Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Very Affectionate Family Dog
And A Softy!

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (SCWT) is a very handsome dog of medium size, sturdy yet graceful in appearance. Except for the coat color, he bears quite a resemblance to the Kerry Blue Terrier, and is believed by many to an ancestor of this breed.

windblown wheaten terrier in field

The Wheaten, has been bred for over two hundred years. The breed is native to Ireland and was developed as a general-purpose farm dog.

Some of its valuable skills included hunting otters and badgers, herding livestock, exterminating vermin, and guarding property. It also served as a fine companion.

The breed was recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1973 though it had been resident in the United States since the 40's.

One feature that distinguishes the SCWT, as the name suggests, is a soft and flowing coat that is very abundant and is worn quite long, especially so over the eyes and around the muzzle.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Characteristics

Wheaten Terrier in doorwayClio

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a delightful and undemanding dog of gentle temperament. He is both confident and intelligent and though a quick learner, he runs true to terrier form with a bit of an independent streak. Remember, his former jobs called upon him to be a decision maker!

However, he likes to please and can be trained by owners who are patient and consistent.

Wheatens are fun loving dogs, so try to make training sessions creative and game-like.

This terrier is very much family oriented and likes to be included in everything. Owners describe them as affectionate, trustworthy and loyal.

Though not considered barkers, they are very capable as watchdogs and will warn of any disturbances.

Physical Stats and Care

Wheaten Terrier on Grooming Table

Height: 18-19 inches
Weight: 32-45 lbs.
Color variations: Wheaten - sometimes seen with dark shadings on the ears.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is one of the few single-coated terriers. The natural coat has a texture that is soft and silky to the touch.

Shedding is minimal, but frequent combing with the best fine/coarse comb you can buy, is needed to maintain this luxurious coat and keep it free of tangles and mats.

Pay special attention to the foot pads and armpits, where mats often hide out.

Health Notes

While generally considered to be a breed of overall sound condition, there are some health issues that may affect this terrier during his lifetime of up to 14 years. They include:

  • (PLN) Protein-losing nephropathy, a kidney condition.
  • (PLE) Protein-losing enteropathy, related to various gastrointestinal conditions including colitis.
  • Renal Dysplasia - this is an inherited kidney disease that can be disclosed through DNA testing.
  • .Addison's disease - an endocrine disorder.
  • Degenerative myelopathy - an inherited disease of the spinal cord that causes progressive muscle wasting in the hindquarter. According to UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, genetic testing for the SOD1 (c.118G>A) mutation, can help breeders establish the genetic status of breeding stock.

The National Breed Club recommends that the Wheaten is screened for these conditions routinely and that potential buyers of puppies should discuss these issues and what testing has been done in this regard on their breeding stock.

How Active is the Wheaten?

Wheatens are active dogs with lots of stamina. Ideally they should be given plenty of regular exercise.

Room to run freely outside in a fenced area is a very helpful in using up some of their energy.  Make sure boundaries are secure because they have a strong prey drive i.e. chasers!.

Ideal Living Space

Not given to senseless barking, they make good neighbors as apartment dwellers, as long as owners can meet their exercise requirements.

Accommodations with a play area is the ideal for training and potty breaks.

The Wheaten with Children?

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is considered a very fine companion for children who have been instructed how to interact and be considerate of pets.

The caution remains that an adult should always be close by and watchful when dogs and children are together.

Seniors or Less Active Families?

This is an affectionate home-loving dog and is good breed for seniors, empty-nesters or any dog lover.

The key is being able to provide sufficient exercise for the Wheaten or have someone else willing to take on this necessary daily task.

Wheaten Guides

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)

In depth book about the Wheaten Terrier and how to take care of him. Perfect for the first time owner. Covers breed behavior, nutrition, health, grooming, exercise and lots more. Many color photos.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier guide
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier: Coat of Honey - Heart of Gold

Complete reference of reliable information on this breed. Topics include history, the breed standard, selection of a Wheaten, keeping your dog happy and thriving, grooming, showing, activities, breeding and much more. Detailed bibliography.

Do You Have A Wheaten Terrier?

Do you have a lovely fluffy Wheaten? If you do, we'd love to see his/her picture and hear all about your first-hand experience with this delightful terrier.

We've made it quick and easy for you to tell us and our visitors about your dog. Just go here to get started. It's fun!

We can't wait to have your dog join our community!

  • Top image: Flickr user Srinayan Puppala (TigerPuppala), CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Clio Attribute: User:ACBest, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Grooming Table Wheaten: Pets Adviser from Brooklyn, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Home
  2. AKC Breeds
  3. Terrier Dog Breeds
  4. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Solo Build It!