Wheaten Terrier: Five Things You Didn’t Know

Terriers are highly popular dogs, and for good reason. These dogs are energetic, playful, and adorable. Terriers come in many different breeds, each with its own particular personality and appearance. One of the most beloved breeds is the Wheaten Terrier, a playful dog that is becoming increasingly popular in North America.

Although many families choose this dog based on its cute appearance and size, there is much more to the Wheaten Terrier than meets the eye. From its physiology to the importance of economic classes in its early years, this breed stands out from similar dogs for many reasons. Here are five of the most interesting facts about the Wheaten Terrier.

5. They are exceptionally friendly

Wheaten Terriers are an incredibly popular household pet, largely because they seem to take to everyone who is lucky enough to cross their path. In fact, they are so friendly that they are known as terrible guard dogs. While other breeds are capable of protecting the home against intruders, the Wheaten Terrier is more likely to attempt to bond with the intruder.

It is common for these dogs to jump up on their owners when they come through the door, earning the affectionate term “Wheaten greetin’.”

4. They have a unique coat

Unlike many dogs, the Wheaten Terrier does not have an undercoat. This makes them ideal for individuals with allergies, as they do not shed. However, the coat they do have requires a great deal of maintenance and brushing.

In addition to the lack of an undercoat, these dogs stand out because they tend to be born with darker hair that lightens over time. Their coat comes in two types: Irish and American. The Irish coat is generally silkier and smoother than the American, which is thicker and more like wool.

3. They are able to perform many tasks

From its history in Ireland dating back hundreds of years, the Wheaten Terrier was bred specifically to be helpful on farms. Unlike many other breeds, however, these dogs are able to perform just about any task they are given. This includes hunting vermin, herding, and even looking after livestock. Despite their relatively small size, these dogs were an immense help on Irish farms.

2. They have appeared in artwork

Despite their humble origins, which will be explained in the following point, Wheaten Terriers can be found in Victorian artwork. Perhaps most famously, this included Frederic William Burton’s 1841 painting “The Aran Fisherman’s Drowned Child.” Clearly, these dogs have captured the hearts and imaginations of individuals for many years.

1. They were known as the “poor man’s dog”

While today they may be thought of as a dog on equal footing with any other, there was a time when only peasants owned Wheaten Terriers. Early in their history, the Irish people were forced to abide by laws which restricted ownership of hunting dogs to the wealthy landowners. Anyone found with a hunting dog would be forced to pay a tax that was simply too hefty for many poorer citizens to afford.

As such, the Wheaten Terrier was bred to assist in many tasks on the farm and on hunts. Docking was often done in order to ensure that no tax would be levied. At the time, these dogs were dubbed “the poor man’s Wolfhound.” The laws that governed which dogs poor Irish individuals could own therefore led to the development of this breed that so many love today.


The Wheaten Terrier may be best known for its friendly and energetic temperament, but it has an interesting history. Bred to provide poor Irish farmers with a versatile helper, these dogs are capable of herding, hunting, and even guarding if properly trained. In addition, they come in two types of coats and lack an undercoat, making them ideal for people with allergies. They have touched many lives, even appearing in Victorian artwork. Given its temperament, abilities, and history, it is unsurprising that the Wheaten Terrier is becoming an increasingly popular pet.


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