Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier General Appearance: The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized, hardy, well balanced sporting terrier, square in outline. He is distinguished by his soft, silky, gently waving coat of warm wheaten color and his particularly steady disposition. The breed requires moderation both in structure and presentation, and any exaggerations are to be shunned. He should present the overall appearance of an alert and happy animal, graceful, strong and well coordinated. Size, Proportion, Substance: A dog shall be 18 to 19 inches at the withers, the ideal being 18½. A bitch shall be 17 to 18 inches at the withers, the ideal being 17½. Major Faults - Dogs under 18 inches or over 19 inches; bitches under 17 inches or over 18 inches. Any deviation must be penalized according to the degree of its severity. Square in outline. Hardy, well balanced. Dogs should weigh 35 to 40 pounds; bitches 30 to 35 pounds. Head: Well balanced and in proportion to the body. Rectangular in appearance; moderately long. Powerful with no suggestion of coarseness. Eyes dark reddish brown or brown, medium in size, slightly almond shaped and set fairly wide apart. Eye rims black. Major Fault - Anything approaching a yellow eye. Ears small to medium in size, breaking level with the skull and dropping slightly forward, the inside edge of the ear lying next to the cheek and pointing to the ground rather than to the eye. A hound ear or a high-breaking ear is not typical and should be severely penalized. Skull flat and clean between ears. Cheekbones not prominent. Defined stop. Muzzle powerful and strong, well filled below the eyes. No suggestion of snipiness. Skull and foreface of equal length. Nose black and large for size of dog. Major Fault - Any nose color other than solid black. Lips tight and black. Teeth large, clean and white; scissors or level bite . Major Fault - Undershot or overshot. Neck, Topline, Body: Neck medium in length, clean and strong, not throaty. Carried proudly, it gradually widens, blending smoothly into the body. Back strong and level. Body compact; relatively short coupled. Chest is deep. Ribs are well sprung but without roundness. Tail is set on high. Docked tail preferred. Whether docked or natural, the tail is to be carried upright 90 degrees from the back, either straight or with a slight curve forward. Any deviation from this ideal is to be penalized accordingly. Forequarters : Shoulders well laid back, clean and smooth; well knit. Forelegs straight and well boned. All dewclaws should be removed. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark. Hindquarters: Hind legs well developed with well bent stifles turning neither in nor out; hocks well let down and parallel to each other. All dewclaws should be removed. The presence of dewclaws on the hind legs should be penalized. Feet are round and compact with good depth of pad. Pads black. Nails dark. Coat: A distinguishing characteristic of the breed which sets the dog apart from all other terriers. An abundant single coat covering the entire body, legs and head; coat on the latter falls forward to shade the eyes. Texture soft and silky with a gentle wave. In both puppies and adolescents, the

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mature wavy coat is generally not yet evident. Major Faults - Woolly or harsh, crisp or cottony, frizzy, kinky or standaway coat; in the adult, a straight coat is also objectionable. Presentation - For show purposes, the Wheaten is presented to show a terrier outline, but coat must be of sufficient length to flow when the dog is in motion. The coat must never be clipped or plucked. Sharp contrasts or stylizations must be avoided. Head coat should be blended to present a rectangular outline. Eyes should be indicated but never fully exposed. Ears should be relieved of fringe, but not taken down to the leather. Sufficient coat must be left on skull, cheeks, neck and tail to balance the proper length of body coat. Dogs that are overly trimmed shall be severely penalized. Color : Any shade of wheaten. Upon close examination, occasional red, white or black guard hairs may be found. However, the overall coloring must be clearly wheaten with no evidence of any other color except on ears and muzzle where blue-gray shading is sometimes present. Major Fault - Any color save wheaten. Puppies and Adolescents - Puppies under a year may carry deeper coloring and occasional black tipping. The adolescent, under two years, is often quite light in color, but must never be white or carry gray other than on ears and muzzle. However, by two years of age, the proper wheaten color should be obvious. Gait: Gait is free, graceful and lively with good reach in front and strong drive behind. Front and rear feet turn neither in nor out. Dogs who fail to keep their tails erect when moving should be severely penalized. Temperament: The Wheaten is a happy, steady dog and shows himself gaily with an air of self- confidence. He is alert and exhibits interest in his surroundings; exhibits less aggressiveness than is sometimes encouraged in other terriers. Major Fault - Timid or overly aggressive dogs.

Approved August 10, 2009 Effective September 30, 2009



By Richard Urquart

hen AJ asked if I would write this article for Show- Sight Magazine he said he had no instructions

the standard as a judge of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, a judge who happens to be a breeder and exhibitor. I do admit that on occasion a breeder bias may influence how I weigh the individual traits of an entry, but I consciously try to ignore them when judging. So, I walk into a ring full (or maybe not so full) of SCWTs—where to begin? How about with the entire standard!? It is very easy for a judge to memorize the charac- teristics outlined in the standard, to break down into sections and then subsections those characteristics, letting those be the stand alone deciding factors, good or bad. It is a lot more di ffi cult to see all of the individual characteristics (good and bad) as a whole and evaluate the overall quality of the dog. For me, there are a two descriptions of SCWTs in the very first section of the breed standard (General Appearance) that for me form the basic frame in which I begin to observe and evaluate my entries. As I view each of the dogs, watch them move and examine them individually, I want to see and feel a “medium-sized, hardy, well-bal- anced sporting terriers, square in outline” that present “the overall appearance of an alert and happy animal, graceful, strong and well coordinated.” With those two descriptions I can gen- erally evaluate the overall quality of the dogs in the first moments after they enter the ring—during the initial lineup as they stand and during the first go around. To be more descriptive: what I am hopefully see- ing and beginning to sketch in my frame

