Choosing a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

As his name implies, this terrier has a soft coat of a wheaten color. They are energetic and family oriented dogs that love nothing better than spending a fun filled day with the kids.

History and Origin

The soft-coated wheaten terrier originated in Ireland. For centuries he was used as a herder, hunter of small game and all around farm dog. This terrier is thought to be one of the oldest of the Irish breeds and shares ancestry with the Kerry blue terrier and Irish terrier. Although popular in Ireland, the breed wasn’t well known in the rest of the world until it was first imported to the United States in 1946. Eventually, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973 as part of the terrier group.

Appearance and Size

The soft-coated wheaten terrier is a medium sized terrier with a soft wavy hair coat. The head is rectangular in shape and the ears sit on top of the head and drop forward. The tail is docked and carried upright but not over the back. The coat of the wheaten terrier is characteristic of the breed and gives him his name. The coat is a single soft coat with a gentle wave. The color is any shade of wheaten.

The adult soft-coated wheaten terrier stands around 18 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 35 to 45 pounds.


The soft-coated wheaten terrier is a very happy dog with seemingly boundless energy. Some wheaten act like puppies throughout their lives and owners need to be prepared for this. These dogs are confident and friendly but some can be a little stubborn and assertive.

Home and Family Relations

The wheaten terrier is a devoted family pet that loves children but should be with an active family. They are active and enthusiastic dogs. This terrier is a good watchdog and will bark when strangers approach. The wheaten can do well in the country or in an apartment as long as he is taken on daily walks. The wheaten needs a fenced yard and shouldn’t be allowed to roam free. If he says a small quick animal, he will give chase without thinking of his own safety.

The soft-coated wheaten terrier can get along with other family pets if raised with them but small pets like hamsters, gerbils and birds can have a problem if allowed out of their cage.


Wheatens are very lively dogs and can be difficult to train. Many love to jump on people and pull leashes. Some can be stubborn and headstrong and take kindness, patience and persistence to train.

Special Concerns

The soft-coated wheaten terrier needs combing to maintaining his coat. This breed sheds less than other breeds and can be good for allergy sufferers.


Common Diseases and Disorders

The soft-coated wheaten terrier is a hardy breed but prone to a few diseases. These include:

  • Cutaneous asthenia – is an inherited disorder of the collagen synthesis the skin resulting in fragility and hyperextensibility of the skin
  • Food allergy affected pets develop skin allergies due to a variety of food ingredients.
  • Protein-losing enteropathy is a condition associated with excessive loss of plasma proteins into the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Cataracts are opacities within the lens of the eye that affect vision.Other conditions that may be seen in soft-coated wheaten terriers include: flea allergies, protein-losing nephropathy, Renal Dysplasia (Familial Renal Disease) and Addison’s disease.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the soft-coated wheaten terrier is 12 to 15 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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