The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are terriers which carry more than the typical terrier behaviors in their ancestry. They are dogs which performed well as hunting dogs, retrievers, guards of the farm and house and simply as a companion during the history of the breed, which originated in the country of Ireland. In the days when the Wheaten terrier was admitted into the Irish Kennel club, the requirements for attaining a championship title included requirements to perform in the area of “expertise” for which the dog was supposed to function.

In the terrier competition, the dog had to “go to ground” and perform in field trials against rat, rabbit and badger. The Wheaten did well in these areas and was admitted into the Irish Kennel Club as a Terrier in 1937. By 1943 the Wheaten was admitted into the Kennel Club of Great Britain and the first Wheatens were believed to have arrived on the shores of the United States in 1946. The entry of the breed into the American Kennel club in the Terrier group occurred in 1973. The breed has gradually gained in popularity and now there are always more than 200 Wheatens shown at the annual All Terrier Show held in Montgomery County in Pennsylvania.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a long single coat which as the name denotes is soft and wheat colored. It requires almost daily brushings as it is a fine coat which “fuzzes” easily. When they are born they are a dark apricot in color and the tone gradually lightens to a golden wheat coloring as adults. The Wheaten is a moderately sized dog, 17-18 inches at the shoulder, weighing 35 to 45 pounds. The dog’s eyes are usually well hidden under a “fall” of hair off the eyebrows and the ears are folded over at the top of the skull, while the tail is docked.

The Wheaten is prone to developing disorders of the eye and the colon and these things should be tested for if the dog is to be used for breeding. It is important that buyers purchase their puppy from a reputable breeder, preferably a person who belongs to a breed club or a local kennel club, since these organizations do their best to prevent “puppy milll breeders” from becoming members. Usually clubs of that nature require that breeders sign “code of ethical behavior” which prevents sale of dogs without a written contract and health guarantee.

The Soft Coated Wheaten is a gentle dog that makes a great family companion dog. He shows little aggression to other breeds and is gentle with children and the elderly. He does a good job of protecting his home territory without acting overly aggressive. The wheaten makes a good therapy dog, being of the right height for disabled people to pet him from their wheelchairs.