The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a high maintenance coat. It is a single coat of hair, no undercoat, so it does not shed. Daily grooming and regular trimming are a must.
Imagine if your own hair was not combed for a number of days, it would then be difficult and very painful to comb through. Therefore, grooming your dog regularly and properly
is essential to ensure a tangle and knot free coat and this will also help to prevent skin problems.
Regular trimming and combing means that your Wheaten will learn to enjoy the grooming experience.
There are two coat types: ‘Irish’ which is sparse and less 'plush' than the 'heavy coat’, but both require the same care and time spent. You can view coat types on our Gallery.
Information on grooming equipment and various methods of trimming are shown on the Grooming pages.
Grooming training - for puppies (or untrained adult dogs):
Training to accept a comb must start at the earliest possible age.
You may choose to learn to trim your Wheaten, or leave this for a professional groomer. Whichever choice you make a trained dog will be a better 'model' for a groomer and your Vet.
To stay still for grooming is one of the most important disciplines to learn for an owner and dog.
Teach a puppy from the first day to 'stand' and/or lay on its side and back whilst it is being groomed. It is much easier to control a small puppy than an adult dog.
It can help if two people are on hand, one to comb and one to hold and give reassurance, distraction and treats!
Use the word ‘stand’ and treat when puppy does this right (as picture below shows), then run the comb down the back, sides and legs.
At first the puppy may not want to be to be groomed, and might not like it,
however do not allow puppy to ‘mouth’ the comb or your
hands! Speak quietly and reassuringly and if it wriggles or protests, a firm ‘No’ should
be used, then return to grooming.
Encouraging a puppy to lay on its back means the tummy area can be combed more easily. This will pay dividends later when the puppy coat matures and you need access to the arm pits
and groin areas where knots readily form.
It is important to groom the entire coat right down to skin level as this is where mats form, especially when the hair grows longer. A dog's coat settles into maturity of colour and texture when about
2-3 years old.
With perseverance, firmness and kindness, the puppy will soon learn to enjoy the attention given during the daily grooming session.
Look at the video on the Basic Care page to see how to comb and look after your Wheaten's coat.
Trimming – you may not feel confident to do this but it is worth having a go and much cheaper than sending to a groomer. Never trim a dog that has a dirty
coat, this will blunt the scissors and blades.
Once your puppy has got used to being combed, open and close your scissors nearby, so it gets used to the sound, or if you are going to use clippers, run these for a few seconds, treating the puppy when
it ignores the sound.
'Tipping’ the coat regularly encourages new growth and makes it easier to comb. The puppy trimming video on our Grooming page will give
further information and guidance.
Bathing – bathe your puppy as frequently as possible, weekly to start with. This will help with training and puppies sometimes do have accidents in the home.
Always use good quality dog shampoo and conditioner, human shampoos have a different ph level and are not suitable for a dog’s skin.
Make sure you rinse out all the shampoo and conditioner, as trapped soap not only tightens knots making it difficult to comb, but it can cause skin problems too.
Eyes - need to be cleaned every day as there can be a build up of black 'gunk' in the corner of each eye, which if left, can cause sore eyes and possibly infection. Be sure to check
inside the bottom eyelid as this should be pink and not red.
The hair under the eyes can grow in a 'fan' shape, so it needs to be encouraged to lie flat. Do not be tempted to cut it but smear a thin application of Vaseline to the hair until it
grows long enough to lie down under its own weight.
Ears - need to be checked weekly; is the inside clean and pink, do they smell? Pluck the hair out of the ears if it is growing too thick.
Feet - Wheatens tend to have tickly feet, handle them frequently, especially the front ones, so they get used to this.
Bottom - check that the area around the the pups bottom (anus) is clean. Wheatens hate dirty bottoms, so if your puppy is scooting around, or crying, check its bottom!
Carefully trim excess hair away from the anal region to keep it clean and hygienic. Do not run clippers over the anus, or testicles, as the skin is very sensitive and thin and will cause sores, ‘clipper
burn’ can make the dog quite ill.
Teeth - get your pup used to having its mouth checked and teeth cleaned. Brush the back and side teeth before the front as this part is more sensitive. Be more gentle when the pup
is teething as the mouth will be sore.
As you look in the mouth say ‘teeth’ so that in future the pup will recognise this command from you and the Vet. (also judges at dog Shows ask to see teeth as part of the judging process).
From about 10 - 12 weeks pups lose their first set of teeth (see also Dentition and Puppy Teeth) and produce their adult set. Teeth cleaning should be maintained throughout your dog's life.
Nails - check and trim nails when required as the need will vary for different dogs, don’t forget its dew claws if it has them.
Encouragement - always end grooming on a positive note, try not to lose your patience and always end by cuddling and stroking the pup if it has been good. Only reward good behaviour and
treat when the pup is behaving, not when it is naughty.