Description & History

Captain John Edwardes, a soldier and sportsman, bred these terriers on his estate - Sealy Ham - which is situated between Haverfordwest and Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Captain Edwardes developed the Sealyham sometime after 185O for his own requirements, as he was not content with the existing terriers and mongrels on the estate.

The exact ancestry of these dogs is not known, but it is believed to include the Dandie Dinmont, the West Highland White, the Wire Fox Terrier, the Welsh Corgi and the Bull Terrier.

The Sealyham was bred to be workmanlike. It had to be capable of bolting the fox and the otter and drawing the badger. Other vermin such as rats, stoats and weasels were also hunted by this plucky little dog.

Another of the breed's attributes was speed. Captain Edwardes was a hunting man and therefore required a dog that was fast enough to accompany him and his hounds for otter-hunting. Agility and courage were also needed for disposing of polecats which, during the latter part of the nineteenth century, were abundant in the woods near the Captain's home.

No dog was kept in the kennels unless it was able to dispose of a polecat single-handed. The Captain had hard and fast rules concerning this matter; if any dog of about one year old was not capable of tackling and killing its quarry it was shot immediately.

Sealyhams are escape artists and enjoy nothing better than a few hours hunting on their own if the opportunity arises. Nowadays this is not very often and they have to be content with being much loved pets and successful show dogs.

The Sealyham Terrier Club was formed in 19O8 and the breed was recognised by the British Kennel Club in 1911. By the 192Os they had become popular in the show ring and many of the best dogs and bitches went to America where they won top awards.

Rosamund Walters.

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