Finding Wheaten Terrier Rescues in the United States

wheaten terrier head

The Wheaten Terrier is one of the three large breeds of Irish Terriers and, as with so many other breeds, it has spawned a network of owners and breeders known for their particular dedication to Wheaten Terrier rescue and protection. A perennial favorite in the United States since the 1970s, the Wheaten Terrier, also known as the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, has firmly established its place in the hearts and minds of its fans.

Wheaten Terrier Rescue in the United States

In the United States, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America (SCWTCA) has one of the most comprehensive programs in the United States dedicated to purebred Wheaten Terrier rescue. Although they concentrate on rescuing from breeders and owner surrenders, they also encourage the public to check local, independent rescue organizations if specifically interested in finding this breed or breed mix.

The SCWTCA adheres to strict rescue guidelines that include transfer of ownership agreements and "in home" evaluations (both the surrender home and placement home). They do not buy dogs they rescue from breeders, owners or from puppy mills. They will not take dogs that demonstrate aggressiveness in the form of biting.

The SWCTCA has chapters in

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

Their website gives clear and concise instructions regarding their rescue and adoption process and procedures. Other sites worth checking include Wheaten Rescue and the American Kennel Club.

Recognizing a Wheaten Terrier

With its soft, wavy coat, the Wheaten can be and is often confused with othe highly coated Terrier breeds. Often independent rescue groups will rescue a Wheaten mix, and it is only after grooming that you can tell the dog's ancestry by the distinctive shape of the head.

Seen properly groomed and in a show cut, the Wheaten has a rectangular shaped head and has a soft, wavy coat ranging in color from wheat to reddish gold. The coat may even appear tipped with silver when it is ruffled or the dog is moving.

The breed has dark eyes and noses, and usually weighs between 30-40 pounds when fully grown. Their height is between 17-19 inches at the dogs' withers. They are inherently graceful dogs and move with an easy, flowing gait.

Before You Adopt a Wheaten Rescue

There are many reasons to consider a rescue dog of any breed, but prior to adopting a Wheaten Terrier, it is vitally important that you understand that this is no dainty lap dog. Adjectives for Wheaten Terriers range from "merry" to "rambunctious", with particular emphasis being laid on the word "enthusiastic".

The Wheaten Terrier shares its ancestry with the Kerry Blue and Irish Terriers. They remain today medium-sized working/sporting dogs that are never happier then when being given a task that calls upon their natural tendencies to hunt small creatures and herd.

Although not considered as aggressive as many Terriers, Wheatons are known to be equally protective of their family and exuberantly welcoming. Dependent on the conditions and environment of their rescue, Wheaten Terriers may exhibit fear, aggression, and a withdrawn attitude at odds with the happy temperament usually exhibited by the breed. For this reason, although Wheatens are normally a perfect family pet, it may best to introduce a rescued Wheaten to a home where the children are over the age of ten.

Any Wheaten Terrier, rescue or not, needs ample exercise. A commitment to a Soft Coated Wheaten means a well and high fenced backyard, supervision and training. Wheaten Terriers are notorious for leaping low fences and for digging underneath poorly constructed ones. On the plus side, their intelligence makes them quick to respond to consistent, firm (but not corporal) training. A Wheaten has a sensitive nature and wants to please - a rescue Wheaten even more so.

While a Wheaten Terrier is adaptable to an apartment and controlled with several daily walks, consider your situation before you take on a rescue Wheaten if you live in an apartment. Several top Wheaten Rescue sites recommend that a newly rescued Wheaten Terrier needs as much physical space, exercise and attention as you can give him.

Wheaten Terriers do not shed, but their coat requires daily brushing, and grooming is a must. The cost of using a professional groomer is part of the maintenance of this breed.

A Note of Caution - Private Rescue

When encountering a dog of any breed in a bad environment, there is an instinctive reaction to rush in and save the animal. Usually this is not a good idea especially if the owner is there and in a hostile or confrontational mood.Instead, immediately contact your local A.S.P.C.A., animal control enforcement or law enforcement agency. As difficult as it is encountering a dog in an abusive situation, it is also important that the person rescuing the animal has the training and the authority to rescue the dog safely.

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Finding Wheaten Terrier Rescues in the United States