Sealyham Terriers

Breed: Sealyham Terrier
Temperament: lively, exuberant
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Maintenance: high
Recommended for: families

Terriers are terriers the world over: lively, people-loving, feisty, and always great company. Distinguishing them, then, is down to appearance, like the smartly-clipped Scottie or the sleek Jack Russell, but the most eccentric must be the Sealyham with his long fringe!


The Sealyham is a neat, strong dog ranging in size from 25-30cm (10-12in.) and weighing 8-9kg (18-20lb). Colours may be all white, or white with tan, brown, blue or badger pied markings on the head and ears. The neck is long and muscular while the legs are short and stocky.


While the Sealyham has a reputation for being obstinate, most owners say they are affectionate and protective towards their families and sociable with other humans. They should be watched around other dogs as they wouldn’t back off in a stoush. Some owners say they can become cantankerous as they get older.

Health & breeding

Breeders have reported some retinal (eye) problems in the breed. Pale coloured dogs should be watched for sunburn. Weight can be a problem as they love their food and aren’t fussy about what they eat! There are usually 4-6 puppies per litter with few whelping problems. But puppies are rare in Australia and people wanting them would need to go on a waiting list.


Show dogs have their coats stripped twice a year to remove faded outer coat and allow the new, coloured coat to show through. The coat does not shed easily so needs to be brushed thoroughly 2-3 times a week at least, ideally daily. Pet owners can clip the coat, but the trademark fringe still needs a daily comb to prevent matting.

Space and exercise

Breeders say their dogs can become couch potatoes if allowed, so a regular walk, of 30 minutes a few times a week should keep them trim. Yard size is not important if exercised regularly.

Ideal owner

Sealyhams are said to be suited to families with children, although a responsible attitude is important with this breed which can think and act for itself, and may prove its reputation for being obstinate. We showed many older people who had owned Sealyhams for years and found them ideal companions!


Terriers are notoriously difficult to train unless special tactics are employed to suit the individual dog, and Sealyhams are no exception, some showing remarkable resistance to training! While obedience training is recommended by some dog books, a breeder tells us there are no Sealyhams doing obedience work in Australia. Patience and special rewards are recommended.


Sealyhams are yet another breed which was developed with a specific purpose in mind during the 1800s. The squire of Sealyham, Captain John Edwardes, is said to have used West Highland White Terriers and Dandie Dinmonts in the creation of a terrier with courage and conformation to confront larger vermin such as polecats and badgers. Today’s Sealyham retains its self-confidence and courage but seems a much more amiable dog than his working ancestors.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409