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Wheaten Terrier vs. Goldendoodle: Differences Explained (with Pictures)

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Wheaten Terrier vs. Goldendoodle

Wheaten Terrier vs. Goldendoodle: Differences Explained (with Pictures)

These two dog breeds are extremely different. The Wheaten Terrier is a purebred dog, while the Goldendoodle is a mix between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. Wheaten terriers were bred as farming dogs, while Goldendoodles are primarily companion animals.

In the purebred vs. mixed breed dichotomy, we find many differences between these two breeds. For instance, Wheaten terriers tend to be small to medium-small dogs. Goldendoodles can be just about any size, depending on the exact genetics and Poodle size used.

Below, we’ll discuss even more differences, including which ones are most important when selecting a companion dog.


Visual Differences

Wheaten Terrier vs Goldendoodle - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock | Right – David Calvert, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Wheaten Terrier
  • Average height (adult): 17–19 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 30–45 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: Moderate
  • Grooming needs: High
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Moderately trainable
  • Average height (adult): 15–24 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 15–75 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
  • Exercise: Moderate to high
  • Grooming needs: Varies
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Very


Wheaten Terrier Overview

portrait shot of a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier dog in a field
Image By: bohemama, Shutterstock

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier (usually just shortened to Wheaten Terrier) is an Irish breed that’s known for its friendly disposition. Their soft, silky coat is one reason they are so popular, but this coat also requires significant amounts of grooming. They are true terriers, so they tend to be a little bit hyperactive.

They’re smaller dogs, like most terriers. Usually, these canines come in a pale, golden color. It’s this coloration that gave them the “wheat” in their name.


Wheaten terriers are exceptionally friendly and outgoing. They love everyone. Therefore, they’re great family dogs, especially for those with children. However, they’re poor guard dogs. For one, they’re too small to do much against an intruder. Secondly, they’re much more likely to love anyone who comes through the door than be protective of their home.

As terriers, they aren’t the most trainable dogs. They weren’t bred to be obedient. Instead, their primary role was to roam the fields and chase off small animals. Today, they still tend to chase everything and don’t listen much to their owners. However, with proper patience and a positive attitude, they are trainable.

Irish soft coated wheaten terrier dog and family sitting on the grass outdoors
Image By: Denis Babenko, Shutterstock

Exercise Needs

Originally, these dogs were bred to be on the farm all day. Therefore, they are quite energetic. They can be a bit much for some to handle for this reason. You should expect them to act like other terriers, with lots of hyperactivity and running.

As you might expect, this translates to a high exercise need. These dogs love to take walks and play fetch. Their chasing tendency makes them great candidates for any game that involves a lot of running. They also love to play with children, which can make them great companions for younger and older children alike.

Of course, this exercise does take a decent amount of time. Therefore, be sure you have enough time to exercise these dogs properly daily.

Suitable for:

Wheaten terriers are a great option for families looking for a friendly, affectionate companion. They’re known for being loyal and active members of the family. However, they do need a bit of grooming and exercise, so they require a decent amount of dedicated time each day.

divider-dog paw

Goldendoodle Overview

closeup of a goldendoodle puppy laying in the grass
Image By: Rick C Lanier, Shutterstock

Goldendoodles are a mixed breed that involves breeding a Poodle to a Golden Retriever. Because you’re mixing two dog breeds together, you never exactly know what you’re going to get. This means that these dogs vary widely. The type of Poodle used also matters a lot in terms of size. A miniature Poodle is very different from a standard Poodle, and it will show in the final size of the resulting Goldendoodle.

These canines are primarily bred to be companion dogs. They’re often advertised as hypoallergenic. However, it’s important to note that hypoallergenic dogs do not exist. People who have dog allergies are allergic to a dog’s skin and saliva. It has nothing to do with their fur. Therefore, while these dogs may not shed (some absolutely do shed), that has nothing to do with what allergies they will cause.

These dogs can have curly, non-shedding coats like a Poodle. However, they can also have a straight coat or somewhere in the middle. Some do shed, as they may take after their Golden Retriever parents.

As far as coat color is concerned, these dogs come in several different options. They can be cream, apricot, red, or even black.


Goldendoodles are often described as friendly and affectionate. However, they do require socialization, and it is important to note that their temperament can vary. Sometimes, they may be a bit more aloof, like a Poodle, rather than very friendly like a Golden Retriever. You never exactly know what a puppy will act like, as they are a mixed breed.

That said, these dogs are almost always intelligent. This intelligence means that they are extremely trainable, allowing them to learn even more advanced commands. However, this also means that they require more mental stimulation. Otherwise, they can become bored and destructive. Most individuals do not quite understand how hard it is to own a more intelligent breed.

Often, Goldendoodles can make wonderful family dogs. They’re often great with children, especially when socialized properly.

woman giving treat to her goldendoodle dog in the nature
Image By: EB Adventure Photography, Shutterstock


Goldendoodles have a range of different exercise needs, depending on their size and temperament. However, they’re almost always pretty active dogs, so they do best in families that are equally as active. You should plan on playing and walking them for at least an hour a day, preferably broken into several different sessions.

Without the proper exercise, these dogs can become destructive, even when properly trained. Therefore, it’s important to be ready to meet this breed’s activity needs.

Suitable for:

Goldendoodles are best for families that aren’t super set on what they’re going to get. These dogs vary a lot, so you shouldn’t be set on a particular appearance or temperament. That said, they are a bit more work than most people realize. You should plan on grooming them daily and exercising with them for at least an hour.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

Both breeds do best in more active families, and both often require significant grooming needs. In these aspects, the Wheaten Terrier and Goldendoodle are pretty similar. Goldendoodles were specifically bred for families, which often makes them a bit better for those with children. (However, Wheaten terriers can also be great in families.)

Goldendoodles are much more trainable than Wheaten terriers. However, they also require more mental stimulation. They won’t deal with being alone for quite as long as a Wheaten, and you’ll probably have to commit more time to keeping them entertained.

In the end, your decision may come down to whether or not you want to play the game of chance that comes with getting a mixed-breed canine. Goldendoodles can vary widely, while Wheaten terriers are much more set in stone.

Featured Image Credit: Top – Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock | Bottom – Jeff Land Photography, Shutterstock

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