The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier originated as an Irish crofter’s dog, medium sized and bred for sturdy health and sound temperament. The breed combines the steadiness of a working farm dog with the intelligence and energy of the terrier. The Spartan conditions under which the ancestors of the Soft-Coated Wheaten lived have made this a hardy breed.
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier’s appearance is that of an active medium-sized dog with a compact body possessing the strength of a much larger breed. His soft abundant coat of good clear wheaten colour should fall naturally in lose waves of large loose curls. The ears should be covered with coat. The tail, also well covered, should be carried gaily but not over the back. The whole picture is of a hardy, active, strong dog.
A Wheaten’s distinctive feature is his soft, flowing coat whose mature colour reflects that of ripening wheat. The coat does not shed or smell, when kept properly combed. A regular grooming schedule is absolutely mandatory to keep the lovely coat in shining, clean and mat-free condition. Grooming is particularly intensive during the ages of 8 to 24 months when the puppy coat is changing to the adult coat.
A Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a lively, inquisitive and bouncy dog. If you don’t enjoy the attentions of a dog, you should be forewarned. He jumps and kisses to express his affection and delight – not just to his immediate family, but for anyone welcomed into the family home. Being so people oriented, a puppy must be carefully home-raised and thoughtfully socialised with sensible, positive training.
A Wheaten makes a good watchdog, barking to announce the presence of a stranger. His common sense usually prevents him from being a constant ‘yapper’. He is defensive without being aggressive, but is usually too ‘people-minded’ to be a true guard dog.
In the past, Wheatens had strong sporting instincts and excelled as hunters of rats, rabbits, otters and badgers. They worked any kind of cover, including water and their soft coat was ample protection against the densest undergrowth, into which they could plunge unscathed.
For a terrier they have very soft mouths and have a keen nose for running bird. Several have been trained to the gun with great success. These instincts, in today’s Wheaten, are less strong.
A Wheaten is less scrappy than many other terriers. He is a gregarious dog, enthusiastically seeking to play with all the other dogs he meets. He therefore needs much careful early socialisation with other friendly dogs to maintain this happy attitude.
A family dog
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is exuberant and affectionate. He is a family dog, usually attaching himself to the whole household, rather than just one person. He relates well to children with his sense of fun and abundant energy.
The Wheaten is adaptable and gets along well with young and old in city and country environments.
He travels well and readily adjusts to change. Provided with a home where discipline is gentle, firm and consistent, the Wheaten is a terrier who is easy to live with and a delightful companion.
The Wheaten is unsuitable as a kennel dog, where the restraining conditions have an adverse effect on his character. He is very much a house dog, living freely as one of the family. His marvellous personality and temperament bloom only in a good home environment. A securely fenced garden is essential to ensure his safety.
A Wheaten above all is a happy dog, taking tremendous joy in living and in the family whose life he shares. He often carries his love of games and pranks into an advanced old age.