Any Welsh Terrier owners out there? Can you tell me about them please? (Schnauzer as a back up!)

(48 Posts)
deepdarkwood Mon 21-Nov-16 17:52:00

We are in the process of convincing DH we need a dog - and went to the Discover Dogs event earlier in the year as part of the persuasion! We all fell absolutely in love with the Weltos - a breed I had previously assumed was a miniature Airedale blush. We talked to owners on the stand for a while, but they were not surprisingly super positive, and reading around the breed I have serious suspicions they are sadly not a good dog for us.

Our context:
- first time dog owners (both had dogs as kids - in my case a number of challenging breeds!)
- very small back garden (think yard)
- I work from home and walk most lunchtimes for 40mins or so - I will need to build up to leaving the dog a bit, but can certainly be home based to start with
- preteen/teen children - not other pets currently
- I do want a dog we can exercise in the park as well as on walks - i.e. where we can get recall good enough not to worry.

My worry is that a Welsh Terrier:
a) will be hard to train
b) may not be a good off lead dog
c) may just be a bit too much like hard work

My back up breed is a mini Schnauzer, so pretty similar in looks, but (I think) an easier option!

ClaireBlunderwood Mon 21-Nov-16 18:50:51

I've been a Welsh T owner for two months now so I'm no expert!

I always liked Schnauzers but (shallow alert) felt they were so ubiquitous where I live. It's all French Bulldogs, something poo/doodle or Schnauzers on these streets. I liked that the Welsh Terrier was similar size and non-moulting, but was on the vulnerable breeds list.

We're first-time dog owners, having grown up with some very challenging dogs (one that had a sort of Asbo against it). Also have small garden, work from home, wanted energetic dog.

I love him to pieces (with the usual caveats about frustrating poos, puppy chewing, the sudden lack of freedom). The trainer at the puppy classes, however, is a bit sniffy about Welsh Terriers, saying that they're not good with children. That is absolutely not true with ours, he's v v sweet (when not chewing). She prefers Borders, Schnauzers or Irish Terriers (too big for me). Oh and Staffs. Generally I think Schnauzers considered easier, but having said that she did concede at our last class that our puppy was unusually owner-focussed and she was revising her prejudices.

He's only 5 months but I let him off the lead in open spaces, often distracted by lots of other dogs, joggers, etc. He always comes back if I shake the treats packet. He was definitely one of the stars at puppy class in this regard. The labradoodle was completely delinquent.

To be honest, I think all dogs are hard work. And though there are breed traits, they're also individuals.

But I'd be really interested to read the comments from someone with more experience than me. So far I've no regrets about the breed (occasional post natal feelings of argggh what have I done?). He is so completely gorgeous and I love Welsh Terriers' looks and the way fellow owners are rare enough that you get really over excited when you see each other.

deepdarkwood Mon 21-Nov-16 19:05:41

Oooh, that's great - and really really reassuring (I have to admit that I am slightly in the same position ito the breed - but then I know popular breeds are popular for good reason in may cases) I saw one walking down the road near us the other day and had to stop myself from running at them to ask them 101 questions!

It certainly sounds like you have a good one :-) Do you mind me asking where/how you got him/her - pm me if you'd prefer not to put on here. My other concern is that there are so few breeders that it's going to be hard to get a pup and I'm nervous that decent breeders may turn their noses up at us!

deepdarkwood Mon 21-Nov-16 21:56:56

bump for anyone else with Welto experience :-)

BagelGoesWalking Tue 22-Nov-16 01:37:47

Why don't you look on Facebook - there must be some Welsh Terrier owner groups who may be able to help?

I would just assume that, being a terrier breed, they would have lots of energy, quite high prey drive, would need a "job" to keep them busy and out of trouble!

Here's a review of the breed -but obviously generalised. It does say, however, that first time owners may wish for a "less independent breed"

What about talking to Terrier Rescue? Interestingly, the first words on their website are these:

"Owning a terrier is about responsible management
“You can not train the terrier out of a terrier, they are their own people”.

Thewolfsjustapuppy Tue 22-Nov-16 09:13:03

I recently got an Irish Terrier, before I got her I spent a long time on Facebook groups (Irish Terrier Club, Irish Terriers, Irish Terrier Association etc) learning everything I could about the breed from other peoples posts about what their IT was up to. I'm glad I did as nothing my little IT does surprises me although she does make me laugh every single day.

As an unusual breed it took me ages to find a litter that suited me and that had a little bitch. In the end I got very lucky and befriended an IT owner then discovered that she was considering having a litter so I knew the bitch (and loved her) and the owner and had second pick of the litter (the owner of the dog had first pick).

