Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

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The soft-coated Wheaten terrier is an all-around dog, square-proportioned, graceful and strong, not exaggerated in any way. It is large enough to function as a general farm worker yet agile enough to perform its job as vermin exterminator. Its gait is free and lively with good reach and drive; the tail held erect. Its abundant, soft, single coat distinguishes it from all other terriers. It is long and silky with a gentle wave. The overall appearance is one of grace and strength in an alert and happy dog.

The Wheaten makes a playful companion at home and a fun-loving partner in the field. It is affectionate, congenial and much gentler than most terriers. It is generally responsive to its owner's wishes but can be headstrong at times. It is good with children (although some may be overly boisterous with small children) and usually good with other household dogs and pets. It may dig or jump.


FAMILY terrier



ORIGINAL FUNCTION vermin hunting, herding, guardian


AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19 Weight: 35-40

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-18 Weight: 30-35


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

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This is an athletic dog that needs a good daily workout, either in the form of a moderate to long walk or an invigorating game in the yard. It should be allowed loose only in a safe area because it still loves to hunt and chase. The Wheaten can live outdoors in temperate climates, but it is far better suited as an indoor dog. Its long coat needs brushing or combing every two days. As a nonshedding dog, loose hair becomes entangled in the coat and will mat if not combed out. Bathing and trimming every other month is necessary to maintain the desirable coat and silhouette; pets can be better managed if their coats are clipped to about 3 inches, but then they lose the breed's typical outline.
• Major concerns: protein wasting diseases (PLE and PLN)
• Minor concerns: renal dysplasia, allergies
• Occasionally seen: PRA, CHD, vWD, heart problems
• Suggested tests: blood and urine protein screens, eye, (hip), (cardiac)
• Life span: 12-14 years
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One of only three large terriers of Ireland, the soft-coated Wheaten terrier originated as an all-around farm dog, perhaps serving in this function for hundreds of years. Besides the ever-essential terrier function of extinguishing vermin, it also helped round up stock and guard the homestead. It was later even known to be trained as a gun dog. Its early history is largely undocumented; however, it is mentioned as a progenitor of the Kerry blue terrier. The Wheaten was a comparative latecomer to the show scene. Only in 1937 was it granted breed status in Ireland. For many years, an Irish championship required that a dog not only prove itself in the ring but also in the field over badger, rat and rabbit. The English Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943, and in 1946 the first Wheaten came to America. The breed did not instantly catch the public's attention, but instead it took its time building a firm basis of support. In 1973 the AKC granted recognition. The soft-coated Wheaten terrier has remained a breed of only moderate popularity.
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