Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
wheaten: from light wheaten to a golden reddish hue
Hair length:
Recognized by:
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great watchdog
  • wonderful family companion      
  • loves children
  • versatile
  • friendly
  • training is challenging
  • substantial grooming requirements
  • requires a lot of daily exercises

The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a multifunctional average-sized dog, which was initially bred in Ireland. It is distinguished from other types of Terriers by its more biddable demeanour and soft coat. Being a very ancient breed it has just recently gained a world-wide recognition and became a popular companion dog.

The formal story of the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier began in the XVIII century when the first references of this dog appeared in written sources. Nevertheless the majority of dog’s specialists presume that it has been present in Ireland for much, much longer time and was actually created sometime between VI and XVII centuries. It’s most likely that this taller dog resulted from breeding up in size shorter-legged terriers, or it may have been produced from mating Terriers with other breeds. In the latter case the most probable candidates for this role are the Spaniel, the Poodle, the Irish Wolfhound, or even Spanish dogs that were rescued from the sinking ships of the Spanish Armada.

The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is an ancient all-purpose working breed that has served poor Ireland farmers since time immemorial. They used this dog for virtually every task that it was capable of doing. It eradicated agricultural rodents, herded cattle, drove it from the farmer’s house to the market place, hunted rabbits, foxes and other small mammals and guarded farmer’s homes at night. The breed was so renowned that it was used in development of several other dogs including the Irish Terrier and the Kerry Blue Terrier. It was kept almost exclusively for working so its owners weren’t much interested in its formal recognition or participation in Dog Shows. That’s way it entered official records only in 1937 when it was registered with the Irish Kennel Club.

The first members of the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier arrived to America in 1946 but it was only in 1973 when it gained a complete recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC). The United Kennel Club (UKC) followed the AKC and approved the breed in 1978. The breed deserved its popularity greatly due to its excellent personality but it still remains rather obscure to the general public. This nimble and tenacious dog takes part with great success in obedience and agility trials. Despite its primarily working background essentially all Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are now playing a role of a nice and loving family dog.

The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier possesses vigorous and sociable disposition like any typical Terrier. However it’s also known for its milder and less quarrelsome nature, which greatly explains its popularity as a family dog. The dog usually becomes extremely attached to all members of its family and prefers to express its affection openly and impetuously. With its boundless amount of energy it will make a superb playmate for a child. You should take into account though that even such a friendly dog as the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier requires timely up-bringing and training to learn to behave itself in an appropriate manner.

The breed is praised for its sociability and it tends to perceive all unfamiliar people as potential friends. In fact it usually has a nasty habit of greeting every guest in your house by jumping on him and trying to give him a kiss. The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is observant and wary enough to warn its owner about approach of a newcomer. Nonetheless it is commonly made out of excitation over perspective to acquire a new playmate and never out of some aggressive inclination. Of course, the breed is too affable and good-natured to make an acceptable guard dog.

The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is good with other dogs though with some exceptions. An issue with same-sex aggression happens rather frequently so it’s more reasonable to keep this dog only with dogs of the opposite sex. This breed expresses an outmost courage and persistence in a fight but it rarely acts as an aggressor. The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a well-developed hunting drive and is apt to treat almost every moving thing as a prey. That’s why it should never be off leash while being walked. Most specimens will tolerate a household cat, which it has known since its puppyhood, but some will chase and kill even a familiar cat at the earliest opportunity.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• renal dysplasia;
• stomach problems;
• Addison’s disease;
• skin problems;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• eye problems;
• von Willebrand’s disease.

The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has very substantial grooming requirements. Its lavish soft coat should be brushed on the regular basis, preferably every single day. Besides its long hair is prone to get dirty really easily and its lightness makes grime really visible. This purports that it should be bathed relatively frequently. On the whole if you plan to show your dog you should get prepared for at least a few hours of work each week.

To reduce the amount of necessary maintenance its owner can visit a professional groomer every six to eight weeks. And even in this case the dog needs periodic brushing as well as nail trimming and teeth brushing. The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier sheds very lightly.

The training of the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier usually turns out to be a daunting task. On the one side, this clever dog is able to soak up a new material quickly and readily provided it has been appropriately motivated. It reacts much better to some more tangible incentives than simple approving words.

On the other side, the breed is notable for its stubborn streak so once it has made up its mind not to do something nothing can persuade it. At the same time it’s considered to be one of the most trainable among all Terriers and well-trained specimens usually compete with reasonable success in obedience and agility events.


The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier needs a fairly large amount of daily vigorous activity. In order to maintain it in a good form and mood its owner should walk with the dog minimum for an hour every single day. The breed prefers meaningful exercises, which engage it both physically and mentally.

The Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier will happily accompany you in jogging or cycling and it’s tough enough for a lengthy hiking trip. This breed suits perfectly for an apartment dweller provided its need for physical activity is rightly satisfied. Be mindful that a bored and frustrated dog can become a pretty destructive, unruly, nervous and overexcited creature.