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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (Wheaties) is a terrier that is a little bit gentler in nature as well as to touch, a ‘terrier light’ per se.  You see, Wheaties are generally known for being happy and affectionate dogs. Still, they are also a bit stubborn and will most definitely chase down the neighborhood cats and wild animals if given the chance.  And while this terrier has a gorgeous coat, it needs a lot of regular grooming to avoid getting deep-seated mats. This means that even though we here at IndulgeYourPet love these little guys, that doesn’t mean that they will automatically be everyone’s “cup of tea.”

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier so that if you’re ever given the opportunity to make one your own, you’ll know right away if that will be a good idea!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Ireland

Original Purpose:  Vermin hunter, guard dog, and companion animal

Height: 15 to 20 inches at shoulders

Weight:  30 to 40 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Terrier group

Life Span: 11-15years

Origin of the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was originally a small farm dog from Ireland, which like the Kerry Blue Terrier, served multiple purposes such as:

  • Alerting the farmers to any strangers or predators,
  • Hunting badges and foxes,
  • And keeping down such vermin as mice and rats.


Only a little beyond this is known about the Wheaties’ background or development. The Irish Kennel Club did not even recognize this breed until 1937. (The oldest known terrier from Ireland is considered to be the Irish Terrier.)  Lydia Vogel of Massachusetts brought this breed to the United States in the 1940s, but this breed was not shown or actively bred until the late 1950s.

Wheaties were first recognized…

By the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1973, the breed is ranked 59th among those registered. There is now a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America, with events mainly directed towards the species. Today there are combinations, such as a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier mixed with a miniature poodle, a Mini Swheet-n-Poo, recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).

Temperament and Personality

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized dog that is steadfast with attentive intelligence. This is also an extremely adaptable dog that is lively and affectionate as long as he is with his human pack.  While less “scrappier” than most terriers, the Wheaties are still self-confident and incredibly independent. This excellent watchdog will bark to alert his family when strangers are near and is neither timid nor aggressive.


It’s fair to say that the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a great family dog that generally gets along with other dogs and can be a perfect and friendly dog with children; this dog is probably better suited for older, elementary, age children because the dog’s exuberance is likely to overwhelm younger children.  And while the Wheaten has a steady and predictable temperament, it does have a penchant for attacking and going after anything small, fast, and furry such as cats and squirrels.

With this in mind…

Be sure that you have a yard with a tall fence, and when you are away from home, make sure your dog is leashed, which will keep your dog safe. Since your dog will pull on his leash, you will need to practice leash manners from the get-go when you are out walking.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Training

Training of your Soft Coated Wheaten puppy should begin immediately, ideally at eight weeks and no later than six months. Try to get your puppy into a kindergarten class, with other puppies, by the age of 10-12 weeks to work on socializing him.  While this may not always be possible because many training classes require the dogs to have certain vaccines before allowing them into a group format, work with your puppy on socializing with many different people, including strangers.


While Wheaton’s can prove to be difficult to train at times, due to their terrier independence, they respond well to consistent and patient lessons. Remember that Wheaton’s have a habit of jumping on people and pulling on the leash, so if you begin correcting this early on, it is possible to change this behavior.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Grooming

One of the allures of Soft Coated Wheaten is the gorgeous, soft silky light brown (wheaten) coat. This coat is a single layer of hair that, like our hair, can get tangled and knotted easily.  This means that daily brushing is needed most often with a slicker brush and a stainless-steel comb. Regular bathing and trimming, typically every 4-6 weeks, will also be necessary to keep your dog’s coat style. Also, check your Wheaties ears weekly to ensure no dirt, foul odor, or redness indicates an infection.

Potential Health Concerns

As with people in families, some dog breeds have a genetic predisposition to developing particular diseases and disorders. So, you know there is no dog breed that is 100 percent healthy with no known associated medical conditions, but good breeders should do their best to clear the parents of health conditions before breeding. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier they are known to be predisposed to specific disorders, including:

  • Protein-Losing Nephropathy (PLN) – Broad term to describe diseases that mainly affect the Glomerulus (a cluster of capillaries near the end of the kidney where waste is filtered from the blood) that causes a loss of protein
  • Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE) – Protein is lost through the gastrointestinal system
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRE) – Eyes are genetically programmed to go blind
  • Addison’s disease – An adrenal disorder where the adrenal glands produce an insufficient level of cortisol
  • Renal Dysplasia – Kidneys are unable to conserve water

And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues.  This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Hailey October 19, 2021, 8:52 pm

    The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier had much more history than what was stated. A quick check on AKC’s website and you’ll see the breed has much more to offer than what is stated above. For example, Wheatens performed every farm job, just like the Kerry Blue Terrier. They herded livestock, hunted vermin, guarded the property and family, and worked as gun dogs. To this day, Wheatens have retained their versatility. They often compete in agility, tracking, and herding competitions.

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