Are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers Hypoallergenic?
Yes! The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized hypoallergenic dog breed that hardly sheds or drools.
For a quick summary of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier skip to our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog breed summary further down the page.
Originating from Ireland, the Wheaten Terrier is the rough-and-tumble sort, and is an excellent choice for families with little tykes! These amazingly happy, affectionate, playful dogs are very gentle with little kids and really robust, so they can stand up to rough play. Better yet, their soft, silky, wavy, single-layered coat is hypoallergenic and rarely sheds. That is because their coat has a different structure than other breeds of dogs, wherein the hair grows out long and silky, unlike other dogs with short coats or fluffy fur. This means that their coat can be a little more difficult to maintain, but they shed a lot less! It’s important to socialize them when they’re young though, so they can get used to tiny hands and tail tugs. Despite the fact that they’re branded with that “Terrier” name, the Wheaties are much more friendly and laid back than your typical terrier. Don’t be fooled though, these guys can be a massive furball of energy!
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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Quick Facts
About the Breed
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s Physical Characteristics and Coat
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What do Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers look like?
Physically, they’re stocky and robust looking. They have short tails that look like macaroni noodles, and tiny droopy triangular ears. When their hair is cut traditionally, they have a long, straight beards (like the kind you see on old Asian men), and big long bangs that cover their eyes like an emo guy. Wheaten Terriers are born really dark, and they slowly get lighter and more wheat-colored with age!
What are the different coat types for a Wheaten Terrier?
Irish : Soft, silky, and more fine. You can see their body shape quite well beneath their flowing locks of wavy hair! Irish coated puppies look scruffy, and it takes them longer to develop their full-grown coat. Wheaten Terriers with Irish coats don’t mat as easily and don’t require as much grooming!
English /American : These coats are thicker and fluffier and make your Wheaten look like a big teddy bear. Puppies grow their big-dog coat in faster with this coat type. While all Wheaties require a lot of grooming, these coats require even more!
Characteristics that both coats have : Both Irish and English/American coats are single layered, soft, and get easily matted. They’re both hypoallergenic, and shed very little!
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Temperament
Wheaten Terriers are medium sized dogs with the attitude of a big dog! They are playful, bouncy, utterly huggable, and super friendly and affectionate to people, dogs, kids – and even cats! Be warned though, no dog is perfect with cats unless you get them used to the idea! Wheaties are witty. They have a great sense of humor, and they’re likely to play tricks on you or games with you to try to get you to do something entertaining! If you look into their eyes and start asking yourself “Is this a dog or a human?” – don’t worry, you’re not the first! These dogs are very personable and human-like with their emotions and their expressions. That being said, harsh criticism will get you nowhere with a Wheatie! They’re smart enough to know when you’re being a jerk, and they’re not going to buy into it.
Wheaten Terriers have a big, loving, soft heart – but they’re not Velcro dogs. One of the things that makes them so amazing for families with kids is that they will bond readily with everyone in the house, and they’ll be particularly sweet on your kids! Other dogs will pick a family member to follow incessantly, which can get annoying, and makes other members of the family feel left out – but not the Wheatie! They’re also very playful and energetic, but they’re not nutcases like other terriers – they’re much more laid back. Be warned though – they love to dig!
Are you considering adopting a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier?
- These guys are gentle and great with kids! They also get along excellently with other dogs, and even cats (if they’re raised with them).
- While they are energetic and playful, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers aren’t as intense and crazy as most terriers are.
- Wheaties LOVE digging! Their coat traps a lot of dirt and stuff, so if getting dirt in the house upsets you, this isn’t the breed for you!
- These dogs are super intelligent, very perceptive, and attuned to your emotions! They can be sensitive if you go overboard with discipline.
- Wheaties hardly shed or smell! Woohoo! However, they will need frequent grooming and bathing to keep their coat healthy. They are hypoallergenic, but they often need to be brushed at least once a day.
- Wheaties are messy! They can be destructive if you don’t exercise them and leave them home alone too long, but more than that, they track a ton of dirt and debris from outside into the house, and their long beards get drooly or wet after they eat or drink!
Breeds that look similar to the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier :
Exercise & Training
Encouraging Good Behavior In Your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
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Are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers intelligent?
If a Wheaten Terrier could speak, he’d probably beat you at “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”. These dogs are quick as a whip when it comes to smarts, and they have the curiosity and intensity to put their knowledge of the world to good use! Since they’re pretty ingenious like that, these dogs can get easily bored, and a bored Wheaten Terrier can be pretty destructive. It’s a good idea to give your Wheatie challenges and puzzles to keep them occupied!
Pro Tip! Teach your Wheaten Terrier not to jump on kids!
Dogs simply love to jump on tiny tots on the move! Teach your kids to deter dog jumping with a plastic dustpan. These things make a great shield! When a dog is getting jumpy, show your kids that they can hold the dustpan in front of the dog’s face or over the top of their head to discourage them from jumping. Eventually, dogs learn that the best way to play is with four paws on the ground!
|What to do||How it Helps|
|Roll them on their back and rub their tummy||Your Wheatie won’t feel defensive and anxious if their tummy is touched by little hands, or if their belly is exposed when you or other people are around. (Like a vet)|
|Gently tug their tail and ears – not enough to hurt them, but about as hard as you would tug your own hair without hurting yourself.||Little kids love to tug at tails, ears, and locks of hair. Get your Wheatie used to the sensation before someone takes them by surprise one day!|
|Give them foot massages. Make sure to separate each and every toe and touch their toe nails.||Dogs naturally hate their feet being touched. Kids might tug your Wheatie’s paws if he’s laying down. You’ll also want to be able to trim his nails later, so get him used to it.|
|Take his food, toys, and treats away from them after you give them to him. Then give them back again and praise him.||Let’s be honest, you don’t like people touching your stuff and neither do dogs! Kids will grab things that aren’t theirs though, and you might need to take something away from your dog that’s dangerous. Get them used to it!|
|Always, always discourage play biting – no matter how cute it is! Sternly and loudly say “ouch!” and stop playing when your Wheaten Terrier mouths on you.||Little puppies will go through a mouthy stage when they play because it helps them learn how hard they can bite when they play. Your puppy is practicing on you! Teach them that all biting is bad now – and they won’t play bite later.|
|Run your palms gently over his face and touch his nose very softly with the tips of your fingers.||Little kids, especially toddlers, love faces. Dogs are very protective over their faces and feel vulnerable when they’re touched. Show your puppy that having someone touch their face won’t hurt them!|
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Exercise Needs
Wheaties, like most dogs, can get destructive if you don’t give them enough exercise. These dogs are smart, so they like to play games or do things that are a mental challenge. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are great for dog sports! Aim to get a bare minimum of a half hour of walking in daily. Ideally, this breed should get about 40 mins to an hours worth of exercise. Remember – a tired dog is a well-behaved dog!
Breeds that act similar to the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier :
Grooming and Care
Maintaining Your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s Coat
How to care for your Wheaten Terrier :
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are hypoallergenic and shed very little, but they’re also notorious for getting stuff stuck in their fluffy coat. To keep them as hypoallergenic as possible, you’ll need to brush and bathe them often. Their long beards can get gross after they eat, so keep that in mind! If you don’t keep up with their coat, they’ll get dreadlocks which can be painful and really difficult to remove.
- Wheaties usually need to be brushed a minimum of several times a week, and in some cases they will need to be brushed twice a day! It depends on how short their coat is and how easily they get matted fur!
- Check their fur for matts at least several times a week. Matted fur can make their skin get cuts, rashes, and bruises!
- When you’re grooming your dog, check their ears to make sure they are not red or dirty. Clean them as needed.
- Trim their nails regularly. If you let their nails get too long, the living part of the nail grows out too and you’re more likely to cut it and make them bleed.
- Brush their teeth – don’t just rely on teeth treats! Any good vet will tell you that there are no treats or bones can replace a weekly teeth brushing!
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Health Issues and Care
Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN) : A disease that affects tissue in the kidney and causes the kidneys to become unable to filter out toxins from the blood. This disease results in higher blood pressure, stress on other organs, and eventually, progressive renal failure. About 10% of Wheaten Terriers are affected by this disease. Regularly have your Wheaten’s blood and urine tested. If you catch the disease in its early stages, you can slow its progression.
These are the tests your breeder should do, according to the National Breed Club :
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Blood Chemistry Panel
- UPC/Micro Albumin (MA) Test
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Health Problems
Lack of appetite
Increased frequency of urination
Dogs with this disease should not be bred.
|Allergies||Itchy red, moist, or scabbed skin
Itchy, runny eyes
Scratching at the back or base of tail (Often from fleas)
Chewing excessively on feet (often a food allergy)
Benadryl (ask your vet before administering and do not use as a long-term or permanent solution as it can irritate the stomach lining)
If your dog responds severely to an allergy (swollen tongue, difficulty breathing, falling asleep while standing)
|Allergy panels can be performed to try to uncover the cause of a dog’s allergies.
Try switching your dog to a high-quality food. We recommend Canidae.
Wipe your dog’s paws and belly after playing outside.
Bathe your dog with anti-itch dog shampoo.
Keep chemicals, smoke, and other irritable inhalants at a minimum.
More common in older dogs
|Increased thirst, urination, or appetite. Reduced activity, excessive panting, hair loss, recurrent skin infections, potbelly.||Surgery
|Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for your dog.
Avoid using cortisol-boosting medications unless necessary (ie: prednisone, dexamethasone, prednisolone)
Select your dog from a breeder whose dogs have no recent history of Cushing’s Disease.
|Congenital Deafness||Aggressiveness when playing with other puppies
Ignoring noisy toys
No response to loud noises
Abnormal amount of sleeping
Jumping or snapping when woken or touched when not looking
Lack of activity
Unusual vocalizing Confusion and disorientation*Symptoms may not always be easy to recognize
Affected dogs can be trained with a vibrating collar or hand signals if deafness is severe
Select your puppy from a reputable breeder with health records for their dogs.BAER testing is a definitive way to determine if a dog has (and may pass on) congenital deafness.
Additionally, medications, toxins, or other environmental factors exposed to the mother during pregnancy can lead to deafness.
|Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)||Decreased activity
Decreased range of motion
Lameness in the hind end
Looseness in the joint
Specialized Physical Therapy
Maintaining a proper weight
Purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder who has had the parent dogs tested for hip problems
Loss of range of motion in one or both hind legs
Abnormal function of one or both hind legs
Temporary paralysis of the knee joint
Pain when moving
Reluctance to run or jump
Swelling at or around the knee joint
|Patellar Luxation is caused by trauma to the kneecap.
Small and toy dog breeds are often genetically predisposed.Purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder.
|Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)||Night blindness that progresses to blindness in light as well.
Inability to see clearly in bright light.
The pupil (opening of the eye) has abnormal reactions to light.
|None||The puppy’s parents should be screened for PRA.
Infected dogs should be registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) and should not be bred.
|Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE)
|Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
Unexplained weight loss
|Identifying and treating the underlying condition using : Endoscopy
|Seek veterinary treatment if your dog appears to have any intestinal problems that last for two weeks.|
|Renal Dysplasia (RD)||Blood in the urine
Lack of appetite
Poor weight gain
Poor wound healing
Poor hair coat
|Renal Dysplasia cannot be cured. Sometimes only one kidney is affected, and dogs will live a full life.
|Select your Wheaten Terrier puppy from a breeder whose dogs don’t have a history of Renal Dysplasia.|
The Wheatie is an energetic, playful dog that makes an excellent pet for the whole family. They are medium-sized, hypoallergenic, and shed very little. As puppies, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers have a brown coat that gets darker around the muzzle. As they get older, their coat gradually lightens in color until it’s creamy or white. These dogs are very intelligent and personable. Although they catch on quickly, they can be independent, which can sometimes make training difficult. Irish coated Wheaten Terriers have silkier, shinier hair that is easier to maintain. Those that have an American/English coat are fluffier and look more like giant teddy bears. Their thick coats develop more mats, so they need to be groomed more often. All in all, the Wheatie is a happy, loving pet, and a joy to own.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier FAQ
Is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier good with children?
