The soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is a sturdy and playful dog that was bred to be a farm dog in Ireland. This breed makes a great family dog because it is happy and lively, but it does need a moderate amount of exercise and attention. This dog is versatile and can adapt to life in the city or the country, but you will need to brush it regularly. The soft silky hair needs regular grooming because it is prone to collecting dirt from outside.
Summary of Wheaten Terrier
|Personality||They are very friendly, energetic, and intelligent dogs that love to be with people.|
|Size||30 to 40 pounds|
|Life Expectancy||12- 15 years|
|Exercise Requirements||High Level of activity Needed. Can be destructive or dig if bored|
|Grooming Requirements||This terrier breed has longer thicker coats that don’t shed but require brushing daily|
|Good with Children?||Yes, very family friendly. Will get along with other pets|
|Health Challenges||Minor Health Issues. Can be prone to such problems such as renal dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and canine hip dysplasia, Addison’s disease, and protein loss diseases.|
|Easy To Train?||Very energetic and independent which can make training a bit more challenging|
Wheaten Terriers are great family dogs that enjoy attention and can be very affectionate. As is the case with most terriers, they have a lot of energy and are happy, and they love people. They can get their exercise playing in the yard, going for long walks, and even training for agility or herding. They love to express themselves by jumping into your arms, twirling, and giving you doggy kisses.
These dogs were bred to be farm dogs, and they get along well with other animals, but outdoors, they will chase small animals and stray cats. They are very independent and will let you know when they are displeased. Oddly enough, this breed does not like to go out when it is wet and rainy, and your dog will let you know that it would prefer to wait until later.
The Wheaten Terrier coat is silky and needs to be brushed every day. It is easy for the coat to pick up dirt, snow, twigs, and other outdoor debris and bring it into the house if you do not groom your dog regularly. In addition, their hair can tangle. You should not leave your Wheaten Terrier outdoors in the heat for long periods of time, as they do not tolerate it well.
Wheaten Terriers make good watchdogs because they will bark at noises, but they are not aggressive and will not protect you from an intruder. They tend to bark at something, and they are not considered to be noisy for no reason.
Terriers love to dig, and the Wheaten Terrier is no exception. If you leave this breed alone in the yard, it will dig holes. These dogs love to be around people, so it is not a good idea to leave them alone for long periods of time. If you do, you should be prepared for your dog to chew things up and bark.
These dogs need exercise, and you should make sure that you can provide at least 30 minutes of good exercise every day to keep your dog happy and healthy. These dogs are independent, but they love to do a job well, so when you are training, offer positive rewards, including treats, playtime, and a praising voice.
Wheaten Terriers make all around great pets as long as you have enough time to give them proper attention.
Pet Highlights and Facts:
Here are some highlights and facts about Wheaten Terriers:
- Wheaten Terriers were bred in Ireland as farm dogs, and they are adaptable to any home situation as long as they get plenty of exercise and attention.
- Wheaten Terriers love children.
- Wheaten Terriers get along well with other animals, and they are not aggressive. However, they will chase wild animals or stray cats outside.
- Wheaten Terriers will bark at a suspicious noise, but they are not incessant barkers.
- Don’t leave your Wheaten Terrier outside in the heat; they do not tolerate it well.
- This breed is very friendly and affectionate, and they like to be with people. Do not leave them alone for too long, and if you leave them outside alone, they will dig holes in the yard.
- Make sure that you give your Wheaten Terrier a chance to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.
- You need to brush this breed daily because their coat picks up dirt and debris from outside, and it will tangle if left unbrushed.
- Wheaten Terriers are considered hypoallergenic. They do not have an undercoat, but they require clipping and grooming to keep the coat looking nice.
- Male Wheaten Terriers weigh between 35 and 40 pounds, and females weigh between 30 and 35 pounds.
- Male Wheaten Terriers grow to 18 or 19 inches in height, and females grow to 17 or 18 inches.
- Wheaten Terriers live to be between 12 and 15 years old.
- Wheaten Terriers belong to the Terrier dog breed group.
- Wheaten Terriers can be stubborn when it comes to training, so be sure to use positive reinforcement methods including treats, praise, and extra playtime.
