Welsh Terriers are an alert, spirited terrier of medium size that originates from Wales, where they were bred to hunt rodents, badger and fox. And thankfully, they don’t shed much.
Welsh Terriers have a coarse, wiry top coat and a short, soft undercoat that sheds very little year round. However, they do require more effort to groom than most dogs, so unless you hire a professional groomer, you will need to spend some time maintaining his coat.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how much Welshies shed, what they’re like to groom, and how they compare to similar dogs like the Airedale Terrier.
Welsh Terrier Shedding
Welsh Terriers are a low shedding breed.
They shed about the same as similar low shedding breeds like the Airedale Terrier, Lakeland Terrier and Wire Haired Fox Terrier for example. Which makes them a great choice if you don’t want to spend much time cleaning up dog fur.
How much hair a dog sheds really comes down to the individual breed. But factors such as what sort of coat they have, the time of year, and what you feed them can make a difference.
Read: Dog Shedding FAQ (Helpful Guide)
They do shed a little bit year round, but it’s not very noticeable. Especially since their wiry coat tends to trap the hairs that do fall out. So, as long as you brush them a few times per week, the majority of hair that falls out will be in the brush, rather than on your floors or furniture.
The other great thing about the Welshies coat is that, even though it has an undercoat, it doesn’t shed very much seasonally. Some dogs, like the Chow Chow for example, shed their thick double coats heavily during seasons like spring and autumn, but that’s not the case with a Welsh Terrier.
You may notice a bit of an uptick in shedding during this time, but overall it’s very minimal and quite easy to get under control.
Are They Hypoallergenic?
If you check the American Kennel Club’s website, on the page where they list hypoallergenic dog breeds, you’ll notice that the Welsh Terrier is not listed as being hypoallergenic. But some say that it is.
What should you believe? Well, I think it’s important to first start with what a hypoallergenic dog is and what it’s not.
According to Wikipedia, a hypoallergenic dog breed is one that is generally considered to be more suitable for allergy sufferers. It does not mean the dog is completely non-allergenic.
No dog is 100% hypoallergenic, not even hairless breeds. It’s just that some dogs are more suitable than others. And this is mostly determined by how much dander their coat produces and how much they shed.
Dog allergens don’t come from the hair itself, they mostly come from the dog’s dander, along with things like dried saliva and sweat. And since all dogs produces these, any dog can cause problems for those who suffer from allergies.
The reason shedding makes a difference is because dander attaches itself to a dog’s fur, so the more that old fur spreads throughout your home, the more likely it is to come into contact with you.
So, to circle back to the question of whether the Welsh Terrier is non-allergenic, the answer is – it depends on who you ask. But at the same time, they are low shedding and therefore may not be as bad for allergy sufferers as a heavy shedding breed like the Saint Bernard.
Grooming Your Welsh Terrier
Welsh Terriers don’t shed much, but they do require more effort than the average dog to brush and groom.
They’re not as high maintenance as a Bolognese dog, Shih Tzu, or Afghan Hound for example, but they’re not far off it when you consider what goes into maintaining their coat.
Welshies have a waterproof double coat (top coat and undercoat). Their top coat is made up of hard, short to medium, wiry hairs that come in black and tan. And their undercoat is soft and dense.
It’s very common for dogs to have a double coat. This is what keeps them warmer in winter and cooler in summer, so an undercoat can be a real asset to hunting type dogs. However, it does mean a little extra effort when it comes to brushing, since you’re brushing two coats instead of just one.
But that’s not really what makes them high maintenance.
It’s their wiry top coat. Because for starters, as with most wire-textured coats, they are prone to mats and knots, not to mention dirt and debris get caught up in them. So brushing at least a few times per week is needed, and is beneficial in a few main ways.
Firstly, brushing helps to remove the mats and tangles. Second, it removes the dead hair from his coat before it falls out and starts floating around your home. And third, it helps to spread his coat oils which in turn promotes a healthier, more moisture rich coat that overall won’t shed as much.
The other reason his coat is considered fairly high maintenance is because it needs to be either hand stripped 2-3 times per year, or clipped about every two months.
Hand stripping is a tedious method of removing the old hairs by hand, and is generally something that is better handled by a professional groomers. So if you don’t want to do this, clipping is the solution.
You shouldn’t shave your Welsh Terrier all the way down to the skin though, because they need their undercoat. But clipping a reasonable amount off of his coat can help save you a lot of time when it comes to brushing.
What sort of brush should you use? A slicker brush and metal comb work well, and if you want a little extra power, try an undercoat rake.
Aside from brushing and clipping, the occasional bath (with a quality dog shampoo), teeth cleaning and nail trimming are tasks that should be included as part of a regular grooming routine.
How Do They Compare to Other Terriers?
Welshies are true terriers. They have that independent, spirited nature about them, but are also known for being cheerful, affectionate, and one of the calmer terriers of the lot.
Although he still needs to be socialized early to avoid issues with other dogs, and hiring a professional trainer can make the world of difference.
How do they compare with other terriers? Well, among the most similar breeds of terrier are probably the Airedale Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Irish Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier.
In terms of height, they’re about the same as a Lakeland and Wire Fox Terrier (give or take an inch), shorter than an Irish Terrier, and much shorter than the Airedale. And when it comes to looks, he’s basically a miniature version of the Airedale.
All of these terriers are about the same when it comes to shedding and grooming. Overall, they are fairly low shedding and moderate to high maintenance with respect to grooming.
If you’re looking for an easier terrier to groom, the Fox Terrier (standard) requires minimal effort to brush, but does shed more. Or the Boston Terrier is a great alternative, as these are both low shedding and easy to groom.
Either way, Welsh Terriers make great family companions that won’t fill your home with fur. And even though they’re not the lowest maintenance dog out there, brushing isn’t difficult and can actually be an enjoyable experience for both him and you.