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What coat type is a wheaten terrier?

The Wheaten Terrier is a popular medium-sized terrier breed that originated in Ireland. They are known for their soft, wavy coats that come in shades of wheaten ranging from pale beige to golden reddish brown. Wheaten Terriers have a unique coat type that requires regular grooming and maintenance to keep it looking its best. In this article, we will take a close look at the Wheaten Terrier’s distinctive coat type and characteristics.

Wheaten Terrier Coat Type

The Wheaten Terrier has a single soft, wavy coat that does not shed much. Their coat type is classified as a “soft-coated” breed. Here are some key features that characterize the Wheaten coat:

  • Texture: The coat has a soft, silky texture despite its slightly wiry appearance. It is not rough or course to the touch.
  • Wave: The coat falls in gentle waves rather than tight curls or straight hair.
  • Length: The coat is considered a medium-length coat. It grows out to 2-4 inches long if left untrimmed.
  • Density: The coat is thick and dense with a lot of hair packed into it.
  • Color: Coat color ranges from pale beige to reddish-brown shades of wheaten.
  • Shedding: Wheatens shed minimally, making them a hypoallergenic breed.

The Wheaten coat is similar in some ways to the Irish Kerry Blue Terrier which has a soft wavy coat. However, Kerry Blues have a grayish blue coat color instead of wheaten.

Wheaten Terrier Coat as a Puppy

Wheaten Terrier puppies are born with a very soft, fuzzy single coat. It does not yet have the wavy adult texture. Between the ages of 1-2 years old, the puppy coat transitions into the mature adult coat texture and wave pattern.

Here are some changes the Wheaten coat goes through from puppyhood to adulthood:

  • Around 3-4 months old, the soft puppy fur begins to transition to a wavier texture on the back, neck, and behind the ears.
  • Between 6-12 months old, the coat develops a gentle wave throughout the body.
  • By 1 year old, the coat will have full adult texture but is still growing out to its longer length.
  • Between 1-2 years old, the coat reaches its ideal length and density for the breed standard.

Proper nutrition supports healthy coat development as the Wheaten grows from puppy to adult.

Ideal Coat for Show Dogs

For Wheatens being shown in conformation dog shows, there are specific standards for the ideal coat presentation:

  • Length: Show dogs should have a coat length of 2-4 inches over the body to allow for the soft wave. Trimmed areas may be shorter.
  • Texture: The coat should feel silky and soft despite its slightly wiry appearance.
  • Wave: The coat should fall over the body in gentle waves, not tight curls. The waves begin at the back of the neck and flow backwards.
  • Density: The coat should be abundant and thick but lie flat against the body. It should not stand away from the body.
  • Color: Show coats should be clear wheaten with no dark guard hairs or brown stains. Puppies may have darker coats before full maturity.

Proper coat care is essential for maintaining the coat texture and wave pattern required in the show ring.

Grooming Requirements

The Wheaten Terrier’s soft wavy coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain its best texture and appearance:

  • Brushing: Daily brushing is ideal, especially on areas prone to matting like behind the ears, legs, and underneath the body. Use a slicker brush and metal comb.
  • Bathing: Bathe every 2-4 weeks with a dog shampoo for wavy coats. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Trimming: Wheatens require occasional trimming around the feet, ears, eyes, and rear end for neatness and hygiene.
  • Clipping: Show dogs require body clipping 1-2 times per year to shape and shorten the coat to 2-4 inches.
  • Detangling: Gently work through tangles and mats from the ends up to prevent damage to the coat.

Daily brushing and regular bathing are key to maintaining the soft feel and wavy appearance of the Wheaten coat. Owners should commit to the grooming needs of this coat type.

Common Coat Problems

Health issues can sometimes affect the Wheaten Terrier’s coat quality and texture:

  • Dry, brittle coat: Can indicate nutritional deficiencies or thyroid problems. Supplements and vet checks may help.
  • Excess shedding: Allergies, skin irritation, or other factors can cause increased shedding.
  • Loss of wave: Illness, poor diet, or stress can affect the coat texture.
  • Dull coat: Lackluster coats can result from poor nutrition or health issues.
  • Color changes: Patches of black or dark hairs may indicate a hormone imbalance.

Veterinary guidance is recommended if coat problems persist or other symptoms arise. Addressing any underlying medical conditions can help restore the soft, wavy texture.

Comparison to Other Coat Types

It can be helpful to compare the Wheaten Terrier’s coat to other breed coat types:

Coat Type Texture Length Maintenance
Wheaten Terrier Soft, wavy Medium-long High maintenance
Yorkshire Terrier Silky, straight Long High maintenance
Wire Fox Terrier Wiry, coarse Short Low maintenance
Irish Setter Fine, straight Medium-long Moderate maintenance

This comparison shows that the Wheaten has a uniquely soft but wavy coat of medium length that requires more grooming than some other terrier breeds. Proper maintenance is needed to retain the coat texture.

Puppy Coat Care

Special care should be taken with Wheaten Terrier puppy coats:

  • Brush gently using a soft puppy brush.
  • Comb to detect mats which can tighten quickly.
  • Use moisturizing puppy shampoo.
  • Dry thoroughly after baths to avoid matting.
  • Monitor skin for irritation or dryness.
  • Inspect for parasites which can hide near the skin.
  • Discuss nutritional needs to support coat growth.
  • Avoid clipping during coat development phase.

Healthy nutrition, gentle brushing, and thorough drying after baths helps ensure the soft puppy coat transitions properly into the desired wavy adult coat texture.


In summary, the Wheaten Terrier has a unique soft but wavy medium-length coat that ranges in wheaten shades from pale beige to reddish-brown. The coat goes through changes from the fuzzy puppy fur to the mature waves between 1-2 years old. Proper nutrition and grooming are essential to maintain the coat’s texture and color. Daily brushing and occasional trimming or clipping keep the Wheaten coat looking its best. While high maintenance, the Wheaten soft coat is a distinctive feature of this energetic Irish breed. With a good grooming regimen, owners can keep their Wheaten proudly sporting their wheat-colored wavy coat.