Temperament and Disposition

We are frequent asked, "Are Wheaten Terriers good with children?"

Yes, they are generally very good with children and seem to have an instinctive tolerance for children's rough play without showing aggressiveness. They are sturdy dogs and not easily injured. Wheatens are also good with the sick and elderly and have been successful as therapy dogs.

Yet the Softies are not miracle dogs. They need training and discipline as other dogs do, without which they can develop bad habits. Good training is required for your puppy to reach itís full potential as a valuable and trusted companion.

The Wheaten terrier is happy dog and should show himself with gaiety and self-confidence. He should be alert to what goes on around him yet maintain a steady disposition. He is less aggressive than most other terriers yet will acquit himself admirably when given the chance to face off and spar.

Are Wheatens good with other pets?
Wheatens are probably the most social breed of terriers. They display little dog-dog aggressiveness and are less territorial as well. They will get along with other household pets, especially if the introductions and adjustments take place while the dog is young.

Can Softies live in the city?
They make fine dogs for apartment dwellers as long as their exercise requirements are met (more walking when there's no yard).

Their size is convenient, they are exceptionally sociable, and do not disturb neighbors with barking. An article in "New York" magazine in 1969 billed the Wheaten as "the perfect apartment dog" while a "New Yorker" Talk of the Town piece from November 8, 1982 discussed meeting a Wheaten on Broadway.

Do Wheatens bark?/Are they good watchdogs? 
They are not, as a rule, given to barking, but they are alert to their surroundings and generally will announce visitors. Usually when a Wheaten barks, it is best to investigate. They are not particularly territorial, but they are very loyal to their family. Their size and loyalty will make them good for personal protection, but they are much too sociable to be a guard dog. 

What is a Wheaten welcome?
They are well known for their habit of introducing themselves to strangers (and friends) by jumping straight up and very happily letting you know that they love you. Their individual training will determine the amount of personal contact from none to jumping right into the open arms of their owner.

Have you ever had a Wheaten Kiss?

What other types of behavior are typical of Wheatens? 
The following list of Wheaten characteristics is taken from responses of different Wheaten owners. Not all Wheatens will display all of these traits, but don't be surprised if a Wheaten demonstrates any of them. Also, they are not all unique to Wheatens.

* Mad dashes around the house and yard

* Whirling when feeling happy

* Mad, passionate, lightning-fast 'kissing' (your face, ears, hands)

* Sleeping on back with feet up or body twisted

* Beard wiping

* Sleeping across couch cushions

* Resting their head on your knee to get petting (dinner, let out, etc.)

* Play bows when playing with each other

* Sitting on things like the curb, your foot, etc. (as if it were a chair)

* Putting on a "Camille" act; if you send them away, you can hear their little hearts breaking with each step they take! Also known as the, 'Pitiful Pearl Act'. They can 'guilt trip' you from 40 paces.

* They sit on other dogs in play

* Many (not all, but maybe most) HATE to go out in the rain, but LOVE the snow. 

* Tremendously sensitive to and will reflect your moods. Thrilled when you're happy. Sad when you're sad.

* Hate to be yelled at.

* Attached to all family members.

* Friendly and outgoing. They "never met a stranger they didn't like"

* When walking on a leash, they takes the leash in his mouth a hold their head up like they're walking themselves.

* They love to find sticks when they walk and carry them in their mouth like a prized possession.


Also read our first time buyers section for additional information on temperament.