Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
More congenial than most terriers, the Soft Coated Wheaten is cheerful, lively, and very sociable.....which means he needs a lot of daily companionship? Work all day? Don't get a Wheaten.
Wheatens are also known for their high energy – they play hard and vigorously and are renowned "bouncers" who jump up and down in attempts to lick your face. It sounds cute, but it can definitely get out of hand!
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier often acts like a joyful puppy throughout his life. Though he will bark to announce strangers, he welcomes them as long-lost friends, usually with exuberant barking, bouncing, and face kissing.
Early socialization is mandatory to develop this outgoing attitude, however. And training is necessary to control it! Indeed, this vigorous jumping can be very difficult to stop -- it is one of the chief behavior issues of the breed.
Fences should be high and secure, as this breed is exploratory and athletic and may jump over to greet people on the other side, or to chase passing cats or squirrels.
There is some aggression with other dogs of the same sex; otherwise the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is usually gregarious with other family pets.
Bright and sensitive, yet spunky and headstrong, the Soft Coated Wheaten, like most terriers, is not particularly easy to train. He requires a leash at all times, else he will take off on you, and he requires an assertive owner who can set consistent rules and follow through.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized, sturdy, and athletic
- Has a tousled coat (in natural earthtone shades) that doesn't shed too much
- Is happy and cheerful
- Is energetic, plays vigorously, and acts like a joyful puppy throughout his life
- Barks to announce strangers, then welcomes them as long-lost friends
- Is usually sociable with other family pets
A Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
- Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping
- "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Potential aggression toward other animals -- strong chasing instincts
- Digging holes
- Regular brushing and clipping
- "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
A Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
If I was considering a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense. Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash -- they are too likely to "take off", oblivious to your frantic shouts, after anything that runs.
- Providing regular exercise and mental stimulation. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise you will end up with a frustrated, bored Wheaten -- and frustrated, bored Wheaten can make a shambles of your house and yard.
- Bounciness. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people. If you have small children, or if you or anyone who lives with you is elderly or infirm, I do not recommend Soft-Coated Wheatens.
Another reason I do not recommend Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers for small children is their general terrier "pride." Wheatens can be great fun for teenagers, but many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense and are quick to react to teasing and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
- Separation anxiety. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you're gone much during the day, this is not the breed for you.
- Animal aggression. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are less scrappy toward other dogs than many other terrier breeds, but they are still a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Many terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
Remember that terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
- Fence security. Some Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are clever and agile dogs who may go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their moderate size.
- Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
- Mind of their own. Though much more amenable to training than other terriers, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers must still be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
- Grooming. To keep their tousled coat free of mats, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Terriers require regular brushing, and also trimming every few months.
- "Shaggy dog syndrome." Like all shaggy dogs, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a messy dog. Leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to his rough coat and ends up all over your house. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food so that when he sniffs your face or presses his head against your leg, YOU end up dirty, too. Shaggy dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers unless you keep them clipped short.
- Finding a healthy one. A serious digestive disease, two kidney diseases, and three eye diseases occur in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, along with skin disorders, ear infections, and more.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether a Soft Coated Wheaten might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need. Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
To learn more about training Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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