There are 5 Welsh breeds of dog: 2 types of corgi, the Pembroke and the Cardigan, the Welsh Terrier, the Welsh Springer Spaniel and the now endangered Sealyham Terrier.
Sealyham Mansion in Pembrokeshire is near Haverfordwest and was the home of Captain John Tucker Edwardes who created the breed between 1850 and 1891. He was a huntsman who wanted a terrier that would be a small short-legged active dog capable of going to earth, with a powerful jaw. He also wanted the terrier to be mainly white, as coloured specimens were prone to be worried by the hounds that they worked with. His new breed of Terrier was noted for its ability in quarrying badger, otter, and fox. The breed went on to become hugely popular as a companion in the 1920s and 1930s but today it is one of the UK’s rarest breeds.
In the past they have been owned by Princess Margaret, Humphrey Bogart and other famous people, now they are rarer than tigers. Alfred Hitchcock’s Sealyham Terriers even made an appearance at the beginning of The Birds. Winning Best in Show at Crufts in 2009 did not improve their popularity as it was the first year the BBC did not cover the show.
We had a Sealyham Terrier when I was a child and I also had one of my own a few years ago, they are real characters, friendly to everyone and can be as much at home in the town as in the country. Supple, active, ready to romp and play, they make intelligent and charming companions, happy to be with you or able to make their own amusement, whichever the occasion demands. It would be such a shame if we were to lose such a wonderful Pembrokeshire breed.
Thanks to Julie Moyes, Hon. Secretary of the Sealyham Terrier Breeders Association, who gave us permission to use the photographs of her Plumhollow Sealyham Terriers.