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The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a breed of dog in the terrier family that originated in Ireland. The name may be hyphenated or unhyphenated. Alternatively, the words "soft" and "coated" are occasionally combined into one to make "softcoated".

There are four coat varieties: Traditional Irish, Heavy Irish, English, and American. They are considered to be hypoallergenic, a trait which makes them popular with allergic or asthmatic dog owners

The Wheaten was originally bred in native Ireland to be an all-purpose farm dog whose duties would have included herding, watching and guarding livestock, and vermin hunting. This is probably why they are not as aggressive as other terriers, who were primarily vermin hunters. They are believed to be related to the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Despite its long history as a farm dog, the Wheaten wasn't recognized as a breed in Ireland by the Irish Kennel Club until 1937. Following this in 1943, the English Kennel Club recognized the breed as well. The first Wheatens were exported to the United States in the 1946, but serious interest in the breed took years to develop. Lydia Covel was one of the first breeders of the Wheaten Terrier in the United States. Finally, in 1973, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club.


Puppies have a dark coat of either red, brown, mahogany or white. The muzzle and ears of Wheaten puppies may be black or dark brown. The dark puppy coat gradually grows out into a wheat-colored white brownish coat as they get older. The color can range from wheat to white, but white coats are not considered desirable by breeders and show enthusiasts. The adult coat may contain black, white, or darker brown "guard" hairs in addition to the lighter wheaten-coloured hair.

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized dog, which ranges on average anywhere from 17 to 19 inches and weighs about 30 to 45 pounds. The breed seems to have a square structure and is well built. Its hair does not shed like most dogs; like human hair and Poodle hair, it keeps growing, needs regular trimming, and drops just a few hairs daily.

The breed also is very distinguishable by the beard (located on the dogs face) this is hair almost like a humans beard, although the hair has the same uniform appearance as the rest of the hair on the body, although it grows and needs regular trimming to allow the dog to be able to eat and drink properly without interfering with the cleanliness of your home. Another distinguishable fact on the breed is the tail, the tail is docked (cut) when the pup is between 0-1 week old. This is done by most breeders to maintain the dogs traditional appearance.

The English coat variety tends to be thicker than the other varieties and tends to be kept a bit longer than the American variety. For this reason, American coats need to be regularly cared for and maintained.

A curiosity of the breed is that whenever an adult wheaten incurs an injury to the skin the resulting coat will grow out in the puppy brown color and then return to Wheat over time.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers have a life expectancy of 13-14 years and typically remain perky to the end. They are prone to some genetic disorders, particularly protein-losing enteropathy and protein-losing nephropathy which constitute the loss of protein from the Intestinal tract or the kidneys, respectively. Both conditions are potentially fatal and difficult to diagnose. Other disorders sometimes found in this breed include: Renal dysplasia (especially in Europe), Hip dysplasia, and Progressive retinal atrophy. Several of the breed's clubs are now beginning to address these health issues.

Further Information
  Books - Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Pet Love

Last Update: 13/02/08 11:07 Views: 7024

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