History of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The history of the wheaten terrier breed dates back over 200 years and stems from a life as a traditional Irish farm dog. History places the breed in southern Ireland, around Wicklow and Cork as well as parts of northern Ireland, belonging typically to farmers and working class families. Wheatens were the working man’s dog. As a general purpose farm dog, wheatens lived a relatively difficult outdoor life. This lifestyle required quick development of keen instincts, both mental and physical. As farm dogs, the wheaten was the first line of defence against vermin. This fact should help wheaten owners understand why their dogs have such a propensity for chasing small game today. Early wheatens were also used to herd cattle and sheep and would patrol the borders of their farms, alerting their owners of anything out of the ordinary with their trademark bark.
Modern history shows the breed to be closely related to Ireland’s other long legged terriers, the Kerry Blue and Irish Terriers. Kerry Blue Terriers are known to have stemmed from a Blue Terrier mating with Wheaten Terriers to establish the breed we know today. The soft coated wheatens were relatively unknown until the early 20th century. Their popularity is due in large part to their exceptional showing in the 1932 terrier field trial where a soft coated wheaten terrier performed impressively. The Irish kennel club, with the help of Patrick Blake and Dr. G.J. Pierse included the soft coated wheatens as one of their founding breeds. The name for the breed was originally planned to be “Irish Wheaten Terrier” but was confronted with opposition from the other popular Irish breeds of the time.
Wheaten terriers were not documented within the United States until the late 1940′s when Lydia Vogel imported a pair of breeding stock wheatens. These SCWT’s were not recognized by the AKC and were entered as miscellaneous into the competition. The O’Connor family of Brooklyn, NY imported a wheaten terrier from an influential Irish breeder. The O’Connors worked to achieve AKC recognition for the wheatens. In March of 1962, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America was introduced. The AKC finally admitted the soft coated wheaten terrier in 1973. The popularity of the SCWT breed in the United States has grown significantly over the years, making the wheatens one of the most popular terrier breeds in the nation.
Is a Wheaten Terrier Right For You?
The soft coated wheaten terrier breed is an active one. Wheatens love to run, jump, play and act like a puppy. They will do this for their entire lives. If you prefer a dog that will sit idly by while you relax around the house, the wheaten is not for you. They do enjoy rest and will nap frequently, however, when awake, the wheaten loves to play and bounce around your home. They love company, family and exercise. If you prefer a more distant pet, the wheaten may not be the breed for you. However, if you love an energetic breed with high intelligence and loyalty then you are on the right track.
Wheatens are extremely intelligent, which is of course a double edged sword when it comes to dogs. The wheaten can be taught almost anything, but they can be stubborn. They generally do not bark a lot and do not shed. If you have allergies and are looking for a great hypoallergenic dog, then you should strongly consider a soft coated wheaten terrier.