- Wheaten Terriers are cheerful and happy, and they love to play. They act much like a happy fun-loving puppy throughout their lives.
- You should train your Wheaten Terrier from a young age to preserve its happy disposition and to control it from jumping on people.
Wheaten Terriers are Excellent Family Pets That Enjoy Company
Wheaten Terriers do well in almost every kind of home. They can live in the city or the country, and they can be in large or small families. They will get along with other pets.
They will bark if they hear a suspicious noise, but they are not loud and yappy. They will warn you if there is someone at the door, but they are not great for protection from intruders.
It is important to make sure that you don’t leave this breed alone for too much of the day, as it will become bored and entertain itself by chewing up your belongings and barking. They are friendly and intelligent dogs that love to be with people.
Wheaten terriers are lively, smart, and full of energy, so make sure that you have time to allow this breed to exercise and give it lots of love.
Origins and History of Wheaten Terriers
The Wheaten Terrier comes from Ireland, where it was bred to be a farm dog. Farm dogs worked on the farms to chase away rats and snakes, hunt, and guard the property from predators and human intruders.
Similar to Kerry Blue Terriers and Irish Terriers, which were most likely ancestors of this breed, the Wheaten Terrier has a docked tail to show the tax collector that they were working farm dogs and exempt from the dog tax.
They were first recognized by the Irish Kennel Club on St. Patrick’s Day in 1937. They required that the dog qualified in field trials by hunting rabbits, rats, and badgers. This is how they could win a championship.
The Wheaten Terriers first came to the United States in November of 1946 on the freighter Norman J. Coleman. It came from Belfast. Two dogs showed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the following year and had 17 puppies.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America was founded in 1962 in Brooklyn. The first meeting was on St. Patrick’s Day. The American Kennel Club finally recognized the breed in 1973, and today it is ranked 62nd out of 155 in terms of popularity.
The soft coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium sized dog. Males weigh between 35 and 40 pounds when they are fully grown, and they are 18 to 19 inches at the shoulder. The females are a little bit smaller, weighing between 30 and 35 pounds and standing 17 to 18 inches at full size.
The Wheaten Terrier has a lively and happy personality, and this breed loves the people in its life. They need plenty of exercise to release their energy. Getting outside for 30 minutes of vigorous activity is usually enough to keep them happy.
Wheaten Terriers get along well with other dogs in the home. They will chase after wild animals and stray cats, so be sure to have yours on a leash when you are outdoors. They do not tolerate the heat well, so you need to keep your dog inside when it is hot out. As is the case with most terriers, Wheaten Terriers will dig. They were bred to dig out rats and other pests, and they will dig holes in your yard if you leave them unattended.
It can be challenging to train Wheaten Terriers because they can be independent. You should start socializing them when they are young, and exercise patience. They respond best to rewards such as treats, praise, and extra playtime. These dogs love to please, so as long as you direct them, you can train them. They also make good service dogs for this reason.
Your Wheaten Terrier will bark when it hears a noise or is startled, which makes these dogs good watchdogs. However, they will not protect you from intruders because they are so loving. They do get along well with children and strangers, which makes them safe to have in your home when company comes over.
Wheaten Terriers are intelligent, loyal, friendly, and lively dogs, and you will enjoy having this breed for a pet.
Health and Life Expectancy of Wheaten Terrier
Although the Wheaten Terrier is generally a healthy breed, there are conditions that they are prone to. You should familiarize yourself with these conditions if you are thinking about getting a Wheaten Terrier.
You should ask your breeder for health clearances from your dog’s parents. Some of these conditions do not show up until a dog is two years old, so you want to make sure that your breeder doesn’t breed dogs younger than two or three, or they will not have the clearance, which is evidence that a dog does not have a particular condition.
Be aware of the following conditions:
Wheaten Terriers have a chance of having problems with their teeth. They can get tartar buildup, which leads to infections of the roots and gums. You need to perform regular teeth brushing and dental care for your Wheaten Terrier to prevent problems down the road.
As with many domesticated dogs, Wheaten Terriers can become obese. You should feed your dog a balanced diet and minimize the treats. Obesity can lead to joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain, and heart disease.