is the essence of the breed: the coat, the silhouette, the head and the attitude. I, like most judges, stand back and look at the entire lineup. Immediately, assuming the individual entries have been trimmed to “show a terrier outline” meaning a “square”, “sporting terrier outline”, I should be able to see clearly the balance, length of leg and proportions of each entry. A sport- ing terrier outline for a SCWT is square, if the length of the dog as measured from the chest to the rump (or for the pedantic: the prosternum to the ischium) is equal to the height of the dog as measured from the top of the withers to the ground. Th e exhibit is not a well-balanced sporting ter- rier if the length of the leg from the floor to the elbow and the elbow to the top of the withers is not equal and length of the neck to the length of the head to the length of the back. No tape measure is required—I know it when I see it. However, I am also aware that until I see the dogs move and put my hands on each, what I am seeing may also be misleading. Th ere are other qualities that begin to stand out as I walk the line and look at each exhibit, and they take their place in my framework. Are the “legs straight” and parallel, and do the stifles appear well bent? Does the dog have some width in the rear as it stands? I get a better feel for this when I have the dog free stack after the down and back and I walk around the rear of the dog. Does the head seem to be well balanced and in proportion to the body? Are the ears “small to medium in size” and do they appear to break even with

other than, “I want you to talk about what you think every judge should know when they walk into a ring full of Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers.” My first thought was that not many judges get to see a ring full of the breed. I have been actively breeding and show- ing since 1984 and outside of the National and Regional Specialties and a few areas in California and on the East Coast, very sel- dom are there full rings of our wonderful breed—at least in the classes. My second thought was that I would obviously need to reference the standard, I didn’t want to repeat the classic, “How to judge X breed” article going over the standard in a detailed fashion and opin- ing on the meaning of what “well-boned” or describing a “tail set on high” as they might apply to the SCWT. (See the National’s Judges Education CD found on for a very detailed overview of the standard complete with all of the appropriate pictures.) I decided to take you into a ring full of SCWTs (or least one with a few good ones) and tell you what I look for when judging. When I breed I want to improve (or at least not hurt) the dogs I am breed- ing, so in choosing breeding stock I will be very critical of individual traits. But in this article I hope to convey how I use

“...I want to see and feel a ‘medium-sized, hardy, well-balanced sporting terriers, square in outline’ that present ‘THE OVERALL APPEARANCE OF AN ALERT AND HAPPY ANIMAL, GRACEFUL, STRONG AND WELL COORDINATED.’”

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the skull? And, using the frame in which I am making my observations: is the dog “alert” and “happy”? Does it appear to be self confident in its attitude and expres- sion? Again, the standard describes the requisite temperament to include a dog that is not only alert, but one that also “exhibits interest” in his surroundings. I observe the coat and start to get a feel for size (I know where 18 and 19 inches are on my leg), and although I am not necessarily at that point “measuring” the dogs it still a characteristic of which I am conscious. I then move the dogs around together. I continue to frame my observations: is the gait “free, graceful and lively with good reach in front and strong drive behind?” Temperament quality becomes more defined: “ Th e Wheaten is a happy, steady dog and shows himself gaily with an air of self confidence” and with tail erect. At this time I can begin to fill in another impor- tant detail: is the dog maintaining the outline of a Sporting Terrier even on the move? Th e standard reads that the neck should be “carried proudly”—if read in conjunction with the more specific direc- tive that the length neck is “medium” that clearly means while moving the profile must be maintained. In addition, maintaining its profile on the move is consistent with the “compact” body that is “relatively short coupled. However, if the moving entry is consistent- ly dropping its head and begins to appear streamlined, it is most often too long. And the profile must continue to be balanced while on the move: does the neck disap- pear into the shoulders on the move? Is the back “level” as the dog moves and is it “strong” without flexing or hard up and down movement? Hard pounding does not make for stamina or more precisely, a sound dog. And to repeat, these obser- vations are being placed my frame: is the dog “alert and happy animal” and is it “graceful, strong and well coordinated”? A little history that is the material from which I have constructed my frame— although the breed is a 20th century addition to the sport of dog showing and its Irish history lost in the mists of time, the breed has been known for over 200 years. SCWTs were not only used as an all

