The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized, hardy, well balanced sporting terrier, square in outline. He is distinguished by his soft, silky, gently waving coat of warm wheaten color and his particularly steady disposition. The breed 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.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE
A dog shall be 18 to 19 inches at the withers, the ideal being 18½. A bitch shall be 17 to 18 inches at the withers, the ideal being 17½. Major Faults–Dogs under 18 inches or over 19 inches; bitches under 17 inches or over 18 inches. Any deviation must be penalized according to the degree of its severity. Square in outline. Hardy, well balanced. Dogs should weigh 35-40 pounds; bitches 30-35 pounds.
Well balanced and in proportion to the body. Rectangular in appearance; moderately long. Powerful with no suggestion of coarseness. Eyes dark reddish brown or brown, medium in size, slightly almond shaped and set fairly wide apart. Eye rims black. Major Fault–Anything approaching a yellow eye. Ears small to medium in size, breaking level with the skull and dropping slightly forward, the inside edge of the ear lying next to the cheek and pointing to the ground rather than to the eye. A hound ear or a high-breaking ear is not typical and should be severely penalized. Skull flat and clean between ears. Cheekbones not prominent. Defined stop. Muzzle powerful and strong, well filled below the eyes. No suggestion of snipiness. Skull and foreface of equal length. Nose black and large for size of dog. Major Fault–Any nose color other than solid black. Lips tight and black. Teeth large, clean and white; scissors or level bite. Major Fault–Undershot or overshot.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY
Neck medium in length, clean and strong, not throaty. Carried proudly, it gradually widens, blending smoothly into the body. Back strong and level. Body compact; relatively short coupled. Chest is deep. Ribs are well sprung but without roundness. Tail is set on high. Docked tail preferred. Whether docked or natural, the tail is to be carried upright 90* from the back, either straight or with a slight curve forward. Any deviation from this ideal is to be penalized accordingly.
Shoulders well laid back, clean and smooth; well knit. Forelegs straight and well boned. All dewclaws should be removed. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark.
Hind legs well developed with well bent stifles turning neither in nor out; hocks well let down and parallel to each other. All dewclaws should be removed. The presence of dewclaws on the hind legs should be penalized. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark.
A distinguishing characteristic of the breed which sets the dog apart from all other terriers. An abundant single coat covering the entire body, legs and head; coat on the latter falls forward to shade the eyes. Texture soft and silky with a gentle wave. In both puppies and adolescents, the mature wavy coat is generally not yet evident. Major Faults–Woolly or harsh, crisp or cottony, frizzy, kinky or stand away coat; in the adult, a straight coat is also objectionable.
For show purposes, the Wheaten is presented to show a terrier outline, but coat must be of sufficient length to flow when the dog is in motion. The coat must never be clipped or plucked. Sharp contrasts or stylizations must be avoided. Head coat should be blended to present a rectangular outline. Eyes should be indicated but never fully exposed. Ears should be relieved of fringe, but not taken down to the leather. Sufficient coat must be left on skull, cheeks, neck and tail to balance the proper length of body coat. Dogs that are overly trimmed shall be severely penalized.
Any shade of wheaten. Upon close examination, occasional red, white or black guard hairs may be found. However, the overall coloring must be clearly wheaten with no evidence of any other color except on ears and muzzle where blue-gray shading is sometimes present. Major Fault–Any color save wheaten. Puppies and Adolescents–Puppies under a year may carry deeper coloring and occasional black tipping. The adolescent, under two years, is often quite light in color, but must never be white or carry gray other than on ears and muzzle. However, by two years of age, the proper wheaten color should be obvious.
Gait is free, graceful and lively with good reach in front and strong drive behind. Front and rear feet turn neither in nor out. Dogs who fail to keep their tails erect when moving should be severely penalized.
The Wheaten is a happy, steady dog and shows himself gaily with an air of self-confidence. He is alert and exhibits interest in his surroundings; exhibits less aggressiveness than is sometimes encouraged in other terriers. Major Fault–Timid or overly aggressive dogs.
Approved August 10, 2009
Effective September 30, 2009
Reference: AKC Breed Standard
History of the Wheaten
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.
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 his terrier origins. Square and medium-sized, he is happy, steady, self-confident and alert to his surroundings.