Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a breed of dog originating in Ireland. There are four coat varieties: Traditional Irish, Heavy Irish, English, and American. These dogs have a single coat which sheds very little hair, so they can be more easily tolerated by people allergic to other breeds.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Appearance

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier 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 to nearly white before maturing into a wheaten-colored 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. If adults ever have skin injuries the resulting hair growth will be the dark color of their puppy coat before it eventually grows out to the wheat color.

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 has a square structure and is well built. Its hair does not shed like most dogs; like human hair and Poodle hair, it keeps growing, they do not need trimming, as long as you brush them at least once a day. They are hypoallergenic dogs. They are very smart dogs, and are easy to train. They love people, and it is rare that they have aggression issues.

The Irish coat tends to be thinner and silkier than the American variety. The Irish coat has a devoted following in Ireland and Europe. Breeders of the pure Irish type believe this is the original working terrier coat. The coat is not thin - Irish type breeders consider the American heavy coat to be "bouffant", not that of the original working terrier type. There are a few Irish type breeders in the U.S. and Canada. In the AKC comformation show ring, the judges do not always accept the Irish type well. The Irish is well received in the UK and Europe. The "heavier Irish" type coat is usually a result of cross breeding between coat types - American/English coat with an Irish type. The Irish type coat still requires daily brushing to stay free of matted hair.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Health

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are generally a long-lived breed. They are susceptible to various heritable diseases, although are most known for two protein wasting conditions: protein-losing nephropathy (PLN), where the dog loses protein via the kidneys; and protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), where the dog fails to fully absorb protein in their digestive tract causing it to pass in their stool. Both PLN and PLE are potentially fatal, but if caught early enough, can sometimes be managed with strict dietary changes and pharmaceuticals. There are laboratory tests that can aid in diagnosing PLN and PLE; Wheaten owners should check their country's advised testing protocols. These conditions have an unknown mode of inheritance but there are research programs, mainly in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Other Wheaten health issues are renal dysplasia, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison's disease, and cancer. Some Wheatens can also suffer from food and environmental allergies. Potential owners of Wheaten Terriers should discuss health issues with the breeder before deciding to get a puppy. The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are also prone to developing a skin disease called Atopic Dermatitis.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Temperament

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is an energetic and playful dog. They require patience and consistent positive training. Harsh methods will often result in fear aggression. A positive, even-handed approach works best with these intelligent yet headstrong terriers. They are enthusiastic greeters and will often jump up in order to lick a person's face, commonly referred to as the "Wheaten greetin'" These dogs do best when they are exercised regularly. They are cool weather dogs and can become easily overheated in hot weather. If socialized with cats as puppies they may get along fine with them; if not, care should be taken in introducing them to cats as the breed has a very strong "prey drive" because of the Breed's vermin-hunting origin. Wheatens can get along well with other dogs if properly socialized. They are extremely friendly and loving pets. Wheatens are very protective of their families, and although they may bark an alert at strangers, they rarely get aggressive. Many Wheaten owners thus say that Wheatens make great watch dogs but poor guard dogs. Wheatens are a great dog for kids and are generally friendly towards them.

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