purpose farm dog that could rid its terri- tory of vermin, it was also a capable gun dog—most likely for a poacher—while being equally at home herding its owner’s livestock. In my opinion, that history dic- tates a “hardy” dog that should be capable of powerfully covering ground e ff ortlessly and with stamina. As the dog moves, I also consider what many believe to be the defining character- istic of the dog, but which the standard twice describes as “a distinguishing char- acteristic.” I mentioned it earlier as part of the essence of the breed. It often causes the most angst among non-breeder judges: the coat. During movement, I hopefully see coats that exhibit a “soft, silky and gen- tly waving nature” that have “su ffi cient length to flow” as the dogs goes around. I always remember the standard directive that states, “Dogs that are overly trimmed shall be severely penalized.” Without spending a considerable amount of time, judges of our breed should be aware, as am I, that the standard also states, “In both puppies and adolescents, the mature wavy coat is generally not yet evident.” Under color it reads: “Any shade of wheaten.” Th e vast majority of entries in the classes are either young adolescents that are of a lighter color or puppies that are often times darker. Adult coats are really not fully evident until 3-4 years of age and although some Specials may sport the full adult coat, many judges may never see the soft, silky and gently waving coat that is prized. When that coat is dis-

played, it is most often of varying shades of wheat. Th e adult coat is very seldom a solid color and may even carry some black guard hairs. Although there is nothing wrong with placing puppies in the rib- bons—even BOB if it truly exudes breed essence, do not ignore the adult with the mature coat because it appears to be the odd man out in a ring full of puppies and adolescents. Although the finer nuances of coat type could be the subject of a more extensive article, su ffi ce it to say that my approach is that the dog under the coat is the more important part of the package I am judging. From a breeder’s perspective, improv- ing the coat of a SCWT is far easier than improving a front or rear end assembly. Given two, three or four exhibits of equal quality (and I mean equal quality overall), then the coat, a component of the breed’s essence, may be a deciding factor—empha- sis on the “may be.” Finally, the individual examination: I can now almost complete the picture I have been painting in my frame, filling in the details and highlights and perhaps find the perfect SCWT—not! I can now see that the profiles that were held by the entries with the good reach and drive I saw on the go around are consistent with the short backs, and relatively short loins I am now feeling, and perhaps con- firm that the drop in the head of another is consistent with the long back and/ or long loin. I feel the “well laid back” and “well knit” shoulders that are clean

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“But I keep in mind that SPARRING IS ALL OR NOTHING, WIN OR LOSE.”

and smooth, and because they are sup- ported by a dog with a deep chest and well sprung ribs—the clean movement I observe when the dog comes back to me is totally expected. Wow, this entry may be somewhat loaded in the shoulders, but there is absolutely no break in the transi- tion from neck to back at all. Th e bend of the stifles is there. It is not an illusion created by a skilled groomer, as was the length of neck and blending of neck to back on another well-conditioned and athletic entry that also seemed to have good reach and drive on the move. Th e hocks are parallel and the feet are round and compact. Th is feminine bitch has good substance and bone—not fat, but if you were to lift her, she would seem to weigh more than you would expect of a bitch her size. You feel it in the bone and muscle, she is hardy and could sur- vive the harshness of the Irish life that requires her to free whelp in barns and haystacks, to go after a badger for her owner and then rest peacefully by the fire in the evening. Th is one has the gorgeous shiny and more open adult coat of the land of origin that drops every bit of dirt or mud by the end of day—without being brushed—and that one has a soft, wavy, abundant coat with a deep wheaten color. I put my hands on heads that appeared well proportioned on observation and I begin to find the head planes: a “skull flat and clean between the ears” equal with the “foreface” with a “defined stop” and “no suggestion of snippiness.” Th e entry has a “powerful and strong” muzzle, is “well filled below the eyes” with “cheek- bones not prominent.” Th ere is a scissor bite (level on another is acceptable) with clean, white, large teeth. Oh, and look at those “dark reddish brown or brown”

eyes that are “almond-shaped” and which were only “indicated” in the trim of the head before I pulled the fall back to ful- ly expose them. And lastly size... I can now more accurately estimate the size (at the withers) of the individual dogs. I keep in mind that under General Appearance it states that “the breed requires moderation both in structure and presentation, and any exaggerations are to be shunned.” Although size need only be penalized according to severity—if it is excessive it can result in the loss of breed type. I have one final tool: sparring. I do it. But I keep in mind that sparring is all or nothing, win or lose. If a dog fails to proudly stand its ground with confi- dence, remaining alert to the presence of the other dog(s) while defending if nec- essary or even expanding its territory, it will loose in my ring. If it seems to become an aggressor I will need to decide on the basis of other information whether I believe it is “overly aggressive,” a major fault. Although a SCWT “exhibits less aggressiveness” than other terriers, they are nonetheless a terrier, and a display of timidity is also a major fault. I have decided the BOB because of the spar— some gaining the ribbon and some losing. Bitches can be sparred, but I don’t expect them to do much more than ignore the others, but that doesn’t mean that any one of them should be intimidated or shy either and I won’t be surprised if one Alpha bitch decides to chase o ff another who invades her “territory.” Now the fun part. I have a ring full of Specials or Class Winners that all have many good breed characteristics and that all have one or two minor problems that could be improved. I get to decide which of these will get the ribbons today. Which ones have been presented to exude

