Wire Fox Terrier – Everything You Need To Know

Wire Fox Terrier, also known as Wires, are small, compact, fun, adventurous little dogs considered headstrong with nearly boundless energy and lots of affection to give. Initially bred for fox hunting, this breed is rarely used in hunting today. Instead, these fast and lively breeds are popular as companions and show dogs. The alert Wire Foxes will inform you if an outsider approaches. They can be trained easily, and obedience classes are recommended to curb their strong hunting instinct. As Terriers, they possess this feisty canine clan’s typical independence and prey drive. Natural comedians, excellent athletes, and charming housemates, Wires are long-lived and low-shedding. A faithful terrier at heart, Wire Fox Terriers are always ready for adventure and will provide you with plenty of entertainment.

Wire Fox Terrier Overview

Wire Fox Terriers are lively, independent, hardworking, and tenacious, with a distinctive terrier slant on life. Wires are all-rounders blending speed, endurance, agility, upbeat, and capability to perform various jobs. They are loyal companions and protect their human family with extraordinary guard dog and watchdog abilities. Wires are not snappy or aggressive, but they have limits on the handling and roughhousing they will tolerate. However, being true to their terrier roots, Wires are suspicious of outsiders and bark at unfamiliar sounds. 

When standing, Wires look like a short-backed hunter horse. But, in action, they cover a lot of ground. Early socialization and proper training can help them warm up to other dogs and pets. They adore children and are great playmates, primarily when raised with them. Apartment dwellers and those who leave the house for long hours daily may need help meeting the Wire’s physical necessities. However, the Wires might be your ideal companion if you enjoy hand stripping, grooming, and entertaining an intelligent yet sparky terrier.

Wire Fox Terrier Pros and Cons

Charming and friendlyIndependent and stubborn
Fierce determinationTendency to chase
Energetic and athleticEscape artist

Wire Fox Terrier Basic Information

  • Name: Wire Fox Terriers
  • Origin: England
  • Group: Terrier Group
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: Male: 14 – 16 inches, Female: 13-15 inches
  • Weight: Male: 18 pounds, Female: 15-17 pounds
  • Coat: Wiry
  • Color: White, white & black, white, black, & tan, white & tan
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Hiking, agility, companion dogs, conformity, obedience, herding, watchdog, and guard dog.
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Occasional
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Litter Size: 4 – 8 puppies
  • Other Names: Wires, Wire hair fox terrier, Wirehaired terrier, Fox terrier, WFT, Fox Terrier Wire Coat
  • Original Pastime: Ratters
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years

History of Wire Fox Terrier

The Wire Fox Terrier is thought to have come about from crosses of the Old English Terrier, smooth-coated Tan and Black terriers of England, Greyhounds, Bull Terriers, and Beagles. Hunters used them with the foxhounds to locate foxes when they went to the ground by barking and pinpointing the fox’s position for the Huntsman. They can be traced back to the middle of the 19th Century when wired and smooth coated were from the exact origins and classed as one breed. After that, devotees of both coats bred like to like and developed the Wire and Smooth Fox Terrier as we see it today.

  • The AKC recognized the breed in 1885.

Wire Fox Terrier Highlights

  • Wires love to bark, dig, and chase.
  • Proper training and early socialization must keep Wires happy and well-liked by family and friends, both human and animal.
  • Wires are known for being difficult to housetrain. 
  • Crate training is recommended.
  • Wires are known for being expert escape artists. 

Wire Fox Terrier Personality

Wires are compact, symmetrically built hunting dogs with short backs. The primarily white coat has black or tan markings. It is also commonly coarse and wiry with an intense undercoat. The round, dark eyes radiate intelligence and liveliness. The neatly folded V-shaped ears enhance the alert expression of these breeds.

Wires are confident and love exploring their surroundings. Hence, never let them run in an unsecured place without a leash, and check fences regularly. Wires are faithful hunting dogs who quickly dig escape routes and chase after any rabbit. Their intelligence and stamina require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Understimulated, they exhibit detrimental behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, digging, and chasing other animals.

Friendliness Overview

Affection LevelMedium to high
Family-friendlyMedium to high
Dog-friendlyLow to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingHigh
Good for new ownersMedium 
Sensitivity LevelLow to medium
Tolerates being aloneLow to medium
Cold toleranceMedium
Heat toleranceMedium to high

Wire Fox Terrier Physical Features

Head: Wires have a powerful and long head with small, dark eyes, V-shaped ears, a flat, slightly sloping skull, a black nose, and solid and muscular jaws.

