Wheaten Terrier standard 1937

The Soft-Coated Wheaten terrier has all the qualities which go to make a perfect companion. He is not quarrelsome, but is game and will defend himself if attacked. He is most affectionate, loves children, is obedient, an easily trained house dog, and is at home either in town or country. There is no better utility dog on a farm. His lovely coloured, abundant coat makes him a thing of beauty, so for sport, utility, or as a faithful friend to be proud of he cannot be excelled.


The following Standard of Points was approved by the club, viz:

Head – Moderately long, skull flat, not too wide between the ears, defined stop, jaws strong and punishing, foreface not longer than skull, hair abundant all over the head, and of the same colour as on the body, cheek bones not prominent. Head in general powerful while not being coarse.

Teeth – Large and level, neither undershot nor overshot.

Nose – Black, well developed.

Eyes – Dark hazel, not too large, not prominent, well placed.

Ears – Small, thin, held in front, covered with hair and with fringe.

Neck – Moderately long and strong, but not throaty.

Shoulders – Sloping and fine, but muscular.

Chest – Deep, ribs well sprung.

Body – Compact and not too long, with powerful, short loins, thighs strong and muscular, hocks well let down.

Tail – Well set, not too thick, covered with hair, carried gaily, but not over the back. A curled tail is objectionable.

Forelegs – Perfectly straight viewed from any angle, good bone and muscle.

Hindlegs – Well developed with powerful muscle, stifles bent, hocks turned neither in nor out.

Feet – Small, not spreading. Toe-nails black.

Coat – Abundant and soft, wavy or curly, but if curly, curls must be large and loose. Colour good clear wheaten.

Appearance – Hardy and active,, giving also the idea of strength; movements graceful and lively, straight action fore and aft; not leggy nor too low to the ground.

Weight – Dogs, 35lb. Bitches, somewhat less.

Disqualifying Points

(a)    Any colour save wheaten except a few white hairs on the chest.

(b)    Overshot or undershot

Penalising Points

(1)    Washed out wheaten colour.

(2)    White hairs on chest.

(3)    Too long foreface.

(4)    Hard or wire coat.

(5)    Absence of abundant coat on any part.

(6)    Presence of dewclaws.

This is so full and clear that little elaboration or explanation of it is required, but a few comments on it will not be out of place. The head differs from that of an ordinary show terrier in that the foreface should be shorter than the skull, and the latter, while not being coarse, must have sufficient room to contain a good-sized brain. That the long foreface, which is the present fashion in terriers, is a weak formation is clear to anyone who knows the principles of the lever, and all carnivorous animals in their wild state, by ages of natural selection, have short forefaces, so that they will have the necessary powerful jaws to seize their prey. There should be a distinct stop. The cheek bones must be flat and the eyes larger than in most of the other breeds. Dark eyelids are favoured. Most Wheatens have peculiar eyelashes, hair growing only at the middle of the front of the eyelids, the sides being bare. Dark gums and black roof of mouth, so essential to show Kerry Blues, are not required, and no judge would penalize a dog if its toe nails were dark brown. The Wheaten’s front should not be too wide, but being narrow is a worse defect. With narrow chests there cannot be the spring of ribs so necessary for the size of and for the expansion of the lungs in the strenuous efforts the dog has to make at his work.

The coat is of great importance. It must be clear wheaten in colour, without markings, be single, soft in texture, abundant and wavy. A curly coat is allowed, but the curls must not be too small, as the Irish Water Spaniel. A woolly coat is objectionable. The general conformation of the Wheaten is very like the old type Kerry Blue before the latter was bred for show with exaggerated points.


As the members of the club have gotten excellent foundation stock from Co. Kerry, Cork City and County, Waterford City, Co. Carlow, and Dublin City and County, there is no necessity for close inbreeding, but if required, fresh blood can be obtained from these localities and from Co. Limerick. Some members of the club have good stud dogs, the service of which are given to fellow-members on very special terms. Care should be taken that no Wheaten showing signs of Irish or Bull-terrier, or any other alien blood, be bred from, as it is most important that the breed be kept pure and free from outside strains. The presence of foreign blood is easily recognized. Most of the puppies when born are red-wheaten, but as they grow older this changes to the proper light-wheaten. Some have dark markings, the tips of the hair being black, whilst that near the skin is the correct colour, but when this occurs the coat becomes evenly wheaten at from three to six months. They are born true to type.

Under the better housing and feeding conditions size is apt to be increased so in order that the standard weight of about 35lb, for a male be adhered to, it is an advantage that bitches used for breeding be on the small rather than on the big side.


There is no special diet for Wheaten Terriers. Kept principally on farms for hundreds of years, many being owned by poor people, their feeding was scanty – generally potatoes and skim milk with whatever they could pick up around the farmyard – so by heredity they are not particular as regards to their food and have good appetites, a blessing to their owners, as a shy feeder is a nuisance. The staple diet for the adult should consist of wholemeal bread, meat (raw or lightly cooked). Which vegetables, milk or soup, and an occasional egg. The food must not be sloppy. The principal meal may be given in the late evening, with a light feed in the morning. Puppies should have four or five meals, the number being lessened as they grow older, and a little scraped meat given when they are six weeks old, and increasing it as time passes on. When being weaned, milk diet should be the main addition to the dam’s milk, gradually adding wholemeal bread to a couple of meals.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top