the essence of the breed? Which ones have consistently displayed a “take on the world attitude” either by standing aloof and self confident as they alertly observed their fellow entries or perhaps have dis- played exuberance for life as a whole as they watched other rings and dogs with interest? Which dogs/bitches not only carry their balanced sporting terrier pro- file as they gracefully move around the ring, but also do so with a regal self- confidence or an adventurous “let’s go” attitude? Which ones with the requisite good reach and drive do so e ff ortlessly and with a hint of untapped power as their coats flowed while carrying their tails fully “upright 90° from the back?” Decision time. BIO Sonya and I have been actively breed- ing and showing since 1984 as Marquee Wheatens. We have finished over 50 champions, a good number of which have been owner handled from the BBE class, including a WD who finished with two back-back 5 point majors from the BBE class at Devon and the SCWTC Nation- al Specialty at MKC (under Anne Rogers Clark and Breeder/Judge Gary Vlachos) and then followed up with a BOB at the National Roving Specialty the following year (2001). I am a semi-retired attorney and approved to judge SCWTs. I have judged a number of specialties includ- ing Great Western and NCTA weekends and I will have the honor, by vote of the membership, of judging the SCWTCA National Specialty at MKC in 2014. We are members of the Northern Cal- ifornia Terrier Club as well as the National and are presently residents of Heflin, Alabama.

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he Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (SCWT) is a working, sporting terrier. Th e breed originated in Ireland as an all purpose farm

dog that performed a variety of tasks: rid the farm of vermin, herd and guard sheep, hunt with his master, protect the family and farm. Sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Wolfhound, the SCWT had to do it all because “early in Britain’s history, ‘Laws of the Forest’ allowed only freemen and landowners to own hunting dogs. Th e poor tenant farmer and fisherman could not legally own any animal worth more than five pounds sterling.” 1 Th e ability to meet this demand for ver- satility is still evident in today’s SCWT. A continuum of temperaments and tenden- cies can be found among puppies from the same litter. Th is is not so astonishing, as children born of the same parents and raised in the same environment can be polar opposites in many characteristics. And as with humans, it is di ffi cult with SCWTs to ascribe a characteristic tenden- cy to a particular gender. Consequently, a cookbook description does not apply for all SCWTs. Th ey can be devoted companions or aloof co-inhabitants. Some are keenly interested in chasing squirrels and rabbits, while others could care less. During o ff - leash walks with their family, SCWTs have been known to circle their humans with apparent intent to keep the flock together. Others dart ahead tracking or hunting with no interest in checking back, let alone gathering the flock. Th ere are SCWTs that enjoy nothing more than a brisk jog with their owner and some must be persuaded to leave the couch for a leisurely walk. Th eir own agenda is paramount for many SCWTs. Others defer first to their master, then proceed with their own agen- da. After all, SCWTs are terriers. Unlike the Golden or Labrador Retrievers that seem intent on pleasing their humans,

the tenacity of terriers renders them more inclined to march to their own drummer and attempt to convince their human to pursue that agenda as well. Given this wide diversity in tempera- ments, it is important to work with a responsible breeder to select the right pup- py. Th e responsible breeder spends lots of time with their puppies and the prospec- tive owners in order to recommend the best match. No matter the individual dog’s innate tendencies, SCWTs are generally a hap- py-go-lucky, exuberant, fun loving dog. To help the SCWTs become model pets and companions, socialization and train- ing should begin early and occur often throughout their lives.

Puppy Kindergarten or Socializa- tion classes are highly recommended to expose young SCWTs to dogs and people of all shapes and sizes. It is important to frequently expose the SCWT youngster to all sorts of people, places, and pets, in and out of the home. As puppyhood turns to adulthood, many owners partic- ipate in performance classes to enhance socialization and discover what most interests their SCWT. Th ere is a vast array of activities that family members can enjoy throughout life with their SCTW: agility, flyball, herding, obedi- ence, therapy, tracking, tricks, to name only a few. SCWTs are considerably easier to live with, especially as puppies and youngsters,

1 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America Judges Education CD 284 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2015


HISTORY Th ere have been some really great dogs and many devoted breeders since 1947 when Lydia Vogel imported the first Wheatens into the US. Ten years later the O’Connors imported a dog from Maureen Holmes, an Irish breeder who was one of those responsible for saving the breed from near extinction in Ireland. On March 17, 1962, the O’Connors, Ida Mallory, the Charles Arnolds and a few other devotees, including Patricia Adams founded the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America. During the next ten years a handful of enthusiasts traveled to dog shows across the USA promoting the breed to the pub- lic and to the American Kennel Club until finally in 1973 the day arrived when the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was eligi- ble for championship points. A national specialty held on Montgomery County Weekend in October of 1973 marked the beginning of championships for this newly accepted Irish breed. CH Abby’s Postage Dhu of Waterford finished his title that first weekend surprising everyone since he was owner-handled by Marjorie Shoemak- er, and was competing against some of the top terrier handlers of the time. Benmul Belma, an Irish Champion imported by Carol Carlson and Emily Holden, fought it out with Innisfree Annie Sullivan, owned by Gay Sherman (Dunlap). Belma was handled by Peter Green and Annie by Roberta Krohne. Belma finished first but Annie went on to make breed history by becoming the first Best in Show Wheaten. She also contributed significantly in the whelping box. CH Stephen Dedalus of Andover, owned and bred by Jackie and Cindy Got- tlieb, finished quickly and proved to be a stud dog who influenced the breed in a major way. He was the sire of CH Abby’s Postage Dhu of Waterford who, bred to Annie Sullivan, produced CH Gleanngay’s Goldilock dam of the watershed dog of the breed in the United States, CH Gleanngay Holliday. Before Doc (Holliday), type was undetermined in the breed. Th ere had been a few imports from Ireland in the

