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The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Guest Author - Sandy Moyer


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium size terrier with a soft, slightly wavy coat that's the color of wheat. The breed originated over 200 years ago in Southern Ireland as an all purpose working and farm dog. The hardy terriers were used to guard home and family, to herd sheep and cattle, to kill rodents and other vermin, and to hunt small game. It probably has some of the same ancestors as the Irish Terrier and the Kerry Blue Terrier.

In addition to it's Irish roots, the Wheaten has a unique connection to St. Patrick's Day. On in March 17, 1937, a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier made it's first appearance in the show ring at The Irish Kennel Club Championship Show. Another milestone in the history of the Soft Coated Wheaten occurred on St. Patrick's Day in 1962, with the founding of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America. The first Wheatens were imported to the United States in 1946 and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1973.

The AKC Standard describes the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier as "a medium-sized, hardy, well balanced sporting terrier, square in outline. He is distinguished by his soft, silky, gently waving coat of warm wheaten color and his particularly steady disposition. The breed requires moderation both in structure and presentation, and any exaggerations are to be shunned. He should present the overall appearance of an alert and happy animal, graceful, strong and well coordinated."

Wheaten Terrier puppies do not resemble adult Wheatens. Pups are born with a reddish brown to dark brown color coat. Their have black facial makings and black ears. During the first year or two of life, they go through a dramatic transformation as their dark color changes to their adult coloration of beige to almost white by age two.

Their average height at the withers is 18 to 19 inches and their average weight is 35 to 40 pounds. They should have docked tails.

The Wheaten's soft coat is non-shedding. It needs a trim every 2 to 3 months to keep it's shape. Brushing and combing, about 10 minutes a day of a day, will keep it silky and prevent matting.

They are a generally healthy breed. Main health concerns are hereditary diseases such as hip-dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and a breed related protein-losing renal disease. Some Wheatens have allergic skin reactions or ear problems that can be associated with any hairy-eared breed.

Today, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are desirable family pets. They are calm, sweet-natured and affectionate companions who like to please and love being part of the family. They're intelligent, fast learners. Since they can be especially sensitive to any harsh physical correction, training by positive reinforcement is recommended for Wheatens.

Wheaten Terriers are happy and even-tempered. They delight in playing games and make an excellent pets for children. Wheatens lack the aggression and feistiness towards other animals that's so common in many other terrier breeds. Most Wheatens get along well with other dogs and other pets.

Wheatens are self-confident, alert and keenly aware of their surroundings. They've retained their guardian instinct, and make good family watchdogs. They rarely bark without reason, but they will let you know when someone arrives and warn of intruders. Since they also want to make friends with everyone they meet, however, they cannot be counted on as protectors.

Wheaten Terriers are exuberant. lively dogs, but their energy level is not excessive. With daily outdoor exercise or regular walks, they'll be calm and content whether living in the country, in the suburbs or in the city.

Animal Shelter workers and volunteers for pet rescue organizations who are unfamiliar with the breed often wrongly identify Wheaten Terriers and Wheaten Terrier mixes (Wheatables), as Sheepdogs, Lhasa Apso's or similar shaggy haired breeds. There is a web page with descriptions and many photo illustrations to help with identification. Click Here.

Wondering if the Wheaten Terrier the right dog for you? Take a quiz - "Is the Wheaten Right for Me?"




Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Links

The AKC Standard
for the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Rescue

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Webring

Your New Wheaten Puppy

The Wonderful World of Wheatens

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Great Britain

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Association of Canada

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Fanciers' Association of Ontario

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers Research Home Page
at North Carolina State University

Gone With The Wheatens

Cabaret Wheatens

Identifying a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier or Wheatable

Various Stages in the Development of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers

Wheaten Terrier Shirts, Gifts & Accessories


~~~~ Click on a picture to read about another Irish American Tail Wagger~~~~



The Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Wolfhound

The Kerry Blue Terrier

Irish Terrier

The Irish Setter

The Glen Imaal Terrier

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Content copyright © 2014 by Sandy Moyer. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Sandy Moyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bettina Thomas-Smith for details.

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