Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

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30-35 lbs

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was considered a poor man's dog in Ireland as the common people were unable to own hounds of value.  The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Wheaten for short, was bred as a farm dog and vermin hunter and guarding the farm.  The origins of the Wheaten are unclear because detailed records were not kept, but this breed is recognized as developing in the 1700s out of the need to maintain a working dog for farming and has given rise to more stylized breeds, such as the Kerry Blue, Irish, and Glen of Imaal Terriers.   Despite this breed's long history in Ireland, it did not gain breed recognition until 1973.

vermin hunting, herding, guardian
Date of Origin

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Health

Average Size
Height: 18-19 inches Weight: 35-40 lbs
Height: 17-18 inches Weight: 30-35 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Protein Wasting Diseases (Ple And Pln)
  • Kidney Problems
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Allergies
  • Addison's Disease
Occasional Tests
  • Cardiac
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood Test
  • Blood And Urine Protein Screens
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed History

Not officially named the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier until 1937, this breed has a long history in Ireland.  The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a moderate dog with no high stylization, or exaggerated features accept their long beards and the shaggy tuft of hair on their heads, known as fau.  The moderate look and size of the Wheaten kept this breed under the radar of the British in the 16th and 17th centuries.  British Penal Codes enacted in 1704 forbade the Irish from owning any dog worth £5 or greater in value.  Additionally, if the British developed an interest in an Irish dog, the Irishman was legally obligated to sell his dog. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was not an eye catching dog, and the Irish were able to breed and maintain these dogs as working farm dogs and vermin hunters.  The Soft Coated Wheaten also proved a hardy, useful, smart dog and survived the Great Famine of the 1840s.  By the 1900s, a series of Catholic Relief Acts had overturned many of the previous British Law that prevented the Irish from owning hounds and more stylized dogs.  This led to a drop in Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier numbers as people chose dogs with greater features.  The Kerry Blue Terrier, a breed said to have originated with the Wheaten, as well as the Glen of Imaal Terriers had already gained recognition and popularity while the Wheaten continued working the Irish farms.    However, the 1930s saw a resurgence of interest in the Wheaten, and in 1937, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was recognized by the Irish Kennel Club as its own breed. The first Wheaten Terriers came to America in 1946 and slowly grew in popularity before being officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973.  Today, this bouncy, high energy breed, despite all his excellent qualities, remains only moderately popular.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Appearance

The most distinguishing feature of the Soft Coated Wheaten is the long beard under its muzzle and the blonde fau that shades its eyes.  Unlike other terriers, the Wheaten has an incredibly soft coat that has a slight wave to it.  The Wheaten has a rectangular-shaped head in proportion to its body with dark reddish-brown or brown eyes of medium size.  This breed's eyes are almond-shaped and set moderately apart.  Small to medium-sized ears are level with the head and drop forward.  The Wheaten's nose is large and black, and tight black lips cover classic Terrier teeth with a level or a scissor bite. The forelegs are straight and well-boned and end in round compact feet with black pads.  The hind legs are well developed with bend stifle joints and end in compact, round feet with black pads.  The tail is set high and carried upright at 90 degrees from the back and is usually docked.

Eye Color Possibilities
Nose Color Possibilities
Coat Color Possibilities
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Maintenance

Daily brushing is required to keep the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier's coat looking its best, but this breed is not known to shed much.  When it comes to bathing, the Wheaten should only be bathed and shampooed when necessary due to the sensitive skin.  Daily brushing will help keep the Wheaten's coat clean and mat-free. Dental hygiene is also important, so it is recommended to clean the Wheaten's teeth two to three times a week, though daily is preferable.  Teeth cleaning will help reduce and remove tartar build-up and remove bacteria from the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier's mouth.   Toe-nail clipping is recommended twice a month or when you hear your Wheaten's nails clicking while he walks.  Because the grooming needs are higher in the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, it is suggested that owners start grooming practices while the Wheatens are puppies to acquaint them with the maintenance best. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a bouncy, active dog that needs to run to burn off excess energy.  However, if given the opportunity to run around in a safe, fenced in area, such as a dog park, the Wheaten is highly adaptable to apartment and urban living.  The Wheaten will tolerate a hotter climate over a colder one but is an ideal dog for temperate environments. When it comes to feeding the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, this medium-sized dog needs between 1.5 and 2 cups of dry food divided into two meals daily.  How much you feed your dog will depend on his activity level, age, and metabolism.  Since the Wheaten is a little more sensitive to food allergies than other breeds, pay close attention to his nutritional needs any adverse reactions.  You can consult with your veterinarian to develop a nutrition plan suited to your dog's personal needs as well.

Brushes for Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Temperament

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a fun, loving personality and is not snappish or scrappy like its other Terrier cousins.  This breed is excellent with children and will keep them entertained for hours running around the backyard.  The Wheaten is also a great dog for novice dog owners but tends to be a sensitive dog.  Never use harsh words or hard training for the Wheaten, and it is best to socialize this breed early and often for best results. Despite this breed's former role as a guardian for the farms of Ireland, the Wheaten does not make for a good guard dog because he is uncommonly affectionate with strangers. Additionally, the Wheaten does very well with other dogs and loves to have fun.  However, instinctual traits may make the Wheaten less than ideal for socializing with smaller animals, such as gerbils or rabbits due to its vermin hunting roots. High energy, bouncy, and fun-loving only begin to describe the activity levels and needs of the Wheaten and this breed is remarkably easy to train.  The Wheaten loves his people and wants to please but requires a lot of attention and activity.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2 cups
Daily Cost
$1.5 - $1.8
Monthly Cost
$45 - $52.5

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 15 inches Weight: 27 lbs
Height: 14 inches Weight: 22 lbs
12 Months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 32 lbs
Height: 17 inches Weight: 27 lbs
18 Months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 37 lbs
Height: 17 inches Weight: 32 lbs

Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeders of 2017.
Greentree Wheatens
Manahawkin, New Jersey
Omannions Wheaten Terriers
Norwell, Massachusetts
Loch Linear
Redwood City, California
Wheaten Terriers Atstratford
Centennial, Colorado
Blessing Wheatens
Evergreen, Colorado
Sand Castle Wheaten
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Lil-Town Wheatens
Livonia, Michigan
Banner Wheatens
Somerset, New Jersey

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Owner Experiences