Showsight Presents the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier


Let’s Talk Breed Education!



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



Genetics and Dog Shows Share Centuries of History

A s you know, genetic research didn’t start at Embark Veterinary. It started with the fathers of evolution and genetics. During the 19th century, an era of curios- ity about nature, animals, and scientific discoveries blossomed. In 1859, Charles Darwin published Origins of Species about his theory of evolution using natural selection. A few years later, Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel discovered through his experimentation with pea plants that characteristics can be passed down through generations. Mendel, considered by many to be the father of genetics, also defined t he words “recessive” a nd “ domi- nant” in his 1866 paper explaining how invisible factors (geno- types) can predictably produce visible traits (phenotypes). Following Mendel’s discoveries, Friedrich Miescher, a Swiss physiological chemist, discovered what he called “nuclein” or the nuclei of human white blood cells. What he actually discovered became known as deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Despite these revolutionary discoveries, the scientific community took decades to embrace them. Meanwhile, for centuries, dog breeders had been selectively breeding purpose-bred dogs. But around the 1850s, breeding programs (starting with English Foxhound packs) began to be recorded. In 1873, the Kennel Club in England started the first purebred dog registry and published official breed studbooks. Across the Atlantic, American dog fanciers were just as keen as their British Isle counterparts in holding field trials and dog shows. By 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club held its first dog show. In 1884, the American Kennel Club became the governing body of the sport of purebred dogs through its dog show rules, registry, and breed studbooks. Westminster was its first member club. Around 1900, British biologist William Bateson brought Mendel’s theories back to the forefront of the scientific community. Savvy dog breed- ers began to follow Mendelian inheritance when planning their breeding programs, with a new understanding of visible and invis- ible traits. Selective breeding of purebred dogs with closed gene pools would advance canine genetic research in the future. As more dog breeds emerged at the turn of the 20th century, dog shows began classifying them by type into Sporting, Non- Sporting, Terrier, Toy, and Working Groups. In 1944, Oswald Avery identified DNA as the substance responsible for heredity and, in 1950, Erwin Chargaff continued that research with his discovery that DNA was species specific. Genetic discoveries con- tinued with Rosalind Franklin’s work in 1951 on X-ray diffraction studies, which set the groundwork for the discovery of DNA’s dou- ble helix structure by James Watson and Francis Clark in 1953. By 1983, not only did the Herding Group debut at Westminster but Huntington’s became the first mapped human genetic disease. In 1999, Narcolepsy became the first mapped canine genetic disease by a team of researchers at Stanford University. During the 21st century, the human genome was sequenced in 2003, followed by the canine genome in 2005 with “Tasha” the Boxer. In 2008, “Uno” the Beagle became the first Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show winner to donate DNA to research. His contribution helped to launch the first ever canine SNP array.

Courtesy of The Westminster Kennel Club.

By 2015, Embark Veterinary founders Ryan and Adam Boyko’s DNA research contributed to the understanding of the origins of the domestic dog. Their love of dogs and science, guided by their mission to improve the life and longevity of all dogs and end pre- ventable diseases, evolved into the founding of Embark Veterinary. In 2019, Embark Veterinary was selected as the official Dog DNA Test of the Westminster Kennel Club. In 2021, Embark scientists published their roan gene discovery. This was followed by the red intensity gene research article in May. Embark Veterinary may have a short history compared to that of the Westminster Kennel Club. However, the contributions of Embark’s founders, Ryan and Adam Boyko, have been felt across the canine world thanks to their research into the origin, over 15,000 years ago, of domesticated dogs. Ryan and Adam have spent the last decade learning everything they can about dogs and genetics. Meanwhile, The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of dogs. The West- minster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second longest continu- ously held sporting event in the US and, since 1948, is the longest nationally televised live dog show. The club has spent more than a century enhancing the lives of all dogs. A partnership between the two organizations was simply a natural fit. In June 2021, Embark and Westminster will team up again at the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, held at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York, on June 11th-13th. Embark will have an on-site swabbing station for exhibitors and award every Best of Breed winner an Embark for Breeders DNA Kit. Embark will also donate $10,000 toward canine health research in honor of the Best in Show winner. It’s evident that genetics and dog shows have shared a long history over the centuries, coming together today with a shared love of purebred dogs.


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 herway todecryoverlyabundant 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 GOLDENhueNOTyellow…Brown is a colour that isNEV- 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 andmuzzle,

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.



