Wire Fo-Tzu

10-15 lbs
United States
Shih Tzu
Wire Fox Terrier
Wiry Fotzu
When you mix a Shih-Tzu with a Wire Fox Terrier, you get a spunky little ball of wiry fur called the Wire Fo-Tzu. These toy-sized dogs are great pets for just about anyone but do best in homes without children under the age of five. Since they do not get much bigger than 20 pounds, they are comfortable living in any size home and do not need as much exercise as many dogs do. They are generally healthy and live up to about 16 years old. They can be difficult to train though, and you will need some serious time and patience to spend with them. As with most small dogs, the Wire Fo-Tzu is susceptible to small dog syndrome.
purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Shih Tzu and Wire Fox Terrier

Wire Fo-Tzu Health

Average Size
Male Wire Fo-Tzu size stats
Height: 9-12 inches Weight: 15-20 lbs
Female Wire Fo-Tzu size stats
Height: 8-11 inches Weight: 10-15 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Heart Problems such as Pulmonic Stenosis
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
  • CVI (Wobbler’s Syndrome)
Minor Concerns
  • Deafness
  • Skin Diseases and Disorders
  • Eye Conditions (Cataracts, Lens Luxation)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Urolithiasis
  • Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examination
  • Skin Evaluation
  • Blood And Urine Analysis
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Hearing and Ear Tests
  • Echocardiogram

Wire Fo-Tzu Breed History

The Wire Fo-Tzu is a mix of the Shih Tzu and Wire Fox Terrier so it is important to look at their backgrounds to determine the complex personality of your new dog. The Shih Tzu has been a Chinese companion to royal families since the seventh century. They are thought to be bred from Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Mountain Dogs, and Pekingese for the sole purpose of being a lap dog for royalty. Eventually, they became popular with the public and were almost made extinct during the Chinese Revolution. There were 14 Shih Tzus saved during that time and it is believed that all modern Shih Tzus are descendants of those 14 dogs. During the early 20th century, the Shih Tzu started being found in other areas such as the United States, England, and Norway although they were often confused with Lhasa Apsos. In fact, it was not until 1938 that there were distinct standards to separate the two breeds. Surprisingly, it took another 31 years for the Shih Tzu to be recognized by the American Kennel Club but now they are the 20th most common breed in America. The Wire Fox Terrier’s history began in the 19th century in England when fox hunters decided to try and develop a small but courageous breed to chase their prey from foxholes. To keep their dogs from being mistaken for a fox, the breeders mixed the Smooth and Wire Fox Terrier to get a cleaner and whiter coated dog but this was stopped many years ago to keep the bloodline pure. The Wire Fox Terrier is a very intelligent and lively dog that does well in the ring at Westminster Dog Shows, winning the top prize 13 times already. However, they are still only the 101st most well-liked breed in America where it has been acknowledged by the American Kennel Club since 1885.

Wire Fo-Tzu Breed Appearance

Your Wire Fo-Tzu will most likely have a dense, wiry, and medium length coat that is most commonly tricolored white with shades of beige, mocha, and black or they can be brindle, pied, tan, lemon, or white. Their round head is proportionate to the rest of their small body with shaggy ears that typically hang down on the face with slightly bulging coffee-colored eyes and an alert expression. Their black nose is small and wide, legs are short and stocky, and their tail is long and tapered, usually curling up over their back. Some Wire Fo-Tzus have a short tail but that is not as common.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Wire Fo-Tzu eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Wire Fo-Tzu nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Wire Fo-Tzu coat
brown Wire Fo-Tzu coat
cream Wire Fo-Tzu coat
fawn Wire Fo-Tzu coat
white Wire Fo-Tzu coat
pied Wire Fo-Tzu coat
brindle Wire Fo-Tzu coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Wire Fo-Tzu wiry coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Wire Fo-Tzu Breed Maintenance

Your Wire Fo-Tzu has a mix of silky soft fur with wiry fur so the coat has a tendency to get tangled easily. To keep your dog’s hair from getting matted, you should be sure to brush her thoroughly at least three or four times a week with a dematting tool and stainless steel comb. You also need to brush her lightly with a slicker brush on a daily basis to keep her coat from shedding too much. If your Wire-Fo-Tzu’s coat is really wiry, you will need to strip her coat at least three times a year, which you can do yourself by hand or using a stripping blade. To avoid dental issues, brush her teeth a few times a week. Additionally, trim her nails a few times a month.
Brushes for Wire Fo-Tzu
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Wire Fo-Tzu requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Wire Fo-Tzu Temperament

Being a designer breed, the Wire Fo-Tzu can have the temperament of one or both parent breeds. The Shih Tzu is a barky little dog with a sweet personality and fun-loving attitude. However, they can be snappy with little ones and may have trouble with housebreaking. As long as you are stern and consistent, your dog should be okay though. The Wire Fox Terrier is a hunter with high intelligence that may become aggressive with children and small animals as well so they should be socialized well and often to prevent problems. These dogs benefit from routine and schedules that keep them happy but consistently on-track.

Wire Fo-Tzu Activity Requirements

The Shih Tzu can be a bit of a lazy dog that likes to lay around by your feet. However, if they do not get enough exercise, they have a tendency to become overweight. The Wire Fox Terrier is a very energetic dog that loves to run and chase the local wildlife because of their high prey drive. If you are not a hunter, just letting them run around in the yard for a couple of hours a day is good but you should also take her for a couple of walks per day and maybe a trip to the local dog park to play with other dogs. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Wire Fo-Tzu Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.80 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$20.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Wire Fo-Tzu Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Wire Fo-Tzu size stats at six months
Height: 9.5 inches Weight: 7.5 lbs
Female Wire Fo-Tzu size stats at six months
Height: 8.5 inches Weight: 4.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Wire Fo-Tzu size stats at 12 months
Height: 10.5 inches Weight: 12.5 lbs
Female Wire Fo-Tzu size stats at 12 months
Height: 9.5 inches Weight: 7.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Wire Fo-Tzu size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
Female Wire Fo-Tzu size stats at 18 months
Height: 10.5 inches Weight: 12.5 lbs

Wire Fo-Tzu Owner Experiences

5 Years
1 People
Just got her. She’s a beautiful little dog
4 years, 10 months ago
3 Years
4 People
Playing outside
Cuddling on the couch
We've had him for 2 years and everyone loves him. He is great with all the kids.
4 years, 3 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior

is a shih tzu/wirehaired terrier a good dog for a senior citizen. I found one (so cute) at a rescue and would love to give her the Forever home she needs and I need the companionship. I do work 7 hrs. a day 4 days a week. I am active and do a lot of things outdoors. Thank you for your advice. Rosalie Genna

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