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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier


Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 17" - 19"
  • Weight
  • 30-40 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • Tan
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

None known.


The soft coated wheaten terrier originated in Ireland.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed n the 1700's.


The Wheaten was 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. Today Wheaten terriers compete in obedience, agility, and tracking, and are used in animal-assisted therapy as well.

Despite its long history, the Wheaten was not 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. The first Wheatens imported into Australia occurred in the 70's by Anubis Kennels. Since then many more have been imported. Recent importation of Irish style dogs have improved and broadened the gene pool.


It is a medium size, square dog with a long rectangular head and small drop ears that break forward. Its nose is large and black and its eyes are almond shaped and reddish brown or brown. It has a deep chest and a docked tail that is held erect. Its single coat is soft and slightly wavy. Fur is profuse on the head, covering its eyes and forming a beard. It can be any shade of wheaten.


The soft coated wheaten terrier is stubborn but playful. It is the quintessential self confident terrier although it may be less aggressive then some. It enjoys being with its family and hates being left alone.


The Irish consider this dog to be adaptable to many uses. Some are used as guards, defenders, leaders of flocks, or hunting in lairs. It is also considered by some to be a good apartment companion as long as it is walked daily.

Health Concerns

Addison's disease, cancer, kidney problems, PRA, skin problems.

Additional Information

This breed requires difficult and consistent grooming to be kept healthy. Be prepared to brush this dog a few times a week and make a trip to your local groomer every 4-6 weeks.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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