Wire Fox Terrier

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15-17 lbs
The wire fox terrier is an old breed whose bloodline is uncertain. Some say it came from the rough-coated working terrier of Wales, Derbyshire, and Durham. Others feel that its ancestors were terriers from the English counties of Cheshire and Shropshire mixed with some Beagle. The resulting Smooth Fox Terrier was then bred with an unknown wire-haired female to produce the wire fox terrier.
vermin hunting, fox bolting
Date of Origin

Wire Fox Terrier Health

Average Size
Height: 13-15 inches Weight: 17-19 lbs
Height: 12-15 inches Weight: 15-17 lbs
Minor Concerns
  • Distichiasis
  • Legg-Perthes
  • Cataract
  • Lens Luxation
  • Shoulder Dislocation
Occasional Tests
  • Eye

Wire Fox Terrier Breed History

The fox terrier was recognized as a breed in the 1860s, however the AKC did not make a distinction between the smooth and wire until 1984. Originally bred to hunt vermin, the breed was skilled at bolting to scare game from hiding. The smooth and wire fox terriers were interbred in an attempt to improve the wire’s form – including decreasing its frame and whitening its coat. The wire did not join the show ring for 15 to 20 years after the smooth. It became an incredible show dog, gaining popularity after the Second World War.

Wire Fox Terrier Breed Appearance

The wire fox terrier is compact with a square figure, v-shaped ears, and powerful jaws. It uses its hind legs to propel it forward when trotting. It carries an express of expectation and remains alert. The breed’s coat is thick, wiry, and twisted – almost like the shell of a coconut. The fur should not be curly, and the undercoat is short and fine. White should be the predominate coloring, however it can have tan or black markings.

Wire Fox Terrier Breed Maintenance

The wire is a highly active dog that will exercise itself if let out in a fenced yard, however will benefit from a walk outside its yard or a game of catch. Do not leave this adventurous dog alone outdoors, as it may bark continuously or try to dig its way under the fence. It can live outdoors in warm climates, but does better as an indoor pet. Its coat requires brushing several times a week and shaping every three months. It should be given a bath only when necessary. The wire fox terrier’s teeth and nails require maintenance; and as a pup, the ears might need training to develop the characteristic triangle shape of the adult. It responds to training with a firm loving hand; however it can be stubborn, so training must be consistent.

Wire Fox Terrier Breed Activity Requirements

This breed is energetic and playful, but has been known to bite. It is adventurous and a bit mischievous, tending to bark excessively. It will dig holes and kill small animals if given the opportunity. The wire is courageous, devoted, and wary of strangers – all characteristics of a good watchdog.