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Information on the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Taken and based on information as supplied by the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Great Britain

Having a dog is a lot of extra work and responsibility - it isn't easy.  Below is just a few things to consider before getting a dog:

  • You are taking on a responsibility which can last 10 to 15 years

  • You must be prepared to put time and effort into training from day one

  • You must be prepared to groom your dog every day and all other required maintenance i.e. trimming & plucking ears, trimming feet etc - THE WHEATEN IS NOT A ONCE A WEEK TO BE GROOMED DOG

  • You must be able to turn a blind eye to the dirt your dog brings in

  • The doors and walls will get dirty at 'dog level; where your dog will rub against them

  • Many Wheatens are known for cleaning their faces against the sofa!

  • Whenever someone comes to the house your dog will bark, and if a Wheaten, engage in lots of loopy antics, jumping up and other antics - not everyone likes this

  • You cannot do things on impulse which do not include the dog e.g. staying out overnight if been to a dinner party and had one too many to drink

  • You must get used to holidays within the UK so that your dog can go with you - or overcome feelings of guilt and put him in kennels this is an additional cost.  Also some Wheatens do not do well in kennels, not eating etc.

  • Vet's fees can be very expensive

  • If you have children will you be able to supervise the children with the dog AT ALL TIMES, whether it be a puppy or an adult

  • Never consider getting 2 puppies at the same time, they will be almost impossible to train and will bond with each other and not yourselves

Is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier the dog for you?

Before you decide on a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, you must make absolutely certain that this is the right breed for you and your family.  If it isn't, but you buy one, you will all be thoroughly unhappy.  It is strongly recommended by the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of GB and good breeders that you visit one or two people who own/s adult Wheatens, meet the dogs and talk to the owners about the pluses and minuses of owning a Wheaten.  In fact many breeders WILL NOT consider you for a puppy unless you have met some adults and even possibly researched the different coat types.

Traditional Irish

INT/IR/GB Ch Kellynack Chynora Avec Hobel CW-07 (Ir An Ch 2003 & 2005)

Heavy Irish

Kellynack Mac Cuile (Ir An Ch 2004)

English Coat

GB Ch Starcadia Caleche With Jesiwel

Bitch CC Winner at Crufts 2005

Mucky Wheaten Coat

Hobes & Kiara after a walk in February - be aware how muddy they can be after a walk

Photo: Emma Brewer

  If you are looking for a dog who will respond instantly to your every command, then maybe a terrier isn't for you - terriers do have minds of their own! 

  If you want a dog who develops strong owner loyalty, maybe the Wheaten isn't for you - this breed tends to be an 'everybody dog', relating well to the family but also enjoying making new acquaintances.

  The Wheaten will NOT lie quietly in their basket waiting to be invited to do something, they are more likely to do the inviting, if you prefer a dog that does lie quietly then a Wheaten isn't the dog for you.

 

No one should consider having a Wheaten unless they have the time and patience to work intensively with the young puppy from the day they take the puppy home.  Training must start straight away and for the first twenty four months daily grooming sessions are necessary to maintain the appearance and to keep the coat in a tangle and mat-free condition - this is essential to not only get the pup used to being groomed but also to being handled.

 

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium sized dog whose hair (note the breed has hair NOT fur like most dogs) does not shed like furred dogs, they will still lose some hair each day the same as we do.  The Wheaten is a fun loving dog, can be intelligent when they choose to, suffers with selective hearing and can be vocal making them good watch dogs although no one should consider this breed to deter burglars as they will greet them!!

No one should consider having a Wheaten unless they have the time and patience to work intensively with the young puppy from the day they take the puppy home.  Training must start straight away and for the first twenty four months daily grooming sessions are necessary to maintain the appearance and to keep the coat in a tangle and mat-free condition - this is essential to not only get the pup used to being groomed but also to being handled.

 

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium sized dog whose hair (note the breed has hair NOT fur like most dogs) does not shed like furred dogs, they will still lose some hair each day the same as we do.  The Wheaten is a fun loving dog, can be intelligent when they choose to, suffers with selective hearing and can be vocal making them good watch dogs although no one should consider this breed to deter burglars as they will greet them!!

 

The Wheaten Personality

 

The Wheaten is a lively exuberant dog.  If you don't enjoy being fussed by a dog, you should be forewarned and hence avoid the Wheaten.  The Wheaten will jump and give kisses to express his affection - not just for his immediate family, but for anyone welcomed into the family home.  It never enters a Wheaten's head that a person might not like them since they like everybody.  So anyone who ignores him may receive extra fuss and attention because they will think they just haven't noticed them yet!

 

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a PEOPLE dog and CANNOT BE LEFT ALONE FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME.  The Wheaten gets lonely and bored and will fret for your return, it is at this time that they can become destructive, just like any dog.  Wheatens are at their best when they share family life to the full and being included in just about everything you do; they are adventurous and inquisitive so hence a fenced garden is a necessity to ensure their safety.

 

A Wheaten is less scrappy than other terriers, he is a gregarious dog, can be too enthusiastic when meeting other dogs so hence careful socialisation with other friendly dogs is imperative to maintain this happy attitude.

 

The Wheaten can be extremely wilful and stubborn, hear what they want to hear i.e. "come here" is ignored but rustle a bag with goodies and they are there like a shot!

