AKC Dog Breeds: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

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Terrier Group
Height:17-20 inches   Weight: 30-45 pounds  Color: wheaten (apricot as puppies)

As its name implies, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is prized for its coat, which is soft, silky, with a gentle wave, and of warm wheaten color. Underneath, however, is a formidable dog that leaves no doubt as to his terrier origins. Square and medium-sized, he is happy, steady, self-confident and alert to his surroundings. The Wheaten is also versatile, competing in obedience, agility and earth dog trials. Known for more than 200 years in Ireland, the "Wheaten" shares common ancestry with the Kerry Blue and the Irish Terrier, but was not owned by the landed gentry. They were the poor man’s dog, an all-purpose farm dog, given to patrolling the borders of small farms, ridding them of vermin, herding sheep and hunting with his master. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1973.

General Appearance
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, sometimes spelled Softcoated Wheaten Terrier, is a medium-sized, compact and squarely proportioned dog. It is strong and moves gracefully. The head is shaped like a rectangle, rather long, with a short, strong muzzle, jaws that are able to seize and grip prey well, and large teeth. It has a defined stop. The ears are v-shaped and fold forward, level with the skull. The teeth should form a scissors or level bite. The almond-shaped eyes are hazel or dark brown. Light or yellow eye color can occur but is a breed fault in the written standard. The nose is large and black. The strong back forms a level topline. The front legs are straight, with plenty of bone. The dewclaws should be removed. The feet are round with black pads and dark nails. The tail is cocked and carried upright. Puppies are born black, but lighten to the final adult wheaten color by about two years of age. Coat colors include wheaten or rust. There are two coat varieties, the American and the Irish. The Irish coat tends to be thinner and silkier.

The Soft coated Wheaten Terrier is a cheerful, lively, and happy dog. He is sociable, confident, and often acts like a puppy even as he grows up. These dogs have a fair amount of energy, and enjoy vigorous play and exercise. When not on a leash, the Soft coated Wheaten Terrier needs a safe and secure area in which to play and exercise with high fences, as he may otherwise escape.  With proper, early socialization the Soft coated Wheaten Terrier boasts a confident, friendly, and sociable personality. However, they can be something of a handful, and are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership. Owners need to be confident, assertive, and consistent when it comes to training. Some can be obstinate, strong willed, and difficult to control with the wrong owner or inadequate training. These spirited dogs get along well with older, gentle children, and with proper socialization will get along okay with other pets, although some can be aggressive with same sex dogs. They will bark to raise an alarm, and this makes them effective watchdogs, but they are usually friendly and sociable with strangers despite their bark. The Soft coated Wheaten Terrier is a quick learner, responsive, and intelligent, so training should not prove too much of a challenge for those with experience.

The single coat of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is relatively easy to care for but does require regular daily grooming to prevent tangles and knots. Since they only have one coat they shed very little hair and do not have the heavy seasonal sheds that double coated breeds go through in the spring and fall. The breed is considered to be a good choice for people with asthma or dog allergies because of their coat. Only bathe a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier when necessary and use only dog recommended products. Do not over wash the breed or the hair will become damaged leading to matting and tangling problems that will really affect the dog's coat and can promote the skin allergies the breed is known to have.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Soft coated Wheaten Terrier is around 12-14 years, and there are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed. Some of these include vWD, PRA, HD, cataracts, renal problems, allergies, and sensitivity to drugs and chemicals.

Activity Level

Like all terriers the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier loves to run and play. They are naturals at games of chase and will quickly learn who will play with them in the family. When indoors the breed will self-exercise quite well although they can still benefit from one or two longer walks throughout the day. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a great dog for hiking, traveling, jogging or just going for a walk around the park. They prefer exercising in cooler weather and do not like to exercise in the heat of the day. Without regular exercise the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier can become somewhat jumpy and hyperactive although this is relatively uncommon.


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