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Sonya Urquart | Marquee Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

Marquee Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers


Interview with Sonya Urquart, Breeder of Marquee Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers


Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?

Sonya Urquart: I live in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I started showing Poodles while I was in high school in Hawaii. From there, I went to Doberman Pinschers and then Standard Schnauzers.


What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?

Sonya Urquart: For the last almost 40 years, I have been breeding and showing Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers with a prefix of Marquee. I am now working on my eleventh generation of solid champions. I just have two girls right now; GCH Marquee’s Storm In A Teacup, “Chili,” and CH Marquees Taking The Heat With A Adako, “Sizzle.

Sonya Urquart
Sonya Urquart – Marquee Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers


Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on my decision to breed dogs?

Sonya Urquart: Without question, Jackie Gottlieb of Andover and Gay Dunlap of Glenngay have been my source of inspiration, dedication, and knowledge.


Can I talk a bit about my foundation dogs? How have they influenced my breeding program?

Sonya Urquart: I got my first Wheaten in the early 1980s, Ch. Ballyhoo’s That’s Showbiz. She had what would be considered today an Irish coat. In all the years that I have been breeding, I have only once had a dog almost as smart as she was. She was a working farm dog of the hardiest of stock. (When she died of cancer at the age of 12, she still weighed 45 pounds.) I could tell her it was time for a bath and she would go and get into the tub by herself. She was retrieving at eight weeks and knew the difference between a ball, a bone, and a bear. With a dog like “Bizi,” who could not fall in love with the breed?

When I started, it seemed like the standard wasn’t quite as tight as it is now—or maybe I just didn’t realize it. I knew that Bizi had everything I wanted in a Wheaten; just a little bit more than was necessary. Her first breeding was to Ch. Andover Song And Dance Man. From that litter came my first specialty winner, Ch. Marquee’s The Maestro.

Out of her second litter we had a little girl that did extremely well in the ring. From then on, we just went down the line, each generation improving on the last. Because that’s what it’s all about; breeding better than what you’ve got, breeding better than the sire and dam. The line split a few generations back, and so now I’ve been able to go into both sides to produce what I feel is a “style.” We all have a standard to meet. How we interpret that standard, I believe, becomes your style.


What about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Sonya Urquart: I definitely have hand-raised puppies. They’re born in my bedroom and stay with me there until they’re about four weeks old when I move them into the grand room. In this room they get used to the sounds of the TV, the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher, the garbage disposal, and anything else that might be a little out of their norm. I make it a practice to hold each puppy individually every day for at least 20 minutes, playing with its feet, its ears, its mouth, and of course, laying it on its back.


Do I have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?

Sonya Urquart: I evaluate my puppies at eight weeks and then place them shortly thereafter. At this age I am confident that I know what I’m going to have as an adult dog. I have looked at so many puppies now that I think I have it down. If not, there’s no hope for me. However, I think my win record speaks for itself. Marquee has produced multiple specialty winners. In one litter, I had four puppies that won 16 specialties, including Montgomery, Great Western, and NorCal. Adako’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is directly from that line.


How do I choose the homes for my puppies? Is puppy placement important to me as a breeder?

Sonya Urquart: Finding the right home for each puppy is essential. I am responsible for every dog that I bring into this world. If at anytime that dog needs to be rehomed it comes first to me because that’s my responsibility. So, I have to be very careful about where these puppies are placed; that each home recognizes that they are not getting a dog, they’re getting a family member, and that they are responsible for the life and well-being of that little creature for 12 to 15 years. A Wheaten puppy has to be part of the working family. It is not a backyard dog.

I try to place at least one female and one male in show homes so that I can continue my genetic line. If necessary, I keep the best, finish it, and then place it in a forever home with the understanding that I will have the opportunity to use it in my breeding program.

I make sure that each person who takes a part of my life with them to their new home understands that this puppy exemplifies a life’s works; that actually “they” are very special to get a puppy that represents such a labor of love.


Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?

Sonya Urquart: When I started showing Wheatens, there really were very few handlers in the Wheaten ring. I was told, wayback then, that the handlers like to show “Terriers.” Wheatens were Terrier wannabes. Now there are very few owner-handlers in the ring, and even fewer breeder/owner-handlers. I think the grooming on this breed is probably the reason more owners don’t show their own dogs.

The grooming is an art form and not everyone has the eye to see that one little hair that’s out of place. In addition, a good groomer can hide a lot of faults. (Which, of course, is not a good thing.) And our best groomers are handlers now. They show the dogs that the owner can’t show but are required to by the breeder. I think that it is extremely important that breeders realize that not all people can meet the requirements of a show home and, unless that breeder is willing to take over the responsibility, making them fulfill it often creates an unnecessary, undue situation. The one thing that bothers me the most is that if you have the money you can make any dog a grand champion; just hire a really good groomer/handler.

I don’t believe that every champion dog is worthy of a grand championship. I think the word “Special” should reflect its definition. (But what do I know? I’ve only been in it for 40 years!)

I have been to several shows where there are far more “Specials” than class dogs. In a way, I feel we have lost some of the value or prestige of this grand champion title with all of its levels.


Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?

Sonya Urquart: Health issues! We look for them. I have never seen a group that is more conscious of what could go wrong than the owners of the Soft Coated Wheaten. Our national club spends a great deal of time and money researching and publishing Wheaten health-related problems.

We do have health concerns in our breed and that’s why it’s really important for people who are looking for a puppy to rely on the national website. There they will find a list of recognized breeders who have taken an oath to protect and advance the breed. As members of the national club, we do all of the required testing and even testing that we just deem necessary at the moment.

We are blessed in our organization in that we have several breeders who are exceptional in their love of the breed and their dedication to protect it. I do feel that we need to make a concerted effort to welcome the younger generation. My relationship with Brittany Philps of Adáko is a beautiful example of how I, as an older owner/breeder/handler, can still enjoy the love of the sport through her. At 16, she showed an amazing interest and knowledge of the breed. I am so proud to be able to say that I gave her the best and she has improved on it.


Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?

Sonya Urquart: Actually, we do have several longtime breeders who have seen the opportunities offered by this generation. It is up to us to make sure that they get all the support they need. The future of our breed rests in their hands.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?

Sonya Urquart: I have not one funny story to share with you, but I will tell you that a Wheaten will bring laughter into your life every single day. Someday I’m going to name a puppy “Good For A Giggle.” They are!



Are you looking for a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy?

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.


Want to help rescue and re-home a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog?

Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.


Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed Magazine

Showsight Magazine is the only publication to offer dedicated Digital Breed Magazines for ALL recognized AKC Breeds.

Read and learn more about the friendly Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier dog breed with articles and information in our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breed Magazine.


Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight