Irish Softcoated Wheaten Terrier

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Irish Softcoated Wheaten Terrier

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The Irish soft-coated wheaten terrier (hereinafter wheaten) is a happy and friendly terrier. In contrast to many other terriers the wheaten has a soft and silky coat. It is an independent breed, which requires gentle and positive training. The wheaten derives from Ireland where it was bred to be an all round farm dog.

Character and behaviour
The wheaten is a playful and energetic breed that loves to spend time with its owners. It can also grow accustomed to associating with cats and other dogs. If it does not get introduced to a cat as a puppy its instinct for prey may take over. The wheaten thrives in a cool climate and during the summer they quickly become overheated.

A wheaten will function well as a guard dog, however it rarely displays aggressive behaviour. A wheaten only barks when it finds it necessary to warn. It has a tendency of jumping up on people. Owners of the breed call it a ‘wheaten greeting’ but the dog should be weaned off while it is still a puppy. The wheaten gets really attached to its family and it is really good with children.

History of the breed
The wheaten derives from Ireland and is one of the oldest Irish breeds. It is closely related to the Kerry blue terrier and Irish terrier. Given that it was the poor man’s dog the documentation concerning the breed is limited. It was not until the 1930s that the wheaten was approved as an independent breed.

Appearance, grooming and health
The wheaten terrier is a compact square looking dog. The head is medium sized with a quadrangular expression. The eyes are almond shaped and relatively small. The back is straight and short. The front legs are straight with small compact paws. The ears are v-shaped and hanging down.

The Irish soft-coated wheaten terrier is 18-20 inches tall and weighs 35-45 pounds.

The coat is soft, slightly wavy, and silky. It is recommended to use a comb instead of a brush when grooming the dog otherwise the coat will become frizzy. The wheaten has no inner coat and thus needs no trimming like other terriers.

In return it is possible to give the dog a hair cut. It is also important to clean eyes and ears regularly. It is generally speaking a healthy breed but it may be inclined to suffer from allergies or having problems absorbing protein (PLE). Life expectancy is 12-15 years.

What you should know about the breed:

  • A lively and active dog
  • Excellent family dog
  • Good with children
  • Thrives in a cool climate
  • Hardly ever barks

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