Summer loves spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and cuddling with her puppy.
How My Love for 'Wheaties' Began
About nine years ago, my husband and I were done with our mourning period for our dog Buddy, who had been our furry friend since we had met. I had gone to the pet store in Windsor, Ontario, while I was attending university there. My original plan was to simply purchase a goldfish. I ended up leaving with a dog which became my long-time companion of 14 years. Buddy was gone and we had waited about one year, and we made it a habit to bring our two young boys to our local pet store to look at puppies.
Land of Paws in Mission, Kansas, is a dog boutique. The prices are not for the faint of heart. The designer dogs come with designer food and designer clothing, collars, toys and chewies. The prices of the puppies were very intimidating, however, we couldn't help but notice the Wheaten Terrier puppies. They were so darn cute, like living teddy bears. They were so soft (hence the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier) and just absolutely adorable. One of the female pups caught our eye and we continued to go in and visit her.
After hearing all of the terrifying information about puppies and puppy mills, I wouldn't dream of buying another dog from a pet store. However, Land of Paws is adjacent to a very popular veterinarian, Dr. Gates. They use the same breeders and encourage their patrons to get to know the breeders and the different dogs. They were, in my opinion, to the point of ridiculousness when it came to pampering their puppies, and they still sell dog beds for over $1000.
Needless to say, our female Wheaten got the best of us. We ended up spending a small fortune on her, and then a large fortune on all of her accessories, just in time to take her to my parents' home in Canada (who incidentally just got a new Yorkie puppy). It was love at first sight and our Hannah is now nine years old. She has given us years of love, happiness, and crazy 'Wheaten-ness.' Any Wheaten owner will know exactly what that means as Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers have a quirkiness about them that is unlike any other dog breed I've ever known.
The Wheaten Terrier Breed
The Wheaten breed was originally meant to be an all-purpose farm dog. They are from Ireland and share a lineage with the Kerry Blue Terrier and the Irish Terrier. The Wheaten wasn't a rich man's dog, and wasn't even acknowledged as a breed by the Irish Kennel Club until 1937. It took until 1973, about 30 years after Wheatens were brought to America, to be recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Wheaten Terrier breed is around 200 years old, and they can be seen in the artist Frederick William Burton's famous artwork, The Aran Fisherman's Drown Child. He completed the paintings in the late 1830s and the early 1840s.
There are four different types of Wheatens, although they are purebred dogs. They just differ by regions and coats. There is the traditional Irish coat, the heavy Irish coat, the American coat and the English coat. Regardless of the type of Wheaten, they do not shed and so they are often called a 'hypoallergenic dog.' This was a big selling point with my Hannah as my youngest son is allergic to dander and several other things. It's wonderful having a dog that doesn't shed any hair at all. Her coat, however, requires a lot of grooming, but more about that later.
Wheaten Terriers are known as amazing family dogs and one of the best breeds to have for children. They have a very gentle temperament and they love other dogs and children. They will play for hours as puppies and they have a lot of spunk, but they are not as aggressive as other terrier breeds when they play, which is why they are great for kids.
Wheaten Terriers, in a nutshell, love everyone and anyone. They get very excited when someone comes to the door and will rush up and greet them (often by jumping up) because they think every person in the world is there just to see them. They are great guard dogs as they are protective and will growl and bark if someone is at the door or intruding. However, once a Wheaten sees who's at the door, they are happy with their tail wagging and would more than likely hold a flashlight for any intruder that would just simply pat their head.
Another reason Wheaten Terriers are such great family dogs is that they are very intelligent and easily trainable. The only thing it's hard to train them to do is not jump up on people. They love people so much and it's an instinct. Hannah was very easy to train and kennel train, and she also has always been docile with my children. One stern word to her and she will sit, flee, or quit doing whatever it is that is irritating us, which isn't often. They are very loving without being clingy because they also love their independence.
As mentioned before, Wheaten Terriers are hypoallergenic dogs. This is perfect for kids with allergies to dogs. However, their coat needs a lot of attention!
