The soft-coated wheaten terrier and lakeland terrier are both spunky guys, full of high energy and ready to give chase. Though they have plenty of similarities, there are also differences between them. If you're considering adding one of these pups to your family, be prepared to be a confident, kind pack leader.
The wheaten terrier was imported to the U.S. in 1946 and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973. He has Irish roots and is one of the oldest Irish breeds. He earned his keep on farms, working as a herder and hunting vermin and small game. The lakeland terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds, dating back to the 1800s. A cross between the Bedlington terrier and old English wirehaired terrier, he was used to protect crops and herds from foxes and other vermin. The AKC recognized the breed in 1934.
If you want a happy challenge, consider the lakeland terrier. He's a loving and affectionate companion, but he needs firm training and a confident pack leader to show him the way. He likes to bark and can be challenging to housebreak, but otherwise, he's easy to train. He gets on well with other pooches and, if socialized with cats early, will learn to live with them without giving chase. The wheaten terrier is similar in that he's a happy fellow who enjoys a good bark, particularly when he's welcoming friends to the house. He'll bond with the family and gets on well with children, as he's a gentle little dog. Like the lakeland, he should be socialized with cats early in his life so he learns not to chase them. This confident little dog learns quickly with a person who calmly trains him.
If size is your main consideration, the lakeland terrier is a small dog, maxing out at about 14 1/2 inches high at the shoulder. Males weigh about 17 pounds and females are slightly smaller at 15 pounds. Wheatens are taller, ranging from 17 to 20 inches tall and weighing between 30 pounds for the ladies and up to 45 pounds for the gents. Both are fairly healthy, though the wheaten terrier is prone to wasting diseases and flea allergies. The lakeland terrier has a life expectancy of about 10 to 12 years and the wheaten typically goes a little longer, about 12 to 15 years.
The lakeland terrier is fairly easy to groom, requiring a light combing about once or twice a week. Visiting the groomer three or four times a year to get his coat shaped will keep him looking sharp. If you like the wheaten terrier's fuzzy look, comb it daily to keep it tangle-free and soft. He doesn't shed much, so he's an especially good choice for allergy sufferers.
By Betty Lewis
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Lakeland Terrier
Dog Breed Information Center: Lakeland Terrier
Animal Planet: Lakeland Terrier Guide
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Dog Breed Information Center: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
PetMD: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
About the Author
Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master's degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.