early 1970s but CH Holmenock’s Halpha, imported from Maureen Holmes by Brian and Mary Lynn Reynolds, was the only one bred to produce a line of dogs. Before Doc, the breed looked like one breed in the East, another in the Midwest, and yet another in the West. Doc’s extensive use as well as the relocation of Andover, Jackie and Cindy Gottlieb, now Cindy Vogels, to Colorado, began the solidification of an American type that allowed the breed to look more alike in the Montgomery Coun- ty Wheaten Specialty Ring. Th e late 1970s were dominated by CH Gleanngay Holliday and CH Briarlyn Dandelion, owned by Lynn Penniman (Carothers). A Doc son, CH Andover Song ’N Dance Man, walked away with the SCWTCA national specialty four times, once from the veteran’s class. He is also the only Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to win the group at Westminster Kennel Club and that took place on Val- entine’s Day in 1989. Th ere were many really handsome males during the late 80s and 90s. Two of the top winners were CH Wildflower Stardust, owned and bred by Janet Turner (Dalton) and CH Gleanngay Bantry Bay Kashmir, owned by Candy Way. Both were stallions and owned the ring when- ever and wherever they were shown. Other very deserving dogs that defined type were CH Doubloon’s Master of Illusion, owned by Cindy Vogels and Jackie Gottlieb, CH Shar D’s Let the Games Begin, owned by Shari Boyd and Dee Boyd, CH Paisley After Midnight owned by Kathy and M.E. McIndoe, CH Legacy Wild West Wild- flower, owned by Robert Hale and Jon Caliri, and CH Kaylynn’s August Moon owned by Kay Baird. It seemed for a few years that there was not going to be another stallion type Wheaten and then along came Kovu! Kovu, CH Caraway Celebrate Life, owned by Betty Chapman and Beth Verner, broke many records in the breed and after win- ning the breed from the classes at Mont- gomery County Kennel Club under breed- er judge Gay Dunlap, he proceeded to win

Ch. Gleanngay Holliday ROM

when exercised daily. Preferably this includes providing, in a safe area, the opportunity to run full speed and explore unencumbered their surroundings. For this reason many breeders highly recommend a fenced yard for families considering a SCWT puppy. Th e SCWT is a single-coated dog and as such does not shed. Instead the coat grows long and will reach the floor if not trimmed. To keep them mat free, clean and comfortable, regardless of the desired coat length, it is imperative to brush and comb the SCWT every week, and more frequently when they transition from pup- py to adult coat. Trimming the SCWT can be little to severe. For those who prefer a SCWT look like a SCWT, trimming is required to foster the essence of the breed as described in the SCWT Illustrated Breed Standard and Ampli fi cation : • Coat: soft, silky, waving, flowing, warm wheaten color. • Silhouette: square, medium-sized, neck moderately long. • Head: rectangular long, in proportion to the body; ears small to medium, level with the skull and point to the ground. Grooming guides are available at www. In summary, the SCWT is a joy to live with. Th eir versatility adds spice to life and many exude a youthfulness that lasts long into their senior years. With a SCWT around, dull moments are rare. To learn more about SCWTs, the best single source is



Ch. Gleanngay Bantry Bay Kashmir

HEALTH & BREED TYPE During the mid 1980s it was discov- ered that a significant percentage of the breed was su ff ering from an illness that was caused by loss of protein. Dogs were dying from intestinal or renal issues and it was obvious to the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America that something needed to be done. A Health Commit- tee was formed, research began at North Carolina State University and the Univer- sity of Pennsylvania. Wheatens lost some well-known breeders due to the devasta- tion of certain lines and the fear that went with it. Th e illness appeared to be a wild card seeming to show up any time and any place. Many breeders began to import dogs from Europe in an e ff ort to water down the gene pool. Some are breeding pure Irish dogs with thinner, shiny coats, while some of the imports look very much like the American bred dogs but are perhaps a bit longer due to the FCI standard and the di ff erences from the SCWTCA standard. For the past several decades, the breed- ers only tool to breed away from what appeared to be a genetic problem was the information of pedigrees of a ff ected and non-a ff ected which were listed in a volun- tary national registry. Finally, a DNA test which identi- fies genetic mutations associated with PLN (Protein Losing Nephropathy) was announced at the University of Pennsyl- vania in May, 2012. Breeders have been quick to have their SCWTs to be tested and are making better informed breed- ing decisions based on these results. However, it is important that while breeding to improve the overall health of the breed, that breed type does not get overlooked… and judges need to help with that. Knowing that this breed is

the breed there the next two years and to gain a group three. He and handler Shari Boyd-Carusi topped it o ff by winning the terrier group at the prestigious Crufts Dog Show, held in Birmingham, England. He was exciting to watch in a way that was reminiscent of CH Wildflower Stardust, who appears on both sides of Kovu’s pedi- gree. Th e breed had a new hero! Since a breed depends upon strong bitches, Wheatens have been well blessed. Starting in the 1970s CH Gleanngay Goldilock, CH Andover Antic of Sunset Hills, CH Cloverlane’s Connaught, CH Amaden’s Rainbow’s End, and CH Leg- enderry’s Ainlee produced many great dogs or great producers. Many lines come down from these bitches. Some of the more famous are Bantry Bay, Ben- dacht, Bonney, Clanheath, Kairi, Legacy, Shandalee, Westridge, Wildflower, and so many more. Elena Landa, Doubloon Wheatens, has had some lovely bitches in the ring during the past few years as have the kennels mentioned above. Elena has been a consistent winner and does the breed proud by being the Terrier Breed- er of the year for the Eukanuba Classic in 2011. Th e Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America and the regional clubs have been known for being mentors and for wel- coming newcomers. Jackie Gottlieb edited an Owner’s Manual in 1979 with the help of many club members and with some minor changes it has been the guide for the breed ever since. Th ere is a very active public education committee, now chaired by Connie Kohler of California. Th e breed has recently acquired certification for herd- ing and all the performance events are very popular with Wheaten owners. Th e dogs are very bright and enjoy the work and the activity of those events.

a happy, charming dog that is not the tough terrier in the ring helps, as does recognizing that beneath the silky coat should lie a square terrier that moves in true terrier tradition. Th e Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is to be viewed and judged in the United States by the AKC Standard. Th is is not the same as the FCI or international stan- dard. For example, while undocked tails have been recently accepted to accom- modate the imports, many of which have natural tails, docked tails are preferred. Th e National Club has provided many aids to help insure the mainte- nance of breed type. In the early 1990s an exceptional Illustrated Standard was developed by Gay Dunlap with artwork drawn by Jody Sylvester. It is a timeless piece and available free of charge to all judges. A judges’ education program was developed first by Cindy Vogels. Gay Dunlap and Gary Vlachos have created a very strong judges’ education DVD that is used across the country in Judg- es’ symposia. Th ese people have worked tirelessly to assure that judges should be able to pick out the correct type of a Wheaten Terrier. It is not a working dog nor a sporting dog, but a long legged Terrier that should be compared to the Kerry and the Irish Terriers. Given the new DNA information now available, it might be tempting for breed- ers to be so focused on health issues that preserving type in the show ring is forgot- ten, but the history is proud and needs to be honored. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Dr. M. Eliza(Beth) Verner can be reached via Ms. Emily Holden can be contacted at



An Educated Look At The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier WHAT’S UNDER THAT COAT?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gay Dunlap is approved by the AKC to judge the Terrier and Toy Groups, Poodles, eight Hound breeds, Miscellaneous, Juniors and Best in Show. She is a provisional judge for 15 Hound breeds. Mrs Dunlap has judged across the US and has adjudicated in Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden. She bred Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers from 1970 until 2016 under the Gleanngay prefix with over 140 champions, including BIS, Specialty, and Group winners. She bred and owned the top-producing Terrier sire of all time, Ch Gleanngay Holliday, ROM. Prior to her involvement with Wheatens, she bred and exhibited Yorkshire Terriers. She has served on the SCWTCA Board of Directors numerous times, including a 14-year period during which she also served as its President. She was a member of the SCWT Standard Committee charged with drafting the first breed standard adopted by AKC, and Chairman of the Standard Revision Committee that produced the SCWT standard currently in use by AKC. A regular contributor to numerous periodicals, she wrote the SCWT Standard Amplification and produced the SCWT Illustrated Breed Standard and Amplification, along with the SCWTCA Judges Education PowerPoint Presentation. She has served as Editor of the SCWTCA quarterly publication, Benchmarks, and as an AKC Delegate, representing SCWTCA. She continues to chair the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America’s Judges Education Committee and served for a year as President of the Miniature Bull Terrier Club of Southern California. She also served on the board of the Kennel Club of Palm Springs and as its specialties’ coordinator. She is a member of American Dog Judges Association of America and is the organization’s webmaster. Mrs Dunlap lives in Palm Desert, California, and makes herself available to all in need of her creative skills, which include design, writing, editing, and proofreading. Her non-canine activities include creative writing, design, including web design, and cooking. She is an avid tennis fan!


T here’s a sound and well-structured dog under that coat… or at least there should be. Can you tell, visually, or do you feel you must put your hands on the dog to deter- mine its true make and shape? Certainly, artful groom- ers can set lie to what is really under a jacket, and this is true with most, if not all, coated breeds. Those of us who come from coated breeds, and also know our way around with a pair of scissors, are usually quite adept at spying the telltale signs of a dog that is little more than a hair cut. Others, not so much. Hair can hide a lot. So, with this in mind, here are a few visual aids that, hope- fully, will help with speeding up the judging process among those less familiar with “the tricks of the trade” used by handlers and other scissor-gifted exhibitors.



he appears to need a tad more leg. To my eye, this dog displays beautiful breed type with pleasing balance and angles. Let’s proceed to examine other SCWT outlines in the same manner (Fig. 2a & 2b). Clever groomers have created several tech- niques designed to suggest a shorter back. One is to backcomb and tease hair from the lower portion of the neck, withers, and part-way down the back. When a dog appears to have a neck as thick as this one, it is a dead giveaway that the dog is not as short-backed as one might suppose. It is also hard to determine shoulder layback under all the hair. In the same manner, build-up of hair in front of the tail can easily hide a low-set tail and/or croup drop-off. Excess hair on the top-skull can create the impression of both a longer head and a longer neck. The latter also makes the ear, which should be level with or slightly above the topskull, appear low-set. Another ruse, designed to create a back shorter than it really is, is to bring the tuck-up farther forward than the loin area, and allow the side skirt behind the ersatz tuck-up to appear as leg furnishings. Based on the over-stretched rear, I would suspect a straight stifle. Here’s another dog with slightly different proportions (Fig. 3a & 3b). Obviously, head, neck, and back are not equal. It is lacking sufficent neck to balance a pleasing length of head. It is also slightly longer than tall. The lack of neck would indicate an upright shoul- der. Added to that, the dog is low on leg.

