Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier: A guide to the ‘poor man’s dog’

Bred for fulfilling various chores, this fluffy dog will also be your extroverted best friend.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier descends from Ireland, where many know it as An Brocaire Buí or the Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog portrait

This Wheatie is affectionate with kids and loyal to its owners. You can’t go wrong with adding this friendly dog to your family. Let’s find out a little more about this Terrier.

Where did the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier originate? 

This terrier originates in Ireland, bred to fulfill farm dog duties. The Wheaten is also a great companion dog for ratting, herding, guarding chicken coops, and killing vermin. 

This dog’s early history is largely unknown, but it’s believed that they descended from the Kerry Blue Terrier dog breed. The first records of a Wheaten Terrier date back to 1785 in County Kerry, Ireland.

They received their name from their unique fluffy coat. The warm color is very distinct and is the same color as ripening wheat, giving it the name Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

The Irish Kennel Club granted official breed status to the Wheaten in 1937 in Ireland.

Lydia Vogel brought the first Wheatens to the United States in the 1940s, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognized the breed in 1973.

The Wheaten Terrier remains only moderately popular worldwide. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog standing on the meadow

Some call the Wheaten Terrier the “poor man’s Wolfhound.” Law forbade common folk from owning prestigious hunting dogs and hounds such as the Irish Wolfhound, Beagles, or spaniels.

The Irish commoners, therefore, bred this terrier to be an all-purpose farm dog, as well as act as a guard and family dog.

Krista is a Wheaten terrier, famous for her diving abilities. She came within an inch of making the top 10 at 2016’s national dog diving championships.

This is impressive, considering that she was competing against retrievers, built to swim and dive.

Check out this informative video on all the facts you need to know about a Wheaten Terrier:

What does a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier look like?

This canine’s conformation is a compact square body and rectangular face. Their heads are long but well proportioned to the body.

The head is erect from a strong neck and features brown eyes and a black nose. They have small to medium-sized ears that hang down and shape the face.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog in the forest

Wheatens are sturdy dogs with muscular bodies and soft silky coats. Their forequarters and hindquarters are both strong and powerful ensuring agility and strength when undertaking farming duties.

The tail is usually docked so that two-thirds of its original tail remains, undocked tails are also permitted within the breed standard.

How big do Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers get?

This is a medium-sized dog, with the male standing 18 – 19 inches (45 – 48 cm) tall and weighing 35 – 40 pounds (15 – 18 kg).

Females being only slightly smaller standing 17 – 18 inches (43 – 45 cm) tall, weighing between 30 – 35 pounds (13 – 15 kg).

Wheaten Terriers usually mature at around 30 months but are fully grown by around 6 – 8 months.

New trim Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog
Image source

There are very few differences between Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and American Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, with only a slight variation in their coats.

The Irish coat is less full and lays very close to the body. The hair is silky and wavy, it takes a few years to full out, and puppies can look a little scruffy. They can also be slightly lighter than American type coats.

The American coat tends to be more woolly and fluffy and a puppy can show off a full coat from a young age.

The fur can mat easier than that of the Irish type and frequent grooming and trips to the groomer are necessary to keep this canine in showroom condition.

These pups love to be with the owners and make great apartment dogs when exercised regularly.

The Wheaten Terrier loves lapping up all the time it can get with its owners, adapting well to city life in smaller spaces. 

The Wheaten Terrier’s silky coat 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog walking on the grass

This Terrier’s single coat is silky and gently curling, it’s natural-looking with very little fuss. This lush coat is what makes this dog stand out from other terrier breeds.

It falls elegantly over the entire body in waves and also falls over the eyes.

The color of the coat comes in varying shades of ‘wheaten’ color. From a pale beige light wheaten to a darker golden shade, all are acceptable hues.

You may occasionally also see red, white, or black hair on your Wheaten, which is normal.

Wheaten pups are seldom born with the correct coloring and can be varying shades of red, grey, and black.

They will outgrow these colors and markings, and their coat will change color to be its unique shade of wheaten color as the pup matures. This will stop once the pup is fully grown. 

Are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers good family dogs?

If you are looking for a friendly dog that wants nothing more than to be by your side and is also great with kids, then look no further than the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Loving and affectionate, Wheaten Terriers are great family dogs. They can become hyperactive and excitable, so it’s always best to always have an adult present when this happy canine is around small children.

As with any dog, their innocent friendliness could become a bit rough for kids. 

