Fox Terrier (Wire)

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
max 39
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
white predominates with black, black and tan or tan markings
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • gentle and adaptable

  • needs only standard grooming

  • very intelligent

  • great watchdog

  • prone to unreasonable barking

  • independent-minded

  • offensive to other canines and other animals

  • demands a great amount of physical and mental stimulation


The Wire Fox Terrier was invented in England in the XVII century to work as a sporting dog and vermin eradicator. The characteristic features of this dog are sharp senses of smell and sight, excellent power of endurance and purposefulness. Moreover it’s endowed with exceptionally playful and vivacious nature, which makes it a popular companion animal.


The Wire Fox Terrier is reckoned to be one of the first terrier-type dogs native to England. Therefore it’s impossible to determine its ancestry with utmost precision. According to universally accepted assumption the old rough-coated black-and-tan working terriers of Wales, Durham and Derbyshire were predominantly involved in its development. From the very beginning this dog won the fame of an outstanding ratter and was actively used by local farmers to reduce the population of various vermin in their homesteads and barns.

The Wire Fox Terrier also proved to be a highly helpful in fox hunting. As a rule the hunter would send his Fox Terrier to trace this predator and drive it into its den. Then the dog would thrust its way into the burrow and try to flush the fox out to the surface where the hunter would kill it immediately or continue the chase with his pack of foxhounds.

For many years the wire-haired and smooth-haired Fox Terriers were perceived as varieties of the same breed. Despite the fact that they were crossed fairly uncontrollably, this practise helped to introduce more white colour to the coat of the Wire Fox Terrier. It made the dog more noticeable against ground so it wouldn’t be mistaken for the fleeing prey by the hunter of hounds. The wire-coated type of the Fox Terrier was initially exhibited at least a decade later than its smooth-coat relative.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) began registering the both varieties in 1885. By the 20s of the XX century the Wire Fox Terrier had achieved general recognition not only for its hunting talents but also as a successful participant of the show ring. Actually it even beats in popularity its smooth-haired cousin.

Presently the Wire Fox Terrier still enjoys the status of one of the most fashionable terrier breeds although it’s much more often acquired for hunting purpose than majority of similar dogs. The Wire Fox Terrier also competes with flying colour in agility, fly ball and other disciplines that satisfy its inborn wish to run, frisk and pursue.


The Wire Fox Terrier is an inquisitive, active and hardy little dog that forms incredibly tight bonds with its human family. However, it has a well-developed dominant streak that makes it unsuitable for a novice dog owner. A well-trained dog is kind and gentle with kids and usually craves their company. But it doesn’t have enough tolerance to rough-housing, so your children should always treat it respectfully. This breed also tends to be very possessive and can’t stand when someone touches its food or toys.

Suspicious attitude towards strangers is common trait of all Wire Fox Terriers. Early and all-round socialisation is required if you don’t want this simple aloofness to grow into an immediate aggression. This dog is always ready to leap to its family territory defence and usually makes a fierce guardian. It also reacts to any peculiar sounds or smells with a high-pitched bark and has high potential in the role of a watchdog. The dogs’ propensity to digging and unreasonable barking increases the importance of obedience training for this breed.

The Wire Fox Terrier has fairly nasty reputation when it concerns other canines. It’s notoriously famous for its pugnacity and relentlessness in a fight. It’s highly recommended to let this dog off leash only in a safely secured area. However it will welcome an opportunity to share its life with one or several canine companions especially of the opposite sex. For more than a century it was bred as a persistent and inexhaustible hunter so it stands out for a very strong prey drive. The Wire Fox Terrier will kill without reservation any stray cat or other non-canine creature within its eyesight. There is a good chance though that the breed member won’t pester the household cat (or other small pet) with which it has been brought up since its puppyhood.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· epilepsy;

· eye problems;

· legg-perthes disease;

· shoulder dislocation;

· post nasal drip.


The Wire Fox Terrier needs average amount of grooming. If you don’t plan to show your dog it will get by with brushing once or twice a week. It’s also necessary to strip the dog’s hair at least several times a year. So you may want to have your pet professionally groomed. But keep in mind that this procedure requires just very basic skills.

Frequent bathing isn’t recommended, as it can be harmful for overall health of the dog’s coat. Maintenance routine should also include nail trimming every two months and regular ear cleaning. This breed sheds very lightly.


The training of the Wire Fox Terrier requires average amount of time and efforts. This dog usually strives to make its owners happy and loves learning new tricks. At the same time it certainly has natural bent for independent thinking so its obedience training may become quite a challenge. Make sure to establish clear rules and norms of behaviour for your pet and enforce them with its favourite food and multiple repetitions.

On the whole, the dog responds well only to reward-based type of training. Furthermore it’s won’t follow commands if they come from a week or indecisive person. In order to make its training successful the master should always display strong leadership over his dog.


The Wire Fox Terrier is an easy-going and highly energetic dog that won’t be fully satisfied with its life without plentiful of both physical and mental exercises. It’s an absolute must to take it for a long and vigorous walk each and every day although the dog will be thrilled to bits to have a regular opportunity to play and explore in a securely fenced area.

If the breed member receives sufficient amount of daily activity it can adjust well to any living condition. On the other hand, without extensive and regular mental and physical stimulation this dog will quickly turn into a totally unmanageable and destructive creature.