Let's talk Wire Fox Terriers

The Wire Fox Terrier is very similar to his canine relation, the Smooth Fox Terrier, both in appearance and temperament. As their name suggests, you can spot the difference by their fur: if it’s coarse, then you’re looking at a Wire Fox Terrier. Originally bred as a hunting dog in 18th century England, today they are a charming and friendly canine companion. Confident owners who lead an outdoorsy lifestyle will be a great match for the athletic Wire Fox Terrier, who has plenty of energy to spare, and a dash of terrier stubbornness!

Official name: Wire Fox Terrier

Other names: Wire hair fox terrier, Wirehaired terrier, Fox terrier

Origins: England

Close-up of Wire Fox Terrier in black and white
Drooling tendencies Low Warm weather? High
Shedding level Low Suited to apartment living? Medium
*Energy Level High *Friendly pet? Very high
Compatibility with other pets Medium *Can stay alone? Medium

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of Wire Fox Terrier
39 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
8 - 8.5 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
39 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
7 - 8 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2-10 months
 Adult age  10 months - 8 years
 Mature age  8-12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

Wire Fox Terrier standing in front of red and yellow flowers


Get to know the Wire Fox Terrier

All you need to know about the breed

There’s never a dull moment when Wire Fox Terriers are around. This playful breed is affectionate with their family and sweet towards strangers, making them an equally wonderful choice for families or people who live alone.

Their hunting dog origins can be seen today through their impressive stamina and athleticism. Wire Fox Terriers are not for couch potatoes: they prefer to be outside and accompanying you on walks, hikes, or runs. They also like to stay mentally alert, so test their agility and scenting skills. The Wire Fox Terrier always rises to a competitive challenge.

A Wire Fox Terrier tends to be ready for their next adventure. So they should be kept on leash when in open spaces to prevent them from dashing off. If you have a garden, a secure fence that’s fixed into the ground will prevent your Wire Fox Terrier from digging their way out. It’s not you, it’s just the terrier way of doing things.

Once trained, they make great playmates for children (although like other breeds, the two should never be left alone). However, it’s best if smaller pets don’t cross paths with the Wire Fox Terrier, due to their strong prey instinct.

All in all, Wire Fox Terriers have a well-rounded temperament and adapt to most living spaces, thanks to their compact size.

Two Wire Fox Terrier puppies looking over sand mound


2 facts about Wire Fox Terriers

1. Be prepared

The posture of a Wire Fox Terrier is worth observing. With all that energy, as well as a lust for life, they look like they’re standing on their tiptoes, ready to go when their next adventure calls.

2. How high?

Wire Fox Terriers can jump higher than their size suggests, which is good to know if you bring one home and happen to have a garden. Not only should the fence be secure enough to prevent them from digging their way out, it should also be high enough to stop them from jumping into your neighbour’s backyard.


History of the breed

Wire Fox Terriers were first developed in England during the 1700s, as hunting became a popular sport among the gentry. Wire Fox Terriers and Smooth Fox Terriers were recognised as the same breed up until 1985, when research pointed to the Wire Fox Terrier being a descendent of coarse-coated Black and Tan Terrier dogs from Durham, Derbyshire and Wales in the UK.

The favourite dog of King Edward VII was a Wire Fox Terrier, and their expressive eyes and distinctive appearance have made the breed popular onscreen.

They also have impressive competitive credentials: the Fox Terrier is the most successful breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Combined, both breeds have won 18 Best in Show titles (4 for the Smooth Fox Terrier and 14 for the Wire Fox Terrier).

The Wire Fox Terrier remains a popular show dog today, but they are one of the more rare Terrier breeds, both in their native country and abroad.

Wire Fox Terrier looking at camera in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Wire Fox Terriers

1. Body

A deep chest, but not broad, with a moderate length tail.

2. Coat

Coat is coarse and white with black, black and tan or tan markings.

3. Ears

Small, V-shaped ears that flop forward towards the cheek.

Wire Fox Terrier leaping across grass


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Wire Fox Terrier
Close-up of Wire Fox Terrier looking at camera


Caring for your Wire Fox Terrier

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The coarse coat of a Wire Fox Terrier requires regular brushing to prevent matting, as well as regular inspection after walks, to check for foreign plants that could cause skin lesions. Owners will also need to learn how to hand-strip their Wire Fox Terrier - or hand them over to a professional groomer. Ears should be checked weekly for wax and/or debris removal and nails should be kept trimmed. A monthly bath should suffice. Frequent tooth brushing (daily if possible) is important for good dental hygiene. Like most terrier dogs, the Wire Fox Terrier requires plenty of exercise to keep them calm and content inside. They will enjoy a mix of leisurely walks, chasing after a ball, and interactive play sessions with their humans. Like any other breed, Wire Fox Terriers benefit from early training and socialisation. They are highly intelligent, so can easily become bored, leading to excessive barking or destructive behaviour. Keep them engaged by testing their natural athleticism and competitive spirit. Motivational training treats should count as part of their daily kibble ration.


All about Wire Fox Terriers

The Wire Fox Terrier enjoys the sound of their own bark, yes. This is a positive when they are in watchdog mode, but it may mean they are bored or feeling lonely.

Absolutely, especially if you’re the outdoorsy type. The easy-going attitude of a Wire Fox Terrier, combined with their devotion and a playful temperament make them a delight to live with!



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/