Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

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

Sketch of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Average Size
Male Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats
Height: 18-19 inches Weight: 35-40 lbs
Female Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats
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.

Appearance of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier coat
cream Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier wavy 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
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier requires daily brushing
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
$1.50 - $1.80
Monthly Cost
$45.00 - $52.50

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier at six months
Male Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 27.5 lbs
Female Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 14.5 inches Weight: 22.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier at 12 months
Male Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
Female Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 27.5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier at 18 months
Male Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.5 inches Weight: 37.5 lbs
Female Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs

Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeders of 2021.
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Greentree Wheatens
Greentree Wheatens
Manahawkin, New Jersey
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Omannions Wheaten Terriers
Omannions Wheaten Terriers
Norwell, Massachusetts
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Loch Linear
Loch Linear
Redwood City, California
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Wheaten Terriers Atstratford
Wheaten Terriers Atstratford
Centennial, Colorado
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Blessing Wheatens
Blessing Wheatens
Evergreen, Colorado
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Sand Castle Wheaten
Sand Castle Wheaten
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Lil-Town Wheatens
Lil-Town Wheatens
Livonia, Michigan
Top Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier breeder Banner Wheatens
Banner Wheatens
Somerset, New Jersey

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Owner Experiences

5 Months
6 People
Bike ride
He is a bit fisty and energetic but when you get to know them your their best friends forever.
2 years, 9 months ago
7 Months
2 People
Backyard playing
Most amazing pup ever. Energetic and loving and insists on cuddling and being held at least once a day!
3 years, 2 months ago
3 Years
George, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier I've had the pleasure of walking a few times, is a very sweet and very cute big dog! He is very friendly when I arrive and doesn't display any defensive or aggressive behavior about a stranger walking into his house. He's also very good about not jumping up on me even though he's excited (which I appreciate because he's a big guy!). His owners use a prong collar because they say he used to pull a lot on his leash. The prong collar seems to work great because he never pulls ahead and stays right beside me the whole time. He loves to walk fast and appreciates when I jog with him. He also loves to sniff and would gladly eat anything off the ground if you let him.
3 years, 3 months ago
10 Years
The Wheaton Terrier I have worked with for at least four times now is very mature, and he recognized me immediately by the second meeting. The first time we met, he took his time and initially refused to let me attach the leash, even though he showed no visible signs of anxiety based on my overall presence for the first time in his home. Every interaction since, I have found him lazing about on the couch. He is always very slow to react, but this of course is no indication of a lacking intelligence; if anything it proves his intelligence by how certain he must become before exerting energy. Speaking of, he is one of the older dogs I work with and tends to walk very slowly. He always stretches several times before each walk, at his own discretion and I cannot attach the leash until he looks up to me with his characteristic low-key excitement. This is a great example of how every dog works at its own pace. Great respect must be given to these dogs who feel comfortable operating at lower rates, like the Wheaton Terrier. He always exhibits an uptick in overall speed after he has done his business. With comfort increased, this Wheaton Terrier always shows more common signs of his jovial nature. I can tell he is always happy to have me accompany him, and this breed is certainly well-adapted for city life, which does not jar his contrasting well-paced demeanor. I am always tasked with wiping his feet when we return. He hates this part and the fear he exhibits is always noticeable. He also knows, and thus was well trained, to expect a treat after each walk (immediately upon our return to the apartment, this Wheaton Terrier stands askance, directly me with his body language, toward the treat jar atop the living room table). When I give in to what he is accustomed to, he is always more willing to let me get near him with the wet napkins, the sight of which shifts his mood immediately. Keeping in mind his rather calm disposition, introducing the physical contact of the wet nap along his back, and then by extension, making my way down to his paws—this always eases him into the process. So I conclude that Wheaton Terriers are highly intelligent, understanding of the dynamics of human interaction, and they are sensitive to their needs, knowing how to articulate discomfiture when those needs are not met exactly (whereas many other breeds simply react with great frantic energy).
3 years, 3 months ago
5 Months
I had the pleasure of walking the cutest little Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy! She was such a sweetheart and just wanted to be cuddled! On her walk, being a puppy, she was a bit stubborn at times and just wanted to lay in the grass. However, she was tempted with a stick and then just wanted to play with the stick! She was so friendly with everyone and wanted to say hi to all people and animals that had passed by. She was just a happy and bouncy little pup and was such a fun doggy to walk! She seemed to have quite a bit of energy, but when that wears off, I imagine her being the best cuddle buddy! From my experience with her, Wheaten Terriers seem like an amazing family dog and a great addition to the family!
3 years, 3 months ago
4 Years
Soft Coat Wheaten Terriers are a playful, high energy breed usually in medium to large sizes. They are very friendly with humans, so I usually greet them excitedly and they do not need time to warm up to you. They aim to please and do not like harsh worlds, so it helps to channel a fun energy and speak to them in a friendly, coaxing tone. Try to mix in some jogs and keep to a brisk pace when on a walk after business in taken care of. They are intelligent and enjoy challenging walks, obstacles and routes. And they are usually happy to walk by your side and should not be pulling too much, though for those that aren’t taught to leash manners, you’ll find yourself being pulled along by a strong-willed dog. As they were bred to be a herding, working dog, they can get in hunt mode with birds, squirrels etc. so keep an eye out for these on your walk.
3 years, 3 months ago
13 Years
Meeting New Dogs and People
New Smells
Getting Pet
I walked a much older Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier so he didn't have as much energy as a puppy or younger dog from the same breed might. However, he loved his walk and was super friendly! He spent most of his time finding interesting smells to sniff. He was also eager to meet other dogs when we encountered them along the way. And he loved getting pet! Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are affectionate and easygoing so even if you've never met them before they will be happy to meet you and get some love right away.
3 years, 3 months ago
5 Years
He liked being on owner’s bed or in his dog bed. Was not always up for a walk, took a lot of convincing and had to be lured with turkey lunch meat. Friendly and sweet though!
3 years, 3 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd