Showsight Presents the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Essence of PART 3 – SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER COAT AND COLOR TYPE ESSENCE– “THE INTRINSIC NATURE OF SOMETHING; THE QUALITY WHICH DETERMINES SOMETHING’S CHARACTER” (OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS)

BY CINDY VOGELS

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 www.akc.org , www.fci.be . For a copy of the Illustrated Standard, go to the SCWTCA website at www.scwtca.org. 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.”

270 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION

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