Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed — Active and Full of Spirit

Active, high-spirited soft coated wheaten terriers can love like no other and wow you on the competition floor. Although the SCWT shares a common ancestry and a striking resemblance to the Irish terrier, their distinguishable coat colors can help you tell them apart. Irish is the only terrier with a red coat, whereas wheaten terrier coats are beige.

irish wheaten terrier
The red haired Irish wheaten terrier is often mistaken for the soft-coated wheaten terrier.

The soft-coated wheaten terrier — also known as a soft haired wheaten terrier, wheatie, wheaten, or SCWT — is an excellent pet for families, if you’ve got patience for training this smart but a little stubborn breed.

Do Wheaten Terriers Bark a Lot?

Terriers, in general, are known for their barking. Wheatens, while quieter, can bark excessively if they lack proper training. Of course, this breed will make you well aware of something suspicious or an approaching stranger. However, SCWTs tend to like almost everyone, so don’t be surprised if what was once a stranger is now a friend, not foe. Unlike some breeds that become attached to a single human, wheatens have no problem attaching to multiple family members. Because of their profound attachment, soft coated wheaten terriers do best with their humans and don’t do well when left home alone for long periods. Separation anxiety or boredom may cause your pet to become destructive, chewing on things or barking incessantly. Ensuring your SCWT gets enough daily exercise, like a 30-minute walk or a good game of fetch and plenty of mental stimulation, will keep your wheaten content. Giving your soft coated wheaten terrier things keep them busy during the day can further prevent this dog breed from finding something to do like digging up your yard. Competitive activities like agility, barn hunt, herding, and scent work may be ideal if your wheaten has excess energy.

Facts About Wheaten Terriers

Native to Ireland, wheatens were considered a poor man’s dog and originally bred as working farm dogs responsible for herding, guarding the chicken coop and ratting (hunting underground vermin like rats). Wheatens are born with a darker coat in a variety of colors that lighten over time, eventually turning into the recognizable beige shade in adulthood.

Krista, a wheaten terrier, was the first of her breed to swim away with a first place and two third-place awards in the 2016 National Dock Diving Championships.

Wheaten terrier size and weight: 17 to 19 inches (48 cm) tall and 30 to 40 pounds (18 kg)

Life expectancy for wheaten terrier: 12 to 14 years

SCWT coat: Wavy, silky medium-length, dense single coat

AKC group: Terrier group

Are Wheaten Terriers Easy to Train?

Soft coated wheatens are intelligent yet can be stubborn and headstrong. While this breed is trainable, it will take work, dedication, and time compared to other dog breeds. SCWTs will chase after anything that moves. They’re known for wandering off given the chance and are chronic leash pullers. Jumping on people is also a well-established trait that is difficult to resolve without consistent and reward-based training. Competing in agility, herding, and tracking competitions can help a wheaten retain their versatility.

Soft coated wheaten terrier temperament

Like their terrier cousins, soft coated wheaten terriers love spending time with their humans and have abundant energy, which often leads to this breed getting into mischief. However, because SCWTs are sensitive to harsh treatment, you must teach your soft-coat wheaten what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior using consistent, positive reinforcement techniques.

Do wheatens make good pets?

Wheaten terrier characteristics include deep devotion and tendency to get along well with other dogs (especially if they’re raised together), making them good family pets. On the other hand, because of a wheaten’s high prey drive, it’s best to keep pets like birds and reptiles away from an SCWT. This breed does best with older kids, as their medium to high level of energy can be overwhelming to younger children.

Are wheaties good watch dogs or guard dogs?

The naturally territorial wheaten can be a decent watchdog, as they will alarm bark when they hear or see something suspicious. Beyond that, they aren’t good guards. They’ll befriend anyone with a treat or friendly face.

scwt in the woods

Do Wheaten Terriers Need Grooming?

Soft coated wheaten terriers don’t shed much, but they are a higher maintenance breed that requires combing daily, with a medium-toothed comb and de-matting comb to prevent tangles and mats. Bathe your SCWT every other week (at minimum once a month). Before bathing, be sure to detangle your pet’s coat, as getting it wet can make tangles and mats worse. SCWTs are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears, so regular cleaning is necessary. Don’t forget routine oral care. Because of the long hair on a wheaten’s face, called the fall, you should check and clean your dog’s eyes daily. Trim a SCWT coat regularly. You should trim this breed’s nails routinely if they don’t spend much time outside on hard surfaces, as this naturally files down the claws. A nail grinder or guillotine style nail clippers works best for most dogs. However, the latter may prove difficult to use on a dog with black nails because you can’t see the quick.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Mixes

While genetics is often a crap shoot, knowing what each parent breed offers can give you an idea of what to expect in adulthood. One thing is for sure, add a soft coated wheaten terrier to the mix, and you’ll get one adorable pup with a full-of-life personality that’s irresistible to love.

Here are some popular soft coated wheaten terrier dog breed mixes

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