Welsh Terriers are intelligent, alert, energetic, and usually friendly. Their hunting ability including their keen sense of smell means they do well at earthdog trials. Dog sports such as agility, tracking, flyball, and obedience as sport can also provide physical and mental challenges while strengthening their bonds to their families. Welsh Terriers can be good hiking companions, although they usually need to be on a leash to prevent them from chasing wildlife. Some Welsh Terriers like to swim, and also to retrieve and carry items. Food rewards can be given for dropping items not intended for play. Traits derived from the breed's hunting background that may be problematic in family life include chasing wildlife, being difficult to disengage from an activity or behavior, barking, scratching at the ground, and digging. However, digging behavior can be handled if the dog has an acceptable location for it such as a sandbox or mulch bed.
The Welsh Terrier originated from nineteenth-century Wales, where it was developed for hunting fox and badger. In the mid-eighteenth century, residents of Carrnarthenshire were producing purebred Terriers and had created a line of which they were extremely fond. In 1884, the breed was shown in England for the very first time. During that period, they were referred to as Old English Terriers and Black-and-Tan Wirehaired Terriers. In 1888, Prescott Lawrence brought the Welsh Terrier to the United States and American Kennel Club recognition took place the same year under the current name of Welsh Terrier.