Wheaten Terrier

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Wheaten Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: February 9, 2022
Verified by: IMP

Originally bred as a farm dog, the Wheaten Terrier can be very protective of its domain.

Wheaten Terrier Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Wheaten Terrier Conservation Status

Wheaten Terrier Locations

Wheaten Terrier Locations

Wheaten Terrier Facts

Fun Fact
Originally bred as a farm dog, the Wheaten Terrier can be very protective of its domain.
Friendly, alert, and loyal

Wheaten Terrier Physical Characteristics

  • Gold
  • Beige
Skin Type
12 – 15 years
40 lbs

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Wheaten Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$900 to $1,500 on average
Dog group
Male weight
35-40 lbs
Female weight
30-35 lbs

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The Wheaten Terrier was once known as the “poor man’s Wolfhound.”

The Wheaten Terrier, also known as the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, is one of three breeds of terrier originating from Ireland. Its original purpose was to be an all-around versatile farm dog that could hunt vermin, protect the chicken coop, and herd animals. This breed was particularly popular among the common farmers, who were restricted by law from owning hounds or beagles. As the purpose of a farm dog steadily declined, the Wheaten eventually morphed into more of a pet and companion.

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The Wheaten Terrier is a small but long-legged terrier with an unusually soft, silky, and wavy coat. As the name implies, this coat is characterized by a pale yellow wheat-like color, ranging from beige to golden. The long facial hair, which nearly obscures the eyes, has a distinctive and iconic shaggy appearance. There are generally two variants of this dog: the Irish coat and the heavy (or American) coat. The Irish coat tends to be softer and wavier, while the heavy coat tends to be thicker and fuller. It is possible to create a heavy Irish coat by cross-breeding the two together.

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3 pros and cons of owning a Wheaten Terrier

Pros! Cons!
Friendly and Affable

The Wheaten Terrier is very outgoing and expressive.
Strong Prey Drive

The Wheaten Terrier has a tendency to chase smaller animals.
Devoted and Loyal

This dog is very protective of its owner.

This dog needs a firm but friendly hand to guide it.
Energetic and Playful

This breed loves to interact with people through playtime and exercise.
High Maintenance Coat

The dog’s soft, silky coat requires quite a lot of grooming.
Standing Irish Soft Coated Wheaten terrier.

Wheaten Terrier Size and Weight

The Wheaten Terrier is a small to medium size dog with long legs and a slim physique. Males tend to be a fair amount larger than females on average.

Height (Male) 18 to 19 inches
Height (Female) 17 to 18 inches
Weight (Male) 35 to 40 pounds
Weight (Female) 30 to 35 pounds

Wheaten Terrier Common Health Issues

The Wheaten Terrier is a very healthy breed with a lifespan of some 12 to 14 years, but there is always the chance that it develops some health conditions. The Wheaten may be particularly prone to a developmental kidney disorder called renal dysplasia, which may be particularly serious if it affects both kidneys. Another potential problem is Addison’s disease, meaning the low production of adrenal hormones, which causes poor appetite and loss of energy.

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The Wheaten may also have a tendency to develop two little-known conditions called Protein-Losing Nephropathy and Protein-Losing Enteropathy. These conditions cause the dog to lose an excessive amount of protein and plasma from the kidney and gastrointestinal tract, respectively. Other common problems include allergies, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and dermatitis. A good breeder should ideally try to reduce the risks for some inheritable diseases. In summation, these are the most common health problems:

  • Allergies
  • Dermatitis
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Wheaten Terrier Temperament

The Wheaten Terrier is a good-natured and well-mannered dog that combines the alert, inquisitive nature of a terrier with the strong drive and work ethic of a working dog. Its friendly and upbeat personality and its tendency to form strong bonds with its owner are all appealing traits of this breed. Owners should be aware that it might have a tendency to develop some destructive behavior if left alone without anything to engage its active mind.