Grooming a Wheaten Terrier's Coat
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier has a single coat, meaning that it will not shed. This is what makes them hypoallergenic. With that being said, it does take a lot of work to keep their coats from matting.
Read More From Pethelpful
Their coats grow continuously and they grow fast. We usually get Hannah buzzed in the summer months because Wheatens can't take heat very well. However, in the winter months, her coat requires a lot of attention.
Their coat looks naturally like big blond curls when it's longer. You need a comb to brush out your Wheaten and you should devote 5 to 10 minutes a day to brushing your dog. The Wheaten's coat can be groomed into a traditional Wheaten terrier shape, which requires a professional. This shape looks like a Scottie but the coat is blonde. The coat is shiny and straight, and very soft. Its wheat colour gives it the name, even though they are born a very dark brown. The black around their beard is there to stay.
You can have a puppy cut for your Wheaten too. Puppy cuts make the Wheatens extremely cute, as they will resemble a teddy bear. A professional can do this, or you can just keep some thinning shears and make the coat more manageable. Regardless of how many times you brush them, their fur will mat.
The shaved Wheaten look makes the dog look like a deer. The coat will grow back quickly, and it will be silky and wavy. I wouldn't recommend getting this kind of cut done in the winter because Wheatens will get cold without their coats. However, they hate the heat and in the summer. It's best to keep them cool.
What Kind of Exercise Does Your Wheaten Need?
One of the things that makes Wheaten terriers most desirable for busy families is that while they do like to play and run around, they don't really need much exercise. Wheatens get most happy when you come home for your greeting. It doesn't matter if you leave for five hours, or five minutes. They will get your attention to greet you when you walk in the door.
The thing about Wheatens is that they get hot very easily. If you take them for a long walk or take them to a dog park, they will want to run and jump on the people in the park more than they want to play with other dogs, and get ready for your Wheaten to steal every other dog's water, because he or she will be very hot!
Wheatens will play and get all 'wound up' for awhile, but their favourite place is to snuggle on a couch or a bed and get very cozy. Some people will say that Wheatens need a ton of exercise, but that isn't really true.
- They do best while crate trained (my Hannah is crate trained).
- They love to sleep and lounge around.
- They don't like the heat.
One thing to mention is that Wheatens tend to love the snow. I am in a Facebook group focused on Wheaten terriers and there are hundreds of stories about Wheaten terriers loving the snow. It's funny how the Wheatens seem to have instinctual similar quirks!
What Kind of Food Does Your Wheaten Need?
Wheaten Terriers should eat 1 1/2 cups of dry dog food daily. It should be broken up into two meals, one in the morning and one at night.
If you have another dog, make sure you get your Wheaten on a schedule. If she/he won't eat, pull the food until it's time for the next meal. Soon enough your Wheaten will follow the rules.
Wheaten males should weigh about 40 lbs give or take 5 lbs, and Wheaten females should weigh about 35 lbs, give our take 5 lbs. My Hannah must have been the runt of the litter. She weighs 26 lbs, which is just perfect for us.
We feed our Wheaten Innova, which is on the expensive side. However, our vet recommends it and that's what she had before we bought her. Wheatens have allergies, often to chicken. We feed Hannah the Bison Innova for adult dogs in small bites, twice per day.
We do give Hannah dog cookies, which we get at her vet (same place we bought her.) Just make sure you're feeding your Wheaten a high quality dry dog food and high quality treats. One treat I would recommend is a flossie. They are made by a company called Merrick, and they are expensive, but they also help the health of your dog's teeth and gums and they are every dog's favourite when it comes to chewing! My mom's Yorkie came for a visit and took one of Hannah's flossies, and she now buys them by the case!
Innova food runs about $16.00 for a small bag, and flossies run about $6-9 each.
Like Everything, Wheaten Terriers Do Have Their Downside
So now that we know that Wheatens are fun loving family dogs that are perfect for children and great for lots of love and cuteness, we'll talk about the down side of Wheaten terriers.
