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Wire Fox Terrier: The Fearless Hunting Dog

Wire Fox Terrier: The Fearless Hunting Dog

The Wire Fox Terrier is a robust hunting dog with a short back. Its coat is primarily white, and its eyes are black and round. It has tiny, forward-folding triangle-shaped ears and a short, upright tail. It features a lengthy muzzle and brows, as well as a beard.

In the 1700s, the Wire Fox Terrier was created. It’s largely white, which makes it easier to spot during a hunt, and no red is permitted, so it doesn’t be confused for a fox. In 1985, the American Kennel Club designated the Wire Fox Terrier as a distinct breed. It was once a favorite of King Edward VII and has been featured in a number of television series and films.

Fox Terriers are outstanding watchdogs. As long as their barking isn’t provoked by being left alone in the yard for too long, you can be certain that your Fox Terrier will alert you if he hears or sees something unusual in his area. Your Fox Terrier will constantly be on the lookout for threats to your family and house.

Fox Terriers may get into a lot of mischiefs because of their extroverted, confident nature, including raiding the dining table and getting out of the yard. They enjoy playing with toys and balls, and many of them enjoy swimming. While Fox Terrier pups are tough to resist, keep in mind that as they get older, they will require a lot of care and excitement to stay out of mischief. They’re energetic and long-lived buddies if you can remain a step or two ahead of them.

History of the Wire Fox Terrier

Fox Terriers have a long and illustrious history. They’ve been monarchs’ companions, delighted the public in circuses and films, and won more Westminster Kennel Club Best-in-Show honors than any other breed.

When fox hunting became popular in England in the late 1800s, hunters realized they needed a dog that could “go to ground” (enter fox dens) and “bolt” the foxes out of their hiding places. As a result, the Smooth Fox Terrier was created.

The original Smooth Fox Terriers were likely a mix of a Black and tan Terrier of Wales with smooth coats, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds, and Beagles, however, breeders didn’t preserve many records regarding the breed’s evolution. Colonel Thornton had a portrait drawn of his Smooth Fox Terrier, Pitch, in 1790, which provides us an insight of how early dogs appeared. They haven’t altered much since then. Old Jock, born in 1859 at Grove Kennel in England, and Belgrave Joe were two well-known 19th-century Smooths who contributed to the breed’s evolution. Uniform type had been established by the late nineteenth century.

Smooth vs Wired

Smooths and Wires were once thought to be one breed with two variants. The biggest difference between them is the sort of coat they have and, to some extent, the form of their heads. Despite their comparable size, form, and attitude, their ancestors were most likely distinct. Wires are said to have derived from Welsh, Derbyshire, and Durham rough-coated black and tan terriers. Wire Fox Terriers were frequently mated with Smooth Terriers in the early 1900s to give the Wires more white coloring, a cleaner-cut head, and a more classical form. However, this interbreeding no longer occurs and hasn’t for many years.

Smooth Fox Terriers were introduced to the show ring 15 to 20 years before Wire Fox Terriers, and they were first categorized as sports dogs. The Fox Terrier Club of England was formed in 1876. With the exception of decreasing the weight of a male dog in show condition from 20 pounds to 18 pounds, the members drew up a breed standard that has remained unaltered for decades.

King Edward VII of England adored Caesar, a Wire Fox Terrier. He had a collar with a message on it “Caesar is my name. I am the King’s property.” When Edward died in 1910, a bereaved Caesar led the funeral procession behind his coffin.

American Kennel Club recognition

Smooth Fox Terriers were originally introduced to the United States in 1879, followed by Wire Fox Terriers a few years later. The American Fox Terrier Club, the breed’s parent organization in the United States, was formed in 1885 and holds the distinction of being the first specialty organization to join the American Kennel Club. Cricket was the first Fox Terrier to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885.

When the AFTC was founded, it accepted the English breed standard, and it wasn’t until a century later that distinct standards for the two breeds were implemented. In terms of descriptions, they’re still fairly comparable.

