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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Mobile

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

A compact, upstanding terrier, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is named for their distinctive soft coat. Gently waved or curled, the soft silky coat should be profuse on the head and legs with a natural look, although some tidying for the show ring is permitted. 

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Medium dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 13 – 15 years
Weight:  14 – 18kg
Height:  43 – 51cm
Colours:  Any shade of warm ripening wheat, but never red, nor white. The ears may be dark too
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Terrier


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5


This is a strong terrier, muscular, compact, and with a sense of fun. A Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier will want to be included in everything you do, and can prove a trustworthy companion in the right home. As with all terriers, there is the sparkle of mischief in their eyes and this is a breed that will keep you on your toes even with frequent training!  

Intelligent and quick to learn, the Wheaten is also independent and will require motivation in the form of positive reinforcement training using food, toys and the opportunity to perform enjoyable activities. 

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Ireland

Although the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has been around for over 200 years, their roots are in farm work, eradicating vermin, probably providing some sport for their owners, and guarding/watchdog activities. Some could even turn their hand to driving cattle and herding sheep. As such, owners were not particularly bothered about breeding to a standard, instead rather breeding for function, and so the breed was very variable in appearance and not recognised by the Irish Kennel Club until 1937. The Kennel Club finally recognised the breed in 1975, but the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has never been one of the more popular terriers.

Enthusiasts of the breed say that they are the ‘original Irish Terrier’ that all others were developed from (although most Irish terrier breeds claim this!) but given their versatility that makes them such a great all-rounder, it is entirely possible.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Training Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • A Wheaten named ‘Caidantes Time After Time’, pet name Danny, won the Guinness World Record for Most Performances by A Dog in A Theatrical Production, with 1365 appearances as ‘Sandy’ in the stage show ‘Annie’. 
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers were once known as a ‘poor man’s dog’ as the Irish peasants weren’t allowed to own hounds or spaniels by law. They were also referred to as the ‘poor man’s wolfhound’.
  • Poorer farmers would use Wheaten’s for every farm job imaginable including livestock herding, vermin hunting, protection and gun dogs.
  • A Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier called Krista was very successful in the 2016 National Diving Dog Championship. Krista jumped an impressive 10 feet and 2 inches into the water, nearly placing her in the top 10 against larger breeds such as Retrievers.
  • The breed is often depicted in Victorian art and you can spot one in Frederic William Burton’s 1843 piece, ‘The Aran Fisherman’s Drowned Child’.


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