Identifying a Wheaten Terrier

General appearence

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium sized, hardy, well balanced, sporting terrier. Square in outline, he is normally recognised by his soft, silky, gently waving coat of warm wheaten colour and his particularly steady disposition.

The UK Breed Standard requires moderation, both in structure and presentation and any exaggerations are to be shunned. He should present the overall appearance of an alert and happy animal, graceful, strong and well coordinated.


Typical Wheaten
Tangled Wheaten

Identifying a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier (SCWT), from other breeds, especially one that is a stray, can be difficult.

The lack of grooming, or improper grooming, combined with varied coat textures and colour, can totally obscure the  typical Wheaten image.



The following information will help identify Wheatens that are in need of rescue.

EYES, NOSE & NAILS. The eyes are generally dark but may be hidden by the coat. The nose is big and black. Nails are black.

Variations: Wheatens can have golden brown eyes, the nose can be faded, i.e. greyish,and nails can be light or brown.

COAT. The coat is generally wheaten-coloured, soft and wavy. It is non-shedding.

Variations : It can be so light that it appears to be white or grey, may be profuse or sparse, straight or curly and may also have grey hairs in body coat.

The texture can range from silky to coarse and cottony. The coat may be profuse or sparse, straight or curly, or it may even be totally matted in clumps.

Ears and muzzle may be black or grey.

TAIL. The Wheaten tail was customarily docked, but, after the UK banned the docking of tails in 2007, Wheatens with undocked tails will continue to increase. There are exceptions; Wheatens with docked tails can be imported and also those born before the docking ban was implemented. Also there are some unregistered Wheatens which are (perhaps) unlawfully docked.

Variations : Some undocked tails resemble the tail of a Golden Retriever or may be carried over the back

HEIGHT and WEIGHT. Height for a Wheaten male is between 17"-19" (43-48cm) at the withers (the ridge between the shoulder blades), females are at the lower end of this scale. Weight is generally between 30-40 lbs. (13.6 -18 kgs), but some Wheatens can exceed this weight.

Wheaten terrier badly matted

The Uncared for Wheaten - before.

Some of the matts on Frosty were 12"x12" (30x30 cm).

Wheaten with haircut

Uncared for Wheaten - after.

It was impossible to distinguish what sex he was until he had been completely shorn

wheaten terrier with shaggy coat

The 'Shaggy' Wheaten

Sometimes resembles a sheepdog?

wheaten terrier 'sheared'

A 'Sheared' Wheaten

This totally sheared Wheaten's body shows the classic terrier structure, terrier head and wheaten colour.

a bad trim

Improperly Trimmed

The body was shaved, but the hair left on the head and tail. The head resembled a Bichon, obscuring the black nose. The ears can resemble those of a spaniel and the tail that of a poodle.

A Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier can vary significantly from the normally recognised image. If a dog which resembles a Wheaten Terrier is in distress, then W.H.I or the SCWT Club of GB would rather receive a call, than have a Wheaten go unidentified.

Contact the Rehome Coordinator of the SCWT Club of GB and assistance will be provided in finding a suitable home.

wheaten terrier with full tail

Wheaten with a full tail

an elderly wheaten terrier badly cared for

Old Wheaten

wheaten terrier puppies with Irish coats

Irish type Wheaten Puppies

wheaten terrier puppy with heavy coat

Heavy coated puppy

adult wheaten terrier with Irish coat

Irish Wheaten

See also our Gallery for coat variations, together with many other images of the Wheaten Terrier.

Sincere thanks to Gwen Arthur and ‘Wheatens in Need Rescue’ USA, for the idea for this information.

Gwen's contact email:

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America rescue page on this link

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