Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Ideal for owners who want an active, medium-sized "inside" dog, the soft-coated wheaten terrier is highly intelligent and needs plenty of human interaction.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier At a glance
The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed

Wheaten Terriers require brushing and combing nearly every day and sometimes as often as three times or more a day to prevent mats. These are high maintenance dogs.


Weight Range:

Male: 35-40 lbs.
Female: 30-35 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 19 in.

Female: 18 in.


Long eyebrows


Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 10-15 yrs
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Moderate Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Vermin hunting, guarding, all-around farm helper


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: Any shade of wheaten
Overall Grooming Needs: Low

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Terrier
UKC Classification: Terrier
Prevalence: So-so

Soft-coated wheaten terriers are medium-sized dogs weighing 35 to 40 pounds (16 to 18 kilograms) for males and 30 to 35 pounds (13 to 16 kilograms) for females.

A male wheaten terrier is 18 to 19 inches at the shoulder; females are slightly smaller at 17 to 18 inches tall.

The body is square and the head is a triangular. Wheaten generally mature at 30 months, although they reach their full size around 6 to 8 months.

The wheaten terrier's coat is described as "open," meaning that it lacks an undercoat and is off-standing. The two types of coats are the American and the Irish coat. The American coat is more stylized and requires more care, whereas the Irish coat looks like shiny waves. Regardless of type, both coats require constant maintenance. Unlike double-coated dogs, they do not shed, but they require constant clipping and grooming.

Wheaten terriers require brushing and combing nearly every day and sometimes as often as three times or more a day to prevent mats. These are high maintenance dogs.


Soft-coated wheaten terriers are active, intelligent dogs. They do not make good kennel dogs and prefer being with their owners. While less scrappy than the terrier cousins, wheaten terriers still are energetic and capable of much mischief. Many novice wheaten owners wonder when their dog will grow up and settle down, only to find out that their dog never grows up.

Wheaten terriers need a moderate amount of exercise; but they need plenty of things to do, or they will find something to do. Wheatens tend to be stubborn and while very intelligent, make poor competitive obedience dogs. They are generally untrustworthy off leash, having the terrier instinct to roam. Like all terriers, they may chew and dig if bored.

Living With:

Soft-coated wheaten terriers need a large amount of interaction with people. They tolerate other dogs and cats well, if raised with them. Other pets such as rodents, birds and reptiles should be kept away from wheaten terriers. They are liable to kill such animals because of their heritage of ridding vermin on farms.

Wheaten terriers make excellent watchdogs but poor guard dogs because everyone is their friend. Wheatens can bark excessively if not properly trained. They also will pull on the leash.

These dogs are not one-person dogs and will go with anyone. Wheaten terriers are not outside dogs.

Their beautiful coats can get matted easily and require a brushing and combing every time they have been playing outside. They require daily brushing and combing, weekly trimmings, and baths once a month.

Some wheatens have a gluten intolerance, requiring a special diet prescribed by veterinarians.

Some breeders tout wheaten terriers as hypoallergenic dogs because they do not shed. This may or may not be true depending on the person and their sensitivity. Before investing in a wheaten, have the allergic person visit the breeder's home and interact with the dogs to determine the level of tolerance.

Wheaten terriers are ideal for owners who want a medium-sized, active dog that does not require a large yard and can be contented with walks and games of fetch. Wheatens do not do well left alone for long periods.

Wheatens typically live from 10 to 15 years. Most wheatens do not slow down until they are well past seven years old.



The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, named for its open coat of wavy wheat-colored hair, is an ancient breed from Ireland. Law forbade common folk from owning hunting and coursing dogs such as the Irish wolfhound, so the Irish commoner bred a medium-sized farm dog capable of herding, hunting, killing vermin, and being a watchdog and family pet. These dogs are closely related to the Kerry blue terrier and Irish terrier.

The Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier was not recognized as a breed by the Irish Kennel Club until 1937. In 1946, seven Wheaten Terrier puppies arrived in the United States. The breed did not gain interest until 1957 and in 1973, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.

The wheaten terrier, in spite of its rich working heritage and mild disposition, is considered a terrier. Nowadays, wheatens seldom work, except to delight their owners as faithful companions.

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