First, let’s take a look at this well-balanced Soft Coated Wheat- en Terrier (Fig. 1a & 1b). He has been artfully trimmed. Is the topline absolutely level (we have a tendency toward prominent lumbar vertabrae), and is there sufficient bend of stifle? His propor- tions appear quite correct, although there are a couple of qualities that can’t be immediately assessed. Otherwise, everything we need to know, structurally, is there—if we know what we are looking at. With the properly proportioned SCWT, length of head, neck, and back should be equal (blue lines). Body length, sternum to pin bone, should be equal to height, withers to ground (red lines). Length of backskull should equal foreface (pink lines). Depth of body, withers to brisket, should equal length of leg, elbow to ground (purple lines). Shoulder and forearm, set at a 90-degree angle, should be equal in length (green lines). Rear angles are equal (yellow lines). In the best of worlds, the measurements here would be equal, as specified in the legend. When one considers the possible build-up of coat in certain areas, the dog used in the diagram comes pretty darn close. Of course, these measurements represent perfection. Perfection, although difficult to achieve, should always be that for which we strive. He may have a slightly longer second thigh (K–L); something that is hard to determine under the leg furnishings. Additionally, if body depth (C-G) equals elbow-to-ground (G-H),


Head Neck Back

Figure 1a

Figure 1b

Red lines indicate dog is longer than tall: Length Height


A. Proper tuck-up should be beyond ribcage B. Instead of here C. Body coat disguised as leg furnishings

Figure 2a

Figure 2b

Head Neck Back

Length Height

Depth of chest Length of leg

Figure 3a

Figure 3b



Below is one more example of the build-up of hair over withers (Fig. 4a & 4b). This is used to create the illusion of a shorter back, although in this case, not so successfully. The lack of balance is further destroyed by the fact that the dog is low on leg, certainly not helped by excessive coat left on the undercarriage. Taking a brief look at the correct Wheaten head, many that we see in the ring today are thick with coarse backskulls that form a three-dimensional block (width, length, depth) instead of a neat, clean brick (narrow, long, and lean) (Fig. 5). Heads tend to be square rather than rectangular. Skull and muzzle should both be rectangular, equal in length and on equal planes. Ide- ally, the skull should be easily spanned by a woman’s hand. The two photos (Fig. 6a & 6b) taken from the front cannot take into account the foreshortening of muzzle; but hopefully, they project that the width of the head should be approximately half the length of the head and, also, that the muzzle should not “fall off” or lose width to any appreciable degree. It is hoped that those reading this article will be inspired toward more thoughtful judging (and breed- ing) of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, understand- ing as well that much of it can be applied to other coat- ed breeds, notably the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Heads tend to be square rather than rectangular. Skull and muzzle should both be rectangular, equal in length and on equal planes. Ideally, the skull should be easily spanned by a woman’s hand.

Length, point of shoulder to pin bone Height, withers to ground

Withers to brisket Elbow to ground

Figure 4b

Figure 4a

Figure 5

Figure 6a

Figure 6b




T he essence of breed type can be defined as how the various parts of a dog come together with the requisite tempera- ment to make a breed unique. In my previous two articles on SCWT type, I described proper silhouette and head properties. This article will not be a prim- er on Wheaten coat (that might be a chapter rather than an article*); instead, I will attempt to explain the relationship between proper coat and breed type. In other words, which coat factors contribute to the uniquely Soft Coated Wheaten “look?” Our standard states, “An abundant single coat… Texture soft and silky with a gentle wave.” Color is described as “any shade of Wheaten” and goes on to describe guard hairs of different colors and the character- istic darker mask. However, there is a range of acceptable coat textures and colors. In fact, while still remaining “typey,” many Wheatens go through continual changes in coat and color. In an attempt to catego- rize coats, breeders often use the terms “Irish,” “American,” “Continen- tal,” etc., but I will attempt to discuss coat without geographic designa- tion. Too often the terms are used pejoratively, and coat texture and color are controlled by heredity not birthplace. Geographic differences in coat variations reflect selective breeding. I will discuss coat and color separately, but the two actually go hand in hand. Proper color generally reflects (pun intended) proper texture as the requisite shine is due to the quality of the individual hair shaft. (For an excellent discussion of this phenomenon, see: “What Makes for Colors and Coat Texture in Yor- kies,” by Janet Bennett. Benchmarks, Volume 7, No. 2, Spring, 1979) Both the AKC and the FCI standards will be quoted as well as the SCWTCA Illustrated Standard; while we must adhere to the requi- sites of the AKC standard, the FCI standard represents the edicts of the country of origin—Ireland. To view the standards, go to , . For a copy of the Illustrated Standard, go to the SCWTCA website at The most desirable coats are soft, silky, abundant, wavy, and sin- gle. Maureen Holmes, in her book, The Softcoated Wheaten Terrier , (“Printed by Racmo, Meppel; 1991, page 152-153) sums it up well, stat- ing, “coat… must be soft and silky to the touch, wavy or curly, NOT Coarse… The coat must have body and be shiny. IT IS NEVER TO BE WOOLY. Thick, white, wooly, straight hair or stand-off coat are serious deviations as is a frizzy coat.” Since the American standard states

“While Mrs. Holmes goes out of her way to decry overly abundant coats, thin coats where skin is readily visible are equally faulty. One key factor is undercoat. Ideally, the coat is single and abundant. Some dogs do carry single coats throughout their lives, while others start out with undercoat that intensifies during adolescence and then dissipates with maturity, resulting in single coated adults. It’s remarkable that such divergent puppy coats actually mature into very similar adult coats.”



Unacceptable coat qualities include: coarse, wooly, frizzy, and/or plush. All of these factors produce a “stuffed animal” look. An overabundance of coat is caused by the presence of undercoat and produces a look that is foreign to correct breed type. On the other hand, too little coat is as faulty as too much coat. To be typey, Wheatens must be well-covered with coat. All the standards and amplifica- tions agree on this. Adult Wheaten coats must never be straight or tightly curled. Fortunately, the fashion of blow-drying (and even ironing) Wheaten coats has been replaced by air-drying, which enhances the coats’ natural waves. While “straight” is pretty self-explanatory, a distinction should be made between “waves” (gentle undulations) and “curls” (ring- lets). Any sign of kink in the coat is particularly offensive. I see the breed coming full circle in terms of coat qual- ity, and if there can be any semblance of a silver lining behind the ominous kidney cloud, I think the rash of imports have not only improved coat quality, but also re- adjusted our eyes to the look of correct and typical coat. We can only hope that, just as it has become nearly impos- sible to finish a Wheaten with a curly, frizzy coat, in the future, the other undesirable coat qualities (harsh, wooly, overabundant, straight) will become nearly extinct as well. Our (American) standard calls for “any shade of Wheaten.” The FCI standard is a little more specific, stip- ulating color must be: “A good, clear wheaten of shades from light wheaten to a golden reddish hue.” In the Amer- ican standard amplification, proper color is described as “…any shade of Wheaten from pale gold through warm honey” ( Illustrated Standard , page 26). Sometimes, proper coat casts a platinum-like sheen. Mrs. Holmes refers to this phenomenon saying, “… over this [coat] is a ‘silver sheen’ characteristic of the breed.” (Ibid. page 152.) Correct color should be thought of as falling within a range of acceptable hues. The American standard ampli- fication reminds us, “Very deep color in a puppy does not always predict strong adult color. Color change continues throughout the life of the dog. The hairs are often banded. Closely observed, the Wheaten is not a self-colored dog. (Illustrated Standard, page 26.) Both the American and FCI standards go into detail about puppy coats. However, the FCI describes newborn puppy colors, which would be nearly—if not entirely—cleared by the time they entered the ring. Our standard devotes a paragraph to the color transition that some coats make between six months and two years of age. While we still do see many Wheatens’ coats that go through the described transition, increas- ingly, many do not. Most importantly, coat color must always be warm and reflective, which is dependent upon proper coat texture. (See photos above.) Again, proper coat texture creates correct col- or; you will never see ideal color on an improperly textured coat, as it will not carry the requisite sheen. Mrs. Holmes is quite adamant in stating “coat color… must have a warm GOLDEN hue NOT yellow…Brown is a colour that is NEV- ER mentioned or allowed in a WHEATEN … No black or gray is allowed in the adult coat, which includes the head.” (Ibid. page 153.) She singles out the head because it is not uncommon to find grey shading, allowed on ears and muzzle,

that the coat is to fall in “gentle waves,” I take exception to the inclusion of the word “curly” in describing the ideal coat. In fact, in the original Irish standard it was specified that coat “...if curly, curls must be large and loose.” (Redlich, Anna The Dogs Of Ireland . Dundalk, Ireland; Dundalgan Press, 1949, page 166). Note that Mrs. Holmes uses the word “body.” This is important to our discussion, as the amount of coat that Wheatens carry has a tremendous impact on their appearance. While Mrs. Holmes goes out of her way to decry overly abundant coats, thin coats where skin is readily visible are equally faulty. One key factor is undercoat. Ideally, the coat is single and abundant. Some dogs do carry single coats throughout their lives, while others start out with undercoat that intensifies during adolescence and then dissipates with maturity, resulting in single-coated adults. It’s remarkable that such divergent puppy coats actually mature into very similar adult coats. Both the American and the FCI stan- dards allow latitude when assessing coat texture in young dogs. However, the ideal coat will be wavy, abundant, and soft, even at six months. The American standard mentions guard hairs only in the color section but, in the past, many adolescent Wheat- ens’ coats contained harsh guard hairs (the infamous “dead reds”). Today, many dogs sport coats where any guard hairs that do appear are soft, so this is the ideal for which we should be striving.


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