Back to all breeds
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, also known as simply the Wheaten or the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, is a dog breed that originated in Ireland. This breed is considered to be one of the oldest Irish breeds, with a history that potentially dates back over 200 years, where they were kept as all-purpose farm dogs, performing tasks like herding, watching and guarding livestock, and hunting pests. The breed was officially recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1937 and later by the American Kennel Club in 1973. It wasn't until the late 1940s that the breed was first introduced to the United States.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Wheaten, Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Life Expectancy
12-14 years
Average Male Height
18-19 inches
Average Female Height
17-18 inches
Average Male Weight
35-40 pounds
Average Female Weight
30-35 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Sliky, Wavy
Coat Colors
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but may suffer from conditions such as protein-losing nephropathy and protein-losing enteropathy, which are both serious genetic diseases that affect Wheaten Terriers more commonly than other breeds. They may also be susceptible to hip dysplasia, Addison's Disease, renal dysplasia, adult paroxysmal dyskinesia, degenerative myelopathy, and microphthalmia.

Personality and Behavior

These dogs are loving, devoted and gentle. Wheatens are typically known for their friendly and deeply devoted nature. They are energetic and playful dogs that love to be in the company of their family. These dogs are highly sociable and usually get along well with children and other pets. They're intelligent dogs, which can make training easier, but it also means they can be a bit stubborn at times. As with all breeds, early socialization and consistent, positive reinforcement-based training are important.

Fun Facts

In Ireland, Wheaten Terriers were sometimes referred to as the "Poor Man's Wolfhound."

They are well-known for their "Wheaten Greetin'," a term used to describe their enthusiastic, sometimes jump-filled, greetings when they meet people.

While they do not shed heavily, their coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

This breed was recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1937.