The Breed History
A small town in Wales called Sealyham was the first recorded home of the breed. In the late 1800s, crosses to breeds such as Dandie Dinmont, Corgi, Westie, and perhaps Wirehaired Fox Terriers were done to develop this hardy athletic stock. AKC registration first occurred in 1911, and it was about that time also that the breed was first brought to North America.
Breeding for Function
Hunting, defense, tracking of mid-sized quarry such as otter, badger and fox were some of the tasks these dogs were bred for. Digging and endurance, combined with lightning speed contributed to the success of the hunt.
Height at Withers: ideal is 10.5" (26.5 cm)
Weight: females 22 lb (10 kg), males 23-24 lb (10.5-11 kg).
Coat: White to creamy white, the coarse haircoat is variably marked with small areas of beige or so-called lemon or badger distributed mostly around the head.
Longevity: 14-16 years.
Points of Conformation: Their slightly convex skulls, moderate stop and strong jaws contribute to the tough terrier image. Dark, deep and widely set oval eyes, black nose, and small triangular ears folded down with fine leather characterize their faces. Tails may be docked, and are carried vertical. A medium neck, large compact feet with arched toes and short-coupled stocky muscular body with a deep chest, level topline, and powerful build behind complete the image. Their way of going is quick, agile, and straight.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed traits include: Alert intelligence, a calculating stubborn streak, loyalty and adaptability to both country and city living make them a great companion. Their fanciers sometimes attribute to them a sense of humor. They thrive on close human contact and lots of attention. They enjoy barking, and are of medium trainability. They need moderate exercise and are considered low activity dogs and low shedders. Regular clipping, grooming or plucking will keep the coat in top form.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Sealyham Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) and Secondary Glaucoma: An autosomal recessive gene causes primary lens luxation. Homozygous affected dogs usually develop lens luxation between 3-5 years of age. Rarely, heterozygous carriers can develop lens luxation, but at a later age. Lens luxation can lead to secondary glaucoma and blindness. A genetic mutation has been identified, and a genetic test is available. OFA testing shows 38% carrier, and 5% affected. Identified in 1.79% of Sealyham Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Sealyham Terrier with lens luxation.
Retinal Dysplasia: Autosomal recessive inheritance. Congenital retinal folds, geographic, and generalized retinal dysplasia with detachment is seen in Sealyham Terriers. Can progress to blindness. Identified in 2.98% of Sealyham Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Sealyham Terrier with retinal dysplasia. There is no genetic test.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. Too few Sealyham Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Sealyham Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 5.95% of Sealyham Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Anterior cortex punctate, and anterior or posterior cortex intermediate cataracts predominate in the breed. Identified in 3.57% of Sealyham Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Sealyham Terrier with a cataract.
Distichiasis: Abnormally placed eyelashes that irritate the cornea and conjunctiva. Can cause secondary corneal ulceration. Identified in 3.57% of Sealyham Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Allergic Dermatitis (Atopy): Inhalant or food allergy presents with pruritis and pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots). Sealyham Terriers are over-represented with atopy versus other breeds.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 2.0% positive for thyroid autoantibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Vitreous Degeneration: A liquefaction of the vitreous gel which may predispose to retinal detachment resulting in blindness. Identified in 1.90% of Sealyham Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Deafness: Congenital sensorineural deafness is reported in the breed. Can be unilateral of bilateral. Diagnosed by BAER testing. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Chronic otitis externa, and disk disease are reported on the American Sealyham Terrier Club website.
Brachygnathism, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Prognathism and Progressive Retinal Atrophy are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: Direct genetic test for lens luxation is available from OFA.
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: Required testing includes CERF eye examination and direct test for lens luxation. (See CHIC website: www.caninehealthinfo.org). Recommend patella evaluation, hip and elbow radiographs, thyroid profile including autoantibodies, and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: Sealyham
- Registries: AKC, CKC, UKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club), NKC (National Kennel Club)
- AKC rank (year 2008): 152 (56 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: American Sealyham Terrier Club: http://clubs.akc.org/sealy
Sealyham Terrier Club of Canada: www.sealyhamcanada.com
Sealyham Terrier Breeders Association (UK): www.davmar.freeuk.com/sealyhambreedersassoc.html
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