The Lakeland terrier and the Welsh terrier are both members of the American Kennel Club's terrier group. Both breeds originated in England and have a similar body shape and wiry coat, but there are several differences to consider when choosing which breed is right for you.
Lakeland terrier vs. Welsh terrier history
Both of these terrier breeds are thought to be descendants of the Old English black and tan terrier. Lakeland terriers were named for the Lake District of England. They were bred as farm dogs to hunt foxes that were attacking the farmers' livestock, but they would also hunt other varmin as well. The dogs didn't work alone but hunted in packs.
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Welsh terriers from Northern Wales were also bred to hunt varmin, including badgers and otters. The breed has been around since the 1700s.
Neither breed is especially popular in the United States, but each has a claim to fame. The Lakeland terrier is one of only two breeds to win both the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York and the Crufts dog show in England. The Welsh terrier is known for being the First Dog of President John F. Kennedy and his family.
Differences in appearance
Lakeland terriers grow up to 14.5 to 15 inches tall and weigh about 17 pounds. Female dogs tend to be slightly smaller than males. These terriers have a short, wiry double coat. There are several accepted coat colors, including wheaten, red, liver, black and blue. The dogs may be a solid color or saddle-marked.
Welsh terriers are a bit larger, growing 15 inches tall and weighing up to 20 pounds, with males being a bit larger than females of the breed. Like the Lakeland terrier, the Welsh terrier also has a wiry double coat, but the hair is medium length. The only accepted coloring for Welsh terriers is black and tan.
Differences in temperament
While breed is not an indicator of temperament, there are some common characteristics you are likely to see in the dogs. Both terriers are considered friendly, but the Lakeland terrier is described as bold and confident, while the Welsh terrier is described as intelligent and spirited.
Welsh terriers tend to be more eager to please in training compared to the Lakeland, and they also have a slightly higher energy level. Welsh terriers have a high prey drive, so it is a good idea to keep them on a leash when outside of an enclosed yard. Lakeland terriers need only moderate amounts of exercise, but they do need mental stimulation to remain happy and healthy. They tend to bore easily, so keep training interesting and fun and always use positive reinforcement training methods.
Both terrier breeds are very affectionate with family members, but Welsh terriers tend to be better with children than Lakeland terriers. Welsh terriers also tend to be more open with strangers, while the Lakeland tends to be more guarded.
Health concerns and considerations
Both the Lakeland and Welsh terriers have an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Lakeland terriers tend to be very healthy dogs. In fact, there are no recommended health tests for the breed, as there is no significant reporting of any hereditary or breed-specific health conditions.
Welsh terriers do have a few conditions of which to be aware, including hip dysplasia, allergies, and Legge-Calve-Perthes disease, a condition that causes a lack of blood flow to the head of the femur. The national breed society recommends breeders do a DNA test for the eye disorder primary lens luxation. When looking for Welsh terriers for sale, be sure to look for responsible Welsh terrier breeders who provide the recommended health testing.
- American Kennel Club: Lakeland Terrier
- American Kennel Club: Welsh Terrier
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs
- UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
- American Kennel Club: 6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Lakeland Terrier
- American Kennel Club: 10 Things to Know About Welsh Terriers
- American Kennel Club: Official Standard of the Lakeland Terrier
- American Kennel Club: Official Standard of the Welsh Terrier