Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
One of three large breeds originating in Ireland, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, or Wheaten, was used for catching vermin. Due to it's size, it was also capable of herding/rounding up livestock and guarding the home. The exact origin is unknown, but it could have some Kerry Blue Terrier and Irish Terrier blood. The Wheaten isn't a very well known breed and was only accepted into the Irish Kennel club in 1937.
The Wheaten is a fun loving, affectionate dog, quite a bit calmer than other Terriers. It is friendly around people and loves it's family. They are excellent with children and doting on them. They will bark when there is someone at the door, but they usually greet strangers with affection and are rarely aggressive unless they feel threatened. Wheatens are generally docile, yet confident dogs who are happiest when surrounded by their family. They are fine with other dogs and cats if raised together, but their prey drive could result in chasing small furry creatures inside and outside the home. They are relatively quick learners, but can have a stubborn streak when it comes to training. Firm, yet playful training is best and food rewards work well for the breed. They will try and push your limits, so calm, yet firm training is important, as is patience. They like to spend time with people, so activities like agility and Flyball can help teach them obedience. They can be fearless when it comes to other dogs and won't necessarily start a fight, but rarely back down from one. Puppy classes and later, adult classes will help with socialisation to get them to behave around strange dogs. They need a fair amount of daily exercise in the form of a long walk or short jog with their owner. If trained, they can be let off lead in a safe area, but remember they have a Terrier's tenacity when it comes to hunting. Recall will never be perfect, but is better than most Terriers. They like to dig if given the chance.
Wheatens have a single coat which does not shed excessively. They are classed as hypoallergenic, as they only shed a small amount. The coat needs daily grooming or at least 3 - 4 times a week to keep it free from tangles. For show dogs the grooming is more intense, but for pets, you could clip the hair to 3 inches to maintain the caot. They only need a bath when they are really dirty. Wheatens dislike warm weather and aren't too keen when it's wet outside. They will try and find somewhere cool to sleep if it gets too hot for them. Major concerns with the breed are Protein Losing diseases such as PLE and PLN, Renal Dysplasia, but quite a sturdy healthy breed otherwise.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers have an affectionate and comical temperament. Unlike a typical terrier they can be quite gentle dogs and are generally less agressive and confrontational. Early socialisation and regular training are still important with this breed who may show more ''terrier like'' traits should they be unruly.
Health problems that may affect Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers include renal dysplasia (abnormal kidneys) and protein losing diseases.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
- Weight: 14 - 20 kg
- Height: 17 - 19"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Pest Control Dog
- Size: Medium
- Energy Level: Medium
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour
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