence can help ensure a harmonious relationship built on mutual respect, love, and companionship.

Featured Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.