Irish (Soft-Coated) Wheaten Terrier


A medium sized dog. The Wheaten Terrier is cheerful, active, busy, playful and affectionate. Independent and confident. Quite intelligent. Wilful and stubborn but in a good natured way. Will follow owners around at all times. Can dig in the garden. Quite a good choice for first time owners.

Minimum Exercise:

Exercise/Activity Level: Medium to high. Does require quite a bit of exercise. 1.5 hours a day is recommended. Will easily do more. Great for agility and flyball.

Size: 17-19 inches

Weight: 30-40lbs

Colour: Creams, fawns and tans (hence ‘wheaten’)

Town or Country: Both. Does very well in country.

Low Allergy: Yes

Best Suited for: Moderately active to active households, including ones with older or robust children, who want a fun, athletic companion, are interested in training to make the best of this breed and don’t mind the odd pothole in the garden. Ok for first time owners who want something a little more challenging than a toy/companion dog.

Group: Terrier

Originally From: Ireland

Original Purpose: Working. Herding (mainly cattle), hunting badgers, rabbits and foxes. Guarding and sometimes a gun dog.

Living Space: Medium, indoors and out. A large fenced garden to play in would be an advantage

Coat: Soft, long, wavy

Grooming: Medium to high. The hair grows constantly and requires trimming. As puppies they will need daily grooming. As adult, should be combed 2-3 times a week to prevent tangles.

Children: Medium. Generally gets on well with children. Loves to play and be kept entertained but is high energy and assertive therefore older children are more suitable.

Sociability with strangers: High. An outgoing and friendly dog.

Sociability with animals or other dogs: Medium to high. Mostly fine but will need training and socialisation early.

Trainability: Medium. Requires positive rewards and calm, persistent training. You need to get and hold their attention. Needs to have obedience training as they can be assertive and strong willed. They can also be manipulative.

Noise Level: Medium to high. They make good watchdogs because they will alert to a strange presence around their territory, even though they then get along well with strangers.

Known Health Issues: Most common are protein losing nephropathy (PLN) and protein losing enteropathy (PLE). PLN is where the dog loses protein from the kidneys; PLE is where the dog loses protein from the intestine. Wheaten owners are recommended to test their dogs at least yearly. Other wheaten health issues are renal dysplasia, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison's disease and cancer.

Lifespan: 12-14 years

Special Needs: Wheatens JUMP! It can be difficult to break them of this if it is allowed from when they are puppies. They are very athletic and capable of jumping very high. Have a secure, tall fence!    Send article as PDF