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  • Temperament: Friendly, Happy, Deeply Devoted
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 50 of 194
  • Height: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)
  • Weight: 35-40 pounds (male), 30-35 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier standing facing left
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier head and neck facing left
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier sitting in three-quarter view
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is 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.

HEAD

Well balanced and in proportion to the body. Rectangular in appearance; moderately long. Powerful with no suggestion of coarseness. Eyes dark reddish brown or brown, medium in size, slightly almond shaped and set fairly wide apart. Eye rims black. Major Fault – Anything approaching a yellow eye. Ears small to medium in size, breaking level with the skull and dropping slightly forward, the inside edge of the ear lying next to the cheek and pointing to the ground rather than to the eye. A hound ear or a high-breaking ear is not typical and should be severely penalized.

BODY

Neck medium in length, clean and strong, not throaty. Carried proudly, it gradually widens, blending smoothly into the body. Back strong and level. Body compact; relatively short coupled. Chest is deep. Ribs are well sprung but without roundness.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders well laid back, clean and smooth; well knit. Forelegs straight and well boned. All dewclaws should be removed. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark.

COAT

A distinguishing characteristic of the breed which sets the dog apart from all other terriers. An abundant single coat covering the entire body, legs and head; coat on the latter falls forward to shade the eyes. Texture soft and silky with a gentle wave. In both puppies and adolescents, the mature wavy coat is generally not yet evident. Major Faults – Woolly or harsh, crisp or cottony, frizzy, kinky or standaway coat; in the adult, a straight coat is also objectionable.

HINDQUARTERS

Hind legs well developed with well bent stifles turning neither in nor out; hocks well let down and parallel to each other. All dewclaws should be removed. The presence of dewclaws on the hind legs should be penalized. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark.

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soft coated wheaten terrier illustration

About the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The hallmark of these merry extroverts, and what sets them apart from other terriers, is the silky, gently waving coat. It runs from a pale beige to a shimmering gold, recalling the color of ripening wheat. Topping out at 19 inches tall and 40 pounds, Wheatens are square, sturdy terriers with a peek-a-boo hairdo and dashing goatee. The overall picture is that of a hard-muscled but soft-coated working terrier or, as the breed has been described, an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Find a Puppy: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

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AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

A high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) will have all the nutrients the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier needs. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The Wheaten’s soft, silky coat requires a fair amount of maintenance. The daily grooming session grooming session starts with a thorough going-over with a pin brush or a slicker brush to remove dirt and loose hair. Next comes a thorough combing with a medium- and fine-toothed metal comb. Any mats that are found should be pulled apart with the brush, comb, and fingers—never with scissors. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can be painful to the dog and cause problems walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Infrequent

EXERCISE

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a medium to high energy level that does not diminish, even in old age. They need plenty of exerciseevery day. With a strong prey drive, Wheatens will have an urge to chase after just about anything that moves, from squirrels to cars, so the backyard or other play area must be securely fenced, and walks must always be on a leash. Wheatens bond to their owners, who should expect to participate in the daily exercise sessions.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for all dogs and help to ensure that the they grow into well-adjusted, well-mannered companions. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is keenly smart and willful, and often has his own agenda. This makes them challenging to train. It also provides another reason why obedience training should start early, before bad habits become ingrained. A Wheaten needs consistent, firm discipline but is sensitive to harsh treatment. Wheatens must be trained to be compliant without breaking their spirit.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Wheatens are generally healthy dogs, but there are certain disorders the breed can be prone to. Two conditions that appear to occur more often in Wheatens than in other breeds are protein-losing nephropathy, a kidney ailment, and protein-losing enteropathy, a term that is applied to several gastrointestinal conditions. Addison’s disease and renal dysplasia, both of which have caused problems among Wheatens in other countries, are starting to appear in the U.S. as well. As with all breeds, a Wheaten’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Blood Chemistry Panel
  • CBC
  • Urinalysis
  • UPC/Micro Albumin (MA) Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier Care
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

History

Among Ireland’s gifts to civilization are reams of great literature, a mighty smooth whiskey, and three magnificent long-legged terriers—the Wheaten, Kerry Blue, and Irish. All share a common ancestry and were bred for similar purposes. As versatile farm dogs, Wheatens were expected to do any number of rustic chores, like ratting, guarding the chicken coop, and even herding or bird-dogging. When day was done they were engaging fireside companions, a role they still relish—even if the hearth has been replaced by a TV.

Did You Know?

Wheaten temperament is unique, combining the alert intelligence of the terrier tribe with the steadiness of the working dog.
Lydia Vogel of Massachusetts brought the first Wheatens to the United States in the 1940s, but real activity in the breed in this country did not begin until the late 1950s when the O'Connors and Arnolds imported their dogs.
The Irish Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1937.
The Soft Coated Wheaten was shown at Westminster in February 1947.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is 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.

HEAD

Well balanced and in proportion to the body. Rectangular in appearance; moderately long. Powerful with no suggestion of coarseness. Eyes dark reddish brown or brown, medium in size, slightly almond shaped and set fairly wide apart. Eye rims black. Major Fault – Anything approaching a yellow eye. Ears small to medium in size, breaking level with the skull and dropping slightly forward, the inside edge of the ear lying next to the cheek and pointing to the ground rather than to the eye. A hound ear or a high-breaking ear is not typical and should be severely penalized.

BODY

Neck medium in length, clean and strong, not throaty. Carried proudly, it gradually widens, blending smoothly into the body. Back strong and level. Body compact; relatively short coupled. Chest is deep. Ribs are well sprung but without roundness.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders well laid back, clean and smooth; well knit. Forelegs straight and well boned. All dewclaws should be removed. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark.

COAT

A distinguishing characteristic of the breed which sets the dog apart from all other terriers. An abundant single coat covering the entire body, legs and head; coat on the latter falls forward to shade the eyes. Texture soft and silky with a gentle wave. In both puppies and adolescents, the mature wavy coat is generally not yet evident. Major Faults – Woolly or harsh, crisp or cottony, frizzy, kinky or standaway coat; in the adult, a straight coat is also objectionable.

HINDQUARTERS

Hind legs well developed with well bent stifles turning neither in nor out; hocks well let down and parallel to each other. All dewclaws should be removed. The presence of dewclaws on the hind legs should be penalized. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark.

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soft coated wheaten terrier illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
WHEATEN Check Mark For Standard Color 224