Although the history behind the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is largely undocumented and their genetic origins obscure, it is understood that the Wheaten Terrier owes its ancestry to the Kerry Blue Terrier and the Irish Terrier. The Wheaten breed as we know today is said to have emerged and gained prominence in Ireland around the 1860s-70s as a peasant farmer’s dog, utilised for their inherent ‘Terrier-style’ hunting skills to protect the flock and guard the family.
Despite the breed’s humble beginnings as the ‘poor man’s sheep dog’, Wheaten Terriers have grown to be recognised and adored amongst families for their endearing character, unique personalities, and their outgoing sense of humour.
Sociable, exuberant, intelligent and affectionate. Known for their love of human contact and family-friendly nature, Wheaten Terriers have a desire to please and respond well to obedience training as a pup. Although they maintain moderate to high energy levels, with good exercise Wheatens are very happy indoor dogs that love to be part of the pack.
As the name suggests, the Wheaten coat depicts the colour of ripened wheat, often with a silver-grey darkening around the ears and mouth. Puppies begin with a heavy black and red coat, which matures into a wheaten colour as they reach adulthood at around 3 years of age. An adult coat should be soft and silky, and hang in loose curls or waves.
As their coat does not shed, Wheatens boast the benefits of being allergy-friendly dogs who lack the typical doggish odour. However, a coat like this requires dedication to frequent grooming to maintain a healthy coat.
Medium sized and compact, approximately 46-49cm in height (bitches can be slightly less).
Dr John Collard (of Dancestar Wheatens in ACT) notes that Wheatens can react adversely to conventional anaesthetic procedures (particularly Thiobarbiturate) and are said to metabolise the sedative slower than other breeds. This is simply a precaution that your vet should be made aware of.
Like all breeds, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is susceptible to certain genetic disease. The two conditions found in the Wheaten Terrier breed are protein-related problems, PLN and PLE. More detailed information on these conditions is available at the Wheaten Health Australia website. These conditions have been well researched, and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Society of NSW has established testing protocols nation-wide to decrease chances of inheritance.
Druidsglen is dedicated to abiding by Australian protocols, ensuring our breeding stock is cleared for these conditions, in an effort to produce healthy dogs and improve the breed’s genetic pool. Besides this, Wheaten Terriers are very healthy, active dogs with an average lifespan of 14 years.
– Dr John Collard
– Dogs NSW (www.dogsnsw.org.au)