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Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a breed of dog in the terrier family that originated in Ireland. The name may be hyphenated or unhyphenated. Alternatively, the words "soft" and "coated" are occasionally combined into one to make "softcoated".

There are four coat varieties: Traditional Irish, Heavy Irish, English, and American. They are considered to be hypoallergenic, a trait popular with allergic or asthmatic dog owners.

Wheatens are unofficially crossbred with Standard Poodles to create the hybrid Whoodle.

The Wheaten was originally bred in Ireland to be an all-purpose farm dog whose duties would have included herding, watching and guarding livestock, and vermin hunting. This is probably why they are not as aggressive as other terriers, who were primarily vermin hunters. They are believed to be related to the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Despite its long history, the Wheaten wasn’t recognized as a breed in Ireland by the Irish Kennel Club until 1937. In 1943 the British Kennel Club recognized the breed as well. The first Wheatens were exported to the United States in 1946 but serious interest in the breed took years to develop. Lydia Vogel was one of the first breeders of the Wheaten Terrier in the United States. Finally, in 1973, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Puppies have a dark coat of either red, brown, mahogany or white. The muzzle and ears of Wheaten puppies may be black or dark brown. The dark puppy coat gradually grows out into a wheat-colored white brownish coat as they get older. The color can range from wheat to white, but white coats are not considered desirable by breeders and show enthusiasts. The adult coat may contain black, white, or darker brown "guard" hairs in addition to the lighter wheaten-coloured hair.


Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Other names: Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Irish Softcoated Wheaten Terrier
Nicknames: Wheaten
Country of origin:

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized dog, which ranges on average anywhere from 17 to 19 inches and weighs about 30 to 45 pounds. The breed seems to have a square structure and is well built. Its hair does not shed like most dogs; like human hair and Poodle hair, it keeps growing, needs regular trimming, and drops just a few hairs daily.

The Irish coat tends to be thinner and silkier than the American variety.

A curiosity of the breed is that whenever an adult wheaten incurs an injury to the skin the resulting coat will grow out in the puppy brown color and then return to Wheat over time.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers have a life expectancy of 13-14 years and typically remain perky to the end. They are prone to some genetic disorders, particularly protein-losing enteropathy and protein-losing nephropathy which constitute the loss of protein from the intestinal tract or the kidneys, respectively. Both conditions are potentially fatal and difficult to diagnose. Other disorders sometimes found in this breed include: Renal dysplasia (especially in Europe), Hip dysplasia, and Progressive retinal atrophy. Several of the breed's clubs are now beginning to address these health issues.

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is an energetic and playful dog. They require patience and consistency in training. Always happy to see guests through the door with a bounce or a lick, the Wheaten owner must take care around young children. With proper exercise and socialization, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier makes a terrific pet.