Health and Entertainment for your Wheaten Terrier

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How to Take Care of the Wheaten Terrier

Despite its small size, the Wheaten Terrier is actually a real handful to care for. Its constant need for exercise, its high maintenance coat, and its somewhat stubborn and independent mind all require an engaged and experienced owner who knows how to handle this breed. The Wheaten will also require regular physical examinations at the vet to catch health problems as early as possible. If you have any other questions or concerns about how to take care of your dog, then you should consult with your vet.

The Best Dog Food for Wheaten Terriers

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier may need around 1 or 1.5 cups of dog food every day. The exact amount depends on the size, age, and activity level of your dog. It is not a good idea to leave out more food than is necessary for your dog to munch on. This may cause it to gain weight.

Since this breed can suffer from allergies, try to find a limited ingredient or allergy-care dog food that agrees with your Wheaten Terrier.

At A-Z Animals, we feel the best dog food for Wheaten Terriers is Instinct Raw Boost Whole Grain Dry Dog Food, Natural Kibble with Omegas + Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food.

Made without any corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives, this raw blend offers heightened nutrition for a world of health advantages. The recipe includes lamb, fish, turkey, and beef as less common proteins to avoid food sensitivities, and healthy grains provide fiber plus probiotics for optimum digestion. An abundance of omegas soothes the skin.

Try out Instinct Raw Boost Whole Grain Natural Kibble, available on amazon.

Instinct Raw Boost Whole Grain Dry Dog Food, Natural Real Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe Kibble with Omegas + Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, 20 lb. Bag

  • WHOLE GRAIN DOG FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW NATURAL BEEF: Instinct Raw Boost natural dry dog food combines high protein, whole grain kibble with all natural bites of freeze dried raw beef. Grass fed lamb is the #1 ingredient.
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Raw Boost is high protein dog food with probiotics to support healthy digestion and omegas for skin & coat. Made without corn, wheat, soy, potato, peas, lentils, by-product meal, artifical colors or preservatives.
  • THE FIRST RAW BOOSTED KIBBLE: Raw Boost mixes high protein, whole grain dog food with our freeze dried raw dog food toppers in one bag. Complete & balanced nutrition for all dogs.
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our dog food is made with the pure, real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & whole food ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
  • INSTINCT, THE RAW BRAND: We craft wet & dry pet food from real ingredients inspired by raw.

Wheaten Terrier Maintenance and Grooming

The Wheaten Terrier is a lightly shedding dog, sometimes touted as hypoallergenic. Nevertheless, the coat still requires meticulous grooming sessions at least two to three times per week to prevent matting and tangling. These sessions should begin with the use of a pin brush or slick brush to remove the loose dirt and hair. This should be followed with the use of a fine or medium tooth metal comb. Mats need to be pulled apart with the brush, comb, or even the fingers but never with scissors.

Dental hygiene is another important aspect of its regular maintenance routine. The teeth need to be brushed at least two or three times a week with high-quality canine toothpaste. Owners should also trim the nails once or twice a month or whenever they begin to seem uncomfortable. Finally, you should check the ears for wax and debris on a regular basis and clean them out with a cotton swab or ball.

Wheaten Terrier Training

The Wheaten Terrier is an intelligent dog that’s eager to learn and please, but its strong, independent mind might frequently wander off track and get it into trouble. Owners will need to strike a fine balance between being too lax and too harsh. It is necessary to let the dog know who’s in charge without seeming negative or mean, which will just discourage it. This breed should respond very well to positive reinforcement methods such as praise and treats. Owners should also strive to keep the commands consistent but try to vary the routine to make things interesting. If you’re struggling to formulate an effective training method, then there’s no shame in taking your dog to a professional trainer.

Wheaten Terrier Exercise

The Wheaten Terrier is a high-energy dog (even in its older golden years) that requires at least 30 minutes and probably more like an hour of exercise every single day. At least half of this time should be spent on long walks, jogs, or runs. The rest can be devoted to ball games and other playtimes. It is recommended that you have a fenced yard or enclose space nearby in which it can run and play. When you venture out of the yard, you should keep this dog on a leash, because its instincts may take over and cause it to chase after small animals and objects. This dog’s soft, silky coat can also become warm and overheated in the summer, so you should take special care to find shade and rest in particularly hot weather.

