Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

AKC Terrier Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was used as a farm dog, herder, and hunter of small game and vermin in his country of origin, Ireland. Though it is probably one of the oldest Irish breeds, known since the 1700s, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was only imported to the United States in 1946 and officially recognized by the AKC in 1973.


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized, compact, and squarely proportioned dog. The unique soft, silky, wheaten-colored coat is wavy and does not shed. The head is shaped like a rectangle, rather long, with a strong muzzle and defined stop. The ears are V-shaped and fold forward level with the skull. The teeth should form a scissors or level bite. The almond-shaped eyes are brown or reddish-brown, and the nose is large and black. The strong back forms a level topline. The front legs are straight, with plenty of bone. Dewclaws should be removed. The feet are round with black pads and dark nails. The tail is docked and carried upright.

Key Facts

  • Height:  18 to 19 in. (male); 17 to 18 in. (female)
  • Size:  Medium
  • Weight:  35 to 40 lbs. (male); 30 to 35 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Might take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Hunting, tracking, watchdog, guarding, agility, and performing tricks


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is increasing in popularity and is known in most areas of the United States, but still requires some calling around to locate a breeder. The unusual coat needs frequent attention to avoid mats, as well as quarterly scissoring. Puppies are born dark, but lighten to the final adult wheaten color by about 2 years of age. Prone to flea allergies. Buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance and current CERF or OFA eye clearance.


An alert and happy animal: graceful, strong, and coordinated. A playful and friendly terrier. A puppy throughout his life. Amiable. Easygoing and self-confident. Though not as aggressive as many other terriers, males might be combative with other male dogs if challenged. Soft Coated Wheatens should be well socialized with other dogs while they are young puppies.


  • Children:  Excellent with children
  • Friendliness:  Loves everyone
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Needs people a lot
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Not generally dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Not a barker
  • Indoors:  Moderately active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Extensive grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Skilled trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Medium-long coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Standard

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Gifts