- You won't be able to teach your Wheaten to walk well on a leash. It's pretty much impossible to train them on a leash as they will pull and pant and want to jump on everyone they see. A Wheaten is not a 'long walk' kind of dog. I have been told by my friends on the FB Wheaten Den that some of their dogs are extremely good on leashes, so this might be just my experience. Hannah is horrible!
- You can't leave your Wheaten off a leash either. If you're in a busy area, the first thing your Wheatie will do is take off and jump on another person, and they won't care if there is a car in the way or not.
- Some Wheatens are somewhat headstrong when in comes to training, but they are usually very easy to train and very intelligent.
- As mentioned on point three, Wheatens will never stop jumping up on new people that walk through the door. If you have a pizza coming, or some Chinese delivery, or if you have company, your Wheaten will jump up and demand to be petted. We Wheaten Owners like to call this the 'Wheaten Greetin!'
- This is not really a negative thing in my opinion, but Wheatens really like to be held, and some can get pretty heavy. They like to be held like a baby.
- Wheatens often like to tear up papers, toilet paper, kleenex, etc. Again, on the Wheaten Den Facebook page, I have talked to dozens of people who say their Wheaten likes to rip up paper for some reason.
- Wheaten terriers need constant attention to grooming. They need to be groomed about every six weeks, and they need to be brushed constantly because their coat mats so easily.
- Wheatens like to jump up and they will (not intentionally!) jump up on small children and knock them down. Their intentions are good, but I know Hannah knocked down my youngest son a few times when he was small.
If You Are Interested...
If you are interested in a Wheaten terrier, that's terrific!
Here are some places you can look for great breeders:
- The American Kennel Club
- Dog Breed Centre
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America (Thanks Wheaten Den FB Friends for this!)
- Wheatens in Need Rescue
The first link will give you information on where to buy Soft-coated Wheaten terriers in your area.
Thank you for reading, I certainly appreciate it!
Rose Marie Webb Ingersoll Ontario Canada on August 01, 2020:
Our female Softed Coated Wheaten Bailey (Irish Coat) will be two in October.I do struggle with the jumping up on people but most understand and don’t mind as we always warn them ahead of time. She is amazing on a leash but cannot be trusted off the leash. We are empty nesters and love her companionship.She loves to be held and have been told by our daughter there are more pictures of her than our grandchildren (Not true)
Chris Barber on July 11, 2020:
I've had my Soft coated Wheaten terrier for 2 yrs, she is the most beautiful girl. When I had her she had, had 3 sets of puppies then the people decided they didn't want her. She's 5 now, the 2 yrs I've had her have been amazing, she walks great on and off a lead, never barks, loves playing with my granddaughters and is so loyal.
Barbara Tisnado on May 11, 2020:
I really enjoyed all the comments
about The Wheaton Terriers
Bob Ward from Airdrie Alberta Canada on April 28, 2020:
We rescued a 1.1yr. old Wheaton 4 months ago. The SPCA removed 15 dogs from a rural puppy mill. These dogs were in the most pathetic shape we've ever seen. Caged with no contact with people or other dogs. It took 2 months for her to not cower in fear in a corner most of the time when out of the crate. She is coming along with much patience. Slow but steady.
Janel on March 16, 2020:
We've had our wheaten for 9 years now and can say yes they love to jump but they are very trainable dogs. He walks wonderfully on the leash he just sits in our front yard and stays when he is told. But he is definitely a people person so when someone stops and wants to say hi he looks at us first and then goes. I just worn the people he jumps. We've also never had a problem with nipping. he did things as a puppy but once he was trained it was all good from there. Dont dismiss this bread because this article says they jump and cant be trained well. they most definitely can.
Joanna on January 31, 2020:
I got my wheaten 11 years ago at the pet store which I was terribly against! I researched Wheatens for a while and when I went to the the store I saw very sad, pitiful, smelly puppy ( about 4 months old) who did not want to engage with people. At that moment I decided to rescue him. He was on “sale” because he was “old”...
I had to teach him to walk on the floor (he was raised in a crate..), drink from the bowl ( he only knew the drip bottle in the cage..)
