Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

FCI standard Nº 40

Origin
Ireland
Group
Group 3 Terriers
Section
Section 1 Large and medium sized Terriers
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Tuesday 26 February 1957
Publication of the official valid standard
Saturday 27 January 2001
Last update
Wednesday 25 April 2001
En français, cette race se dit
Terrier irlandais à poil doux
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Irischer Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
En español, esta raza se dice
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier irlandés
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Usage

Wheaten Terriers were always used by small farmers to kill vermin or help with the work about the farm. They were used for a long time in the difficult job of hunting badgers and otters.

Brief historical summary

The history of the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has been somewhat obscured by its closeness to the other Irish Terrier breeds. The Wheaten is probably the oldest of the four breeds. Its existence for at least 200 years can be inferred from textual references to "soft-coated" dogs. The relation of the modern Irish Terrier to the Wheaten, though less well documented, appears to have been the result of deliberate breeding experiments. So the humble Wheaten probably has a fairly mixed ancestry. Despite the long history of the Wheaten, it wasn't until 1937, that the Soft Coated Wheaten was officially recognised by the Irish Kennel Club. The breed has grown steadily in popularity since and is now well known world-wide.

General appearance

A hardy, active, short coupled dog, well built, giving the idea of strength. Not too leggy nor too low to the ground.

Behaviour / temperament

Spirited and game. Good tempered. Most affectionate and loyal to his owners. Most intelligent. A trusty, faithful friend, defensive without aggression.

Head

Cranial region

Head
In general powerful without being coarse. Long, in good proportion to the body. Hair same colour as on body.
Skull
Flat and clean between ears, not too wide. 
Stop
Defined.

Facial region

Nose
Black and well developed.
Muzzle
Foreface not longer than skull.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws strong and punishing. Teeth large, regular; scissor or level bite (i.e.edge to edge) neither undershot nor overshot.
Cheeks
Bones not prominent.
Eyes
Dark, dark hazel, not too large, not prominent, well placed.
Ears
Small to medium, carried in front, level with skull. Dark shading on base of ear allowed and not uncommon, accompanied by a light wheaten coloured overlay. This is the only area of the dog where under-coat is allowed. "Rose" or "flying" ears are objectionable.

Neck

Moderately long and strong but not throaty.

Body

Body
Not too long. Length from withers to base of tail approximately the same as from ground to withers.
Back
Strong and level with even top line.
Loin
Short, powerful.
Chest
Deep, ribs well sprung.

Tail

Well set, not too thick. Carried gaily but never over the back. The tail is docked so that two thirds of its original length remains assuming it is in proportion to the dog. An undocked tail is permitted.

Limbs

Forequarters

Shoulders
Fine, well laid back, muscular.
Forearm
Perfectly straight viewed from any angle. Good bone and muscle.

Hindquarters

Generality
Well developed with powerful muscle.
Upper thigh
Strong and muscular.
Stifle
Bent.
Hock
Well let down, turned neither in nor out. Hind dewclaws should be removed.

Feet

Small, not spreading. Toenails preferably black but varying dark colours allowed.

Gait and movement

Straight action fore and aft, going and coming. Elbows tucked in. Side view : free, light co-ordinated movement.

Coat

Hair
A single coated dog. Texture soft and silky to feel and not harsh. Young dogs excluded from this. Trimming permitted.

Trimmed dogs : Coat cut close at neck, chest and skull, and left especially long over eyes and under jaw. Whiskers encouraged. Profuse feathering on legs. Body coat trimmed to follow the outline of the dog but not sculpted. Tail trimmed close and neatly tapered.

Untrimmed dogs : The coat at its longest not to exceed five inches (12,7 cm). Soft, wavy or loosely curled with the sheen of silk. Under no circumstances should the coat be "fluffed out" like a Poodle or an Old English Sheepdog. Dogs shown in this condition should be heavily penalised as they give a wrong impression of type and breed. Special attention is drawn to puppy coat development. Pups are seldom born with the correct coat of maturity, care must be taken when assessing this point. They go through several changes of colour and texture before developing the mature adult coat. This usually occurs between 18 months and 2½ years.