They have high-energy levels and will keep you on your toes in the best way possible. They are great companions that are trustworthy and protective, but rarely aggressive, over their families. 

They have a puppy-like temperament and jump and get excited to see you every time you walk in the door. You’ll get what’s known as a ‘wheaten greetin’, which is an endearing characteristic.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog chillin' in the wildflowers
Image source

Wheaten Terriers are gentler than most terriers, and although they are active and alert, they are not violent.

They are friendly dogs, adapting well to having other pets and cats in the same house, and are positively responsive to new people. 

They can be stubborn and headstrong, but less so than other terriers, and their general temperament is friendly and responsive. 

These dogs don’t like to be alone and should be in a household where someone is home with them during the day. If it’s unavoidable, they can be alone for about 4 – 8 hours a day every once in a while.

This will cause separation anxiety, which often results in moaning and restlessness until you are home.

They should be in yards with fences as they do tend to chase things, given the fact that they have a strong prey drive to chase and destroy vermin. They don’t bark a lot – usually only once or twice to alert you of danger. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are intelligent, eager to please dogs with a high trainability level.

They can be stubborn and headstrong, but less so than other terriers, and their general temperament is responsive to training. 

Train them from a young age with consistency and patience. Always use positive reinforcement training methods when training these eager pups.

Early socialization with other people and dogs is important in raising a well-behaved Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. They also compete well in dog sports when trained from a young age. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog swimming at the beach
Image source

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are good running partners on short distance runs and like to swim, which can be suitable forms of exercise. 

How to take care of your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The only thing high maintenance about this pup is that you will need to groom him at least three times a week. Other than that, this fun-loving pup is the perfect addition to any family. 

The Wheaten Terrier can adapt to warmer climates, but they prefer cooler weather, and their soft coat moderately protects them from cold and wet weather. 

How much exercise does a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier need?

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog running on the meadow

These terriers do have high energy levels and require daily exercise to keep them in check. They require a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Break this into two 15 minute sessions a day, if you prefer. Exercise can be short walks or playing vigorously out in the yard. 

If your dog is living with you in an apartment with no ability to exercise in a yard, then it is important to ensure that they are getting in their daily exercise some other way.

Do Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers shed?

This Terrier is a hypoallergenic dog as their wavy coat does not shed. They are the perfect addition to a family with allergies. 

The Soft Coated Wheaten is prone to picking up things in his coat, such as dirt and debris from outside. To keep the coat clean and well-groomed, brush it every second day.

If you are looking for an immaculate coat, then groom it every day. Combing your dog is not a difficult task and does not require a professional groomer.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog ready for hair cut
Image source

You only need to bathe your Wheaten Terrier when necessary – for instance, if they have played outside and are very dirty, carrying debris and other material in their coats.

If you’d prefer to keep your Wheaten Terriers coat short, you can trim the fluffy coat. This will lessen grooming maintenance and the chances of them trudging dirt in your home from outside. 

Start grooming your puppy a few times a week so that they can get used to the grooming process. Dogs can get impatient and restless when being groomed, especially with things like having their nails trimmed.

If they are used to this process from a young age, they are less likely to give you issues as they grow up.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier food consumption

Wheaten Terriers can have sensitive stomachs so feed them high-quality dog food filled with protein and nutrients. Try and look for food that is grain-free and has very few additives. 

Feed your Wheaten Terrier between one and one and a half cups of food a day, depending on size and weight, in two meal sittings.

Feed your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy between one and a half and two cups of high-quality puppy food, and divide this into three meals a day.

Consult a vet if you are unsure about the best feeding scheme for your pup’s size and weight.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog waiting for food
Image source

It is not uncommon for this Terrier to become overweight, so balance food intake with regular exercise.

Avoid feeding your Wheaten Terrier table scraps and certain human foods. Avoid foods that contain a high sugar content, including chocolate and sweets. 

What is the life expectancy of a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier?

A Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s life span is about 12 and 14 years, and during this time, like any dog breed, it may experience some health problems.

Wheaten Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but there are a few things to look out for.

Wheaten Terriers can suffer from diseases such as protein-losing nephropathy (PLN) and protein-losing enteropathy (PLE).

PLN is a kidney ailment and occurs when protein seeps into the dog’s urine. PLE then refers to an excessive loss of protein from the dog’s bloodstream within the intestinal tract.