Addison’s Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism):
Addison’s is an endocrine system disorder when the adrenal glands do not produce the hormones needed to keep the body functioning the way it should. It can be fatal if it isn’t treated, and the symptoms make it hard to diagnose.
Dogs who have Addison’s may vomit, have a low appetite, and lack energy. When it is more severe, the organs are impacted, and high potassium can interfere with heart function. This disease can be diagnosed with a blood test, and if you catch it early, it can be managed with medication.
This condition is often present in large or giant breed dogs, but it can occur in medium breeds such as the Wheaten Terrier. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and when dogs have this condition, the ball, which is the end of the femur, doesn’t fit into the socket, or the hip, properly. Instead of sliding back and forth smoothly, the ball and the socket rub against each other, and it can lead to arthritis and loss of function of this joint.
Hip dysplasia is hereditary, and certain types of exercise and obesity can make it worse. You should make sure that your dog eats a balanced diet and gets exercise every day.
If your dog develops arthritis, glucosamine can help to reduce inflammation. You can get it from your vet or buy treats with glucosamine or chondroitin in them.
Dogs often begin to present symptoms of hip dysplasia early on, but it can appear later in life. The important thing is to know what to look for so that you will pick up on it at any age:
- Decrease in activity
- Decrease in range of motion in hind legs
- Difficulty standing, jumping, climbing stairs, or running
- Hind leg lameness
- Bunny hop-like gait
- Loss of thigh muscle mass
- Excessive shoulder muscles to make up for hind end lack of function
- Pain and discomfort
Kidney Disease (Renal Dysplasia):
This is a genetic kidney disease that can make its appearance when your dog is still a puppy. The signs to look for are excessive thirst and urine, a low appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. This disease can lead to early kidney failure because it causes abnormal kidney development. There are diagnostic tests that can let you know if your dog has this disease.
With this disease, the dog loses proteins and plasma through the kidneys. You might notice the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Leg or abdominal swelling
- Excessive thirst or urine
- Difficulty breathing
- Kidney failure
This disease leads to an increase in serum creatinine and urea nitrogen, anemia, high cholesterol, and an increase in phosphorus. However, the condition can be managed with medications.
Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE):
This disease is characterized by a dog losing proteins and plasma through the gastrointestinal tract. You might notice the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Leg or abdominal swelling
- Excessive thirst or urine
- Difficulty breathing
Dogs with this disease will often have low cholesterol, albumin, and globulin. Although there is no cure, you can manage this illness with your dog’s diet and medication.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
This is an immune system disorder where the intestinal lining is overrun by lymphocytes and plasmacytes. It thickens the intestinal lining and prevents it from properly absorbing nutrients. Your dog may vomit or have diarrhea or other stomach issues. Once diagnosed, you can control this disease with medications and diet.
Cataracts can cause blindness in your older Wheaten Terrier. The eyes will appear cloudy. Most dogs do well even with the loss of vision, but you may be able to do surgery as well.
This condition is caused by extra hairs growing inside your dog’s eyelid. It is painful, and the hairs can cause corneal ulcers and chronic eye discomfort. There are several different treatment options, and your dog can recover completely from this condition.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):
This is an inherited disease where the eyes are inclined to go blind. It is not curable, but it does not cause your dog pain. You can have a genetic test done for this condition.
Wheaten Terriers can have allergies to pollen, which comes out as a skin allergy called “atopy.” It appears in the feet, the belly folds, and the ears, and your dog will lick its feet or develop ear infections. There are treatment options for this disease.
This disease causes the kneecap to slip out of place. Your dog may hop a few steps with its leg out to the side before correcting its gait. If it worsens, your dog may need surgery, and it may also lead to arthritis later on.
Wheaten Terriers have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Wheaten Terrier Care
The soft-coated Wheaten Terriers are friendly dogs, and they should live in the house with the family. They can become stressed out when left alone for long periods of time, so be sure to have plenty of time for this breed. You should not leave your dog outside unattended because it may dig holes, and this breed does not tolerate heat well. You need to bring it inside in the summer months.
