The wheaten terrier is a friendly, outgoing chap, with an attractive wheat-colored coat. Developed as an all-around farm dog in Ireland, he likes to stay by your side in case you need help with anything. Two distinct coat types exist within the breed.
Soft and silky, the Irish coat falls in soft curls following the shape and contours of the wheaten’s body. Shiny and fine on adult dogs, the puppy coat can be sparse and coarse, making him look a little shaggy before he grows into it. It can take three years or more for this coat to mature to its full splendid silkiness. This is the original coat type, allowing the dog to come in from the mud and rain needing very little clean-up from his farming duties. Indeed, photos of wheatens dating back to 100 years ago appear to have this coat.
English and American
This coat is denser and heavier, and although the mature coat also has soft waves and curls, it lacks the glossiness of the Irish coat. While some breeders distinguish the American coat as being even a bit denser than the English, most group these two together. The heavy-coated pup gains his mature look quicker than the Irish pup. The heavy-coated wheaten resembles a plush teddy bear, and he often has black ears and markings on the face.
By the time the Irish-coated wheaten reaches about 2 years old, his coat will be soft but will still carry a few bristles. Because this type of coat doesn’t mat or tangle as easily as the heavier coats, you won’t have to groom him as much. Still, brushing him several times a week encourages bonding and gets him accustomed to being groomed. The English and American coats grow quickly and steadily throughout life and will need regular brushing. Professional grooming every three months or so will keep the heavy coat looking its best. A professional groomer will also be able to shape the hair of both types to achieve the typical wheaten look.
Wheaten terriers don’t shed like most dogs. Their coats keep growing like human hair and will need regular trimming. Low in dander, the wheaten is often recommended for dog-loving allergy sufferers.
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.