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Norwich Bulletin - 1/29/2006

The Wheaten Terrier

One of Irelandís greatest gifts to the animal world, is the affectionate, happy go lucky, mischievous, Wheaten Terrier. This high maintenance dog is full of personality and stamina, and is known for having enough loyalty to attach to every family member and still have plenty of energy and love to spare!

The Wheaten Terrier is a great companion dog, that has also been bred for hunting and herding. These dogs require a lot of attention, which translates into continuous training and frequent grooming. Many people who fall in love with the breedís personality are surprised to find out what a huge commitment owning these dogs are. Wheaten Terrier breeders have likened their dogs to high energy toddlers.

Wheatens trace their roots to the farms of Ireland, where they were hunters and herders. Irish folklore describes them as great hunting dogs that ended up being memorialized by the Romans on coins and tapestries. They were valued family members of the farms, where they worked the cattle, kept down vermin, hunted badgers and foxes and worked as gun dogs.

With a life span of 12 to 15 years, the Wheatenís high intelligence and trainability, needs close monitoring and discipline. With its steady and friendly disposition, the Wheaten is not really a guard dog, although it will bark to alert you to strangers. And while it is imperative that you have a fenced in yard and spend a lot of time with outdoor activity, the Wheaten is an inside dog and cannot be left out of doors for long periods of time.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1973. While they may do well in a show ring, it is imperative for this breed to have obedience training because of their strong temperament. And breeders warn that one should not be swayed by the cuteness of the Wheaten as a pup. There are a great number of these terriers in rescue because people give them up all the time when they find out how much work they are to maintain.

In fact, responsible breeders will support the people they sell their puppies to in order to avoid their breeding being put into a rescue situation. Support and advice is very important to assure that Wheaten Terrier owners keep their pets and learn to enjoy them.

Wheatens come in wheat colors, ranging from shimmering reddish gold to a silvery color. The coat is a soft, open coat that is abundant, medium in length and falling in waves. It is a single coated dog and sheds very little, but does require regular brushing in order to remove dead hairs and prevent matting. They are good with children and other animals but they need monitoring due to the fact they become over excited quite easily and could get too rambunctious. They are 30 to 45 pounds and could inadvertently hurt a small child or animal.

Wheaten terriers are prone to PLN and PLE, which involves the loss of protein through either the kidneys or the intestines. This condition in genetic and causes weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea. The condition is serious and often fatal and should be treated by a specialist. There is a lot of research being sponsored by the breeders in an attempt to breed this condition out. Renal dysplasia has also been a problem with this breed causing a malformaiton or abnormal development of the kidneys. This is why it is imperative that you seek out a reliable and responsible breeder if you are interested in bringing a Wheaten Terrier into your family.

If you are the right type of owner for a Wheaten Terrier, you will be blessed with years of mischief and laughter from a very special pet. For information on rescue or finding a responsible breeder, log onto www.wheaten.org.

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