To spend time with a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is to love a Wheaten. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting a fancier of this breed in what I thought was a very unlikely place and I learned some interesting facts about this adorable breed with their signature beard. Let’s see if you know these fun facts. Own a Wheaten? Share a picture in the comments!
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#1 – An Irish Breed
The Wheaten is one of many terriers coming from the Emerald Isle, along with the Irish, Kerry Blue, and Glen of Imaal Terriers. They did not really become popular in America until the 1950s, and were not recognized by AKC for regular classes until 1973.
#2 – The Poor Man’s Dog
In ancient Ireland, only the gentry – whose who owned land – were allowed to own a hound (beagle, greyhounds, Irish Wolfhound, etc.) or a spaniel. The terriers, like the Wheaten, were left for the lower classes to use.
#3 – They Herd!
Yup, as a dog of the lower classes, the Wheaten is actually an all-round farm dog, doing anything and everything a farmer may need – hunting vermin, protection, and moving livestock. It was at a herding camp where I met the Wheaton I mentioned above. Her owner, Suzanne Stone, is the woman who petitioned the AKC to allow the Wheaten to compete in herding trials. The below picture is her late dog Jeter working sheep.
#4 – Born With Dark Coat
Wheaten puppies are born a dark brown and lighten to a shade of wheat by the time they are two. It’s one of the things that makes the puppies just too cute!
#5 – A “People” Dog
Since the Wheaten was developed as an all-around farm dog the farmer could depend on for anything he needed, it meant developing a dog with a loyal temperament. The breed is known for being “people-oriented,” wanting to be wherever the family is at all times.
#6 – No shed, but high maintenance
The Wheaten has no undercoat, so it does not shed. However, this does not mean it’s a no maintenance coat – in fact it’s quite the opposite. Their long, single coat needs daily grooming to prevent mats and regular trims to keep it manageable.
#7 – Two Coat Types
While all Wheatens may look the same to the those not familiar with the breed, Wheatens come in two coat types: “heavy” and “Irish.” According to the Wheaten Health Initiative, “Irish is finer and silkier than the ‘heavy coat’, but both require the same amount of care and attention.”