Originating in Ireland, this breed was used as an all-purpose farmers’ dog. They were vermin killers, guard dogs, herders of sheep and cattle, hunters on land and in water, and a deterrent to trespassers. By 1932 this breed had nearly vanished, but were saved from becoming extinct by dog fancier Patrick Blake. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is highly intelligent and extremely versatile. They are steadily gaining in popularity in the United States.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is medium-sized, compact, agile, and powerful. They possess stamina, gameness, strength, and gaiety. This breed is more steady and stable than most terriers. They have not been overly refined and retain the many fine attributes they were originally developed with.
A happy, well-balanced and friendly terrier, the Wheaten possesses grace and pride. They are self-confident, easy-going, and deeply devoted to their family. They get along well with older children and with dogs they have been raised with. This breed is not suitable for homes with cats or other small household pets. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier requires a great deal of effort and commitment and is not recommended for novice dog owners. This breed rarely barks, however, due to their size and loyalty they make an excellent dog for personal protection. They are very sensitive and reflect the moods of those around them.
This is a high maintenance breed that requires daily combing to prevent mats and tangles. Professional trimming is needed four to six times per year. Bathing or dry shampooing should be done when necessary. It is important to clean and check the eyes and ears on a consistent basis. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is prone to flea allergies, Addison’s disease, PLN, and PLE. They do not do well in hot climates.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s coat is this breeds’ most distinguishing feature. It is medium long, abundant, soft, silky, and slightly wavy. Although they are a single coat breed, their hair continuously grows and provides insulation and protection. Puppies are born black, but at maturation the coat ranges from gold to reddish-gold to silver. This breed is low shedding.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is typically independent and stubborn and requires a dominant owner. However, they are quick to learn and eager to please. Early socialization and basic obedience is recommended. Due to their sensitive nature they do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed training methods. They do best with patience, praise, consistency, firmness, and fairness. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier excels in agility and fly-ball competition and is used with great success as a therapy dog.
Athletic and energetic, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier enjoys many family activities such as hiking, play sessions, and walks. A securely fenced yard where they can romp and run is ideal. They will do well in an apartment or condominium dwelling provided they are sufficiently exercised and receive an appropriate amount of attention and stimulation.
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