ClaireBlunderwood Tue 22-Nov-16 10:05:24

I love Irish Terriers, they are so adorable in quite a similar way to Welsh Terriers - clearly I like what a friend calls 'retro dogs'.

I wouldn't particularly recommend the breeder I got him from - it was all kosher and kennel club registered, I spoke to the vet they used, I saw all the certificates, I just didn't feel that the breeder took enough interest in us. I kept asking her to ask us questions but she wasn't at all fussed. The ethical part of me felt we should walk away, but by this time we'd met the puppies, the timing was right and I'd been prevaricating for four years and I just felt it was now or never.

I still feel uncomfortable admitting that I bought a dog from someone I didn't respect as that's encouraging bad practices. It absolutely wasn't a puppy farm, she just wasn't my ideal breeder.

Someone recommended this site www.weltaf.co.uk/ - their dogs came from the woman who runs it. I asked to be able to access their forums which apparently have really useful advice, but never got the password. Which reminds me, I'll email them again to badger...

I always run after dog owners and ask them questions. The reason I finally got ours was because I happened to meet yet another lovely Welshie that day and her owner was really charming! Dog owners love nothing more than the chance to talk about their breed.

deepdarkwood Tue 22-Nov-16 11:27:20

Facebook groups are a great idea - why didn't I think of that? But yes, Bagel - it's been googling breed write ups/Terrier club info that has made me nervous: a few of them suggest the dogs can never be off lead for example- so I guess I was looking for some info on whether that was owners clubs being cautious and sensible, or a little on the stern side - iykwim. I'll join that weltaf site too: I remember bumbling on it early in my search but at a point where dh was still firmly in the no camp so I couldn't quite face joining to talk about an imaginary dog that I wasn't going to get ;-)

deepdarkwood Tue 22-Nov-16 11:28:51

PS Irish terriers are stunners too - but the write ups I read on them were even more feisty damning ;-)

Thewolfsjustapuppy Tue 22-Nov-16 13:16:15

They certainly have a reputation for stubbornness a feisty personality and a few Welshie owners I have spoken to say they chose the Welsh over Irish for that reason. We live in quite a rural location with a lot of access to beaches and forest so my IT will be able to run free (she is only 9 weeks old now so just running round our garden) I don't think I would have chosen the breed if we were in a confined urban environment.
I was willing to accept the strong terrier personality as I love a dog with personality (my last dog was a staff).

Thewolfsjustapuppy Tue 22-Nov-16 13:19:59

BTW even at 9 weeks our IT is fiesty, energetic and very very playful. She is also calm, intelligent and kind. She also seems to have a very good sense of humour grin and is a highly skilled thief.

ClaireBlunderwood Tue 22-Nov-16 14:04:22

I've heard that ITs are more biddable than Welshies... I've seen examples that both confirm and contradict that.

There is so much that is a) luck of the draw and b) the family environment. As I said, our trainer thinks that Welshies are very/too independent. Ours really isn't - he is obsessed with us, even when out with other dogs he's always looking back to check we're there and greets us with crazy love whenever we return to him. The recall, too, seems fine because of his love of liver/us (possibly in that order).

He's been absolutely brilliant about sleeping. He has a crate in a penned area and from day 1, he's been there from 11-6.30 or so and has weed/pooed there less than 5 times.

I'm with Wolf, I wanted a sparky dog. My brother has Cavaliers and my children went bounding off across the park calling them and these two dogs just trudged along with a top speed of 3mph. We're a lively family (er, isn't lively a euphemism teachers use to describe terrors?) and a terrier fits in.

BagelGoesWalking Tue 22-Nov-16 18:04:27

"Feisty" seems to be the word! I suppose that makes it even more important to find a good breeder where you can see the mum/dad dogs and assess their temperaments. Also, a breeder who you can talk to honestly about your concerns. A good one will put you off if he/she doesn't think it's the right fit. I wouldn't imagine there are that many so it should be possible for you to vet them and vice versa.

I hope you can find some FB groups, here's one they might give you a realistic idea of what they're like to live with/train etc. In their pinned post at the top, they have a long list of books (training one might be useful!

I would hate a dog that I couldn't let off the lead. I had a foster dog who was a bit of a nightmare but that was probably inexperience on my part, but it's not something I'd like if I had a "forever" dog. I guess it's up to training, training, training and finding what makes your particular dog "tick", so that they will respond to your commands and learn well.

Were there no other breeds that you liked when you went to Discover Dogs?

There's also a Dog Training group - you could post there and see if anyone answers who has an IT. Good luck!

deepdarkwood Tue 22-Nov-16 18:44:33

Thank you all for your thoughts. Thewolf- we're not exactly urban but certainly suburban so not quite like your adyllic set up!