You should feed your Wheaten Terrier a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for its stage of life, such as puppy, adult, or senior. In addition, do not feed people food or excessive treats because overfeeding can lead to obesity. Giving treats for training is fine, and will work well for this breed.
Wheaten Terriers have a soft coat of fine hair. They have no undercoat, so they are not prone to shedding. You need to brush this breed daily to prevent matting or the collection of dirt and debris. In addition, you will want to have it clipped periodically. You should also brush your dog’s teeth daily to prevent plaque buildup.
This breed is energetic and lively, and it will need at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. Doing so will help your dog to not become bored, which can lead to chewing and barking. Make sure that you keep your dog on a leash when outside so that it doesn’t run after a wild animal or stray cat.
You should socialize this breed as early as possible because they are spirited free thinkers, and they will be difficult to train if you put it off. They respond well to the reward system with praise, treats, and extra playtime. The Wheaten Terrier will bark if it is startled, and it can be a good watchdog, but it is too friendly to protect you from intruders.
You will be able to house train your Wheaten Terrier as long as you provide many opportunities for it to go outside to go to the bathroom. They want to please you, so use the reward system and they will respond. You can crate train this breed as long as you make sure that the crate is big enough. This can help with house training and chewing out of boredom.
You should feed your Wheaten Terrier a high-quality diet. It should eat between one and a half and two cups of food per day. You should split this amount over two meals. Remember that all dogs are individuals, and the exact amount of food that is right for your dog will depend on its age, size, build, and activity level.
You can feed a raw homemade diet or a high-quality complete dog feed. Consider how active your dog is, and keep an eye out for signs of obesity. There is a finger test that you can do to check for your dog’s weight. You can touch the dog’s ribs. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs, but you should not be able to see them. If the dog passes, it is likely a healthy weight.
Coat and Grooming
The Wheaten Terrier has a single coat that is silky and soft. The hair covers its body in a wavy fashion. They can be different colors from pale beige to a bright shiny golden color. Sometimes they have a muzzle and ears that are a blue-gray color.
Puppies are born with darker coats, and they become lighter as they grow up. These dogs may not have their final coat until they are two. In addition, this breed does not have an undercoat, so they do not shed. However, their silky hair can mat, so you need to brush this dog every day.
It is best to bathe your dog only when it is necessary, as over-bathing can remove important oils from the skin. Brush your dog regularly, and you will not have to bathe it often.
You should brush your dog’s teeth at least two or three times a week, and daily if possible. This will prevent plaque and tartar buildup. You will also need to clip its nails once a month or more frequently if you notice that they are growing quickly.
Children and Other Pets
Wheaten Terriers are great with children, and they will be loyal friends. It is important to introduce your puppy to your children so that the children learn to be gentle. This breed loves attention, and it will want to be a part of the family all the time.
Wheaten Terriers will also become fast friends with other dogs in your home. They get along well with most other animals, but they should not be loose with reptiles, birds, or rodents, as they were bred to get rid of this type of animal on the farm. They would run out and dig up snakes or rats and chase them away from the property.
If you have your dog outside, it will chase wild animals and stray cats, so be sure to keep it on a leash. They are not as aggressive as other breeds, but this is still an instinct that was bred into them, so exercise caution.
Wheaten Terrier Rescue Groups
Unfortunately, many people bring home a puppy without learning whether or not this is the right breed for their family. For this reason, there are Wheaten Terriers that end up with a rescue and need to be adopted. Luckily, these organizations are committed to finding the perfect forever home for these dogs. Take a look at the following rescues:
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America Rescue: This rescue is sponsored by the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America, and they have a list of regional rescue contacts where you can locate a Wheaten Terrier in need of rescue. They also look for people to foster dogs who are in need of a home.
S’Wheat Rescues: This rescue is a 501c3 charity that is devoted to rescuing Wheaten Terriers in cases where they have been abandoned, abused, mistreated, or who are homeless. They work tirelessly to ensure that every Wheaten Terrier finds the perfect forever home.
In addition, they rescue puppy mill dogs and take special care to
ensure that they are healthy, happy, and well cared for. This is a great
organization that works tirelessly on behalf of this breed.