In extreme cases, both of these diseases can be fatal. If your Wheaten Terrier is vomiting, not wanting to eat, fatigued easily and often, and suffering from diarrhea, then get them to a vet immediately. 

Sick Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog lying on the bed
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Other health concerns to be aware of are renal diseases such as renal dysplasia, a disease that also affects the kidneys.

Addison’s Disease, progressive retinal atrophy, and canine hip dysplasia are also seen in these canines but are not as common as the kidney disease mentioned above.

To make sure your Wheaten is in top health, as with any dog, you should check their ears for infections and brush their teeth regularly.

Always use high-quality toothpaste formulated for dogs (and never use human toothpaste). 

You should take your Terrier for regular check-ups at the vet. Including screenings such as hip evaluations, ophthalmologist evaluations, blood chemistry panel, and urinalysis.

Annual blood and urine tests should also become routine tests for kidney function and abnormalities that would show any signs of mentioned kidney diseases. 

How much does a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy cost?

Adorable Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy
Image source

You can expect to pay anywhere between $900 – $1500 for a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy. A Wheaten Terrier mother will usually give birth to a litter size of around 5 – 8 puppies.

It is important to go to a reputable breeder when considering buying a Wheaten Terrier puppy. 

As with any other dog, you also need to consider costs such as vet bills, food, supplies, and grooming costs that will all add to the bill of owning a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. 

Here are some great resources to check out when looking for a puppy:

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier breeders

When you go through a reputable breeder, you will have peace of mind knowing that they took all precautions to ensure sterling medical records and health.

You will also be able to request the medical records of the puppy’s parents as a guarantee.

Here are some top breeders to have a look at for Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppies :

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America is also an excellent organization for Wheaten Terriers.

With so much insight and knowledge, they are a great place to look for information and resources on Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog panting from a walk
Image source

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers for adoption

Whether you are looking for a puppy or an adult dog, adopting a rescue dog is always a great idea.

Many dogs are looking for loving homes, and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a loyal and loving companion to bring into any home.

Here are some great rescue shelters to look at:

Curious about Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier mixes? 

You can also get some interesting Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier mixes, which are always a fun option to consider. Below are some of the options you have.

The Wheagle is a mix between a Beagle and a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. This breed has inherited the loving temperament of both the Beagle and Wheaten Terrier.

This playful pup is an affectionate companion, and you’ll find it hard to say no to their big brown puppy dog eyes. 

They can be varying shades of white, beige, tan, black, and brown depending on the dominant breed’s genes. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Beagle mix dog lying on the bed
The Wheagle dog loves his new bed – Image source

The Whoodle is a mixture of a Poodle and a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, making a friendly and active dog. They are affectionate with kids and are great family dogs.

They have beautiful silky coats that can be black, brown, red, or cream and require daily grooming. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Poodle mix dog in the big tree stump
Meet the Whoodle mix dog sitting in the big tree stump – Image source

The Soft Coated Wheatzer is a mix between the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Schnauzer. This pup is eager to please, friendly to strangers and other pets, and affectionate to family members.

Their coats are soft and wavy and come in a variety of colors. This intelligent dog is a great family companion.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Schnauzer mix dog lying on the bed
Meet Eddie, a Soft Coated Wheatzer mix dog – Image source

The Wheaten Terrier Lab Mix, also known as the Wheatador, is a mix of Labrador Retriever and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and is an energetic and loving dog.

Easy to train and happy to be around its owners; this is a fabulous pet for an active family. 

Since the parent breeds look distinctively different, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how a Wheatador will look in appearance.

This all depends on the dominant parent breed in each litter. They are guaranteed to be athletic and muscular in build and ready for an active lifestyle.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Labrador mix dog
The young female Wheaten Terrier Lab mix dog – Image source

Should I get a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier?

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s friendly disposition and eager to please attitude make them an exceptional dog for first-time dog owners, especially owners with a family.

They will show you love and affection and be fiercely loyal, acting as your cuddly teddy bear as well as your alert watchdog. 

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog posing on the beach
Image source

They can be stubborn dogs, which means you’ll need a little more patience when training them. But if trained from a young age using the right methods, you won’t have any issues.

If you are happy to keep your pup well-groomed and give them daily exercise, you’ll find that this dog is a great companion, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them in the first place.

Do you already own one of these fun-loving pups? Please comment and let us know about your experiences with the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, we’d love to hear from you!

Further reading: similar breeds to the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

If you are interested in similar breeds to the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, then check out the articles below: 


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