Breed standards

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Last Updated: 04 May 2010

Kennel Club, London 1994

Group 2 (Terriers)

Medium-sized, compact, upstanding terrier well covered with a soft, wheaten coloured, natural coat that falls in loose curls or waves. An active, short-coupled dog, strong and well built; well balanced in structure and movement, not exaggerated in any way. Standing four square with head and tail up, giving the appearance of a happy dog, full of character.


A natural terrier with strong sporting instincts, hardy and of strong constitution.


Good-tempered, spirited and game. Full of confidence and humour; a delightful, affectionate, intelligent companion.

Head And Skull:

Flat, moderately long and profusely covered with coat which falls forward over the eyes. Skull of medium width but not coarse. Stop well defined, cheek bones not prominent. Distance from eye to nose not longer, and preferably shorter, than the distance from the eyes to occiput. Jaws strong and punishing, muzzle square with no suggestion of snipiness. Topline of muzzle absolutely straight and parallel with skull. Nose black and large for size of dog. Head in general powerful, without being coarse.


Clear, bright dark hazel. Medium size set under strong brow. Eye rims black.


V-shaped and folded at level of skull. Forward edge drops down slightly forward to lie closely along cheek, back edge standing slightly away from side of head. Leathers, thin, small to medium in size, covered with coat and fringe.


Lips tight and black. Teeth large. Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Moderately long, strong, muscular and slightly arched. Without throatiness. Gradually widening toward, and running cleanly into shoulders.


Shoulders long, well laid back, and sloping inwards from points to withers. Not loose, fine, but muscular. Viewed from any angle, the forelegs perfectly straight. Good bone and muscle. Pasterns strong and springy. Chest moderately wide. Dew claws on the front legs may be removed.


Compact, with powerful short loins. Back strong and level. Ribs well sprung without roundness, providing deep chest with relatively short coupling. Length of back from point of withers to base of tail should measure about the same as, or slightly less than, from point of withers to ground.


Thighs strong and muscular. Hindlegs well developed with powerful muscle and well bent stifles. Hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out. Dew claws on the hind legs should be removed.


Strong, and compact, turned neither in nor out. Good depth of pad. Toenails black.


Docked: Set on high, carried gaily, but never over back. Not curled and not too thick.
Undocked: Set on high, carried gaily, but never over back, not curled and not too thick. Tip may curve forward in a gentle arc. Length in overall balance with the rest of the dog.


Free, graceful and lively. Well co-ordinated with long, low strides. Reach in front and good drive behind; straight action fore and aft. Head and tail carried high, the backline remaining level.


Soft and silky. Neither woolly nor wiry. Loosely waved or curly, but if curly, curls large, light and loose. The coat should not stand off but flow and fall naturally. Coat abundant all over body and especially profuse on head and legs. Length of leg coat sufficient to give good balance to the length of coat on head and body. There is no seasonal change in the length or texture of the mature coat. Over trimming or stylising should be penalised. For show purposes the coat may be tidied to present a neat outline. Coat colour and texture do not stabilise until about 24 months and should be given some latitude in young dogs.


A good clear wheaten. A shade of ripening wheat. A white coat and a red coat equally objectionable. Dark shading on ears not untypical. Often a slight fluctuation in the intensity of colour in mature coat, but overall effect should be light wheaten. Dark overall colour and the even darker markings often present in the immature coat, should clear by about 18-24 months.


Height: Dogs approx. 46-49 cms (18-19.5 ins) at the withers

Bitches slightly less

Weight: Dogs approx. 16-20.5 kg (35-45 lbs).

Bitches somewhat less.


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.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.