Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers: Once an Endangered Breed – Now Top 10 Best Family Dogs of 2020

Group: Terrier Group

Height: 17-19 inches tall at the shoulders

Weight: 30-40 lbs

12-15 years

Why The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is Great for Families

The soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is a gentle, fun-loving family dog. This breed is very adaptable; they can live happily in a single family home or an apartment. They love urban and rural settings, and can thrive in both. They love children and get along easily with young children or older children alike. Wheaten Terriers are a high energy breed when they are puppies, They love to play, jump and run – they love to explore in nice weather and snow falls. They are a sturdy breed that can withstand rough child’s play if necessary. This breed also enjoys the company of other animals, and makes a great family addition when there are other pets in the home.

The Wheaten Terrier will protect the family by barking to alert the pack. This breed is a loyal lap-dog who will enjoy laying with his or her head on your lap, while you watch TV or read a book. These dogs can handle short periods alone, but prefer to be around people, they like company and closeness.

They are strong-headed dogs that can have a mind of their own. They need firm, not aggressive, but assertive and consistent training regime. They also will need lots of early socialization experience to different environments and social settings to become a well-rounded dog as they grow up. Lack of proper daily exercise, too much alone time and lack of stimulating socialization will cause this active and intelligent breed to become fearful and aggressive. They love to be given opportunity to think and solve problems, they love dog brain games and do well with challenges such as agility.

Exercise Requirements

The Wheaten Terrier needs to live in the family home with the people that love the dog the most. These dogs are not meant to be outdoor dogs. They do need adequate time outdoors about one hour or more a day. Multiple short walks will do, or 2-3 longer walks a day will also be great. They love goal oriented games that build their trainability skills, such as agility. They also enjoy mental challenges like brain games, or tracking games.

Grooming Needs

Wheaten Terriers are hypoallergenic. They have fair coats and fair skin. They shed, but the fur is generally none irritating. Their medium length coat requires a daily brush through to prevent matting. Their coat has been known to bring dust and dirty and snow into their homes. So this is a breed that will require extra time to tidy up after. Monthly bathing is recommended,and professional grooming is an option for classic haircuts. You could also maintain the coat trimming yourself if you learn how and purchase the suggested tools.

Wheaten Terrier History

Wheaten Terriers likely originated from the Kerri Blue Terrier and the Irish Terrier. The breed was first recognized by the Irish Kennel Club on St Patrick’s Day in 1937.

The first Wheaten terriers arrived in the United States November, 1946. They slowly gained popularity in the United States. They became recognized by the American Kennel Club 1973. Today, the breed hold rank 62 out of 155 breeds.

Wheaten Terrier Health

These days the veterinarian landscape is changing rapidly. It is definitely a for-profit business now more than ever before. Pet insurance is a purchasable benefit which entitles your pet to many diagnostic medical investigations such as electrocardiograms, CT scans and MRI, advanced dental care and complex surgeries. Develop a good rapport with your veterinarian so you are comfortable with them caring for your dog throughout his or her life. A trusted relationship with your veterinarian is important as some decisions will be harder than others.

Wheaten Terriers will usually be born healthy and should be sold with a strong health certificate by a reputable breeder. However, as dogs age they become more prone to specific health issues that are common to the breed. Your dog is not likely to develop all of them, but is likely to maybe experience one or two health conditions at some point in their life. The older the dog gets the more likely to get multiple issues. Some health conditions common to the breed are:

Protein Losing Nephropathy – A progressive, chronic condition with gradual symptoms of weight loss, swelling of the abdomen, increased thirst and urination, trouble breathing and eventually, kidney failure. Diagnosis is confirmed by blood work and imaging tests. A veterinarian can recommend a specialized diet and medications to provide symptomatic relief for your dog. However, medication doses may be increased as the conditions worsens over time.

Protein-Losing Enteropathy – A progressive, chronic condition with gradual symptoms similar to above, weight loss, swollen abdomen, increased thirst and increased urination, progressing to shortness of breath. A diagnosis is made after analysis of blood work imaging scans of heart and kidneys. Symptoms can be controlled by specialized diet and medications, but as the disease progresses medication doses will need to be increased. Owners will have to continuously evaluate quality of life of the dog and also how they are feeling and managing constantly caring for a sick pet.

Addison’s Disease – Usually an inherent illness that can present over time. Symptoms can include, poor appetite, vomiting, fatigue and lethargy. Symptoms are usually quiet vague. If the veterinarian suspects Addison’s disease, they will usually perform blood work and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Renal Dysplasia – Abnormal kidney development. Young dogs will experience symptoms such as increased thirst and increased urination, poor appetite, vomiting and frequent urinary tract infections. This congenital issues leads to early development of renal disease, and ultimately kidney failure.

Wheaten Terriers do seem particularly prone to kidney issues. However, with help from a supportive veterinarian you will have options for best care. Understanding that modified diets and specific medication can often help prolong life. You can come to terms with a new normal if you need to adjust at some point in your dog’s life.

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