Poor baby never really recovered from his puppyhood.
Jim Byrd on December 01, 2019:
Mari we have seen the 'nipping' and not sure what to do, but we have an excellent vet who is familiar with Wheatons and haven't thought to ask yet. Last time we took him in for a vaccine, without us asking the vet said we needed him to take Prozac (!) He is almost 9 years old and this has calmed him down as expected. Vet said they are inherently more anxious as they age.
Mari on November 25, 2019:
My Wheaton is 6 months old and has a problem when she is excited nipping at me when she jumps on me. This is my second Wheaten and I know they are definitely high energy dogs but I do not remember my last Wheaton Dublin doing this. I knew when I was ready to get another dog that I would get another Wheaton as my last one was the best dog I have ever had. My last Wheaton was a pet therapy dog and I am hoping Bella will also be accepted in the program, but need her to stop her biting. Any one have this same problem any suggestions on how to get her to stop will be greatly appreciated. I have been watching a lot of u tube video’s but so far nothing I have tried works.
SCOTT on October 21, 2019:
Love this. Molly is three years old and is the goofiest dog but extremely loyal and very loving. She does love to run and dig in the dirt. A little bit on the large size but she thinks she is 10 lbs)she is 35).
Barbara Varuolo on September 25, 2019:
How can I visit a local Wheaten pup for possible adoption? My pup of 9 1/2 years passed and I’m thinking about finding a new companion. Thanks
Dianne on March 17, 2019:
My wheaton Rizzo is a happy hyper boy who absolutely lovesvto getcwet and dirty. I can give him a bath and get him nice and clean and soft. It last 3vto 4 days before he finds mud and comes tromping in and getting my freshly cleaned floors a mess. He also gets a nasty oder to him soon after his bath. Wouldnt trade him for anything. He is such a love bug. He gets along great with our other dogs but will bark non stop at neighborhood dogs. He especially likes my little long hair chihuahua. He is very good about getting brushed and comes running when he sees me getting out his grooming b tools. However he does not like to have his feet messed with, thats a struggle. When it comes to attention of the other dogs he will butt in and hog all the attention. Spoiled baby.
Jumping on in coming company is always a must but will set and leave people alone on command. Cant say the same for us though when we come home from work. I think he has springs in his feet.
Wendy on March 15, 2019:
We just got a mini wheaten poodle mix, wheaten teddy bear, woodle. She is calm and loves to cuddle, but also very playful.
Summer LaSalle (author) from USA on February 20, 2019:
Maisy sounds like a wonderful Wheatie! Congrats for training her so well Thanks for commenting!
Lac1024 on February 20, 2019:
My Sweetie Wheatie, Maisy, is really a dream dog. I agree that she is a wonderful family dog and terrific with children. I trained Maisy to sit before getting petted when I return home and that has rectfied the "Wheaten Greetin'" issue. Maisy is crate trained as well, and will not get on the furniture unless invited. She has been trained to ring a bell if she has to go potty. Regarding her coat, she matted more when she was younger (she's now 5). I groom her myself, and she gets a shower approximately every 4-5 weeks. She is very smart, and makes us laugh every day!
Lyoness913 on February 07, 2019:
Ashira, my Hannah has passed on but I so love the breed still. We adopted a miniature schnauzer after Hurricane Harvey and he’s been wonderful! I would like to get another Wheatie though! Thanks for the comment!!
Ashira on February 07, 2019:
Our second wheaties turns 8 next week and she is growing up way to fast for me! She is also our last dog and I know I have to have a wheatie in my life, but we are getting to old to start a ‘dog lifetime’
We hired a trainer who came to the house and she is the most obedient dog of the 3 we have owned. Love the breed.
Jim on November 28, 2018:
I am sorry t hear that your Wheaten is having allergies... my last Wheaten Tillie had severe allergies to skin and eyes... I did a ton of research and some trial and error after repeated medical/vet directives...