Pups : Are seldom born with the correct colour or texture coat. They come reddish, greyish and sometimes clear wheaten. The masks are generally black. Sometimes there is a black streak down the centre back or black tips to the body coat. These dark markings clear away with growth.
Colour
A good clear wheaten of shades from light wheaten to a golden reddish hue.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Dogs 18 - 19 inches (46 ) 48 cm). Bitches somewhat less.
Weight
Dogs 40 - 45 lbs (18 - 20,5 kg). Bitches somewhat less.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Nervousness, viciousness.
 Nose any colour other than black.
 Undershot mouth.
 Overshot mouth.
 Overall mature coat not clear wheaten colour.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggresive or overly shy.
 Yellow eyes.
 Dull, thick, woolly or cottony textured hair.
 White coat.
 Brown coat.

Important

Dogs carrying any of the above eliminating faults should never be bred from.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

The Wheaten dates back at least to the 1700s, where records of the breed in County Kerry and County Cork are numerous. Wheatens were found throughout Ireland, but more so in the south and southwest, long before official reports were maintained. They apparently were common and ran fairly freely, having their litters in barns, brush and haystacks, with only the fittest specimens surviving. The Wheaten Terrier is thought to be the oldest Irish terrier breed. Back towards the beginning of British history, only landowners - the gentry and nobility – could own hunting dogs. The poor tenant farmers and fishermen could not own any dog over 19 inches at the withers, and even then could only own a dog valued at five pounds or less. Furthermore, only landed gentry could own any dogs with whole tails; otherwise, a tax would be levied on the animal, which commoners could not afford. To avoid these rules, tenant farmers had dogs not readily recognized as hunting dogs, worth below five British pounds, less than 19 inches tall and with docked tails. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was developed against this historical backdrop.

Irish folklore tells that in 1588, a dog swam to the Ireland shore from a sinking ship after defeat of the Spanish Armada. He supposedly mated with native terriers to produce today’s Irish terrier breeds, maybe including the Wheaten. Most historians appreciate this Irish story-telling and agree that the Wheaten can be traced back several hundreds of years. However, common thought today is that the Wheaten Terrier probably predates and in fact contributed to the creation of the other Irish terriers, including the Kerry Blue and the Irish, despite the fact that those two terriers were recognized by the Irish Kennel Club long before the Wheaten was. It is also thought that there is a link between the Wheaten and the Irish Wolfhound, which can be seen when observing the two side by side.

The Wheaten was an all-purpose working farm dog for the struggling tenant farmers, acting as a guardian of property, people and possessions, a vermin exterminator and a competent herder for flocks of sheep and even herds of cattle. Their well-developed senses of sight and smell aided them in hunting small game with their masters, and their sharp bark warned of strangers’ approach. Their even disposition, desire to please and dense coat made them adaptable to almost any task asked of them – including going to ground to bolt badger and fox. In addition to providing all of these critical skills, the Wheaten Terrier became a beloved companion to the farmers’ families.

The Irish Kennel Club did not recognize the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier until 1937, and it competed for the first time at the Irish Kennel Club specialty show on Saint Patrick’s Day that same year. The breed made its way to the United States in 1946. According to records, a litter of six Wheatens came from Belfast to Massachusetts that year. Lydia Vogles of Springfield acquired two of these puppies and exhibited them at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden the following year. Although these six dogs eventually produced seventeen known offspring, the breed did not gain much public attention or interest until 1957, when the Gramachree Kennel of New York (the O’Connor family) and the Sunset Hills Kennel of Connecticut (the Arnolds family) began campaigning their Wheaten Terriers seriously in the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class.

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America was founded on Saint Patrick’s Day of 1962. Interest in the breed swelled, and within a decade more than 1,000 known Wheatens were identified and/or in competition in this country, with more than 500 breed devotees working to gain breed recognition. The Wheaten was admitted to the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1973, the same year that the breed became eligible to compete in the AKC’s Terrier Group with full registration. The breed had its first AKC conformation champion within several days. Canada recognized the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier in 1978.

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