Although adults are various shades of wheat, the puppies are born quite dark and lighten as they mature.
Is a Wheaten Right for You?
When deciding to buy a dog, the most important consideration is finding a dog that will fit into your lifestyle and time commitments. Wheaten Terriers have many admirable qualities including a fun-loving nature, intelligence and beauty. However, they are high maintenance dogs. The coat is non-shedding and must be brushed daily to prevent matting. This one point cannot be stressed enough. If the coat is not maintained, it will become hopelessly matted and will have to be removed with clippers. As the coat is the essence of a Wheaten, owners must be willing to set aside time for this labor of love. Along with brushing, the Wheaten must be bathed and groomed. Trimming is necessary to maintain the terrier outline and to keep the coat manageable. Owners can learn to groom their own dog or may have it done by a professional groomer that is familiar with the breed. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America has informative materials available to assist with the task. If coat maintenance seems daunting, then another breed may be more appropriate.
Wheaten Terriers are equally adaptable to a house or an apartment, but they do need exercise. Although most love to please, Wheatens are terriers and can be strong willed. They have to be taught their proper place in the family. They are curious, exuberant and like to jump. Their playful personalities will stay with them into their senior years.
Finding a Puppy
The best place to purchase a quality puppy or dog is from a reputable breeder. A reputable breeder is one whose goal is to continuously improve the breed through a well-planned breeding program that strives to produce quality puppies that are healthy, happy and as free from genetic defects as possible.
Reputable breeders belong to a local club or the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America and follow their guidelines. Their dogs are x-rayed for hip dysphasia and their eyes are examined every two years. These breeders can provide proof that these tests have been performed. Many reputable breeders also do extensive medical tests to insure the health of the Wheatens they breed. Most breeders limit the number of litters they produce and thus are able to provide personal attention and socializing, a most important part of raising a puppy. Careful, thoughtful socialization between 3 and 12 weeks of age promotes confident puppies with positive attitudes.
Reputable breeders sell only to individual buyers. They interview potential puppy owners to best match people and puppy and to prevent impulse buying, which can result in purchasing a breed of dog that may not be the most appropriate for the situation. These breeders sell their puppies on a contract and stand behind every dog they sell. The contract should be discussed and understood before the puppy is purchased. Reputable breeders have the knowledge and experience to provide guidance with feeding, care, training and health issues. They will be there to support the puppy owner throughout the life of the dog. The fact that only a small number of Wheatens are rescued each year speaks highly for the care taken by breeders in placing puppies.
Wheaten Terriers found in pet stores may come from commercial breeders. Puppies from these sources seldom get personal attention or socializing. Commercially produced puppies are usually bred in quantity for profit with little investment made in medical testing or the well being of breeding stock. As different breeds gain popularity, it often leads to individuals who are best described as indiscriminate, casual or "backyard breeders". These individuals do not realize the many concerns that reputable breeders have. They know little of their Wheaten's genetic background and what steps to take to produce a quality puppy. Their involvement stops once the puppy is sold.
Show or Pet Quality
First and foremost, a pet or a show puppy from a reputable breeder is a healthy, happy, attractive Wheaten. It may be sold as a pet because some trait is not acceptable in the show ring, such as eye or coat color, imperfect bite or texture of the coat. Pet puppies are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) on a non-show, non-breeding registration. Reputable breeders require that pets be spayed or neutered. There are many very good reasons to neuter pets and therefore not add to canine overpopulation.
Show puppies are those that most closely meet the breed standard and represent the best efforts of the breeder. AKC shows provide an opportunity to select those dogs, which most closely meet that breed standard of perfection. It is important that breeders exhibit their breeding stock to validate their efforts to maintain the integrity of the breed. Show puppies require a commitment of time and money, but exhibiting dogs can become a new, enjoyable hobby ... you may wish to try it yourself. Most breeders will support the efforts of new owners interested in showing and some will show the dog for them. Show puppies are usually co-owned by the breeder and new owner.