Dogs just want to have fun. At least, that's the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier's motto.


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier originated as an all-around Irish farm dog that exterminated vermin, guarded the homestead and rounded up stock. The breed was well established by the 1800s. It's soft coat makes the breed unusual in the terrier world, but it does share roots with some other long-legged terriers such as the Kerry Blue and Irish.

The Wheaten did not become an AKC breed until 1973, but has since been on the rise in popularity.

The "Peter Pan of the dog world," the breed's perpetual high spirits keep everyone around entertained. Toys? Oh yes, lots and lots of toys.


Many people take their Wheaten to be professionally groomed, but you still need to do your part at home. Use a pin brush or metal comb to gently work through the coat in layers, making sure to reach all the way to the skin. When brushing or combing, spritz the coat lightly with a combination of water and conditioner; this prevents static electricity and breakage. Tease apart any mats, spraying them with a detangler or conditioner.

You may need to bathe between groomer visits. Use a deodorizing shampoo if your Wheaten tends to get smelly. If your dog tends to scratch, use an avocado oil or oatmeal based shampoo. Follow with a conditioner.

Check your Wheaten's ears weekly for signs of infection. Apply an ear cleanser weekly and after swimming. Such cleansers change the pH of the ear canal to make it less hospitable to fungus and yeast, and also have a bacteria-killing and ear drying effect. Any time you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal. But never put any cleanser or medication in a severely infected or painful ear because of the possibility of a ruptured ear drum.

Brush the teeth daily.

Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a medium- or heavy-duty dog nail clipper.

Wheatens are young at heart, but sometimes their body doesn't keep up. Age-related physical changes, such as arthritis, can slow them down unless you help out. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in spirit.