Sealyham Terriers

Although he certainly has the look of a feisty terrier, the Sealyham Terrier doesn't have the typical attitude. He's a very mellow, laid-back dog, with modest exercise requirements and a clownish spirit. He even gets along well with other dogs. All these traits serve to make him a good pet for someone who loves the high-style look of a terrier but isn’t enamored with or capable of handling that in-your-face kind of dog.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

The Sealyham Terrier is all-terrier on the outside, with the scruffy charm of his cousins and the white color of his ancestor, the West Highland White Terrier. But on the inside he's a very different dog.

Originally bred to hunt badger, he's better described as a lover, not a fighter. He's a playful dog with a big sense of humor, and while he has a tendency to bark a bit more than most people might like, at only 20-25 pounds he is the perfect size for an apartment. He's a light shedder and is child-friendly, dog-friendly, and doesn't even have an overwhelming desire to chase cats.

If the show ring is in his future, the Sealyham's coat will have to be "hand-stripped," a labor-intensive task that involves pulling out dead coat a little bit at a time, using a special tool. Dogs whose career involves your sofa and garden will simply need to be kept brushed and occasionally clipped for neatness and to minimize shedding and matting of the coat.

Health Issues Common to Sealyham Terriers

The Sealyham Terrier is one of the healthiest of the dog breeds, with a genetic eye defect known as lens luxation, allergies, disk problems, and ear and bladder infections being the most common issues of concern.

The American Sealyham Terrier Club funds research into allergies and lens luxation in the breed, in the hope of finding genetic markers and developing screening tests for these problems. To that end, they've created a registry for Sealyham eye health tracking, the SIGHT Registry.

A good Sealyham breeder should also have Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) documentation that their breeding dogs' eyes are healthy, based on an eye exam performed within the last year. Sealyham owners should have their dogs' eyes tested annually by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

Although allergies and other diseases that affect the Sealyham have no screening tests at this time, your puppy's breeder should be willing -- eager, in fact -- to go over the health histories of his parents and their close relatives, and discuss how prevalent those particular health concerns are in his lines.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Cataracts Medium $1,000-$5,000
Deafness High $100-$300
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye) High $200-$1,000

6 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Sealyham Terrier Puppy

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questioned asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you'll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Start your search for a good breeder on the website of the Sealyham Terrier Club of America, which maintains a referral list for breeders; choose one who has agreed to be bound by the club's Code of Ethics, which requires that its members pledge not to sell puppies to pet stores and outlines the responsibilities of its member breeders to the dogs they produce and the people who buy them.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing, and any breeder who says her lines are free of all these problems, or that they're not a concern, is either lying or knows almost nothing about Sealyham Terriers. Look for your puppy elsewhere.

Although Sealyham Terriers are rarely found in shelters or rescue, if you do find one, don't hesitate to consider an adult dog. Many of the health and behavior problems in Sealyham Terriers aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Sealyham Terrier can live to be 12 years of age or more, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.

Puppy or adult, take your Sealyham Terrier to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues, and in particular to watch out for the early signs of knee problems.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Sealyham Terriers

Pet insurance for Sealyham Terriers costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Sealyham Terriers are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance offers full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Sealyham Terriers are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Sealyham Terrier is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.