A Sealyham is a big dog in a small compass, intelligent, sensible and companionable. He takes his name from his place of origin, Sealyham Mansion, Sealyham, an estate in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where he evolved as a sporting dog, mainly used in Badger digging.
The breed was first recognised by the Kennel Club in 1910, being at the height of its popularity from early 1920 to mid 1930, often being used in advertisements and on stage. He became a favourite of the Hollywood set, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Alfred Hitchcock all fell for his charms, Hitchcock even had his Sealyhams playing cameo roles in his films with him. The Royal family also kept Sealyhams with the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret having their favourites.
At one time the breed would regularly register over 1000 puppies a year with the Kennel Club, whilst in 2008 just 43 pups were registered. The Kennel Club have recognised the breed as a vulnerable breed and as such breeders are striving to keep the breed alive whilst keeping health and temperament to the fore.
Sealyham Terriers should not exceed 31cms (12ins) at the shoulder and weight should be between 8.2kgs (18lbs) and 9kgs (20lbs) for dogs. He has a wiry top coat and a weather resistant undercoat; he can be all white in colour or white with tan, blue or badger (mix of Black & Brown) markings on the head and ears. Puppies are the prettiest of any breed, but it must be remembered that they are terriers and the tenacity that was called for as a working dog will still be in their make-up, in fact there is a working pack of Sealyham Terriers used regularly to rid farmsteads of vermin, these little dogs are receiving complementary reports from many who have seen them work.
Sealyhams respond to affection, and are eager to please, making training easy for the owner willing to spend time and patience with a firm but kindly approach to training. They become devoted pets for the young and old alike. Although originally a rural dog Sealyhams can be at home in a town or city.
Sealyham Terriers will need trimming professionally at least three times a year to be clipped or more correctly hand stripped, it is not impossible for the owner to learn how to prepare their dogs coats, breeders are usually willing to help and the breed clubs run grooming demonstrations occasionally.
Regular grooming must be done daily to keep knots from forming; this time should also be spent checking eyes, ears and feet for any problems.
Generally healthy little dogs one should buy from breeders who regularly test their breeding stock under the BVA/KC/ISDS eye schemes for Primary Lens Luxation and Total Retinal Dysplasia, as in the past these conditions have been present. Care should be taken regarding allowing Sealyhams to jump from furniture, stairs, cars etc. as a number of Sealyhams have suffered from back problems, veterinary professionals are working with the breeders to see if there is a hereditary link or if it is a “life style” problem. As with most short legged, oblong shaped dogs it is the mindful owner who takes these easy precautions.
Being predominately white dogs they can be susceptible to skin problems and deafness, careful breeding has done much to exclude deafness in recent years, and if owners follow the grooming advise above, it would greatly diminish any problems of the skin. These conditions have not been mentioned to scare the prospective owner, only to inform, and as such should be used as dialogue between any prospective owner and their chosen breeder.
If you want an attractive pet that is full of fun, with a good sense of humour, has a non-shedding coat, that’s a handy size, then the Sealyham Terrier could be the breed for you, but take heed, once a Sealy owner always a Sealy owner!