Meet the Breed: The Wire Fox Terrier



  • Height: 13"-16”
  • Weight: 13-20 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunting
  • Modern function: Hunting, obedience, agility, companion
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Wire Fox Terrier is a sturdy, medium-sized dog.The Wirehaired Fox Terrier is a medium-sized dog that is squarely built, being about as long as it is tall at the withers. The skull is flat, and narrows to the eyes. The stop is very slight. The long muzzle gradually tapers to the black nose and appears more pronounced with the mustache and beard. The bite is scissors. The eyes are small and dark in color. The ears are V-shaped, small, and fold forward. The legs are straight. The tail is high set and is usually docked by 1/4, leaving 3/4 of the original length, which was traditionally used as a handle to pull the dog out of burrows. The coat is wiry and dense with a short, soft undercoat. The coat is mostly white with a black or tan markings which usually includes a saddle.  

History of the Breed:

The Wire Fox Terrier is one of the oldest terriers and originated in Britain in the 1700's. It probably descended from the rough-coated black and tan terriers. It was used for hunting foxes and by farmers needing to keep ground-dwelling vermin at bay. They would go to ground and also dig after animals in burrows to allow the animal to be hunted. The Wire Fox Terrier and the Smooth Fox Terrier were categorized as the same breed but received a separate breed designation in 1984 by the AKC. The Wire Fox Terrier has the distinction of taking the title of Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show more than any other breed. 


The Wire Fox Terrier is a lively, intelligent, playful pup that is a great companion for children.They are brave, bold, and cheerful. They are affectionate, loyal and devoted to their family. Due to their hunting instincts, this breed should not be trusted with non-canine animals, especially birds and rodents. Cats may be tolerated if they were raised together. This breed must be properly leashed or in a safely fenced area to prevent this lively hunt-driven dog from taking off exploring. Early socialization and training will ensure friendly behaviors with other dogs. Due to their extreme intelligence level, this dog does well learning tricks and enjoys agility training. This is an excellent activity for this high-energy dog. Without proper mental and physical exercise, this dog can become destructive and frustrated. This bright dog will take advantage of weak leadership. Makes a good watchdog. 

  • Best suited for: Active families. Great with children. Can adjust to apartment living with sufficient exercise.Good for allergy sufferers.  
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers an active lifestyle, and does well with a job and plenty of activities.  

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Show dogs require a regimented stripping program. Pets can be maintained with a stiff brush, occasional stripping and a bath, as needed. Sheds minimally. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog. Mental exercise in the form of tricks and/or obedience training as well as puzzle toys are imperative with this breed.
  • Life expectancy: 15+ years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to epilepsy, mast cell tumors, eye problems and shoulder dislocation.

Breed Club Links: American Fox Terrier Club (parent club for both the Wire Fox and Smooth Fox Terrier.) Perfect Pairings: Any of our Busy Buddy puzzle chew toys

Have any stories about a Wire Fox Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of State Farm

This entry was posted by Mary.
julia on October 15 at 6:59 PM said:

I like it maybe I will get one
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