Showsight Presents the Soft Coated 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.”

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 bverner@ilstu.edu. Ms. Emily Holden can be contacted at amaden@sc.rr.com.

“SINCE A BREED DEPENDS UPON STRONG BITCHES, WHEATENS HAVE BEEN WELL BLESSED.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2015 • 287

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