Yes! Wheaties are excellent with kids! They’re the perfect size because they’re big, but not too big. They are kind, playful, loving, and really enjoy children. They’re rarely aggressive towards kids, cats, or strangers – but be sure to socialize them!
Is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier intelligent?
Yes! Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are quite intelligent. They enjoy a mental challenge, and they can pick up tricks quickly if you have some experience training dogs that have an independent streak.
How big is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier?
They’re about one-fourth as tall as a standard size refrigerator is, or about the height of a dining chair from floor to seat. You’ll have to stoop a bit to pet them. Weight-wise, they weigh about the same as four gallons of milk. So, you’ll be able to pick them up full grown, but they will be a handful!
Is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier good for apartments?
Sometimes! They can be if they’re trained well and get enough exercise! The good news is that they don’t bark excessively and they’re friendly to strangers, dogs, and other animals. The bad news is that they can be very playful and they can track in a lot of dirt. You decide!
Is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier easy to train?
Yes! Overall. On the downside, they have a streak of independence. They’re very smart, but also very sensitive. Experienced dog handlers won’t have too much trouble training them, but a novice might. It’s important not to be too harsh with discipline and criticism because Wheaties know they don’t have to listen to you if you’re going to be a jerk about it.
Do Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier have their tails docked?
Traditionally, they do have their tails docked. However, their natural tail is pretty short as it is, and they don’t need to have them docked. If you’re planning to get one, you should ask the breeder not to dock their tail.
Are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers good swimmers?
It depends. Some Wheaties love the water – others, not so much. They weren’t bred to swim, but because they’re so playful, some of them are willing to give the water a shot if it’s entertaining enough. If you want a swimming Wheatie, introduce them to a playful dog that loves the water!
Are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers good cuddlers?
Absolutely. If you’re not too much of a neat freak and let your dog on the furniture, your Wheatie will seek out his favorite snuggle spots, and he/she is more than willing to have a little company!
What’s the difference between a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and a Wheaten Terrier?
There’s no difference, actually. However, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier does have two distinct coat types. One is the Irish Coat type, and the other is the English/American coat type. The Irish coat is silkier, less fluffy, and easier to upkeep.
Are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers easy to housebreak?
No, due to their stubborn streak, Wheaties can be pretty annoying to housebreak.
How popular is the soft coated wheaten terrier?
Fairly popular. The AKC ranks them 50 out of 194.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Facts Summary
|Breed||Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier|
|Other Names?||Wheatie, Wheaten, Wheaten Terrier, Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier|
|Height||Female : 17-18 inches (43.2 – 45.7 cm)
Male : 18-19 inches (45.7 – 48.3 cm)
|Weight||Male : 35-40 pounds (15.9 – 18.2 kg)
Female : 30-35 pounds (13.6 – 15.9 kg)
|Temperament||Bouncy, jolly, playful, gentle, affectionate, alert, personable|
|Colours||They start out brown and gradually turn cream/white.|
|Coat – describe the coat||The coat is single layered and silky, with wavy hair. American/English coats are fluffier and more teddy-bear-like than the rarer Irish coat style.|
|How much grooming?||Daily|
|How much shedding||Low-to-No shedding|
|Saliva – Do they Drool or Lick much?||Low|
|Energy levels||High (Although more like medium when compared to most terriers)|
|How much exercise do they need?||40 minutes a day|
|Health problems||Addison’s Disease, Allergies, Cushing’s Disease, Deafness, Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patella, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE), Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN), and Renal Dysplasia (RD)|
|Good for apartment?||Yes|
|Suitable for kids?||Yes|
|How much do they bark?||Low barking|
|Can they be left alone?||Yes, for a moderate period of time (apx 4-6 hours)|
|Trainable?||Yes, but they can be independent|
|How popular as a pet?||Ranked 50 of 194 by the AKC|
|Any other important facts?||Wheaties get snowballs stuck to their fur in the winter! They are some of the most gentle terriers – even with cats! Wheatens are from Ireland.|