Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
A native of Ireland, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is reported to be the oldest Irish breed of terrier and had been kept for generations on farms used as multi-purpose dogs to control vermin and for cattle work.
Rapidly dying out in Ireland in 1932 a Wheaten distinguished itself at a field trial which inspired several of those present to go and rescue the breed. There was enough stock, sufficiently uniform in type, scattered about the country to provide the basis for breeding Wheaten Terriers as a distinct variety, in 1937 the breed was recognised by the IKC.
The first known Wheaten to be imported into England was in 1939 and the breed was recognised by the British Kennel Club in 1943.
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium sized compact dog, not exaggerated in any way. They are fun loving, bouncy good tempered dogs with a happy go lucky attitude to life.
Their coats should fall in loose waves or curls and are the shade of ripening wheat. The first Wheatens to arrive in the UK had a finer coat referred to as the "Irish type", in the 1950's a heavier coat appeared attracting more comment and proved to be popular, although more difficult to groom. Currently there is a increase in the Irish type coat being seen in the show ring. Both types of coat require regular grooming and trimming.
The Wheaten has typical terrier characteristics but is not a scrappy terrier; they are eager to please but can be wilful if they are engrossed. Quick to learn they need to be well socialised from an early age with firm consistent basic training; you will be rewarded with love and affection.
Wheatens are "people dogs", they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time, they are better suited to living indoors. Soft-Coated Wheatens love everyone and regard strangers as friends they have not met yet!
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is generally a robust healthy dog which allows it to live a long active life.
In the 1980's some cases of renal dysplasia (a breed specific kidney disease) were identified. A litter monitoring scheme was devised by Professor Andrew Nash. Today the majority of breeders use blood tests to determine the kidney function of sire and dam prior to a mating taking place and ensure their puppies are blood tested before they leave for their new homes. There are very few confirmed cases in recent years.
Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE) and Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN) have also been identified and confirmed in a very small number of Wheatens in the United Kingdom; this is being monitored; the mode of inheritance is not known.
It is recommended that any dog/bitch should be Hip Scored and eye tested prior to being included in a breeding programme and ideally puppies should be eye tested at between 5 to 7 weeks to check for retinal folds.