Believe it or not, most show dogs are not purebred animals. In fact, show dogs are judged on many other characteristics, such as presentation, quality of their coat, a proper gait, attention to instructions and much more.
Nevertheless, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier must display the most pleasing characteristics of its bread, such as a soft, silk-like and wavy wheat-colored coat with perhaps some darker colorings on its ears or muzzle. The animal must carry itself as a proud member of its breed, which should be easy for any well cared for, groomed and healthy Wheaten.
The dog's gait must be graceful and spirited, something that seems to be natural for most Wheaten Terriers. The dog must also keep its tail erect while walking or running. The ideal height for a Wheaten is about 18 inches, with a weight of between 30 and 40 lbs. Females tend to be slightly smaller than their male counterparts, but both must display the square outline of the breed from the side.
The Wheaten's brown or reddish brown eyes must be alert and healthy looking. Its ears should be the right size and droop forward slightly. The overall head must be in proper proportion to its body with a nose that is completely black. The neck must be strong, with a streamlined appearance. The hind legs must be sturdy, with no dewclaws. Pads of feet and nails should be dark or black.
Most Wheaten Terriers are also very outgoing, so being overly shy or timid should not be a problem. Such an attitude shown in a dog show will immediately disqualify it. Of course, the dog cannot be overly aggressive either or it will loose even more marks.
A Wheaten show dog must respond immediately to the commands of its owner. This is somewhat easier for this breed to accomplish as it is fairly intelligent and eager to make their owner happy, so they can learn without as much training as some other canines.
However, if you plan to show your Wheaten, it is important to take their dog for obedience training with a person who has extensive knowledge about the breed's behavior as well as an obvious love of dogs. Occasionally, the stubbornness of terriers may surface and this must be dealt with through consistent, firm and loving discipline.
The Soft-Coat Wheaten Terrier hails from Ireland and was recognized in 1937 by the Irish Kennel Club. In England, registration of Wheatens began in 1943 and it is believed that the first of its breed arrived in the United States in 1946. About 250 Wheatens lived in the U.S. by 1968 but were not officially recognized until 1973 by the American Kennel Club. The Wheaten Terrier was unheard of in the Canadian show ring until the 1960's and was not officially recognized until 1979 by the Canadian Kennel Club.