Wheaten Terrier Hints & Secrets

by Tammy Quinn Mckillip Google
Soft-coated wheaten terriers need an active household.

Soft-coated wheaten terriers need an active household.

goldyrocks/iStock/Getty Images

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.

How to Keep Your Wheaten out of Trouble

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.

Nobody Likes a Bossy Wheatie

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.

A Well-Groomed Wheaten Is a Happy Wheaten

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.

Watch for Hereditary Conditions

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.

Photo Credits

  • goldyrocks/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

I am a freelance writer/photographer living in Hunterdon County. Since graduating from Columbia University in 1999, I have written and photographed extensively for newspapers, magazines and online publications including Courier News, The Observer, Garden State Town & Country Living (article on Somerset Art Association, Spring issue), The Independent and The Asbury Park Press. From 1999-2001, I worked as the news and features editor for Youthline-USA, a Web site, national weekly newspaper and monthly magazine for 8-12 year-olds. Prior to that, I was the Web editor and editor-in-chief of Quarto, the literary journal for the School of General Studies, at Columbia University. I am interested in Web producing, writing and photographing for your publication. Please let me know if there are any job opportunities or freelance assignments available. Thank you!- Tammy McKillip 908-574-5134 tammymckillip@tammymckillip.com