Trimming a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier properly requires experience, and you should not let your local dog groomer “have a go” if he does not know this dog breed. Before attempting to trim your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, you must make sure that his coat is mat-free. Bathe your dog, using a dog shampoo and creme conditioner, and then blow dry the coat. You will need to use your grooming scissors and thinning shears plus your electric clipper (with blades #15, #10, #20 and #7), not to mention your slicker brush and comb. It’s imperative that you use sharp blades, as the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s soft coat can be harmed by dull blades.
Grooming Your Dog’s Face
Using the scissors, trim your dog’s head first. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s muzzle should always be adorned with long, flowing hair, and the fore and hind leg furnishings should be no shorter than 2.5 inches. Starting from the front of the ear to the center of the eye, trim the hair on the side of the dog’s face with the thinning shears. You want to leave the hair on the top of the dog’s head long, trimming in a straight line from the top of the skull to the muzzle, leaving the hair on the cheeks short. The hair on the top of the dog’s head is scissored fairly short between the ears, well blended into the coat.
Grooming Your Dog’s Ears
The clipper is used to trim the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s ears (#10 on the inside and #7 on the outside), working from the center of the ear to the outside. Do not overtrim the ears to expose the leather. Leave a nice cottony fuzz on the ears. The fringe should be removed with your scissors
Grooming Your Dog’s Neck, Chest and Back
The neck is trimmed close. Be careful not to shave the dog’s beard, which should begin at about the center of the eye and hang down a few inches past the chin. Only in cases of an extremely thick beard should you have to trim it at all. Some practice is required with your scissors or thinning shears to blend the dog’s coat on the back of the neck into the coat on the head and the shorter throat hair into the longer neck hair.
You want to clip your dog’s neck and chest area coming toward the legs, as well as the area above the rear legs, usually about one-quarter inch. The topline (from the back of the dog’s head, down the neck and back) should be trimmed straight, approximately three-quarters an inch in length. Clip from the front to the rear with the lie of the coat.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers underside can be trimmed with the #20 blade, to give the dog the desired tuck-up between the hind legs. Be careful around the dog’s penis or vulva. You can trim a little shorter around these to prevent your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier from urinating on him/herself. In the warm months, you may want to use a #10 blade on the belly to provide some ventilation down there. Hair around the dog’s rib cage should extend about 2 inches below the dog’s trunk.
Grooming Your Dog’s Legs
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s legs are an important part of the trimming process. Using your scissors and your slicker brush, trim the front legs to appear cylindrical and the rear legs to balance and follow the bend. Using a curved shear, trim around the dog’s feet closely. The coat on the underside of the foot should be trimmed shorter. The #15 blade is handy to clean out the coat between the foot pads. Do not remove the hair between the toes. Don’t forget the dog’s tail, which should be scissored to the shape of a small cone.
Excerpt from Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier here.