The origins of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier are a bit misty, but the breed is thought to date back over 200 years. With the historical Irish emphasis on oral traditions over written ones, it is not too surprising that the history of terriers belonging to farmers and the poorer folk is not well documented. References place long-legged terriers with open coats and wheaten color in the areas around Cork and Wicklow (southern Ireland) as well as around Ballymena (Northern Ireland). These were general purpose farmers’ dogs — a hard life requiring solid, intelligent dogs with enough size to enforce authority, but not so large that upkeep was expensive. He was the enemy of all vermin, would guard the family larder, could herd sheep and cattle and would patrol the boundaries of the small farms to warn off trespassers. He could also be used as a hunting dog and was capable of tracking otter and badgers, taking them both on land and water. Some old-timers referred to him as “… the best dog ever for poaching.” In short, he was a strong, medium sized dog of great intelligence and versatility.
The first record of Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers being imported into the US was by Lydia Vogel who imported a breeding pair in November of 1947. Although she successfully showed her dogs in AKC shows under the Miscellaneous Class, there were not enough dogs or interest to receive AKC recognition. Ten years later, the O’Connor family of Brooklyn imported a dog from Maureen Holmes, one of the most influential Irish breeders of SCWTs. The O’Connors had become interested in the breed after falling in love with the ‘shaggy dog look’ shown in a picture of one of the Vogel dogs. The O’Connors began showing their dog and became interested in achieving AKC recognition. They tracked down descendants of the Vogel pair and, with the help of Maureen Holmes, other Irish imports. On March 17 (1962), again a great day for any Irish dog, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America was formed. At the time there were thought to be less than 30 Wheatens in the country. A stud book registry was started in 1965 and by 1968 there were 250 registered SCWTs. The first club matches were held in 1970 and 1971. The AKC admitted the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to the Terrier Group on March 13, 1973. Popularity has continued to grow and by the early ’90s the breed was the seventh most popular terrier and over 2,000 puppies were registered yearly with the AKC.
As its name implies, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is prized for its coat, which is soft, silky, with a gentle wave, and of warm wheaten color. Underneath, however, is a formidable dog that leaves no doubt as to its terrier origins. Squaredand medium-sized, he is happy, steady, self-confident and alert to his surroundings. The Wheaten is also versatile, competing in obedience, agility and earth dog trials. Known for more than 200 years in Ireland, the Wheaten shares common ancestry with the Kerry Blue and the Irish Terrier, but was not owned by the landed gentry. They were the poor man’s dog, an all-purpose farm dog, given to patrolling the borders of small farms, ridding them of vermin, herding sheep and hunting with his master.
The Wheaten is in the Terrier Group and was recognized by the AKC in 1973. They range in size from 17 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder. When fully grown, the females usually weigh around 30 pounds and the males weigh around 40 pounds. They are alert and happy animals, graceful, strong and well-coordinated. They are alert, playful, affectionate and adaptable. The hair does not shed on clothes and carpets but must be brushed and combed out, or it will shortly be a mass of mats. This is a people-oriented breed; Wheatens demand a great deal of attention from their human families.
They are house dogs, eminently suited to the true dog lover, great companions, and usually excellent watchdogs though not guard dogs. When working with a Wheaten, one must combine gentle firmness and consistency. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are full of fun, and their puppy antics usually persist throughout life. Wheatens tend to be less scrappy than other terriers but they are true terriers and will be more active than many other breeds, enjoying plenty of exercise every day. They relate well to children and can adapt to city, country, and suburban life. The Wheaten needs regular grooming to keep its coat mat free.
We refer to our Whoodles as being the best of both worlds!! We are in love with their gorgeous coats and sweet intelligent personalities. We are the first breeder in the North East to be breeding Teddy bear Whoodles & Teddy bear Parti Whoodles. We are very excited about our Whoodles!! We have worked very hard and this has been a long time in the making!!