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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The sweetie Wheatie is happy, affectionate, and just a little bit stubborn. He jumps and twirls when he’s happy.

Overall Status

Height 17 to 19 inches
Temperament Friendly, Happy, Deeply Devoted
Weight 30 to 40 pounds
Life Expectancy 12 to 14 years
Coat Color Black, Red, Wheaten, White
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

The Soft Coated Wheaten has a beautiful wavy coat with a soft and silky texture. It tangles easily, which means daily brushing and combing is essential to keep the coat tangle free. A slicker brush and stainless steel metal comb are the tools of choice for this job. Bathing and trimming every four to six weeks will keep the coat styled.

Be aware that the coat does not develop fully until the dog is mature, so a puppy or adolescent Wheaten may lack the waves seen in the adult coat or have deeper coloring with black tipping, but the proper wheaten color and waves should develop by the time he is 2 years old.

It is important to begin grooming the Wheaten when he is very young. An early introduction teaches the independent Wheaten that grooming is a normal part of his life and to patiently accept the handling and fuss of the grooming process.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a medium to a high energy level that does not diminish, even in old age. They need plenty ofexerciseevery day. With a strong prey drive, Wheatens will have an urge to chase after just about anything that moves, from squirrels to cars, so the backyard or another play area must be securely fenced, and walks must always be on a leash. Wheatens bond to their owners, who should expect to participate in the daily exercise sessions.

With this said, Wheatie puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.

As with most breeds, you’ll want to feed your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier a diet of high-quality dry dog food or homemade meals. As well, you may choose to add a coat supplement, like a little corn or safflower oil, sprinkled over the food once a day, which will help keep the coat from drying out. For an added treat, a daily milk bone adds nutrition and keeps teeth clean.

If you get a Wheatie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

The average life span of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is 12 to 14 years. Wheatens are generally healthy dogs,andresponsible breedersscreen their stock for health conditions such as protein-losing nephropathy, a kidney ailment; protein-losing enteropathy, a term that is applied to several gastrointestinal conditions; Addison’s disease; and renal dysplasia. As with all breeds, a Wheaten’s ears should be checked regularly for signs ofinfection, and theteethshould be brushed often,

Whereas Wheatens are not typical terriers, they do share one common trait with their terrier cousins: stubbornness. Training them can be a handful, so start young. Sessions should be kept short and the activities should be varied in order to hold your dog's interest. When a Wheaten gets bored with training, he has no qualms about walking away from you mid-command. Treats are an excellent motivator and be ready to give gracious amounts of praise when your Wheaten does something correctly. Never treat this breed harshly, as this can cause them to become defensive and snap at you. If a Wheaten loses trust in you, it's difficult to gain it back.

You’ll get the best results from your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier by challenging it both mentally and physically during training. Some games, commands and tasks can include fetch, completing obstacle courses and even to playing hide and seek with favorite toys or even family members. Since it has a chase instinct, this breed should be taught to work on a retractable lead. As well, socialization should be a key component of any Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier training program from the earliest possible age.


The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is an old breed, probably of over 200 years. It is one of the terriers of Ireland and most likely shares common ancestors with theKerry BlueandIrish Terriers. As with many terriers, it was a dog of the common, working people and had to earn its keep. It was used to hunt otter and badger and as a guardian against intruders. As old as the breed is, it did not receive recognition as a separate breed until 1937.

Wheatens were first brought to the United States in the 1940s by Lydia Vogel of Massachusetts, but not much was done as far as showing or breeding them until the late 1950s. The American Kennel Club recognized the Wheaten in 1973. It ranks 59th among the breeds registered by AKC.

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