The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

The Purebred Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Information and Pictures

Front side view of a soft furry dog with along beard and short v-shaped ears that hang down to the sides. The dog has a black nose and a wavy coat on its head. Its long eye-brows are covering up its eyes. There is a show dog lead around its neck holding up its head.

An adult Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier—Photo courtesy of David Hancock

Other Names
  • Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Wheaten Terrier
  • Wheaten
  • Softcoated Wheaten Terrier

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The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, sometimes spelled “Softcoated Wheaten Terrier,” is a compact and squarely proportioned dog. The moderately long head is rectangular in appearance and in proportion with the body. The strong muzzle is relatively short compared to the skull and has a defined stop. The black nose is large for the size of the dog. The teeth meet in a scissors bite and the lips are black. The wide-set eyes are almond shaped and come in a reddish brown to a medium brown color. Light or yellow eye color can occur but is a breed fault in the written standard. The V-shaped ears fold forward and are level with the skull. The medium-length neck gradually widens into the body. The back is straight, forming a level topline. The front legs are straight and the paws are compact and round with black toenails. The high-set tail is either docked or kept natural. Note: docking tails is illegal in most parts of Europe. Dewclaws are usually removed. The single, wavy coat comes in shades of wheaten. Puppies are born dark brown and lighten to the final adult wheaten color by age two. There are two coat varieties, the American and the Irish. The Irish coat tends to be thinner and silkier.


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is strong, agile and well-coordinated. It is a happy, playful, spirited and friendly terrier. Alert, it makes a great watchdog and barks at the arrival of guests. It is usually very loving with children and gets along reasonably well with other dogs. An unsocialized dog with a meek owner who does not know how and when to correct negative behaviors may end up with a dog-aggressive dog. Some of these dogs that were not raised with cats may not get along well with them. All it takes is some fast movement on the part of the cat, and the dog's instincts will take over and he will chase them. The dog needs to be corrected right before it takes off after the cat. These dogs have a puppy attitude that remains with them throughout their lives. They are sweet-tempered, docile and self-confident. This breed needs to be taught, preferably when young, but older dogs can learn what is and is not acceptable behavior. It is very intelligent, so it will generally grasp quickly what is required of it. It has a straightforward nature and needs to be handled in a straightforward manner. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers bond closely with their family. They seldom bark unnecessarily. The Soft Coated Wheaten should be well socialized with other dogs while it is a young puppy, but adults can learn what is unacceptable behavior if they have an owner who properly communicates with them. In order to have a well-behaved Wheaten, you must be firm, but calm, consistent and confident with the dog. Meek owners will find the dog will easily take over the home and will be hard to control. Do not allow this dog to jump on humans. Jumping dogs are not "greeting" the human. Jumping is a respect and a dominancy issue.

Height, Weight

Height: Males 18 - 20 inches (46 - 51 cm) Females 17 - 19 inches (43 - 48 cm)

Weight: Males 35 - 45 pounds (16 - 20 kg) Females 30 - 40 pounds (14 - 18 kg)

Health Problems

Prone to protein wasting disease (PLE and PLN) and flea allergies.

Living Conditions

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is good for apartment life. These dogs are moderately active indoors and a small yard will do. This breed does not tolerate heat very well.


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier can get by with moderate exercise as long as it is taken for daily walks.

Life Expectancy

About 12-15 years

Litter Size

About 5-6 puppies


When grooming the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, the object is to achieve a natural look, and brushing can make the soft coat fuzzy. So using a brush is not recommended. Instead, frequent, even daily, combing of the long, profuse coat with a medium-toothed comb is recommended to keep it free of tangles—beginning when the dog is a puppy. Clean the eyes and check the ears carefully. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier does not shed in the spring and fall, but loose hair should be combed out of the coat from time to time. A well-groomed dog will shed very little. This breed is good for allergy suffers.


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier originated in Ireland and is possibly one of the oldest Irish breeds. It is related to both the Kerry Blue and the Irish Terrier. It was known as the "poor man's dog," working on farms as herders, protecting the border and as a hunter of vermin and small game. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was first imported to the United States in 1946. In 1973 it was recognized by the AKC. Some of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier's talents are hunting, watchdog, herding and ratter.

  • IKC = Irish Kennel Club
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club
  • KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
  • CET = Club Español de Terriers (Spanish Terrier Club)
  • CCR = Canadian Canine Registry
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
Side view of a soft furry dog with along beard and short v-shaped ears that hang down to the sides. The hair on the dogs snout and stop is so long you cannot see the eyes, nose or the muzzle and the dog has a beard. It has a thick wavy coat.

An adult Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier—Photo courtesy of David Hancock

Front view of a wavy-coated tan dog with a black face with longer hairs covering up the dogs eyes, a black nose and small v-shaped ears that fold forward at the tips.

An adult Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier—Photo courtesy of David Hancock

Close up - A tan and brown Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog sitting on bed towards the pillows. It is looking to the right. The hair on its face is covering up its eyes.

"Maggie Mae is our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. She's smart, witty and loves to travel. She goes on most of the car trips we take. This is a picture of her on a trip we took to the Outer Banks when she was 7 months old. She's a wonderful companion. Maggie has the Irish coat."

The front left side of a thick coated, soft looking, tan and brown Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is standing across a dirt and grass surface. It is looking forward.

Roxy the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier at 2 years old—"She is the sweetest dog! She loves to chase cats out of the yard and play with her "sis" Schatzie, a Miniature Dachshund."

Close up - A brown with black Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is laying on a tiled floor and it is looking forward. There is a small cage behind it. It has thick hair that is covering up its eyes.

"Theodore aka: Teddy the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy at 9 months old right before his really bad hair cut."

Close up - A  freshly groomed shaved brown with black Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is sitting on a carpet and it is looking to the right. It has longer hair on its head.

"Poor Teddy!! they shaved him! He's so embarrassed! Time to find a new groomer! At least he'll be cool for the summer! Teddy is our baby! He is very well behaved... when he wants to be. At 9 months old we were still trying to potty train him!!! Yikes!!! He is so cute that it's hard to yell at him! He gets a lot of attention! He loves to swim and go for rides in the car! But he hates getting his hair cut!!! You can see why! Joelle aka " Teddy's Mom""

The left side of a shaved brown and black Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier that is standing on a hardwood floor, there is a person kneeling behind it with there hand on its tail. There is a heart eyes emoji overlayed at the bottom left of the image.

Sam the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier at 1 year old from Spain—"Sam is a very adorable, fun and sweet doggy."

A brown long haired, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is sitting on a porch and it is looking forward.

Doogan the Wheaten Terrier at 4 years old

The front right side of a small fluffy, brown with black Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier that is sitting on a hardwood floor. Its head is tilted to the left, its mouth is open and it looks like it is smiling.

This adorable little pup is Doogan from Wood's Wheaten World!

The right side of a fluffy little brown with black Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy is standing across a white backdrop, it is looking up and to the right.

"This is Riley. He is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. He was about 3 and a half months old in this picture. He is always very entertaining!"

See more examples of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier