Description: The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium sized dog with a height ranging from 17 to 20 inches at the withers and a weight of 30 to 45 pounds, depending on sex. The bitch is slightly smaller than the dog. This dog has a long, single coat will be found in various wheaten shades. The puppies are born with dark fur, and the change to the lighter coat does not occur until the dog is about 2 years old. The tail of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier can either be left natural or docked. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier will live to be 12 to 15 years of age. This dog is also known as the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, the Wheaten Terrier, and the Wheaten.
History: Descended from the Irish Terrier and the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was a working farm dog in Ireland. It is known to have been used there for over 200 years. Interestingly, the docked tail began as a tax exemption - if the tail was docked, the Wheaten was considered to be a working dog and not subject to the dog tax. This dog was a versatile dog on a farm, earning its living with killing vermin, watching herd animals, hunting, and guarding the home.
Temperament: The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a jolly dog with an optimistic outlook on life. While not as aggressive as other terrier breeds, this dog will bark at a stranger and protect its family. The Wheaten is very affectionate with its humans and loves to play with them. Children are fine with this dog and it enjoys their company. The Wheaten should be socialized with cats while young, but will always exhibit hunting instinct when around small animals.
Health Issues: Although this is generally a healthy dog, the Wheaten can suffer from gastrointestinal diseases and eye problems. The most serious threats to this dog are two protein wasting diseases, one that affects the kidneys and the other that affects the intestines. Protein is lost from these organs and there is no cure for either condition.
Grooming: As the Wheaten has a single coat rather than a double, it is easy to groom. This dog will need to brushed and combed two or three times a week only. The Wheaten does not shed much and is considered hypoallergenic. The teeth of the Wheaten should be brushed several times a week, and it is a good idea to get the dog used to this while it is still a puppy.
Living Conditions: As the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier bonds strongly with its human family, it is best when kept in the house where it can participate in family activities. This dog can live in an apartment as it has a calm disposition, but if it does, it must be given a good walk every day. They will work off some of their energy with play inside. During hot weather, it might be a good idea to skip the walk, as the Wheaten does not do well in the heat.
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