Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
AKC Group: Terrier
Males: 18 - 19 inches; Females: 17 - 18 inches (Male)
30 - 40 pounds (Male)
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are more gentle and affectionate than most terriers. They're usually friendly with strangers, kids and other pets, but sometimes aggressive with other dogs. They like to dig and bark.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are part of the Terrier group. In general, terriers have a very distinctive personality that's unlike any other breed. They're feisty and energetic. Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, terriers love the chase-don't let your terrier off its leash unless it's in an enclosed area.
Terriers make excellent pets. These tough little canines have an attitude, however, so they usually adapt better to quiet households. Most terriers are usually jealous and snippy around other pets, especially dogs.
While some terriers are good with children, most will snap if provoked. If you want your terrier to be friendly with strangers, you need to accustom it to people at an early age. Terriers are also barkers and diggers.
In terms of health, terriers are very hardy dogs with few health problems. Most live a long time, usually around 15 years. Terriers need to be brushed twice a week and professionally groomed about every three months. While pet terriers are usually clipped, show dogs are stripped, which means the dead hairs are plucked out one by one so the coat color doesn't fade.
Males: 18 - 19 inches; Females: 17 - 18 inches
Silky and wavy with lots of facial hair. Tail is docked; ears fold forward.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are born black, but the color changes with age. Adult wheaton color and texture isn't achieved until dogs are about two years old. Eyes are brown; nose is black.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier ("Wheaten") has existed for centuries in Ireland. He is probably that country's oldest breed and may share some ancestors with Kerry Blue and Irish Terriers. The Soft Coated Wheaten has always done his share of work on the farm, from the usual terrier task of chasing small animals into burrows and dragging them out to larger tasks such as herding. He was valued as a family companion as well and also made (and still makes) an excellent watchdog. Despite being an old breed, he was not recognized by the Irish Kennel Club (IKC) until 1937. He first came to the United States in 1946 and received full American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition in 1973.
Alert, friendly and happy, the Wheaten is fun loving and less scrappy than other terriers. Although he can be headstrong, he is still loyal and obedient to his owner. He is also intelligent, playful and curious about what's going on around him. This affectionate dog bonds closely with his family. He has a tendency to be territorial and so requires early socialization.
The Wheaten can do well in many living situations, from city to suburbs to farms. Ever watchful and alert, he will bark to alert his owner to anyone's approach. His exuberance often translates into jumping up onto loved ones. A fenced-in yard is best so that he can play and romp in safety. He prefers cool and rainy weather and will often look for shade on sunny days. He enjoys playing in the snow.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier can excel at therapy, obedience, tracking and agility.
The Wheaten needs a moderate amount of exercise every day. A long daily walk, supplemented with a daily play session in the yard, will help keep him fit.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier needs a high-quality, age-appropriate diet.
The Wheaten requires gentle but firm and consistent training. He is quite intelligent, so he is a quick learner, and he is more people oriented than some other terriers - but he is still a terrier. He must be taught acceptable behaviors when he is a puppy, and careful, early socialization is especially important.
The Wheaten loves children and is a good companion for them, although his enthusiasm may overwhelm toddlers. If you socialize him early, he will get along well with other dogs, but the breed is often incompatible with cats.
The average life span of the Wheaten is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include Addison's disease; protein-losing enteropathy (PLE); protein-losing nephropathy (PLN); and renal dysplasia.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers vary in type around the world. In Ireland, they tend to be truer to the original type, with a finer, easier to maintain coat. In England, they are larger and more dignified. The American type has a fuller coat and more gregarious temperament.
The Wheaten's long, silky coat should be brushed or combed every day or two with a narrow-toothed steel comb and slicker brush. He doesn't shed much, and you will be removing any loose hair when you comb him; if this is not done, his coat will mat. His straggly hairs can be trimmed with shears monthly to maintain a terrier outline. Many people take their Wheaten to a professional groomer to keep his high-maintenance coat in shape.
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