Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

soft-coated wheaten terrier running through a bed of flowers

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is among only three Ireland large terriers, and they originated as all-around farm dogs thought to be serving this purpose for hundreds of years. The dogs not only helped extinguish vermin, but they also helped guard the homestead and round up stock. They were even trained as gundogs later on in their history.

Unfortunately, the breed’s earlier history is undocumented. However, it is mentioned as an ancestor of the Kerry Blue Terrier. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was a relative latecomer to the showdog scene. Ireland eventually granted it breed status in 1937.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier just standing being a good dog standing on the grass in the yard

The Wheaten Goes to America

In Ireland, a championship dog had to prove itself in the ring as well as in the field over rats, badgers, and rabbits. The English Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943, and the first Wheaten found its way to America in 1946. However, the dog did not catch the public’s attention right away, but it eventually gained a firm basis of support, and the AKC granted it recognition in 1973. Today, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a breed that only enjoys moderate popularity.

Breed Standard

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a well-balanced, medium-sized, moderate dog with a square outline. It has a level, strong back, a deep chest, round, compact feet, and a docked tail kept up but not over the back. The head is moderately long and rectangular with a powerful muzzle, a black nose, and wide-set, slightly almond-shaped eyes. The ears are erect at the base and folded over, with the tips dropping forward and lying next to the cheek.

Breed Facts

  1. Popularity: Somewhat popular
  2. Family Group: Terrier
  3. Country of Origin: Ireland
  4. Date Developed: 1700s
  5. Original Purpose: Vermin hunting, herding, guardian
  6. Current Function: Companion
  7. Other Names: None

Activity Level

soft coated wheaten terrier running with a red object in its mouth

Moderate. The breed is adaptable to an urban or rural lifestyle as long as it receives adequate daily exercise. This breed will chase small animals and must be exercised on a lead or in a fenced yard. These athletic dogs need a good daily workout, a refreshing game in the yard, and a long walk. If possible, let them loose in a secured area because they love to chase and hunt.


The dog needs to be brushed daily and clipped or trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. You can find more detailed information on the parent club’s website. Because the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a nonshedding dog, loose hair can become entangled and mat if not regularly combed out. You can maintain a desirable coat and silhouette by trimming and bathing every other month. Grooming can be easier if the coat is clipped to about 3 inches, but you will lose the typical outline of the breed.

Coat: The dog’s famous coat is an abundant, slightly wavy single coat with a soft, silky texture.

Color: Shades of Wheaten, clear with no other colors in the adult coat (by two years of age). Puppies under a year of age may carry deeper coloring and occasional black tipping; adolescents under two years are often relatively light in color.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Temperament

soft coated wheaten terrier puppy standing on the lawn looking unsure of himself

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier temperament is self-confident, steady, friendly, and it is less scrappy than other terriers. They are bouncy, exuberant, and happy, and if they form the habit of jumping, it can be hard to discourage the behavior. Like most terriers, they can be headstrong and stubborn as well as possessive with toys and food. They are reliable watchdogs and bark when strangers approach the home or property. Early socialization and gentle, firm, consistent training are a necessity.

The dogs are incredibly playful companions in the home and a fun-loving work partner in the field. They are friendly, affectionate, and a lot gentler than most other terriers. The breed is usually responsive to its owner’s commands but can also be headstrong at times. It is patient and good with children. However, some can be overly boisterous with more minor children. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier can coexist with other household pets and dogs. They are also known to jump and dig. It is considered the quietest terrier that only barks for real threats.


  1. Main Health Concerns: protein-losing diseases (PLE and PLN)
  2. Minor Health Issues: renal dysplasia, Addison’s
  3. Rarely Seen: PRA, CHD
  4. Recommended Tests: blood and urine protein screens, eye, hip
  5. Life Span: 12 to 14 years
  6. Weight: male – 35 to 40 pounds; female – 30 to 35 pounds
  7. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier height: male – 18 to 19 inches; female – 17 to 18 inches

Breeder and Buyer’s Advice

Shop carefully and discuss the breed with many owners and breeders before including a wheaten into your family. Contact the club for a list of reputable breeders.

Parent Club: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America; founded in 1962

Regional Clubs: Find local clubs on the parent club’s website

Rescue: Breed rescue information and resources can also be found on the parent club’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Are soft coated wheaten terriers good family dogs? Absolutely.
  2. How much do soft hair wheaten terriers cost? The cost depends on the breeder and the dog’s pedigree. However, expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to $5000, or more.
  3. Are soft coated wheaten terriers cuddly? Absolutely. The dogs are highly affectionate and would love to cuddle with you all day.
  4. Are soft coated wheaten terriers barkers? No. The breed is said to be one of the quietest of all the terriers.

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