And yes, I agree that we want - like some of you have described - a dog who can join in with a fairly active family rather than a lapdog ... But otoh, I don't want to bite off more than I can chew and create an unhappy situation for us and the pup.

Bagel it was a great day out ... And we loved LOTS of totally impractical dogs! Huge, furry, shedding things mostly, which Dh would not tolerate in the house - but the Welsh terriers just sang to us all - I can't explain it! We went all round every stand and came back to them for a last cuddle!

I will defo look at the FB group and the books - but yes, I had a dog needed to be in the lead all the time as a kid (husky) & it's not something I'm up for again.

I'm doing as much research as I can before I start talking to breeders -as if they say yes I don't trust myself to be able to be rational - but as you say there are vanishingly few of them so maybe I should be making the most of their expertise now.

BestIsWest Tue 22-Nov-16 20:52:55

I have known two and they were both lovely, typical terriers.

Schnauzers can also be stubborn though.I know, I've had a couple (fab dogs both of them).

deepdarkwood Tue 22-Nov-16 20:56:46

Yes, I think (as others on this thread have suggested) I may have a tendency towards less-than-biddable-dogs....

missyB1 Tue 22-Nov-16 21:06:27

I have a mini schnauzer and she's gorgeous but what a stubborn little miss! Very loving and cuddly but boy does she know her own mind! Oh and her recall is terrible and I'm told that's because schnauzers have a strong drive to hunt prey. I wouldn't say they are an easier option.

deepdarkwood Tue 22-Nov-16 21:43:16

Really missy - that's interesting! I know two well and both of them are pretty well trained ... but that doesn't mean they do everything they are asked! Both are manageable off-lead though, which is my key concern ... is yours OK at recall (I'm not expecting perfect ... but OK!)

BestIsWest Tue 22-Nov-16 21:50:48

Total Recall -Pippa Mattinson, highly recommended on here. Takes a bit of time but ours recall is pretty good now.

deepdarkwood Tue 22-Nov-16 22:01:53

Cool - have seen that recommended on here before but will make another mental note: thanks!

missyB1 Wed 23-Nov-16 08:39:28

I'm going to get that recall book, I know our schnauzer is only 5 months but it's getting embarrassing that she's the only one on the lead at the park blush

ClaireBlunderwood Wed 23-Nov-16 09:39:52

Aw deepdeepwood I love your story about falling in love with the WTs at Discovery Dogs. There was a reason for that. Honestly it's so hard finding a breed that everybody likes (my daughters wanted teacups for example) that I really think you should go for them. When I look at my lovely-sized non-moulting pile of gorgeousness, I can't think why everybody doesn't have them. They're also quite 'masculine' I think if you've got an in any way reluctant partner.

There are good and bad examples of every breed. With concerted training, I don't think there's any reason why a Welsh Terrier should be any less able to go off-lead than any other. I do know one that got dumped by the walker I'm going to use for lack of recall. I asked her and she said her owners had been terrible - encouraging bad behaviour and laughing when he ran off.

This morning I was in a vast park and there was a jogger with bounding Collie beside him - our puppy ran along side for a while and then I called him back and he came which is really stress-testing recall (he loves other dogs).

And actually I don't agree with your point that popular dogs are popular for a reason. I think it's like children's names, we're just all subject to the same whims and fashions whether we know it or not. French Bulldogs for example are super fashionable and v cute but they do have health problems that should make them less popular. An advantage of a less popular breed is that they're less likely to be farmed. Recent raid on a load of puppies being illegally imported and it was Beagles, Pomeranians and Labradoodles.

ClaireBlunderwood Wed 23-Nov-16 09:40:51

Oh and when you get your puppy it will drive you insane and you will curse the way they wee inside five minutes after you've taken them out, chew everything, jump up etc. That's all puppies not the breed.

deepdarkwood Wed 23-Nov-16 09:49:49

:-) Yes - we are a bit like that. DD keeps suggesting pomeranians, ds wants a pug/beagle cross, I adore retrievers/vislas/pointers/airdales/impractical large dogs .... and dh really wants us to get another house rabbit!

And yes, I agree with you really about popular dogs: I guess I was thinking about the doodles which are so pretty and seem like a 'perfect' family pet in so many practical and tempremental ways. But I wouldn't feel comfy with a dog that had inherent issues due to the breed standard (so sausage dogs are out, even though the sausage pup we met yesterday at the park was possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen!).

deepdarkwood Wed 23-Nov-16 09:50:49

x/post. Lol, yes, we are putting off getting the floor/kitchen done as part of my '...but I want a puuupppeeee' pleading!

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