 

Training a Wheaten

 

The Wheaten needs careful rearing and socialisation because of their wilfulness and stubbornness - therefore gentle but firm and consistent training is essential.  As with any breed of dog the Wheaten reflects the care and training received, optimum temperament can only be achieved through gentle, regular human contact.

 

The Wheaten is a lively, quick-witted dog and, consequently, quick to learn but they have their share of the 'terrier independence' and can sometimes be obstinate, very obstinate.  However the Wheaten is generally anxious to please and can readily be trained to a high standard with patience and dedication.  As with all training when a command is given it is essential that the owner insists that it is obeyed.  Many breeders liken the raising and disciplining of the Wheaten to the same as raising children.

 

Grooming

 

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is eye-catching, and many say breath-taking, because of the soft, flowing coat which fall in gentle waves and can shimmer and shine in the light.  A well cared for adult coat can be stunning.  Conversely, without regular grooming the coat will become dull, matted and even smelly with a great chance of skin problems developing.  Any Wheaten allowed to get into this state and condition will be miserable and will not resemble the true breed.

 

To keep the coat in good healthy condition it is imperative that you begin by grooming your puppy EVERY DAY.  The puppy won't like this at first, and many think it unnecessary as there may be little coat, but it is imperative that daily grooming is maintained as when the puppy reaches seven or eight months and there is more coat your Wheaten will stand there whilst he or she is groomed. At about six months onwards the puppy coat gives way to the adult coat and this is the most difficult period as far as grooming is concerned, there may be a lot of 'fluffy coat', which can mat very quickly and easily and if left for a day can cause difficulty in it removal.  Many breeders recommend investing in a grooming table as this will ensure that the puppy learns that when on the table it is not play time but 'work time'; grooming the puppy on the floor may cause problems as the puppy cannot distinguish the floor from play time and work time and hence will play up.  It is also important to teach your puppy, when being groomed, that the feet will need to be trimmed and the hair cut between the pads, the ears need to be trimmed and the hairs within the ear plucked out - so play with feet, pick them up, touch the ears, remove a couple of hairs from each ear each day better a couple than trying to remove a matted wad of ear hair or taking your Wheaten to the vet to be sedated to have the hair removed because infection has set in.

 

Dog hair that does not shed all over the house and onto your clothes sounds too good to be true BUT it is only true if the coat is regularly brushed and combed.  If you leave your Wheaten for even a week, the tangles will have formed and then the grooming session will be uncomfortable and even painful for the dog and even difficult for you also (unless you happen to enjoy participating in all-in wrestling match!)

 

The other drawback of a long, non-shedding coat of hair is the amount of dirt which it collects especially on the feet, legs and undercarriage when out walking and which of course is trailed back into the house. 

 

A non-shedding coat does not mean less housework but it does mean increased grooming.

 

Dog or Bitch

 

Many books advise that a bitch is an easier companion than a dog, and whilst this may be true of some breeds, it is NOT the case with Wheatens.  Whichever sex you choose with this breed you should remember that you are getting a terrier and you will get terrier characteristics to a greater or lesser extent. Some bitches can appear bossy and uppity compared to a more passive male.  The male Wheaten can be as loving and affectionate a companion to his owners as a bitch, some people would never choose a bitch having once owned a male Wheaten because they feel that the dog has more character; regardless both can be very lively.

 

Bitches have their difficulties especially when they are in-season, her seasons will happen, on average, every six months irrespective of Christmas, annual holidays, family outings etc.  You may also experience, depending on the location of your home, a siege by the local roaming dogs - some of whom may camp out on your doorstep contriving to get to your bitch by fair means or foul.  This can occur at the critical time of her season and the bitch may be anxious to be mated and may attempt to escape to achieve or objective, so hence increased diligence is required by adults and children to ensure that doors and gates are shut properly and securely.  It is a myth that every bitch needs at least one litter - she does not.  Many breeders now endorse their puppy's pedigrees so that ad hoc breeding cannot take place, this is being done to ensure the health and temperament of the breed and that should someone wish to breed that they understand the full implications of rearing a litter and the future commitments to those puppies for next 10 to 15 years.

 

Choosing whether to have a dog or a bitch does come down to personal circumstances and preference.  With the Wheaten in the family home, the sex does not matter one iota both are wonderful loving companions.

 

Where to obtain a puppy - it is essential to read this

 

To obtain a Wheaten pup is not always easy, you may have to travel, you may have to wait months but regardless you must get your puppy from a reputable breeder.  Click here - this will take you to the SCWT Club of GB's forum where people have bought puppies from 'rogue' breeders - YOU ARE WARNED - contact the Club, contact people who show their dogs and enquire if they are are planning a litter, take the time to meet the parents even if you have to travel.  Ask to speak to a breeder's other puppy owners, ensure that the breeder you are talking to is breeding the coat type you prefer and never just take a pup with the coat type you don't want because "this was all I could get".  A SCWT is not a cheap dog to buy so if you see advertisements in papers, free magazines or advertised on the internet - BE VERY CAREFUL, these pups are normally sold at the 450 to 550 mark (many are also puppy farmed and by buying one of these you ensure that a bitch will suffer more pregnancies and then when of no use dumped on the streets [see the rescue page on this website and look at Soda]), a Wheaten from a reputable breeder will cost you more but you will be getting a puppy that has been reared correctly and with love and care.

 

Further information on Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers please click on the picture and then click on Standards