The Wheaten Terrier is cheerful, active, busy, playful and affectionate. The wheaten is independent and self confident but also fairly intelligent and eager to learn. Wheaten puppies should be socialized early with children, other dogs and strangers. The breed is fairly easy to train if you can get their attention. House training can be a problem with some Wheatens. See our report on Puppy Training for advice. Wheatens get along fine with older children but can be too playful and assertive with young children and toddlers. Wheatens are much more sociable than most terriers but will still need obedience training to control their active and assertive nature. If the Wheaten gets lots of exercise, playtime and attention it can adapt well to being indoors. Wheatens are alert and make good watchdogs even though they get along extremely well with strangers. Wheatens do well with first time dog owners as long as the owner is firm and assertive.
My major concerns would be:
The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense.
Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things.
I strongly recommend that you get your Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Terrier involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, or in agility (an obstacle course for dogs). Some Wheatens have herding instincts and enjoy participating in herding activities.
Bounciness. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people. If you have small children, or if you or anyone who lives with you is elderly or infirm, I do not recommend Soft-Coated Wheatens.
Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.
Animal aggression. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are less scrappy toward other dogs than many other terrier breeds, but they are still a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Many terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
Fence security. Many terriers are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, terriers are not the best choice for you. For the same reason, terriers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised.
Mind of their own. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers are not Golden Retrievers. Though they are more amenable to training than many other terriers and some excel in obedience competition, they must still be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Most Softcoated Wheaten Terriers are stubborn. Some are dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Wheaten to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Soft Coated Wheaten Training Page discusses the program you need.
Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. It may be because they were bred to become more fierce when their prey fought back, i.e. terriers are apt to "return pain" if they "receive pain." As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
Another reason I do not recommend Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers for small children is their general terrier "pride." Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense. They are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers