Critter Culture
A Guide to the Wheaten Terrier

A Guide to the Wheaten Terrier

Critter Culture Staff



The Wheaten Terrier, or Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, is a friendly, outgoing, and happy dog that was initially bred as a hardy farm dog in Ireland. Wheatens are friendly dogs who enjoy human company. They are energetic and like to jump around. Their extroverted nature means that they require proper training when they are puppies so that they don't misbehave as adults.

Wheatens are medium-sized dogs at around 18 to 20 inches high and weigh approximately 30 to 40 pounds. The distinctive feature of this breed is their long, wavy, soft coat, the color of wheat.


The Appearance of the Wheaten Terrier

appearance of the wheaten terrier StevePatterson / Getty Images

Wheatens have long, silky, wheat-colored coats and well-built, oblong-shaped bodies. Their coats partially cover their eyes. They have strong muzzles, dark eyes, and large, black noses. Wheaten puppies are not born with their signature wheaten coat. Instead, they are born with dark brown or red fur, which lightens over the first two years of their lives.


Personality and Temperament

wheaten terrier personality and temperament IamRobotfood / Getty Images

Wheaten Terriers are lively, energetic, sociable, and bouncy dogs. They like to give kisses to friends and family and need to be trained not to do this to excess.

Wheatens will bark if anyone comes to the door but often they're too friendly to be a proper guard dog. They do not tend to bark excessively. Wheatens need to be kept on a leash at all times as they like to run off and chase things when out on a walk.


Around Children

wheaten terriers and children Big Cheese Photo / Getty Images

Wheaten Terriers bond with the whole family rather than just one person, and they make great pets for homes with children. They are very good-natured with children and love playing and jumping around with them. As with all dogs, it is important not to leave children unattended with a Wheaten in case they become too exuberant.


Interaction with Other Pets

Ireland soft coated wheaten terriers

Unlike many other types of terrier, Wheatens do not quarrel much with other dogs as they are quite sociable. It is important, however, to ensure that they have been socialized as puppies so that they know how to behave around other dogs.

Wheatens will usually live well with cats they have been brought up with but will chase unfamiliar cats and other small animals.


Training Wheatens

Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Weaving Through Poles at a Dog Agility Trial herreid / Getty Images

As a terrier, this breed is intelligent but can be stubborn and, therefore, a little more difficult to train than other kinds of dog. Although, in comparison to other breeds of terrier, they are relatively easy to train. Training for Wheaten Terriers must be consistent and firm, but also positive and respectful. The Wheaten must learn to respect its owner. Training needs to focus on the Wheaten's outgoing nature so that they do not become too boisterous.


Health Issues

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier plays in the Snow PickStock / Getty Images

Wheaten Terriers have a fairly long life expectancy, but like many pedigree breeds of dog, are susceptible to certain health concerns as a result of selective breeding.

The most common problems that Wheatens suffer from are protein wasting conditions, where they lose protein either in the kidneys or digestive tracts. This can be fatal if not caught early enough but can be managed with medication and careful diet.

Wheatens are also prone to kidney problems, bowel disease, cancer, and Addison's disease. Wheaten Terriers must have regular health checks with the vet.


Separation Anxiety

wheaten terriers and separation anxiety PickStock / Getty Images

Wheaten Terriers cannot be left alone for long because they become very anxious without company, particularly given the strong bonds that they form with their owners. Those who are not at home for long periods of the day should not consider getting a Wheaten Terrier.

When Wheatens are distressed, they can destroy things and bark incessantly in order to relieve stress and boredom.


Feeding Wheaten Terriers

The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is a pure bred dog originating from Ireland. RangerRon / Getty Images

Adult Wheatens should be fed a healthy diet of high-quality dog food or food that is prepared at home under the advice of a vet. Wheaten Terriers should eat twice a day. It is important to check the weight of a Wheaten regularly to ensure that they do not become obese.

For Wheaten Terrier puppies, be careful not to introduce any sudden changes to their diets or feeding schedules as they can experience an upset stomach.


Grooming Needs

Cute west highland white terrier in shower at home Sladic / Getty Images

Wheaten Terriers need regular and careful grooming to make sure that their long coats do not become matted. Wheatens need brushing every day to clear their coats from knots and debris. They will also need their faces wiping after eating. These dogs will need to go to see a professional groomer every few months to help maintain their coats. It is also important to keep the dog's ears free from wax so that they do not get an ear infection.


Exercising Regimine

Humorous close up of dog chewing toy. omk10019 / Getty Images

To keep a Wheaten Terrier happy and healthy, plenty of exercise is crucial. They need an hour of exercise per day at the very least and prefer an active, outdoor lifestyle. Walking a Wheaten twice a day, with one long and exciting walk, is important for the dog's wellbeing. They also like to have a garden in which they can play when they are not out walking. These dogs are well suited to larger homes in the countryside.

Care must be taken with the Wheaten's joints when they are puppies. They should not be exercised too much when they are young, and they should not be allowed to jump on and off things or run up and down the stairs.


What Is Cushing's Disease in Dogs?

What Is Cushing's Disease in Dogs?

Get your paws on the latest animal news and information