Wire Fox Terrier - What you Need to Know about Wirehaired Fox Terriers

Did you just bring home a new Wire Fox Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

What we know for sure is that, similar to most terrier breeds, the Wire Fox Terrier originated in the United Kingdom. The rest of its origin is not so straightforward...

The Wirehaired Fox Terrier is one of the two original Fox Terrier breeds (the Smooth Fox Terrier is the other). But for almost 100 years both breeds were shown as varieties of the same breed. It wasn't until 1985 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized them as two distinct breeds.

The exact date when the breed came into existence is not known but terriers with coat types similar to this breed can be seen in British paintings from the mid 1700s.

Many experts believe some of Wire Fox Terrier's ancestors include black-and-tan and rough-coated working terriers. These are not the same dogs that were ancestors of the smooth-coated Fox Terriers but despite this, both breeds look remarkably similar. That's due to the interbreeding that was popular in the breed's early years.

Like majority of terriers, this is a working dog. It was extensively used to hunt small prey and protect the livestock. Farmers also used it to protect their crops from rats and other small vermin. Its rough coat would allow the Wire Fox Terrier to chase their prey into narrow underground holes and flush it out towards waiting hunters.

While many are still used for hunting, Wire Hair Fox Terriers also make good watchdogs and excel in dog agility. They are also popular as family pets.

Today, the Wire Fox Terrier is not only more popular than it's smooth-coated cousin but it also won more 'Best in Show' titles (13 as of 2010) at Westminster Kennel Club dog shows than any other breed.

While the AKC and many other clubs are treating Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers as distinct breeds, there are some clubs that still treat them as the same breed with different coat types.

Physical Characteristics of Wire Fox Terrier Puppies

This is a medium size dog with an alert expression and dignified appearance.

He has short body with a level back, downward sloping shoulders (when viewed from the front), and average-length, muscular neck. The tail is usually docked by 1/4 (in many European countries docking is against the law) and set high.

One of the most distinctive features of the Wire Fox Terrier is his elongated, almost flat head with a black nose and small, forward-dropping V-shaped ears. The eyes are moderately small, dark, and set high.

The front legs are straight and perpendicular to the ground. The back legs are long and muscular. The feet are round and compact.

The coat is hard, wiry, and extremely dense. Just how dense? Try parting the hair with your fingers and see if you can see the skin. The coat is hardest on the back and legs. Under the outer layer there is a short layer of much softer undercoat.

The predominant coat color should be white with markings of any color other than red, brindle, or liver.

    Height Weight
  Male 14 - 15 1/2 inches 15 - 18 pounds
  Female 13 1/2 - 15 inches 13 - 16 pounds


The Wire Fox Terrier is an intelligent, outgoing, fun-loving, and confident dog. He is also a very active breed that can be mischievous when bored. Unless you provide your pet with plenty of physical and mental stimulation, he will most likely get himself into trouble.

Being a terrier, he possesses many traits common to other terrier breeds. These include excessive barking and digging. If you live in a rural setting and need a good watchdog, excessive barking can be a good thing. On the other hand, if you have neighbors living nearby, barking can be problematic. And, unless you plan to use your pet to hunt, there are no benefits of him digging up your yard.

Though they can be reserved with strangers, they are affectionate with their family and enjoy being included in all family activities. They are also good with children and can spend hours playing with them. But despite being affectionate and loving pets, they are not for everyone...

Because of their strong hunting instinct, they are not recommended for families with other pets, including cats, hamsters, and even birds. They can also get confrontational with other dogs, even those that are much larger than them. Socializing your dog at an early age can help your pet to get along with other dogs but there are no guarantees he will become trustworthy with other small, furry animals.

Being independent minded, and known to be stubborn at times, the Wire Hair Terrier may be more challenging to train than some other breeds. Unless you handle your dog in a firm manner and act as a pack leader, your pet may develop numerous behavioral problems, including possessiveness, puppy separation anxiety, and even jealousy.

Despite some challenges described above, the Wire Fox Terrier is a very intelligent dog and learns fast. He can even be taught to perform tricks.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

This breed is not suited for everyone. It requires an assertive owner willing to establish himself or herself as a leader. It hates boredom and requires plenty of attention. If you are not leading an active lifestyle, this breed is probably not for you.

Despite being an active breed, it can adjust to an apartment lifestyle as long as he gets plenty of exercise. But it will probably do better in a setting where he has a fenced yard to play in.

Some Wire Fox Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Being a terrier, the Wire Fox Terrier is an active breed. He needs regular exercise not only to stay healthy but also to be well-behaved.

His daily exercise can consist of long walks, playing ball or catch, or just running off leash. A word of caution: these dogs have strong hunting instinct and should never be left off leash in an unsecured area. Allow your pet to run off leash only if you have a fenced yard and there are no other animals around.

Even if your pet gets his exercise from running off leash, it should not come at the expense of regular daily walks. At a minimum, every Wire Terrier needs to have several long walks every day.

Grooming your Wire Fox Terrier

Even dogs that are not part of a dog show circuit require regular grooming. This breed is not an exception.

To keep the coat at its best, you will need to not only brush it several times per week but also hand-strip it at least twice per year. Stripping is a painless process that involves pulling out the hair instead of cutting it with scissors. It sounds much worse than it actually is :)

Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary.

The Wire Haired Fox Terrier sheds little and makes a good choice for allergy sufferers.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Wire Fox Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as worms, fleas, ticks, and mites.

While it's considered a healthy breed, some minor concerns still exist. These include patellar luxation, Legg-Perthes disease, cataracts, and distichiasis. Visit dog health problems for additional information about dog diseases and health.

Buy only from reputable Wire Fox Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Wire Fox Terrier puppies is between 13 and 15 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Wire Fox Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this dog behavior and obedience training guide.

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