The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Weight: 30 — 40 lbs
Height: 17”— 19”
AKC Rank 2008 #58
Lifespan: 12—14 yrs
Group: Terrier
Origin: Ireland

A Wheaten, pouncing
on her favorite ball

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Dog Breed Info - Wheaten Terrier

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Breed Overview

Origin: 1700’s. Original function: Vermin hunting, herding, guardian. Today, Companion dog.

The Soft Coated Wheaten originated as an all-around farm dog and served as such for hundreds of years. This one of the largest terriers in Ireland. It was granted breed status in 1937. The English Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943 and in 1946 the first Wheaten came to America. The breed did not instantly catch the public's attention, but it did finally build a firm basis of support. The AKC registered the breed: '73.


Some are easy, some difficult. Some are stubborn and take their sweet time to learn. They are all trainable. I sug gest getting a CLICKER from a pet store and follow the clicker training ideas in this website which describes the use of the clicker.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Some Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppies can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

A Wheaten Terrier in a big hurry
to get home for dinner!>

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The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier makes a playful companion He's affectionate and gentle. This dog generally is happy to do what his owner wants or is doing. Some can be headstrong at times. The dog is good with older children, 6 and up. Younger kids need to be supervised closely. He may be overly boisterous with small children. They are usually good with older household dogs and cats. Wheaten’s are terriers, so... some like to dig and bark. The Soft-Coated Terrier makes a wonderful family pet, but..

Small dogs like the Wheaten have a natural problem in that they often want to dominate the house and everyone in it. Small dogs must be heavily socialized starting very young and continued on. They need an owner and family that understands dogs and how to exert a firm but kind "pack leader" (alpha dog) dominance role over them. It is very important not to let the dog think he's "boss!"

The Wheaten, like many other breeds, is prone to separation anxiety. If you do happen to get one that has the problem, visit our page on separation anxiety. It's no problem to train the anxiety out of the dog.

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes, the Wheaten may pick his dog friends but generally isn’t too bad with other dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Maybe. If raised with the other pets, all is okay. Small animals like birds and gerbils will be caught by the dog, as he is a natural hunter.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Yes. The Wheaten is very friendly and has no problem meeting people. He likes most everyone.


Very playful little dog. Needs to be active, loves to romp and have fun.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier makes a wonderful family pet.


Yes. Very affectionate. The Wheaten loves family and older children. Will want to join whatever the family is doing.

Good with children

Yes. The Wheaten does well with well-mannered children, especially older kids, 6 or 7 and up. Younger, small kids could be a problem. Loves to play and run with older kids… a good way to burn some energy. Doesn't have a lot tolerance for small kids.

Wheaten profile. Note the soft, fluffy coat.
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Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. The Wheaten is good with seniors. If you want a lively little dog, the Wheaten Terrier is it. A couple of walks and some play in the house will fill your day. Grooming will take the rest of the time. The dog is affectionate and devoted to family. If longevity is an issue, find a Wheaten Terrier Rescue group and get an dog 2 oe 3 years old that is house trained and knows some commands. The senior will save a lot of aggravation by getting a slightly older dog.

Living environment

Apartment, farm, city okay as long as he gets his walks and fetch.

Energy level

Yes, Quite energetic.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. Several good walks a day are needed. Some stimulating play in the yard for the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is good too.


Yes, he will alert you to any improper activity.

Guard dog

No, Too friendly.


No. Known to be good for allergy sufferers.


Yes. Spend lots of time grooming. Use a comb and bristle brush on the Wheaten Terrier every other day. Visit a pet store for appropriate comb and brush if you're in doubt. A fairly stiff bristle brush works best.



Suggested Reading - The Wheaten Terrier

  • Book at left is a softcover Owners Guide for the Wheaten Terrier.

  • 2nd book from left is "101 Dog Tricks" and the name says it all. These are easy to teach things to keep your dog's mind sharp and active. It's a fun book.

  • 3rd book from the left is "50 Games To Play With Your Dog." These are simple games that dogs learn quickly and are entertained for hours. Got kids? Even better!

  • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

Wheaten Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Wheaten Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.

Wheaten Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Wheaten Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Wheaten Terrier Rescue - At the time of this writing, Petfinder has only 78 Wheaten's available on their site. Good luck. This is a scarce breed!
It may be necessary to go online and search Wheaten Terrier Rescue Groups, clubs, and also kennels. Check the classifieds in local newspapers too.

Dog Health -- Wheaten Terriers
Below: The dog illness / illnesses list or medical problems listed for the Wheaten Terrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

The Wheaten is prone to a variety of skin issues, or problems including allergies which are described below.
Look for Cutaneous asthenia, Malassezia dermatitis, Atopic dermatitis, Seborrhea, Food allergy, Flea allergy dermatitis. This could be one itchy dog!

  • Retinal dysplasia—Caused by trauma, hereditary or damage from an infection and abnormal development of the retina with folds in the outer layers. The folds are small and may not bother the dog, however, larger obstructions can lead to blindness. Retinal dysplasia is a congenital problem that does not necessarily worsen with age.

  • Protein losing enteropathy—Serious problem for the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. Protein is lost from the body through the intestine and is hard to replace. A protein, Albumin, produced by the liver, is lost and that’s serious. A series of negative chemical functions occur, all bad for the body including water retention in the tissue. Weight loss, bloat, diarrhea, and vomiting are signs of this disease. The disease is detected by blood work and treated by medication and/or diet and/or diuretics. Depending on circumstances, the problem may not be cured, but it may be “managed.”

  • Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treated right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Wheaten Terrier. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision could lead to blindness if not treated.

  • Cutaneous asthenia—Hereditary, rare disease. Abnormally stretchy, fragile skin that tears, easily. Tearing comes easily such as the dog stretching. Little bleeding results and the torn areas heals with irregular scars resulting. Infrequently, lens luxation and loose joints may be found along with the white scaring. A skin biopsy is used for diagnosis. Your vet will advise what can be done, if anything, depending on the individual case.

  • Addison’s disease—Inability of the adrenal gland to produce several important hormones. One of them is cortisol which the body needs to regulate the conversion of proteins and fat into glucose. Some symptoms: Not eating, depression, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, excess drinking, and in advanced cases, fast heart rate, and collapse. This kind of mimics kidney disorders and other problems but can be detected by a sharp vet through blood work. The solution for this is to give the Wheaten Terrier with Addison’s disease replacement supplements. As long as the dog gets the replacement supplements every day, she can live a fairly healthy life.

  • Malassezia dermatitis—A highly itchy skin infection, usually around the ears, muzzle, inner thighs, eyes or feet. The Wheaten Terrier may become frantic, chewing and scratching the ears and feet. If an ear infection, there might be a waxy discharge and smelly odor. The dog will be rubbing and pawing at the ear. Look for Malassezia in the summer, humidity and allergy seasons. Your vet will treat this with appropriate medications and bathing after a diagnosis.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Seborrhea—Hereditary. Skin disease. Itching and scratching. Usually dry, flaky coat with the familiar “dog” odor. Sebaceous glands will produce a waxy, oily substance in the armpits, in the ears, under the dog and around the elbow joints. Secondary ear and skin infections are common too. There are many, many causes and IF the vet can identify one and treat it, you’re lucky. It’s a tough disorder to pinpoint. Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Terriers and Retrievers are among the most susceptible.

  • Food allergy - affected dogs develop skin allergies due to a variety of food ingredients. Change to a better quality food if you see any of these symptoms: Persistent poor skin odor, reddish bumps, scaling, ear infections, very itchy skin, severe itching or skin trauma, possibly self-inflicted by the dog.

  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis—The affected dog is hypersensitive to the saliva the flea injects into the dog’s skin causing itching, swelling and redness. Hair loss and damaged skin can occur due to the dog licking and scratching at the affected area. Hot spots, or red, circular areas can occur, not from the flea bite, but from the constant scratching by the dog. Flea allergy can be managed ONLY by removing all fleas from the dog and her living space. Use a top quality flea preventative. Flea collars don’t always work well.

Other health problems could occur with your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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