The Wire Fox Terrier is an independent and athletic hunting dog known for their playful personality. Wire Fox Terriers are a nearly identical breed to Smooth Fox Terriers, distinguished only by differences in their coat. The Wire Fox Terrier ranks 101 out of 193 in the AKC’s Breed Popularity ranking.
Wire Fox Terriers were bred in Britain to work with hounds and hunters during foxhunts. Their job was to spook foxes out of their dens. Wire Foxes are commonly chosen for appearances on movies and TV shows and are highly successful show dogs with 13 Best in Show wins at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Characteristics of the Wire Fox Terrier
Here we will go into more detail about the appearance and temperament of the Wire Fox Terrier.
The Wire Fox Terrier is classified as an AKC small dog breed. The Wire Fox’s height is about 15.5 inches and weight is about 18 pounds (male) or 15-17 pounds (female). The Wire Fox’s length is about 16-19 inches. The Wire Fox Terrier is a long-lived breed with a life span of 12-15 years.
The sturdy body shape and handsome appearance of the Wire Fox Terrier are highly distinctive. Their coat is wiry in texture and predominately white with brown or black splotches on the head or back. Their long face, folded-over ears and dark eyes give them a thoughtful expression. Traditionally, Wire Fox Terriers’ coats are hand stripped, but pets can be clipped once per month by a groomer and brushed weekly. The breed sheds infrequently. Check out our recommendations for dog grooming clippers and dog brushes.
Like all terriers, the Wire Fox Terrier is an exceptional athlete with a high prey drive and independent personality. They are friendly, natural comedians and enthusiastic companions. They are also impulsive and mischievous and will do best with a firm and dominant owner who is up to the challenge of training them.
Wire Fox Terriers can act aggressively towards animals they perceive as prey, which includes cats and pet rodents. They also will not do well will young children, as they do not tolerate clumsy petting and are highly possessive of their toys and food. However, they will do well as a part of families with older children. While Wire Foxes love being the king of the castle, they may be able to live with another dog if they are socialized from an early age.
Wire Fox Terriers generally do fine if left alone for a few hours at a time but eventually will become bored and destructive to furniture and anything else they can get their paws on. Crate training is the best way to avoid this undesirable behavior. Crate-trained Wire Foxes also travel well in cars and in planes. Check out our recommendations for dog crates.
Caring for a Wire Fox Terrier
To ensure you are providing your Wire Fox Terrier with everything it needs to live a long and happy life, it is essential to understand the quirks of the breed and what works best for them. Following are preliminary tips on health and training your Wire Fox Terrier so you know what to expect. However, remember that each dog is unique, even within a specific breed.
A high-quality dog food will give a Wire Fox Terrier everything it needs to thrive. Dog food can be purchased from a store or prepared at home. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a recipe or dog food brand and pay close attention to diet recommendations for your dog’s age. Use treats sparingly and do not feed your dog table scraps. To avoid weight gain and obesity, monitoring of calorie consumption is important.
Wire Fox terriers have a lot of energy and are difficult to tire out. They enjoy long walks, playing fetch and chase, and time to run free in a fenced backyard or park. Daily exercise is important to keep your Wire Fox Terrier fit, happy and well behaved. Be aware that Wire Fox Terriers have a strong prey instinct and will forget all about you to chase any critters it sees if given the opportunity. Wire Foxes should never be let off-leash in an unfenced area, so be sure to invest in a high quality dog harness and dog leash.
Wire Fox Terriers are moderately difficult to train. While they are highly intelligent, they are often uninterested in training and unmotivated to learn unless training sessions are kept exciting. Because they were bred for hunting foxes as well as other larger animals such as boars, repressing their prey instinct can be very difficult, but is not impossible. Wire Foxes are skilled diggers and can jump over most fences, so they should always be monitored while outside.
Wire Fox Terriers are quick to bark when something is amiss and must be trained from a young age to minimize this behavior. Wire Foxes react negatively to harsh comments so positive reinforcement-training methods should be utilized. The breed also is well suited for participating in speed, intelligence, and agility performance events such as earthdog trials.
Wire Fox Terriers are generally healthy, though there are multiple afflictions common to the breed. Eye disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts and primary lens luxalation are the most common genetic disorders, as well as deafness, luxating patellas and elbow and hip dysplasia. Wobbler’s gait, a neurological condition, can also occur in Wire Foxes. The National Breed Club recommends a cardiac exam and patella evaluation for Wire Fox Terriers. Ears must be checked and cleaned weekly to avoid excess wax and debris buildup, which can lead to ear infections. Nails must be clipped every month.
Be sure to choose a dog from a responsible, certified breeder. This will give you the highest chance of having a long-lived and healthy Wire Fox Terrier.