Photo by Jesse Hirsh

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier - Breed Profile:

Origin: Ireland
Colors: Any shade of wheaten
Size: Medium
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Moderate
Grooming: Extensive
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Not a barker

Physical characteristics
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium size dog with a compact, square-shaped body and soft, silky wheaten coat. The long head is rectangular, with a strong muzzle and a distinct stop. The V-shaped ears fold forward. The teeth should meet in a level or scissor bite. The medium size eyes are brown or reddish-brown; they are almond shaped and set rather far apart. The large nose is black. The back is strong and level. The front legs are straight, with good boning. The tail can be docked or left natural; it is carried upright. The gait is graceful and lively.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers weigh 30 to 40 pounds. Their height is 17 to 19 inches.


More congenial than most terriers, the Soft Coated Wheaten is cheerful, lively, and very sociable. It often acts like a joyful puppy throughout its life. Although the dog will bark to announce strangers, it usually welcomes them as long-lost friends with exuberant bouncing and face kissing. This vigorous jumping can be very difficult to stop because it is one of the main behaviour issues of the breed. Proper obedience training is vital, as well as a sufficient amount of daily exercise so the dog burns off its surplus energy. Although the breed is less aggressive than many other terriers, males may be combative with other male dogs if challenged. Early socialization is necessary to prevent this. Some individuals that were not raised with cats, may not get along well with them. Overall, this breed is a steady proud companion, with an air of self-confidence and alert.

Coat and grooming

The coat is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed that makes the dog stand out among all other terriers. It is single, abundant, silky, soft, and slightly wavy. As the breed's name suggests, the dog comes in only one colour - wheaten, any shade of which is permissible. Close examination may reveal occasional red, white or black hair. The overall colouring, however, must be clearly wheaten with no evidence of any other colour except on the ears and the muzzle where blue-grey shading is sometimes present. Frequent grooming is necessary to prevent mats. Brushing can make the soft coat fuzzy which won't look natural, so it's recommended to use a medium-toothed comb. The dog sheds little to no hair.


Prone to protein wasting disease (PLE and PLN) and flea allergies. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

Known for more than 200 years in Ireland, the "Wheaten" shares common ancestry with the Kerry Blue and the Irish Terrier.
Puppies are born dark but lighten to the adult wheaten colour by about two years of age.