Thursday, May 19, 2011

Breed Profile: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

First of a new regular feature!  Dog Breed Profiles.

The Wheaten is a medium sized squarely built dog of the Terrier type.  That is, he has that jaunty spring to his step and that fabulous strait up tail and the overall body style also present in the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Irish Terrier and the Airdale, among others.  The Wheaten weighs in the range of  30-45 pounds and is 17-20 inches in height (at the shoulder).  Life expectancy is 12-15 years.

The Wheaten differs from other terriers in coat type.  Touch the coat of a Cairn or Welsh Terrier.  You will find it wiry not soft.  These coats must be stripped (a fancy way to say tediously pulling individual hairs out) to maintain the wiriness.  The Wheaten has a single coat of soft silky hair.  This coat is maintained by combing it out (brushing makes it fuzzy, like my hair on a humid day).  Many choose to trim the Wheaten shorter on the body and leave beard and bangs on the head.  This haircut makes the Wheatie look rather like a blond Schnauzer.  But it does relieve the owner of all that stressful combing.

The best way to understand a breed is to look at what job it was originally developed to do.  Terriers are vermin catchers. Members of the Terrier group range in size and shape based on which vermin they pursue.  Consider the Dachshund. (Though not a terrier, it has terrier qualities and is a great visual). Long narrow bodied and short legged - the better to fit down a critter hole.  Taller terriers like the Wheaten can chase down a rat and other unwanted pests like snakes or fox.  In Ireland, where the Wheaten was first developed, he was not just a pest control expert but an all around farm dog who worked as a guard, herder, hunter and companion.  Today the Wheaten still has the urge to chase vermin. So if you have a pet rabbit or guinea pig in the house, take care to protect them from the very real chance of their falling victim to the Wheaten's innate prey drive.

The typical Wheaten is self confident and cheerful.  They like children but will not tolerate rough handling.  Wheatens are reasonably intelligent and not particularly easy or hard to train.   While usually amiable with other dogs, the Wheaten prefers to be with people. One of the biggest complaints about Wheaties is their exuberant tendency to jump upon and kiss most everybody they meet.

The Wheaten Manifesto 
Sure, I'm slightly goofy and quirky, it's part of my charm. 
Yes, I know that sleep is important but we can do that later.  First let's do something fun.
Squirrels are meant to be treed.
Let's sit on the couch together so close that we are practically melded.

Next Breed Profile:  Greater Swiss Mountain Dog!
Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds   by D. Caroline Coile, PhD


  1. Oh Lynn, I love doggies and this cutie is a bundle of love. Thanks for writing this, I think you've inspired me to write more about my long lost wiener in dog heaven.

  2. I'm so glad you liked it Eve.

    Please do write about your darling wiener dog!

  3. Terrific post, Lynn! And what a dog!

  4. Breed profiles are a great idea, I look forward to more of them.

  5. That dog looks like so much fun!