If you’re unfamiliar with this breed, you’re in luck. When you meet a wheat for the first time, you are struck by the beautiful coloration of its coat, hence its name, in contrast to dark, penetrating eyes, black lips and a large black nose. These terriers are gentle, outgoing dogs that will instantly become more friends than the typical terrier.
Let’s get to know this breed better by checking the numbers first. Males grow between 18 and 20 inches tall or between 46 and 51 cm. while females are between 17 and 19 inches or between 43 and 48 cm. Males weigh between 35-45 pounds or 16-20 kg. while females weigh between 30-40 pounds or 14-18 kg. These measurements place the dog in the medium-size category.
You can expect the breed to survive for 12-15 years.
The roots of the dog are steeped in Irish tradition. This was not a dog of the upper class of society. In contrast, the Wheaten was bred by and for the average Irishman who needed a shepherd, hunting buddy, or vermin dispatcher. In fact, the breed was not recognized in the UK until the 1940s, and the AKC did so in 1973.
The Wheaten puppy is generally reddish brown in color and stays that way for about 3-4 months. The coat begins to change to the familiar warm wheat color during this time. Complete color transition will occur in 8-12 months. This very soft coat requires regular attention, such as frequent combing and brushing. Combing your hair is actually considered the best method. The coat has a tendency to tangle if left unattended. This becomes more acute if the coat gets wet. Today, the Wheaten is not considered an outdoor dog for this reason.
Also, the coat should be trimmed regularly. This is important for two reasons. As mentioned above, with the tendency to tangle, trimming the coat decreases this result. Second, although the dog does not shed, one of the main advantages of the breed is that trimming removes loose hair. For prospective dog owners who may be allergic to dogs, Wheaten is an excellent choice, for this reason.
Obedience training is very important. The breed has a tendency to jump and can be very excitable. Some consider them the best greeters in the kingdom of dogs. They are not afraid to wonder and will pounce on you as they decide to explore something new in their environment. We suggest that training start very early. They are quite sensitive and tend to reflect the mood of the owner, so positive and optimistic reinforcement is advisable, with a firm repetition regarding training.
The breed is emotionally well balanced and very determined to please. They can be very sociable with other dogs when introduced correctly. As protectors, they can be trusted to bark at unusual noise or visitors. That said, we wouldn’t categorize the Wheaten as a guard dog. They are too inclined to make friends. However, it is exactly this arrangement that makes the breed a wonderful choice for families with children. Their forgiving nature and willingness to romp around the house make them an immediate favorite with little ones.
Moderate exercise is recommended. You can expect the Wheaten to easily fit into your schedule with regards to walking and ‘play time’.
Separation anxiety can be a problem with Wheaten. It seems like every time you leave, they consider it a final event. It is best not to create unnecessary attention or excitement around the outings. Quit quietly and be sure to provide a reward upon your return to reinforce the desired behavior.
Wheats have very sensitive skin and do not respond well to flea or tick bites. Itchy skin and hot spots can be expected. They are also prone to various food allergies, ironically to wheat, for example. You should consult with a veterinarian for more details. They are also less tolerant of very hot weather. On the contrary, winter games in the snow are highly desirable. However, in general, Wheatens tend to be a healthy, long-lived breed with regular medical care and a balanced diet.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is an excellent choice for families with children; for those who suffer from allergies or for someone looking for a faithful friend for life. With moderate exercise, firm but friendly training, and regular grooming, the Wheaten will provide its owner with countless hours of company.