Origin: Known in Ireland for more than two centuries, the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier was the poor man’s hunting dog, a slayer of vermin, a herding dog and a watchdog. Wheaten Terriers are thought to be one of the ancestors of the Kerry Blue Terrier. The tousled-looking farmer’s dog attracted little attention until a terrier match in 1932 when a group of fanciers decided to form a club.
Wheaten Terriers were first called Irish Wheaten Terriers, but that was considered too close to the Irish Terrier, so it was changed to the present name. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers were first exhibited in 1937 and placed on the list of native Irish breeds. In the beginning, the breed was shown in its natural shaggy state but when other terrier fanciers derided them as looking like so many haystacks, the owners began to ‘top and tidy’ them, eventually resulting in the familiar scissored trim now seen in the North American show ring.
Temperament: This is indeed a dog that licked the Blarney Stone. The Wheaten Terrier is a happy, steady dog with an aura of self-confidence, inquisitive and alert.
Activity level: A bit more laid-back than many other terriers, the Wheaten Terrier is still spirited, enjoys activity and is ready and willing to learn. He requires no less than a daily brisk walk to satisfy his exercise needs and more will be appreciated.
Height/Weight: The ideal height for a male Wheaten Terrier is 18.5 in (47 cm) and weight should fall in the range of 35-45 lb (16-20.5 kg). Female Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers will stand 17.5 in (44 cm) and register 30-35 lb (13.5-16 kg).
Coat: The non-shedding, hypoallergenic coat is abundant, soft-textured and wavy.
Color: Pale gold to warm honey is the color of the Wheaten Terrier. Darker shading may be found on the ears and muzzle. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppies are born dark in color and lighten to wheaten as they mature.
Grooming: Thorough brushing is needed on a regular basis to prevent mats. It takes considerable scissoring skills to trim the coat in the accepted show style.