For the eyes:
This works... I used diluted apple cider vinegar (Braggs with the mother) and would wipe the eyes and eyelids with cosmetic puffs twice a day minimum.mi also used organic coconut oil (the solid version) and wiped the eyelids with this. When the eyes are bad crusty also put a couple of drops of colloidal silver in each eye 2 times a day.... this should help tremendously.... tried and true with my Wheaten for several years.... you may also flush the eyes a couple of times a day with saline solution. You can purchase all these things at your local Walmart, except for the colloidal silver.... online or at your local vitamin/health store.
I also give my pup organic coconut oil by mouth.... working up to a healthy table spoon each day... Stay away from any food with chicken, Wheatens are prone to allergies with chicken...
You can try dinovite... I had some success with it. If you can also try organic apple cider in the food or water... working up to a table spoon per day.
Also try some kefir, they usually like but give some pro-biopics, found in the refrigerated area at health food stores... this can also help...
I hope this helps... best to you and your pup...
andrea on October 18, 2018:
help my wheaten allergies are awful her fur is terrible she smells and is
itching constantly crusty eyes the vet give he a shot but nothing help to much
ha anyone use dinovite or has any helpful tips i would be grateful
Brian on September 01, 2018:
I have an F2 wheaten/poodle mix - a whoodle - and I’d say that your article is parallel to my little guy except for the ‘jumps on everybody’ parts, although he *always* gives us the wheaten greetin’ any time a door between us opens. Now that I think about it, I’ve met some other wheaties out on the town and they’ve never jumped on us either. Maybe Hannah just really loves to jump or we’re just not very comfy to jump on? :)
Jan on July 18, 2018:
Oops my first comment was not correct. I hear and read that wheatens are great family dogs. This is true. But what is also true is that they are very protective of their owners. They can be territorial to the point where they will bite strangers coming over if not properly trained. My dog is properly socialized. Has no issues at dog parks or with my family members. But with strangers that come over into the home or near my car they had better watch out. I am working with a trainer to get this under control. My wheaten is so loving and always at my side. Couldn’t ask for a more loving and well trained dog. It’s just he doesn’t like anyone who comes over to threaten his space. I’ve heard from many wheaten owners that this breed is very protective and they make wonderful guard dogs. I never see that as one of their qualities. It should be posted as one of their qualities. Also my dog doesn’t run off crazily to chase anything. He is ever at my side. When he does go off to explore a simple call to him and he’s is back. Another quality that’s unlike the breed. They can be trained off leash. Mine is.
Kael on April 04, 2018:
I have a wheaten he’s really cute!
Susan on November 07, 2017:
My Lacey just turned 15! She is the sweetest dog and loves everyone. She was easy to train but is definitely a wheaten which basically means she is worth it!
Karen on May 14, 2017:
The experience that we've had and have read as the same experience as others on countless other sites and have heard from our vet is that wheatens are notoriously horrible to train, not easy. I'm glad you had a good experience training Hannah, but it's not the norm. Our two wheatens are the typical headstrong, stubborn breed that try to do whatever they want. The first thing our vet said to us when they met our first wheaten as a puppy was, "Was this an impulse Buy?" We got a second wheaten two months ago and the training is EVEN harder because he's twice as headstrong as our first.
Also, not a lazy man's dog. These dogs can run and play for hours. Great for long hikes. Mine NEVER tire even after 3mile hikes. They are actually more likely to not listen to us when we don't run them. They were farm dogs. They are great if you need a dog to be active with.
We love our wheatens though. Wouldn't have any other breed. They're quirky and so loving. Just be prepared to need to run them a lot, deal with a stubborn-as-hell dog, very bad separation anxiety, and very bad leash pulling.
