Is a Wheaten Terrier right for you?
Choosing a dog breed? The all-around Wheaten Terrier may be right for you and your family
The Wheaten Terrier, which was developed as a family farm dog in Ireland hundreds of years ago, features a number of characteristics that make it a great all-around family pet:
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Height/weight: Medium sized dog, approx. 17-19 inches and 30-40 pounds
Colors: All ranges of wheaten coloring; no white or dark coloring permitted
Life span: 12-15 years
- Instinctually bred to love people and especially children
- Hypoallergenic dog breed that is non-shedding
- Energetic and fun-loving, but without the overwhelming feistiness of a typical terrier breed
- Intelligent and highly trainable
- In addition to traditional terrier skill of rooting out vermin, can also be trained as a hunting dog or used to heard stock
When you are deciding what type of dog to adopt, consider some important lifestyle questions:
- Do you need a dog that is friendly to children or other pets?
- Does anyone in your home suffer from allergies?
- What kind of care and exercise will your dog require?
- How trainable is the dog and how strong are the training skills in your home?
- What is the climate like near your home, and do you need a heat-tolerant or cold-tolerant dog?
Wheaten Terriers and children:
In most cases, a Wheaten Terrier is one of the best dog breeds for a family with children. Maddox Wheatens in particular disclose a stellar friendly, playful personality with youngsters and other pets that are part of the household. And the Wheaten is very protective of its playmates. You can be sure that even a toddler will have a unique playmate.
Although they are less overwhelming than a typical terrier breed, Wheatens are still terriers and you must be prepared for their high-energy nature as well as their built-in terrier instinct to chase small animals and dig. (Take the Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed Selector Quiz at the bottom of this page to see if a Wheaten is right for you.)
Wheaten Terriers are protective of their family and alert, making them great watch dogs that will alert you to intruders and visitors they aren’t expecting. However, their size and friendly demeanor prevents them from having an attack nature and becoming more of a guard dog.
Energy level and trainability:
The energy level and independence of a wheaten terrier means that you and your family will need to provide frequent exercise and master firm, yet positive training techniques for your wheaten terrier puppy.
Wheaten Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. Some wheatens can display a typical strong-headedness associated with terriers, but patience and positive reinforcement will quickly help manage this very balanced breed of terrier.
Hypoallergenic coat requires grooming:
Because the Wheaten Terrier has a single coat, it is often a better breed for people with allergies. It is considered a hypoallergenic dog, however, because it has hair that grows constantly instead of fur that sheds. As a result, the wheaten coat needs frequent grooming.
Best choice for a Florida climate:
For those in Florida considering a dog breed, the wheaten terrier is a great option. The double coat on many dogs protects them in cold conditions, but also holds the heat in warm conditions. As a result, single coated dogs like the Wheaten Terrier are better able to handle the warm Florida climate.
Having said that, a wheaten terrier was bred as a house dog and is much happier in an air conditioned Florida home. And besides, the Florida heat can be brutal -- all dogs are susceptible to heatstroke when their body temperature exceeds 104 degrees. No matter what the breed, all dog owners in Florida must take care to provide relief from excessive heat and make sure there is always an ample supply of cool water for your dog.
Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed Selector:
Answer the following questions to see if a wheaten terrier is right for your family:
- Are you looking for a well-balanced, all-around family dog?
- Will a medium sized dog (30-40 lbs) suit your lifestyle and home?
- Can you handle being greeted with a high-energy, playful nature when you get home each day?
- Do you have children or will you be bringing children into the household in the next few years?
- Do you want a dog that will alert you when unexpected visitors are present?
- Are you willing to spend 30 minutes a day exercising your wheaten terrier?
- Can you devote 15 minutes, two to three times a week to brush your wheaten and maintain the silky coat?
- Does anyone in your home suffer from allergies?
- Have you owned a dog before?
- Do you have sufficient patience to train the intelligent, strong-willed wheaten terrier?
- Are you familiar with positive reinforcement training?
If you answered YES …
9-11 times > You and your family are prime candidates to adopt a Wheaten Terrier puppy.
5-8 times > You may still have potential to match well with a wheaten terrier, but you will need to examine your “no” answers carefully. Be honest with yourself to make sure you select the dog breed that’s right for you.
0-4 times > Chances are, a wheaten terrier may be too much for your current lifestyle. For more information on selecting a dog breed that’s right for you, check out this dog breed selector tool from Animal Planet.
Want to find out more about Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers?
Already convinced the Wheaten Terrier breed is for you?