AKC Dog Breeds: Wire Fox Terrier

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Terrier Group
Height: 13-16 inches   Weight: 13-20 pounds  Color: white with black or brown markings

The Wire Fox Terrier is an elegant and well built dog. It has a lot of strength compacted into a small structure. They are hunting and tracking dogs by nature and therefore are built with agility and many other hunting qualities. The Wire Fox Terrier originated in England in the 1800's. Before the introduction of the Wire Fox Terrier fox hunting would end as soon as the fox reached the hole. The Wire Fox Terrier was bred to assist in fox hunting. The Wire Fox Terrier was bred from the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Rough-Coated Tan and Black Terrier. If the fox reached the hole and went into the ground, the Terrier would be sent in after it. Terriers needed to have stamina to run with the foxhounds and they also needed to be small enough to follow the fox down into its lair. Lastly, the Terrier needed to be tough. The fox would view the Wire Fox Terrier as an intruder and would fight back. The Terrier needed to be stronger than the fox and conquer the animal. The fox would eventually flee from its lair and the hunters would then be able to hunt the fox. The Wire Fox Terrier would achieve this by snapping, growling, and lunging at the fox. They are sometimes regarded as the same breed as the Smooth Fox Terrier although in the United States the two breeds have been differentiated since 1986.

General Appearance
The Wirehaired Fox Terrier is dressed in a wiry white coat with black or brown markings. The breed has a flat, tapering, narrow skull, and ears that fold forward making "V" shaped flaps. The tail is normally docked to 1/4 its length and stands on top of the dog rather than hanging out behind. The Fox Terrier is blessed with many weapons of attack such as strong jaws, well-developed teeth, eagerness, physical strength, and above all, courage. It is a well-built, elegant dog, concentrating a lot of strength in a little space. The eyes are dark, small, deep-set and extremely lively. The neck is thick and muscular.


The Wire Fox Terrier is an affectionate, lively, and alert little dog. This is a breed that is impulsive, inquisitive, and loves to run or chase things. He is very agile and fast, and must always be provided with a secure and safe area in which to exercise and play when not on a leash. The Wire Fox Terrier has an abundance of energy, and needs a good amount of exercise, so he is best suited to very active families. He is independent, yet he thrives on the companionship, attention, and love of his family. These dogs need physical interaction and mental stimulation, and are not suited for those with little time for their pets. Alert, with a very good sense of sight and sound, the Wire Fox Terrier makes a good watchdog. He does have a strong stubborn streak and can be manipulative, so is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership. The Wire Fox Terrier needs early socialization, and firm yet positive training. The Wire Fox Terrier can have a real possessive streak when it comes to his belongings and food, and will think nothing of starting a fight with another animal over it. These dogs are not best suited to multi-pet households, and will be bossy with other dogs and predatory with smaller animals including cats. The Wire Fox Terrier gets along with older, gentle children that will not pester or rough handle him. They tend to be sociable with strangers when properly socialized. Although they can be a handful with their continual whirlwind of activity, the Wire Fox Terrier can make a very good pet and companion for the right family or owner.


Maintenance for the Wire Fox Terrier is quite low unless you are planning on having it as a show dog. For pet owners who do not intend to show the dog, regular brushing and bathing when necessary is all that is needed. The dog can be brushed with a firm bristle brush about twice a week. To keep the coat looking its best and to keep it healthy it is important for the hair to be stripped several times a year. This can be done by a professional groomer if the owner is unsure or does not want to tackle that element of care.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Wire Fox Terrier has a life expectancy of around 12-15 years. Some of the possible health problems linked to this breed, include: cataracts, PRA, heart problems, epilepsy, Legg-Perthes, luxating patella, thyroid problems, and digestive problems.

Activity Level

The Wire Fox Terrier is a very active and lively breed. It was originally bred for hunting and tracking and therefore enjoys being outdoors. They are known to be very active indoors as well as outdoors. Having a fenced yard does help as they can run and play outside, but they should not be left alone due to their excessive barking and digging. They are quite happy going for long walks but must always be kept on a leash. Their hunting instincts will kick in and they will take off without notice to chase any small animals.


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