Our first dog ate 4ft of tv coax cable, requiring surgery directly after being neutered (never anything but toys since- think he's traumatized from being left at the vet overnight!) and our second steals clothes, shoes, etc. We baby gate them for their safety when we work.
carol on April 01, 2017:
I got a year old wheaten about a week ago. She's had the run of the house and out on a deck in a very rural area (non noise). The breeder told me she was house-trained, crate-trained and socialized. The first two are definitely true, but she's really scared of people and any new activity. I'm going very slow and gentle with her and she's really good with me, though she walks away and tries to hide before she lets me touch her. (She will come to me pretty well when I have a treat in my hand, but if I go to her with a treat she backs up. A groomer told me she'll always be this way with people because of her age. Is that true, or can I hope to someday have the playful, friendly dog I thought I was getting?
Coat? on February 20, 2017:
What coat is she is she the Irish coat or the heavy coat please could you let me know because I am getting a Wheaton terroir soon and I really need to know.thank you.I loved reading about Hannah it gave me some good tips on what to do with my dog xx
Bryan P on January 26, 2017:
Thank you, Wendi. I would not give up my Wheaten or his Greetin' for anything! I've been in love with these dogs for 14 years and they have never let me down.
Just wish they were not prone to such terrible diseases. Had one leave us due to PLE and PLN at age 6. Broke my heart.
Please, consider a homemade diet for your Wheaten. They will stay healthier, have less allergies and ear infections. Plus, they love it.
Great photos, everybody =)
Judy Hanson on December 26, 2016:
I have had wheatens for 30 years. They are fantastic. The one we have now gets 3 long walks a day. We spend a lot of time at the cottage and in the morning my husband walks 3 miles in the morning, Kayleigh does at least 4 to 5, depending on what is interesting to chase in the woods.
We have no air conditioning in the summer, it is a cottage, and the heat does not affect her. One thing both of our wheatens hate, and hated, is going in the water. The one we have now has jumped in the water, accidentally, after the fishing lures on our grandkids fishing rods. That is definitely worth the price of admission!
Wheatens are fantastic and the wheaten greeting is amazing. She will bark ferociously at someone coming up the drive way but once the doorbell has rung she is in the vestibule going round and round in circles as "I know there is someone on the other side of the door who wants to play with me!
The wheaten we have now in 3 quarters Irish, and her coat is much easier to brush than our first one, she also loves it and tons of affection.
Zoe'mom on November 29, 2016:
I had a wheaton For just short of 12 years. My husband and I escorted her to the rainbow bridge March 2016. We both miss her greatly. It hurt really bad when we had to put her down. She was suffering and the vet said it was time. She was the best dog We've ever had. I would never get another breed. I would love to have another but at our ages we dont want to leave one homeless when we are gone. We have no one that could take her. They are so loving and fun.
Zoey's Dad on June 23, 2016:
Zoey is four months old. Simply the best!
Debbie on February 26, 2016:
You are spot on. I love our wheaten! He is very loving. He does love to play and gets the zoomies almost everyday- he will do 20 laps around our yard with no problem. I really think they need space to play and run. I could not imagine having ours in an apartment with no running space off the leash. I would recommend a wheaten to any family who has time for a dog. He has been a dream come true for my son who has allergies to other dogs.
gojojo50 on October 10, 2015:
Aww, sweet post, makes me miss my Bailey who was THE sweetest wheaten ever. I had her for 12 yrs. and she has been gone 6 and I still miss her. I sometimes think should I get another one, but wonder if it would be as great as she was :-(
Summer LaSalle (author) from USA on August 14, 2015:
Happy Birthday to your Wheatie! I agree, you'd think there would be more. I do notice that the breed recognition is getting a bit better.
My Hannah is the sweetest thing ever.
Thanks for the comment!
diana on August 14, 2015:
We have a Wheaten who is 11 years old today. He has been the most fantastic dog and very much a 'human' member of the family. He has all the traits mentioned but has been the easiest house dog we have ever had - the others all being Border Collies. I couldn't think of having anything else now. A great breed and surprised you don't see more of t hem.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on August 13, 2015:
Nice post, but somehow my love is for the big dogs. Not to worry as small dogs are also nice
Summer LaSalle (author) from USA on July 07, 2015:
I am so sorry about Daisy. We lost our beloved Hank about 6 months ago. It's heartbreaking. Hannah is still spry and strong, and we are blessed to have her!