When RCA featured a photograph of a Smooth Fox Terrier named Nipper, head cocked, listening to a record machine in their logo in the 1920s, the Smooth Fox Terrier became one of the most well-known purebred canines. When the film series The Thin Man was developed in the 1930s, Wire Fox Terriers became popular as household pets. Asta, a Wire Fox Terrier, was a regular on the show, and the breed’s popularity skyrocketed.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier as different breeds in 1985, although the American Fox Terrier Club currently maintains standards for both. Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers are rare breeds, ranked 78th and 102nd, respectively, among the AKC’s 155 breeds and variations. While they aren’t commonly seen in homes, they are show-ring stars, with Wire Fox Terriers garnering 13 Best-in-Show honors at Westminster and Smooths four, making them the winningest breeds there.


The Wire Fox Terrier has a bubbly personality and is quite loving. It has a lot of energy and is self-sufficient enough to do things on its own, so they won’t be too sad if you leave it alone for a while. It has an unquenchable desire to hunt and will relentlessly pursue small game in the yard.

Although the Wire Fox Terrier is bright and easy to teach, it has a low threshold for boredom and can be destructive if not given a purpose to do. The best protection against boredom is constant mental and physical stimulation, which will also help you bond better with your pet.

These canines are alert, energetic, and intelligent. They’re lovely yet devious, and they’re prone to mischief. A Fox Terrier may outsmart you while also making you chuckle at his pranks. Their watchful behavior makes them great watchdogs, but it also makes them annoying barkers. Fox Terriers are outgoing and curious canines who are nice to people but won’t back down from a battle with other dogs. That implies they’re not ideal dog park prospects.

When they’re young, Fox Terriers, like other dogs, require early socialization – exposure to a variety of people, sights, noises, and experiences. Your Fox Terrier puppy will grow up to be a well-rounded dog if he or she is socialized.

Are they good family dogs?

The Wire Fox Terrier is an excellent choice for a family dog. They may be a little too jumpy to leave unattended with little children, but older children and adults will discover that they make wonderful companions that are humorous, eager to please, and protective.

These are boisterous, lively canines who like playing with youngsters. They’re devoted to their family yet rashly feisty with other dogs, never shying away from picking fights with much larger canines. They shouldn’t be left alone with them unless they’ve been taught and socialized to get along with other family pets.

Is the Wire Fox Terrier good with other animals?

Early socialization of the Wire Fox Terrier is required to adapt them to other family pets, especially if they are substantially smaller. It may be necessary to seek expert assistance from puppy courses or pet training institutes to help them overcome their predatory drive.

Fox Terriers get along nicely with dogs and cats they’ve known since puppyhood, but they’re not recommended for households with rabbits, hamsters, or guinea pigs. Those animals appear to be a little too close to lunch to be safe around a Fox Terrier.

Caring for a Wire Fox Terrier

The Fox Terrier is not suitable for apartment living simply because he is small. He requires a safe fenced yard where he can expend all of his energy during the day. Also, don’t expect an underground electrical fence to keep your Fox Terrier contained. The fear of being shocked pales in comparison to the impulse to pursue down what appears to be prey – cats, rabbits, and automobiles.

In unfenced areas, keep your Fox Terrier on a leash. He has a strong hunting sense and would go after anything moving. He’ll also attempt to start fights with other dogs, so going to dog parks isn’t a smart idea. To help avoid hostility toward other dogs, early socialization is critical.

To keep your Fox Terrier weary and out of mischief, give him at least 30 to 45 minutes of rigorous exercise every day, as well as lots of off-leash yard play.

Fox Terriers can be difficult to teach because, despite their intelligence, they are also stubborn. Keep your wits about you and be patient. Because they thrive on habit and consistency, giving clear rules and enforcing them in a strong and positive manner will provide the best results. They can learn whatever you can teach after you’ve discovered the key to inspiring them.

Coat color & grooming  

The Wire Fox Terrier’s coat is dense but wiry, resembling the matting on a coconut; the ideal look is for the hairs to twist and seem broken. There are a few coat varieties, it can have a small wave or be crinkly.

The hair should be so dense that you can’t see the skin by parting it with your fingertips. The undercoat, which is short, delicate, and velvety, lies beneath these rigid hairs.

The white coat was favored in Wire Fox Terriers because it made the dogs easier to see when hunting. White should be the primary color in both Smooth and Wiry Fox Terriers, according to breed standards, which are written descriptions of what a breed should look like. Their markings might be black, tan, or black and tan. The breed standard allows for markings on the face, such as a half or split face, a blaze, or color solely over the eyes and ears, although the heads are normally solid-colored.

In the show arena, brindle, red, liver, or slate-blue markings are undesired. Those marks don’t make a nice companion any less so, but you shouldn’t pay more for them just because they’re “rare.”


Wire Fox Terriers don’t shed much, but their coats should be brushed on a regular basis to maintain them clean and odor-free. Baths aren’t required on a regular basis; they’re only required when they roll in anything disgusting.

Wire Fox Terriers’ coats must be manually stripped, which means the hair must be plucked rather than clipped with scissors or clippers, to get the desired texture. Most people hire a professional groomer to accomplish this, however, it is possible to learn how to do it yourself.

You might also get your dog’s coat trimmed. You should be aware, though, that clipping the coat modifies the wiry texture, making it seem soft and maybe making the colors appear faint.

Trim your Fox Terrier’s nails on a regular basis. Bring out the clippers if you hear nails clicking on the floor. Short, carefully trimmed nails keep your Fox Terrier’s feet in good shape and protect your shins from being scratched as he leaps up to welcome you.

Food and nutrition

1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food each day, split into two meals, is the recommended daily quantity.

The Wire Fox Terrier demands high-quality dry dog food that will provide a balanced diet and aid with tooth cleaning. We recommend a dish that has chicken, turkey, or lamb as the primary component, as well as a lot of fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and blueberries. Foods that have a lot of chemical additives or preservatives should be avoided.

The amount of food your adult dog consumes is determined by its size, age, build, metabolism, and degree of activity. Dogs, like people, are unique individuals that require different amounts of food. It practically goes without saying that a dog that is very active will require more than a dog that is sedentary. The type of dog food you buy makes a difference as well; the better the dog food, the more it will nourish your dog and the less you’ll have to shake into his bowl.


Fox with a Wire-Haired Mane Terriers has a moderate level of activity. Long walks, backyard fetch games, or park jogs are all good ways to keep them physically and emotionally active.

The pursuit of balls is this breed’s absolute favorite pastime. If you wish to welcome a Wire Fox Terrier into your home, make sure you get a lot of balls to keep him entertained!

Because this is a breed with a high predatory drive, you should never let it off the leash. They also require a safe yard, since they may be tempted to pursue after any little animal they perceive to be prey.

Fox Terriers are tough and robust dogs that survive well into their twenties. They’re tiny enough to go almost anyplace yet big enough for rough and tumble play.  Their fierce demeanor is reflected in their tiny, black eyes.

These are lively, energetic dogs who like playing with kids. They’re devoted to their family yet recklessly combative with other dogs, never shying away from picking fights with much larger canines. They shouldn’t be left alone with them unless they’ve been taught and socialized to get along with other family pets.

Training a Wire Fox Terrier

The Wire Fox Terrier can be quite stubborn, but they are typically eager to please their owners and appreciate mental stimulation. So learning new tasks is not difficult. The most effective strategy is positive reinforcement training, which includes plenty of praise and incentives when they succeed.

It’s also crucial for success to keep your training sessions the same duration and at the same time each day. Dogs are routine-oriented creatures, so scheduling training sessions can help them grasp what you expect of them.

Fox Terriers excel at obedience, agility, and earth trials because of their intelligence. They require a lot of mental and physical stimulation because of their intelligence and stamina to keep them from engaging in destructive behaviors such excessive barking, chewing, digging, and chasing other animals. The trick is to exercise, exercise, and then some more. A happy Fox Terrier is a Fox Terrier who is tired. You’ll be exhausted before he is, unfortunately.

Fox Terriers make great guard dogs. You may rest easy knowing that your Fox Terrier will bark an alert if he hears or sees something strange in his domain, as long as they aren’t left alone in the yard for too long. Your Fox Terrier will constantly be on the lookout for any threats to your family and house.

Fox Terriers may get up to a lot of mischiefs, including raiding the dining table and getting out of the yard, thanks to their boisterous, self-assured attitudes. While Fox Terrier pups are hard to resist, bear in mind that as they get older, they will require a lot of care and entertainment to stay out of trouble. They’re energetic and long-lived buddies if you can remain a step or two ahead of them.

