If you’re looking for a devoted family pet, then a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier could be a great addition to your household. Keep reading to learn more about this unique Irish farm dog … as well as what health issues to look out for with the breed.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Characteristics
The friendly, loyal and sporting Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is medium-sized, with a square appearance. Females and males reach a shoulder height of 18 to 19 inches, respectively. When full-grown, they weigh about 35 to 40 pounds and have a life expectancy of up to 14 years.
The Wheaten Terrier’s medium-length wavy coat requires frequent grooming to stay soft and silky and prevent matting. It’s best to brush your Wheaten Terrier daily with a slicker or pin brush, and comb regularly as well. Luckily though, they don’t shed much, so make a good indoor companion.
You can find detailed grooming information at the US Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Standard
The official breed standard describes the breed’s General Appearance as follows:
“The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized, hardy, well-balanced sporting terrier, square in outline. He is distinguished by his soft, silky, gently waving coat of warm wheaten color and his particularly steady disposition. The breed requires moderation both in structure and presentation, and any exaggerations are to be shunned. He should present the overall appearance of an alert and happy animal, graceful, strong and well coordinated.”
Wheaten Terriers are named for the distinctive wheaten color of the silky, gently waving coat. This is what sets them apart from all other terriers. On the head, the coat falls forward to shade the eyes. The tail is carried erect. The Wheaten Terrier is a happy, steady dog, with an air of self- confidence.
Best Lifestyle for Wheaten Terriers
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier temperament makes him ideal as a family dog, He has an affectionate nature and patience with young children. Wheaten Terriers’ energy levels are consistent even in older age, so they need plenty of exercise each day. It’s especially important to exercise with them, since they bond strongly to their humans.
Because they were bred as farm dogs, they have a strong prey drive, with an instinct to chase anything that moves. It’s best to have a fenced outdoor area they can safely run and play in.
Training a Wheaten Terrier can be a challenge. The Wheaten Terrier is intelligent and willful, and may have his own agenda. So be ready to start early and be consistent with your training.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Health Problems
Here are a few common Wheaten Terrier health issues to be aware of if you’re considering adding a Wheaten Terrier to your family.
Wheaten Terriers are prone to this genetic kidney disease that starts to affect the dog as a puppy. Symptoms include drinking an abnormal amount of water, excessive urination, poor appetite, and vomiting or diarrhea at later stages.
This disease can be mild or severe, and if mild the dog can live a fairly normal life with proper management, including through diet. There are also some natural ways to manage kidney failure in dogs, including homeopathic remedies and Chinese medicine.
Unfortunately, Wheaten Terriers are more prone than other dogs to develop Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a condition which causes the dog to go blind. Thankfully, this genetic condition isn’t painful, but it is also incurable.
Other eye issues Wheaten Terriers may develop are cataracts and distichiasis. Distichia means there’s an extra eyelash in the eye’s meibomian gland. It can often be managed conservatively.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD is an immune disorder that causes the stomach and intestinal lining to thicken, which affects the ability to absorb nutrients. Symptoms to look for are frequent vomiting or diarrhea, which can increase with stress or changes in diet.
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How To Find Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Puppies
Here’s where to start your search for your new family member.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Parent Breed Clubs
The most reputable place to find purebred Wheaten Terrier puppies is the parent breed club in your country. Here are some places to look:
In the US: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America
Adopt or Foster A Wheaten Terrier
You can find Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers looking for new or temporary homes by contacting the National Wheaten Rescue Inc. Breed rescues may also have Wheaten Terrier mixes available.
Knowing more about the Wheaten Terrier’s unique traits will help you give your dog a happy, healthy life!