Wheaten Terrier Puppies

Wheaten puppies take about two years to fully mature both physically and mentally. They are born with darker fur and only grow their lighter, wavy hair upon reaching maturation. In this time, puppies need to be properly trained and socialized as early as possible. While naturally curious and friendly, the Wheaten will benefit from exposure to unfamiliar people, dogs, and situations so it can become a well-behaved adult.

Irish soft coated Wheaten terrier puppy


Wheaten Terriers and Children

The Wheaten Terrier is a great family dog. Its playful behavior, friendly and affectionate temperament, and tendency to form strong bonds with its owner should appeal to children of all ages.

Dogs Similar to the Wheaten Terrier

If you are looking for a dog with similar characteristics to the Wheaten Terrier, then you might want to consider one of these Irish dogs:

  • Irish Terrier – One of the quintessential Irish breeds, this terrier has a bright red coat, a bold temperament, and a friendly and charismatic personality. Terrier fans will find a lot to love with this breed.
  • Kerry Blue Terrier – Originating from the southwestern county or Ireland which bears its name, the Kerry Blue Terrier is an alert, animated, and friendly farm dog turned companion with a light gray or deep blue coat of fur.
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier – The gentle but brave Glen of Imaal is a short-legged farm dog with a wheaten or blue-colored coat of fur. It is named for the isolated valley south of Dublin from which the dog originated over the centuries.

Famous Wheaten Terriers

The Wheaten Terrier is still a little bit of an unknown breed outside of its native Ireland, but it has made an impact on the dog show circuit. A Soft Coated Wheaten named Crawford won a best-of-breed prize at the 2019 Westminster Dog Show.

If you’re looking for a suitable name for your new Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, then you may want to consider one of the following options:

  • Bella
  • Charlie
  • Murphy
  • Bailey
  • Maggie
  • Teddy
  • Lucy
  • Riley
  • Cooper
  • Molly

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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What’s the right dog for you?

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If you have kids or existing dogs select:

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Should they be Hypoallergenic?



How important is health?
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How much energy should they have?

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I want a cuddle buddy!

About average energy.

I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!

All energy levels are great — I just love dogs!

How much should they shed?
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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and — of course — pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Wheaten Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Wheaten Terrier?

The Wheaten Terrier is a small energetic and friendly pet, originally bred as a farm dog, with a silky, light shedding hypoallergenic coat of white to golden fur. It has an average lifespan between 12 and 14 years.

How much does a Wheaten terrier cost?

The price of buying a newborn puppy from a high-quality breeder is usually between $900 and $1,500. While this may seem expensive, good breeders will take many precautions to ensure their dogs are in excellent health, which will save you money and heartache in the long run. If price is a concern, then you might want to consider adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue, which will usually cost a few hundred dollars. Some rescue groups are devoted specifically to the rehabilitation of this breed and will provide owners with the tools they need to bring home a happy, healthy dog. Rescue groups only operate in select states, however.

How do you groom a Wheaten Terrier?

The Wheaten needs to be brushed two to three times a week, first with a pin brush and then a metal comb.

Do Wheaten Terriers bark a lot?

The Wheaten Terrier is not a chronic barker, but it may make an alarm call if it hears something suspicious and unfamiliar around the home.

Do Wheaten Terriers like to cuddle?

The Wheaten does enjoy plenty of human contact, but owners should be aware that this is not a lap dog.

Can Wheaten Terriers be left alone?

The Wheaten Terrier does have a tendency to become bored and destructive without any human interactions or activities to do. Ideally, there should always be someone around to keep it company.

Are Wheatens good family dogs?

Yes, the Wheaten is an excellent family dog. It has a good reputation with children.

What are some types of mixed Wheaten Terriers?

There are almost endless combinations with this breed. To name just a few, the Wheaten can be mixed with the Kerry Blue Terrier to produce the Kerry Wheaten. It can also be mixed with the Labrador Retriever to form the Wheatedor.

  1. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/soft-coated-wheaten-terrier/
  2. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/soft-coated-wheaten-terrier-facts/

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