Soft-coated wheaten terriers are a popular dog breed, no doubt due to their boisterous, friendly manner and attractive physical features. Formally recognized as a breed in 1937 in Ireland and in 1973 in the United States, members of this worker breed are happiest when occupied and are therefore not well-suited to sedentary households. Understanding this and other wheaten terrier idiosyncrasies will help ensure you and your pet share a long and harmonious life together.
If you don't provide your wheaten terrier with excitement, she'll make her own -- probably at the expense of your house or belongings. Originally bred to keep farm animals in check and to ferret out rats, the wheaten terrier is curious and wants to find ways to be useful. Provide her with plenty of time outdoors -- either in an enclosed yard with trees that host squirrels, or on an agility course, or on-leash during long walks with the family. The best companion animals for your wheaten will be playful, tolerant and large enough not to be mistaken for prey. Though wheatens make good family pets and are generally known to be child tolerant, always supervise interactions between your child and your pet to help ensure the safety of both.
Like other terriers, wheatens can be headstrong unless properly trained. Keep your wheaten's ego in check by providing firm but not harsh discipline from a young age. Training your wheatie the "sit," "stay," "leave it" and "heel" commands, along with other useful commands, will help ensure that your pet remains in control, in spite of his natural inclination to be in charge. Never resort to hitting, yelling or otherwise abusing your wheaten as punishment. Wheatens are very intelligent, and they may respond aggressively.
The soft-coated wheaten terrier is named for soft, wheat-colored, curly locks. Like the poodle, the soft-coated wheaten has so-called "hypoallergenic" hair, rather than fur, so the dog sheds almost not at all. Her hair will continue to grow until you have it clipped, so you will need to keep her carefully groomed to avoid tangles, mats, and skin irritation. Brushing your wheaten will cause her hair to frizz, so use a comb instead to remove tangles on a daily basis, or keep your pet's hair clipped if you don't have time for regular maintenance.
Your Wheaten is likely to live a long time -- up to 15 years -- with proper care and maintenance. Wheaten terriers are considered to be a particularly robust breed, overall, though a few hereditary medical conditions exist, including hip and renal displasia, Addison's disease, skin allergies, protein-losing nephropathy and protein-losing enterapathy are not uncommon in the breed. Purchasing your wheaten from a reputable breeder can help reduce the risk of hereditary hip dysplasia. Proper maintenance of your pet's coat will help reduce the likelihood of allergy-induced skin irritation. Regular veterinary checkups, including blood and urine tests, can help you catch early signs and treat illnesses quickly.
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