Traits and Characteristics
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is an all-around dog, square-proportioned, graceful, and strong, not exaggerated in any way. Their gait is free and lively with good reach and drive; their tail held erect. Their abundant, soft, single coat distinguishes them from all other terriers. Their wavy coat is not evident in youngsters. It is long and silky with a gentle wave. Their overall appearance is often one of grace and strength in an alert and happy dog.
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Friendliness to Dogs
Friendliness to Other Pets
Friendliness to Strangers
Ease of Training
Disclaimer: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.
The Wheaten Terrier is a playful companion. They are often affectionate, congenial, and much gentler than most terriers. They are generally responsive to their family but can be headstrong at times. They are generally good and patient with children (although some may be overly boisterous with small children) and usually very friendly with other household dogs and pets. They may dig or jump. They can be one of the quietest terriers, barking only for real alarms.
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. They should be allowed loose only in a safe area or fenced yard because they are prone to chase. Their long coat needs brushing or combing every two days. As a nonshedding dog, loose hair becomes entangled in their coat and will mat if not combed out. Bathing and trimming every other month is necessary to maintain their health and they may require some professional grooming.
- Major concerns: protein losing diseases (PLE and PLN)
- Minor concerns: renal dysplasia, Addison’s
- Occasionally seen: PRA, CHD
- Suggested tests: blood and urine protein screens, eye, hip
- Life span: 12–14 years
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 protecting the home or farm from rodents, they also helped round up stock and guard the homestead.
Their early history is largely undocumented; however, they are mentioned as a progenitor of the Kerry Blue Terrier. In 1937 they were granted official breed status in Ireland. The English Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943, and in 1946 the first Wheaten Terrier came to America. They did not instantly catch the public’s attention, but instead they took their 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.