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Wales Tails: The History of Welsh Dogs

Wales Tails: The History of Welsh Dogs

Of the some 300 breeds of dogs in the World, only six call Wales home. These six range in all sizes, shapes, and specialties, and they’re cherished by royals, celebrities, and everyday Joe’s (and Josephine’s) alike. 

Get yourself educated with our brief history of each storied pup hailing from Wales!

1. Welsh Sheepdog

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The Welsh Sheepdog is a herding breed common to North and Central Wales. Over the years the influx of Border Collies to the region has driven this beautiful pooches numbers way down. When the Welsh Sheepdog Society was formed in 1997 the people of Wales made a conscious effort to resurrect the breed and keep the population healthy.

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Images via Instagram/calanhaf

What makes these pups so special is that unlike the Border Collie, they can work independently, without the guidance of humans. Their talents lie in corralling sheep, goats, pigs, and horses all over the Welsh country side.

 
2. Welsh Springer Spaniel 

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 Images via Instagram/rachael_gurney

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is often referred to as a ‘Welshie’. They were relatively unknown outside of Wales until 1902. This is when these pups were recognised by the Kennel Club and shown along their English counterparts, the Cocker Spaniel. Hunters in Wales were able to keep Welshies true to their nature and hone their tracking skills. There have even been accounts of these pooches being trained to collaborate with falconers. Pawesome!

 Images via Instagram/rachael_gurney

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Images via Instagram/xsarahxclarkex

Welshies are best known for being extremely loving and devoted to their adoptive families. Conversely they are highly leery of strangers and can become quite shy in situations they are unsure of. Bless their furry little hearts.

 
3. Welsh Terrier

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 Image via Instagram/junieb.love 

The Welsh Terrier is said to be the oldest dog breed in the entirety of the United Kingdom. Also know as ‘Welshies’, these pups were bred, much like their terrier cousins, for fox and rodent hunting. The popularity of the Welsh Terrier has dipped in recent years, which is sad to hear as they have an amazing independent and assertive personality.

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 Image via Instagram/alenryabinina

Welsh Terriers also don’t shed! They are highly intelligent and often seen as self sufficient problem solvers. They have been a favorite breed among royals and world leaders – John F. Kennedy and King Edward VII had them, as well as former Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. He even incorporated one into the Earl of Attlee’s coat-of-arms!

 
4. Cardigan Corgi

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 Image via Instagram/conniethecorgi

One of two Corgis distinct to Wales, the Cardigan Corgi is one of the oldest herding breeds in the UK, yet their personalities are also said to make them the ideal family pet.

 Image via Instagram/littleamice

The Cardigan has a few folktales tied in with it’s history. One involves Queen Victoria’s coach being impeded by two large trees on a country road. The tale goes that a Cardigan Corgi and Pembroke Corgi appear and remove the trees for her. This noble act solidified her love of the breed and the Royal family’s dedication to the tiny legged pooches.

 
5. Pembroke Corgi

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Image via Instagram/mayuwilly

One of the World’s most famous breeds thanks to Queen Elizabeth II. She’s had more than 30 Pembroke corgis over the years. These pups have also been favorites of the Royal Family for over 70 years! The history of this dog dates back to 1107 A.D. when the Vikings brought their furry descendants to the Pembrokeshire area of Wales. This makes the Pembroke Corgi is one of the World’s oldest and shortest herding dogs.

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Image via Instagram/the_g0lden_nugget

It is believed that the Corgi share a heritage with of the husky by way of a common spitz-like ancestor originating in the north.  These sturdy pooches make excellent watch dogs, are loving, loyal, and very smart. It’s easy to see how the Royals fell in love with them.
 
6. Sealyham Terrier

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Another breed hailing from the Pembrokeshire area, these terriers turned up in the 1800’s at the Sealyham House. Now a rare breed, these pooches were once the toast of Hollywood belonging to both starlets and members of the Royal Family. Like most terriers of the time they were raised to be ratters and hunt badgers in some counties.

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Images via Instagram/nybolena

With a distinctive look and rambunctious personality it’s easy to see how they charmed the likes of Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, and King George V. In fact, when Princess Margaret was at Windsor Castle she demanded that her two Sealyhams (Pippin and Johnny) accompany her breakfast tray every morning.

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