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Answers from vets about your dog:

The Wire Fox Terrier

Posted October 29, 2013 in Dog Breeds


Wire Fox Terriers are likely the descendents of Black-and-Tan terriers, Bull Terriers, beagles, and greyhounds. They were developed in England to hunt fox and were small enough to fit into a saddlebag. Once the prey had been chased into its burrow the Wire Fox was released to drag it back out. Wire Fox Terrier tails, which were generally docked, could also be used as a handle for the hunter to pull on. 

Differences seen today in English born terriers are largely the result of regional characteristics. The Wire Fox Terrier originates from the Wales area.

Wire Fox terriers were not thought of as family pets until the 1930s when one was portrayed in The Thin Man series of films. They hit their peak of popularity just after World War II during which time they were still interbred with Smooth Fox Terriers. They did very well at show competitions and today have won more awards than any other breed.  

In 1985 the Wire Fox Terrier was separated from the Smooth Fox Terrier.

Sizing up

  • Weight: Up to 18 lbs.
  • Height: 15.5 inches
  • Coat: Dense, wire-haired
  • Color: White with black and tan markings
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

What’s the Wire Fox Terrier like?

The Fox Terrier is energetic and confident. He’s best suited to be an indoor dog with access to a spacious yard. He’s an all go no quit type so only add him to your family if you plan on being active. Inside, he’ll enjoy hours of play time and is capable of entertaining himself; of course you might not approve of the ways he chooses to do so. Outside a thorough walk is the best way to burn off excess energy. In either case don’t let your Fox Terrier near cats, hamsters, or other small prey. He will chase anything he can see; it’s a matter of instinct. 

Fox Terriers can fill just about any role: athlete, show dog, actor, class clown, or hunter. They’re one of the more versatile breeds you can get. Their favorite pastime is digging so make sure any fences you build are sunk deep. 

When it comes to obedience Wire Fox Terriers can be stubborn. They’re intelligent self-reliant hunting dogs who might want things done on their terms. It’s important that you stay firm and dominant but never threatening.

Their coats require grooming two or three times per week.



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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.