Wire Fox Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

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The wire fox terrier is short-backed and square-proportioned, but at the same time standing over a lot of ground. Its conformation combines speed, endurance and power, enabling it to gallop and stay with the horses and hounds during the hunt and to follow a fox up a narrow passage. The gait while trotting gets most of its propulsion from the rear quarters. The expression, like the attitude, is keen; the carriage is alert and expectant. The coat is dense, wiry, broken and twisted, almost appearing like coconut matting, with a short, fine undercoat. The outer coat may be crinkled, but it should not be curly.

A true "live-wire," the wire fox terrier is always up for adventure. This breed lives to play, explore, run, hunt and chase. It can be mischievous and independent and may dig and bark. It is usually fairly reserved with strangers. The wire has a reputation for being somewhat scrappier with other dogs when compared to the smooth.


FAMILY terrier



ORIGINAL FUNCTION vermin hunting, fox bolting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: <15.5 Weight: 17-19

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: <15.5 Weight: 15-17


Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The fox terrier must have daily exercise. It will do much to exercise itself given the room, but it profits from a good walk on leash, a vigorous play session or an off-lead outing in a safe area. This breed can live outdoors in a temperate to warm climate, but it does better as an indoor dog
with access to a secure yard. The wire's coat needs combing two or three times weekly, plus shaping every three months. Shaping for pets is by clipping, and for show dogs, by stripping. Some training of the ears may be necessary as puppies for proper adult shape to develop.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: lens luxation, distichiasis, cataract, Legg-Perthes, shoulder dislocation
• Occasionally seen: deafness, patellar luxation
• Suggested tests: eye
• Life span: 10 – 13 years
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The ultimate show dog, the wire fox terrier has its roots as an effective hunting dog. Its forebears were adept at bolting and perhaps dispatching game, especially fox that had gone to ground. Some speculation exists that the smooth and wire fox terriers arose from distinct backgrounds, with the wire descending from the rough-coated black and tan terrier of Wales. The wire entered the show ring about 15 to 20 years after the smooth made its debut. The two varieties were interbred extensively at one time, mainly with the objective of improving the wire variety by decreasing its size, increasing the amount of white on its coat and imparting a sleeker outline. This objective was met quite early. Wire fox terriers became extremely popular in the years following World War II. In 1985, 100 years after the establishment of the American Fox Terrier Club, the AKC divided the fox terrier into two separate breeds. That century had seen many triumphs for the breed both as a show dog and a pet; the split into two varieties seemed a logical step because they were no longer interbred.
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