In 1997 and 1998 a very small number of Wheatens were identified with varying degrees of deafness.
Out of 81 Wheatens tested:
- Five had a hearing defect
- Eight had an ear infection
This was confined to a group of dogs who had a common male ancestor, Harwelden Casey No, on both sides of their pedigree.
Geneticist Dr Bruce Cattenach felt it was hereditary and the mode of inheritance likely to be an autosomal recessive gene.
As a result, the Committee of the SCWT Club of GB obtained professional guidance from Celia Cox, BvetMed, Cert VR, FRCVS who carried out the BAER
(Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test on the hearing impaired dogs and their close relatives.
It is still encouraged to have puppies of approximately six weeks of age BAER hearing tested if the pedigree has this male ancestor on both sides.
However, the last reported cases of deafness or hearing impairment to the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of GB were in 1998..