~ Airedale and Sealyham ~
~ The Sealyham ~
The Sealyham terrier saw the light of day at the Sealyham estate in Harverfordwest in Wales in 1850. The man behind the breed was Captain John Edwardes, who wanted a new type of hunting dog for badgers, foxes and otters. In his opinion, the dogs available were not sharp enough. He wanted to have a completely fearless dog that was small enough to enter burrows. It was to be white, so the other dogs in the pack would not mistake it for anything else when it re-emerged smelling of fox or some other ‘pest’.
In order to produce such a dog he made use – as far as is known (there is nothing in writing) – Wire Fox Terrier, Welsh Corgi, Cheshire Terrier (an extinct small white bull terrier), Dandie Dinmont and West Highland White Terrier. Each breed had its own distinctive characteristics to add, e.g. colour, sharpness, low-to-ground, coat and stamina.
John Edwardes was so preoccupied with the sharpness and fearlessness of the breed that the small Sealyham puppies were tested out on rats. Those that did not kill the rats at once were shot by the captain himself. They were simply no use for breeding purposes. As young dogs they were tested out on wild cats, with the same unswerving resolve.
The breed was approved by the British kennel club in 1911 and by the American kennel club in 1913. The first Sealyham club – The Sealyham Terrier Club – was founded in 1908. In 2008, the club was thus able to hold a huge-scale centenary celebration show in Harverfordwest, with 60 dogs taking part!
The Sealyham Terrier is a small, compact dog with lots of terrier mentality – energy and drive, stubbornness and devotion. It is always in the thick of things.
Sealyhams are happy, out-going and extremely companionable dogs. In much of the literature the Sealyham is described as being reserved towards strangers – this is simply not true about most of them in present-day Denmark. The Sealyham is the clown of terriers – full of fun and mischief. And if its owner should happen not to be in the best of moods on a particular day, Sealy is quick to find some amusing thing to do that will cheer its owner up. A Sealyham is always off on new adventures – whether it be to chase the neighbour’s cat, lie in wait for chickens or dig the vegetable garden. And everything takes place at a high rate of knots.
The breed does not bark all that much, although there are exceptions here, as in everything else. Nor do they have a tendency to wander off. Outdoors, as mentioned, they are extremely active, but indoors they are calm and adapt very much to the activity level of the family. They are very good with children, and simply go away if things get too boisterous. They are quite good at obedience and love agility. Generally speaking, they like everything that happens together with the family.
Their coat is a not unimportant factor – they need a certain amount of coat care. You should expect to have to thoroughly groom the double coat at least once a week, as it has a tendency to get matted – which irritates the dog a lot. A Sealyham needs regular grooming (the dead hair must be pulled out), which means that it does not moult. It is easy to keep clean and needs seldom to be washed (except in connection with dog shows). It is important to have someone well-acquainted with the breed do the grooming, as it is easy to spoil its coat.