spilling over onto the head. She goes on to say, “A white or pale coat must also be penalized.” (Ibid. page 153.) I would take exception to faulting a “pale” coat. If it has shine and is not white, I would call it acceptable—far more acceptable than a dull, oatmeal or grayish hue. Historically, trimming has been a point of contention both here and abroad, but presently, I don’t consider it a problem here. A general discussion of presentation is out- side the parameters of this article, but it can affect breed type when improper presenta- tion creates an uncharacteristic look. While the FCI standard still allows for untrimmed dogs (which is rarely seen abroad), the American standard only describes trimmed dogs, cautioning that “Dogs that are over- ly trimmed shall be severely penalized.” Wheatens’ coats should never be cut as close as our Kerry Blue cousins. But, most often, when dogs appear to be over-groomed, it is the byproduct of poor coat quality and not overworked scissors. As noted above, the ces- sation of blow-drying and ironing of coats has greatly contributed to the uniformity of proper wavy coats seen in the ring today. Can an otherwise excellent Soft Coated Wheaten with a bad coat be considered excel- lent? No! Can an excellent coat make an oth- erwise mediocre Soft Coated Wheaten excel- lent? No! Proper coat is only one important component and must never be championed above the whole dog. Accompanying photos depict ideal coat color and texture. *For an excellent in-depth discussion of coat, see Kickie Norrby’s Evaluating Coat in the Wheaten Terrier . Also, note color photos of Wheaten Terrier coat in Maureen Holmes’ book The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier , pages 155 & 156.

“Proper coat is only one important component and must never be championed above the whole dog.”


A native of Rockville Centre, New York, Cindy earned a Bachelor of Music (Flute) from New England Conservatory of Music and a Master Of Music (History) from the University of Colorado. Her interest in dogs began in high school, and she and her mother, Jackie Gottlieb, have bred over 100 “Andover” Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier champions; they have owned numerous top winners and producers, including Ch. Andover Song N Dance Man, most of whose 30-year-old breed records still stand. Cindy also bred champion Kerry Blue, Norfolk, and Welsh Terriers, Brittanys, and Greyhounds. Cindy is AKC approved to judge all Sporting, Hound, Terrier, and Toy breeds, eight Non-Sporting breeds, Best in Show, and Junior Showmanship. A busy judge, she has adjudicated at many prestigious shows worldwide, including judging Best in Show at both Westminster KC and Montgomery County KC all-Terrier show. Her participation in dog clubs include: former President and AKC Delegate, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America; presently, Show Chairman, Evergreen Colorado KC. Cindy also serves on the Board of Directors of Take the Lead and is Treasurer of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. Longtime Colorado residents, Cindy and her husband of 40-plus years, David, enjoy an eclectic mix of house dogs. When not indulging their granddaughter, the Vogels family enjoys sports and travel, and they are ardent “foodies.”




A LITTLE HISTORY I have been asked this question many times during the past for- ty-nine years. Fortunately, it has always been in public parks or on walks and never in the show ring. My first Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was wrong in every way. I bought him in 1969 and had great plans for sweep- ing the miscellaneous classes with my beautiful dog. After all, the newspaper ad promised a show quality pup, per- fect in every way, from fine old Irish stock. What he turned out to be was a walking, growling exception to every principle we hold dear in our breed’s description of type. While he won his first two shows, I still learned very quickly that he was not what I wanted to be showing. I feel very sorry for our new enthu- siasts who win big with their first dog, especially if it is professionally handled. They miss out on all the great learning experiences available to those of us who start with dogs that we are willing to admit are less than perfect. What really matters is that breeders and exhibitors actually have the desire to learn, and that they search out the best mentors; people who have bred consistent cor- rect type, those that have bred multiple winners, and who are good teachers. In 1969, we Wheaten folk were still feeling our way toward AKC recogni- tion and the development of a breed standard. In 1973, the year of AKC recognition, there were 33 entries at the Montgomery County Kennel Club show and the entries could easily have represented 15 different breeds. Abby’s

Cloverlane Connaught was one of the 1973 champions and is used as the example of the SCWT in the AKC Book of Dogs

CH Amaden’s Duke of Pearlcroft

CH Amaden’s Bugger Vance


with a booklet still considered an exam- ple of a best practice. Wheaten enthu- siasts and judges alike stand to learn everything they need to know about what distinguishes a Wheaten Terrier from other breeds if they would but study this illustrated standard and use the information objectively. 1990 also marked the beginning of the importation of Irish dogs, followed by European dogs, the latter primar- ily of Irish descent. The objective of most breeders was to water down the intense gene pool that was producing illnesses that were killing off noticeable numbers of the breed. But we soon found that the imported dogs brought with them other issues. The FCI stan- dard is not the same as the AKC stan- dard and health testing was not carried forth in Ireland or in parts of Europe as it was in the US. Some imported dogs were also carrying genes for black or grey coloring that had been eliminated years before here. THE PROBLEM The 2017 Best of Breed rings at the Delaware Valley Specialty held with Bucks County Kennel Club and at the SCWTCA specialty held with the Mont- gomery County Kennel Club Show cer- tainly showed improvement from 1973 and some succeeding as well, but there are some obvious issues. • Long bodies! Some argue that they are short on leg, but I am seeing long rib cages and long top lines. • Black faces, beards and ears... neither standard calls for these and in fact, color should be clear by two years of age. • Tails are everywhere...too long, too short, gay, or low-set • Ears hang low and wiggle to and fro, (kidding), but expression does mat- ter. After all, Wheatens are Terriers! • Broad skulls, coarseness • Coats looking wooly—some of those may just be poor scissoring or improper thinning. There are some lovely Irish coats in the ring as well as some lovely American coats that haven’t been blown stick straight. Presentation is a problem that isn’t going to be improved by better breeding practices. Actually a better dog under the coat would help. It would be great if exhibitors understood the meaning of two words, moderation and blending. Breeders and exhibitors would benefit