Health conditions of the Wire Fox Terrier

The Wire Fox Terrie is a healthy dog that if cared for will live a long time. They have a lifespan of 15-18 years on average. The breed is prone to a variety of health issues, including cancer, which is the leading cause of mortality.

Hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and osteochondritis are all frequent orthopedic disorders among Fox Terriers.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. In their lifespan, the majority of Wire Fox Terriers will develop dental disease, blood disorders, neurological disorders, heart disease or even epilepsy. Eye disorders like lens luxation or cataracts are common too.

Since Fox Terriers are purebred, they’re also predisposed to various genetic diseases. But if you take proper care of your pup, some of them can be avoided. 

This dog has a stoic demeanor, which allows infections, dental disease and injuries to go untreated. So your dog may not show signs of distress. As a result, owners should check their dogs on a frequent basis to discover and treat illnesses early.

Find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your dog’s parents if you’re buying a puppy. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been checked for and cleared of a certain disease.

Most common health problems

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes unstable as a result of both developmental and environmental factors. Doodles are prone to this bone and joint disorder. The femur does not meet the pelvic bone appropriately, causing the bones to wear out prematurely.

Later in life, your dog may develop arthritis, which can be excruciatingly painful. This ailment shows itself as a peculiar walk, shaky posture, or limping, all of which are plainly seen in your beautiful pup. To preserve your dog’s quality of life, discuss care with your veterinarian as soon as feasible.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation, or the dislocation of the kneecap, is common in these dogs. The kneecap usually sits in front of the hind leg’s joint and is maintained in place by ligaments. It moves around in a groove when the dog walks, protecting the joint but allowing the dog to move freely.

This little bone can dislocate and slip out of the groove in certain dogs. So it’s causing it to “float” freely about the knee. If left untreated, this can lead to major complications. It’s possible that the bone will be forced up against another bone, causing damage. Ligaments are frequently injured when the kneecap moves around incorrectly.


Some Wire Fox Terrier lineages have been linked to heritable deafness. If his ears are fine but he’s still ignoring you, a more complete hearing examination may be required.

Living with and training a deaf dog takes patience and effort. But there are various tools on the market to help. Because this is a hereditary issue, you should inform the breeder. That way changes can be made to the breeding program.


The esophagus moves food from the mouth to the stomach by contracting down. If the esophagus doesn’t close properly, food may stay in the esophagus, making it bigger. The tube-shaped parts of food that your Fox Terrier doesn’t eat might come up if he’s sick. To address this issue, special feeding postures, dietary changes, and medications may be required. Unfortunately, dogs with megaesophagus often inhale bits of food while they eat, which can lead to pneumonia that is very bad for them.


Reactive, secondary, and primary seizures are the three forms of seizures in dogs. The brain’s reaction to a metabolic condition, such as low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin, causes reactive seizures. Secondary seizures are caused by things like a brain tumor, a stroke, or a bad accident. This type of epilepsy is called primary or idiopathic epilepsy if there is no other cause. Wirehaired Fox Terriers are frequently affected by this disease, which is generally an inherited condition. Between the ages of six months and three years, your friend is likely to have seizures. In the beginning, a diagnostic checkup may help you figure out what’s going on. Lifelong medication is usually needed to keep seizures under control, and blood tests are often needed to check for side effects and how well the medication is working.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This is one of the most prevalent blood clotting problems in humans, and you might be surprised to learn that it can also affect your dog. Von Willebrand’s disease is caused by a lack of the von Willebrand Factor, a protein that aids in blood clotting.

In the event of even a minor cut, this can result in significant bleeding. This disease is difficult to detect because your dog may appear to be in perfect health for their whole life, unless they have an injury. Other signs and symptoms may appear in some dogs. Nosebleeds, blood in the feces or urine, and easily damaged skin are examples.

If you and your dog are both careful, this ailment will not have a significant impact on your dog’s quality of life. Inquire with your veterinarian about treatment options for the condition. It’s critical to have your puppy checked for this problem as soon as possible, as certain medications, such as aspirin, might make it worse.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a neurologic disorder that causes paralysis and poor nerve function in the rear legs. It’s similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease in humans. It is more common in Fox Terriers than in other breeds. If your dog has this disease, his hind legs will become more weak and handicapped. This will eventually lead to paralysis in the hindquarters and incontinence. Degenerative myelopathy can be treated with rehabilitation, exercise, acupuncture, and dietary supplements. But there is no definite cure.

Heart disease

Heart disease is the major cause of mortality in Wire Fox Terriers over the age of ten. The majority of heart disease in dogs is caused by the weakening or slow distortion of heart valves, causing blood to seep back around the weakened valves, putting strain on the heart. Heart valve disease (also known as mitral valve disease) causes a heart murmur in pets. Weight control and veterinary care can help avoid heart disease, in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Neurological Diseases

Wobbler disease or wobbler syndrome is a genetically related neurological ailment that creates a shaky, intoxicated stride in affected pets. Wobbler illness is caused by a constriction of the cervical vertebrae, which pinches the spinal cord and nerves. When nerves are pinched, they do not convey the proper impulses to the brain, causing the pet to lose feeling in his feet. The earliest indicators of wobbler illness are generally shaky hind legs, stumbling, and occasionally falling. Medication, neck braces, rehabilitative exercise programs, and surgery are all alternatives for treatment.


Demodex is a microscopic mite that lives in the hair follicles of all dogs. The immune system of a dog normally keeps mites at bay, but some breeds, such as your Fox Terrier, may acquire an overpopulation of them. Pet owners may notice a few dry, irritated, hairless lesions in mild cases. These are most commonly found on the face or feet and might be irritating or not. It’s possible that you’ll get secondary skin infections too. To keep the sickness from getting out of hand, it’s crucial to get veterinarian help as soon as possible.

Getting a Wire Fox Terrier

Typically, the Wire Fox Terrier costs between $1000 and $1500. The cost varies greatly depending on your location, the availability of parents, and the breeder’s quality. Better breeders will do a genetic abnormality check on the puppy, which may be costly.

Knowing how to breed out specific faults may also increase the value of your dog. You should expect to pay much more if you want breeding rights or a show dog. If money is a concern, we recommend looking into local animal shelters, since these canines are commonly available there.

The cost of adopting a Wire Fox Terrier varies according to the rescue organization and area, however, it will cost between $200 and $500.

Have you decided that adopting a Wire Fox Terrier is the best option for you and your family? The American Fox Terrier Rescue is a wonderful organization to start. They not only have dogs for adoption, but they also provide information on how to adopt as well as breed information.

Adopting a Wire Fox Terrier is also a fantastic alternative for individuals who aren’t seeking for a purebred dog. Check with your local shelter or rescue agency to see if any Wire Fox Terrier mixes are available for adoption.

If you prefer to buy a Wire Fox Terrier from a breeder, the AKC Marketplace should be your first stop. You may look for Wire Fox Terrier breeders in your region using the AKC Marketplace, which allows you to search by gender, champion bloodline, and litter availability.

Do your investigation before deciding on a breeder. Because there are so many shady breeders out there, it’s crucial to take your time.

Final Thoughts

For big houses with a fenced-in yard and children above the age of five, the Wire Fox Terrier is an excellent choice. He can be stubborn and strong-willed, but he’s also simple to teach and eager to please. Small animals and newborns should be kept away from him, but they form a loving and protective friend for adults.

The Wire Fox Terrier is a very energetic dog that will need a lot of exercise on a daily basis. Long walks are ideal, but chasing balls and playing fetch are other excellent methods to expend extra energy and keep your pet active and healthy.

The Wire Fox Terrier gets along well with other dogs and cats that they’ve grown up with. But they’re not the ideal choice for homes with rabbits, hamsters, or other small animals.

Wire Fox  Terriers are brave and fearless, which means they frequently cause chaos. Don’t be shocked if you see them surfing the countertops or propped up on the kitchen table. To keep them out of trouble, they need a lot of stimulation and activity.

They also enjoy digging tunnels, so make sure to protect your yard. If you start training them while they’re young, you should be able to help them kick this bad behavior before they destroy your back garden! The Wire Fox Terrier attitude is sharp, attentive, and sociable, and he was developed in England in the late 18th century to bolt foxes out of their burrows. They’re also excellent watchdogs if you teach them to utilize their bark for good.

This is a breed that contains many of the favorable features in a dog. But keep in mind that they may be mischievous and like being the center of attention.

Some other dog breeds you might find interesting as well: 

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.