About the Breed

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The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

In summary, they are spirited and game.  They are good tempered and most affectionate and loyal to their owners.  They are intelligent and a trusted and faithful friend.  They are defensive without aggression.


It is recorded that the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is the oldest Irish breed of terrier and is said to be the progenitor of the Kerry Blue and the Irish Terrier.  Legend tells us that a large blue dog swam ashore from a ship wrecked in Tralee Bay about 200 years ago.  This blue dog became known for his fighting prowess, much prized in those days when dogs were bred for the popular dog fights.

He mated the native Wheaten and from this originated the Kerry Blue.  Wheaten-coloured puppies have appeared in Kerry Blue litters from time to time.  Likewise in Irish Terrier litters, there is sometimes a throwback to the soft coat.  There is no record of cross breeding in the Wheaten and he remains much as in the earliest records of him.

The Wheaten was rapidly dying out in Ireland and it was not until they became almost extinct that the late Dr. Gerard J. Pierse, realising their great potential, saved them from total extinction.  It was at a field outing for terriers that the conduct of a Wheaten Terrier attracted Dr. Pierse’s attention.  Together with Mr Patrick Blake and several others, he determined to have the breed acknowledged by the Irish Kennel Club.

After a long and hard struggle, in August 1937, he succeeded in getting the Irish Kennel Club to recognise them as a distinct pure bred terrier.  Wheaten’s had their first classes as a separate breed at the St Patrick’s Day show in March 1938.  A dog called Kingdom Leader, owned by Mr. P. Blake, became the first champion closely followed by Dr. Pierse’s own dog, Ch. Charlie Tim.  The breed also made a name for itself in the Terrier Working Trials with Bench Champion Kingdom Leader becoming the first of the breed to win the title Field Trial Champion, a rare accomplishment for a terrier.

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier originated as an Irish crofter’s dog, medium sized and bred for sturdy health and sound temperament.  The breed combines the steadiness of a working farm dog with the intelligence and energy of the terrier.  The Spartan conditions under which the ancestors of the Soft-Coated Wheaten lived have made this a hardy breed.

Country of origin



They start off dark coloured, some even black, but usually by 8 weeks, when they are due to move to their forever home, you can see the wheaten colour coming through at the base of the coat.  They should be a good clear wheaten colour – a shade of ripening wheat. 


Medium-sized, compact, upstanding terrier well covered with a soft, wheaten coloured, natural coat that falls in loose curls or waves. An active, short-coupled dog, strong and well built; well-balanced in structure and movement, not exaggerated in any way.  Standing four square with head and tail up, giving the appearance of a happy dog, full of character.


Height:  Dogs approximately 46-49 cms _18-19 inches) at the withers; Bitches slightly less

Weight:  Dogs approximately 16-20.5 kgs (35-45 lbs); Bitches slightly less


A natural terrier, with strong sporting instincts, hardy and of strong constitution.

Grooming Needs

Grooming is particularly intensive during the ages of 8 to 24 months when the puppy coat is changing to the adult coat.  Puppies need to be brushed and combed every two days and also require regular griming.

Adults require a minimum weekly full comb and brush and a 3-monthly trim either done by yourself or a professional groomer.


The coat does not moult.  A regular grooming schedule is absolutely mandatory to keep the lovely coat in shining, clean and mat-free condition. 

Exercise Needs

Moderate – 30 minute walk each day is necessary and they will benefit from more if you have the time.

Average Life Span

12-14 years


The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is exuberant and affectionate.  He is a family dog, usually attaching himself to the whole household, rather than just one person.  He relates well to children with his sense of fun and abundant energy.

The Wheaten is adaptable and gets along well with young and old, in city and country environments.

He travels well and readily adjusts to change.  Provided with a home where discipline is gentle, firm and consistent, the Wheaten is a terrier who is easy to live with and a delightful companion.

The Wheaten is unsuitable as a kennel dog, where the restraining conditions have an adverse effect on his character.  He is very much a house dog, living freely as one of the family.  His marvellous personality and temperament bloom only in a good home environment.  A securely fenced garden is essential to ensure his safety.

A Wheaten above all is a happy dog, taking tremendous joy in living and in the family whose life he shares.  He often carries his love of games and pranks into an advanced old age.

They are very good with children once an adult, but as with all dogs they should always be closely supervised with small children.  As a puppy they can be very enthusiastic and this can be daunting for children and the elderly.  When young they have a tendency to jump up – the wheaten welcome.  However they can be quickly trained out of this behaviour.  


A Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a lively, inquisitive and bouncy dog.  If you don’t enjoy the attentions of a dog, you should be forewarned.  He jumps and kisses to express his affection and delight – not just to his immediate family, but for anyone welcomed into the family home.  Being so people oriented, a puppy must be carefully home-raised and thoughtfully socialised with sensible, positive training.



Information:      Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Club of NSW (Inc.)

                                Email: [email protected]

                                Website: http://www.scwtclubnsw.com


Contact Details

Club Secretary
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Email : [email protected]