Ch Abby’s Dhu of Waterford

Postage Dhu O’ Waterford owned by Marjorie Shoemaker led the way, win- ning the dog points three of the first four shows to become the first breed champion. By 1990 the special’s ring at Montgomery was a totally different story due to the breeding and groom- ing influence of one great dog, Ch Gleanngay Holliday, and by the expert trimming and handling directed by his breeder, Gay Sherman (Dunlap), and executed by Penny Belviso. Those who didn’t breed to him trimmed their dogs

to look like him and those who couldn’t trim, hired handlers who either could, or thought they could. We were excited that at last we were developing breed type. 1990 marked another important milestone in breed history. As president of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America, I suggested that the Board authorize the development of an Illus- trated Standard and that Gay Dunlap chair the project. She and illustrator, Jody Sylvester, made the club proud

CH Bryr Rose Symbol of Paris


Gleanngay Holliday with his handler, late Peggy Belviso

Gleanngay Holliday with breeder, Gay Dunlap

Watch dogs and emulate grooming that highlights the outline of the dog with- out coat flopping and getting in the way of the dog’s movement.. Bad grooming gives the illusion of movement issues that often aren’t there. Dull coats are not to be rewarded and there should be no gray in the adult coat nor should the beard or fall be black. We are talking about a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier! SILHOUETTE Square cannot be emphasized enough! Judges reward too many long, low dogs. Perhaps they are judg- ing on movement but, in doing so, they are ignoring one of the four most important aspects of Wheaten type. A Wheaten should hold its square out- line as it moves and should maintain a level top line. The Wheaten should hold its square outline as it moves and should maintain a level top line. The tail should be carried high and erect, straight up from the back with plenty of dog behind it. Imports will carry natu- ral tails which may be carried forward over the back. To determine whether the tail is correct, visually dock it level to the top of the neck, where the neck joins the head. If the tail is erect to that point, it is correct. Dogs with long tails in classes other than OPEN were bred in the USA where docked tails

from reading the Illustrated Standard and then watching the specialty video. Note that beards and falls are bizarre on many dogs. Many tuck-ups are not blended but appear as curtains under the body and don’t begin to follow the lines of the dog. Yes, it is easier to cri- tique than to do the actual work but the very best way to learn is to observe and then to practice. Some things can be helped with the use of a quality sham- poo, more practice grooming, moving the dog between snips etc. But,if you don’t have a picture in your mind’s eye of a really great Wheaten, whether you be judge, breeder or professional han- dler, the results will not be great. THE SOLUTION Let’s go back to the Illustrated Stan- dard. It won’t produce miracles but will provide a guide for evaluating dogs, picking the right puppy, grooming well and quite possibly might lead to making better breeding decisions. The pages in the beginning of the booklet titled “Essence of SCWT Type”, pack major punch. COAT—SOFT, SILKY, WAV- ING, FLOWING, WARM WHEATEN COLOR If the coat is all chopped off, it does not wave or flow. If it is too long, it flops.

are preferred. Wheatens are not sun- lovers but they should show with erect tails. Overly aggressive or fearful dogs are not useful in breeding programs. Excuses made for poor temperament only harm the breed and its future. HEAD The head is a rectangle, not a square skull with a rectangle attached. The skull and foreface should be equal in length. The cheeks and the skull should be smooth and clean on three sides. The ears should be small to medium... not large and hanging low. Terrier expres- sion, often expressed with the ear car- riage, is important on Wheatens just as it is on any other Terrier! The Wheaten should have ears set so that the tip is level with the outside corner of the eye. You should also see a big black nose. ATTITUDE A Wheaten should appear happy, but steady. Males should stand their ground when faced off, but should not appear aggressive. Relating the pictures in the Illus- trated Standard to one’s own dog might prove difficult. It requires looking past the emotions of loving the puppy you have raised and seeing the dog that is in front of you. If that is possible, a true breeder lies within.



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 dispo- sition. 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 1 8 to 1 9 inches at the withers, the ideal being 1 8 ½ . A bitch shall be 1 7 to 1 8 inches at the withers, the ideal being 1 7 ½ . Major Faults - Dogs under 1 8 inches or over 1 9 inches; bitches under 1 7 inches or over 1 8 inches. Any deviation must be penalized according to the degree of its severity. Square in outline. Hardy, well bal- anced. Dogs should weigh 3 5 to 4 0 pounds; bitches 3 0 to 3 5 pounds.

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 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

Head : Well balanced and in proportion to the body. Rectangular in appearance; moder- ately 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

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 aggres- siveness than is sometimes encouraged in other terriers. Major Fault - Timid or overly aggressive dogs.

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, Bod y: 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 9 0 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. Hind quarters: Hind legs well developed with well bent stifles turning neither in nor out; hocks well let down and parallel to

Approved Aug ust 10, 2009 Effective September 30, 2009


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