The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier got its start catching vermin, rounding up stock, and guarding the house on Irish farms. These days, sweet-natured “Wheaties” (as their fans call them) mostly keep their people company. This breed has a lovely soft coat and a softer personality than you might expect. These dogs are gentler, quieter, and a bit less scrappy than the average terrier — though they're just as likely to menace the cat next door.
Originally from Ireland, this medium-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 30-40 pounds and lives an average of 12-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Terrier group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting, Companion
Breed Group: Terrier
Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 58
AREA OF ORIGIN Ireland
DATE OF ORIGIN 1700s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION vermin hunting, herding, guardian
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19 Weight: 35-40
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-18 Weight: 30-35
OTHER NAME none
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
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Extremely playful and affectionate, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are often wonderful with supervised older children. Unlike many terriers, the Wheatie also often gets along well with other dogs and pets. Friendly and happy, they're usually happy to meet strangers, but they tend to jump when they're excited.
WHAT IS SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a somewhat active breed that requires a medium-length walk or a short jog every day. They'll also enjoy romps in a well-fenced area. This breed retains their puppy energy well into adulthood.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are a quiet breed that doesn't bark much. As long as she gets enough exercise, your Wheatie makes a polite and calm (for a terrier) housedog.
HOW EASY IS TO TRAIN A SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER?
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are people-pleasing, biddable dogs, with just enough of a stubborn streak to keep them in the terrier club. Be patient and consistent with this furry friend. Reward good behaviors with games or food, and be gentle with these sensitive souls. Their love for exploring and urge to hunt makes Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers poor candidates for off-leash play outside a well-fenced area.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
The good news is that Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers don't shed much, which is one of the reasons this breed is recommended for allergy sufferers. The less good news is that their gorgeous soft coats need combing or brushing three or four times a week to prevent mats and tangle. Wheaties require semimonthly baths and trims to keep them looking their best. (Keeping their coats around three inches in length can make it easier to keep up appearances.)
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIERS HAVE?
As a breed, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to eye disease or hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club lists Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers. This breed sheds infrequently and predictably, and produces less dander than most dogs.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds.
WHAT IS A SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER'S BEST DAY?
Your deeply devoted Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier really just wants to spend time with you. But no matter how sweet she is, this dog is still a terrier at heart. That means a truly outstanding day involves running around, chasing down smells (and maybe a furry creature or two), and giving her enough space to see what the world has in store.
SHOULD I ADOPT A SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER?
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers don't mind the cold, but they droop in the heat. Wheaties are versatile dogs — they're small enough to fit into lots of homes, as long as they get enough exercise. If you're not adverse to daily styling sessions, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is just about the sweetest terrier you could welcome into your home.
Have you decided that a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.