Neck, Topline, Body: Clean, muscular neck, slightly arched loins, deep chest, profound brisket, moderately arched, and well-sprung ribs. 

Tail: The tail is set high and is carried gaily but not curled. 

Forequarters: Wires have long, laid-back shoulders with straight legs, round, compact feet, well-cushioned pads, moderately arched toes, and elbows hanging perpendicular to the body.

Hindquarters: Strong and muscular hindquarters, long and powerful thighs, well-curved stifles, and perfectly upright hocks.

Coat: Broken, dense, wiry double coat. 

Color: White should predominate.

Gait: Their gait is smooth, effortless, and agile, with a powerful drive from the rear and good reach in front.


  • Prick, tulip, or rose ears. 
  • White, cherry, or spotted nose to a considerable extent with either of these colors. 
  • Mouth much undershot or overshot.

Wire Fox Terrier Temperament

Wires are bold, assertive, playful, energetic dogs that are also perceived as strong-willed and hyperactive. These mischievous breeds are sportive, excel in any canine game, and are keen on action and adventure. They are devoted, prefer to be around human families, and make excellent companions. They will quickly get along with kids, provided they are socialized as pups and were raised with them. 

Wires have excellent hunting skills and a strong desire to strive out and destroy vermin. Thus, a fenced yard and leashed walks are essential for their safety. They’ll hunt rapidly moving objects, paying no attention to where the chase is directing them. As they have herding instincts, Wires might attempt to herd smaller animals. Hence, sharing a house with a pet bird is not ideal.

Even though small in size, Wires are real Terriers at heart, so they’ll need limits to keep them from showing less adorable qualities like separation anxiety, excessive barking, or suspicion toward outsiders or other pets. Instead, they represent fearlessness and are good watchdogs who adore their family. With a do-it-all attitude and a keen intelligence, Wires discover and become adaptable, taking on any role you throw at them.

Wire Fox Terrier Training

Training a Wire Fox Terrier can be challenging, given their headstrong attitude and agile build. However, you can take advantage of their eagerness to please, intelligence, and charming nature to ease the training procedure. It is good to offer continuous training for your pet to harness its full potential. Likewise, their training sessions must include a blend to inspire their attention until the end. You can train them with complicated tricks and positively reinforce their learning with treats, praise, and special playtime. Here are some of the training workouts that you need to do with your Wire Fox Terrier:

Here are a few dog interactive toys and products that you can use while training:

ASOCEA Dog Extendable Teaser Wand
Buy at Amazon

Ultra Tug & Toss Dog Toy
Buy at Amazon

Dog Puzzle Toys
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Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
Buy at Amazon

Blue Buffalo Health Bars
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BAAPET 2/4/5/6 FT Dog Leash
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Trainability Overview

Easy to trainMedium
Prey driveHigh
Mouthiness tendenciesLow to medium
Barking and Howling tendenciesHigh 
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium to high

Wire Fox Terrier Exercise Needs

Wires require a lot of space and time to spend on their high energy levels. Pet owners don’t have to take them for a jog or a long walk if they have a backyard where they can play and run. However, if you do not have a yard, you must invest your time in the canine’s park with a leash. They will thrive with a vigorous walk of at least 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise combined with training lessons, play sessions, or activities like agility sports. Wires can quickly adapt to an apartment if their necessities are fulfilled. Similarly, early socialization and adequate exercise can avoid unnecessary guarding instincts and timidness. Hence, it is vital to encourage them to be occupied physically and mentally. You can meet your Wire’s daily exercise essentials by:

  • Teaching new tricks 
  • Walking 
  • Fetching 
  • Chasing 
  • Playing with puzzle toys 
  • Playing tug of war 
  • Schutzhund 
  • Frisbee 
  • Herding trials 
  • Flyball 
  • Agility training 
  • Hiking 
  • Dog park

Here are a few puzzles and dog toys to keep your pet engaged:

Brick Puzzle Toy
Buy at Amazon

Dogs Snuffle Mat
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TRIXIE Dog Activity
Buy at Amazon

LOOBANI Dog Slow Feeder
Buy at Amazon

Benebone Chew Toy
Buy at Amazon

18 Piece Pups Toys
Buy at Amazon

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh

Wire Fox Terrier Grooming

Wire Fox Terriers are hypoallergenic, low-shedding dogs, but their trademark double coat will require a great deal of grooming. The AKC recommends that Wires should be hand stripped by the owner or a professional groomer. Hand stripping is a procedure of removing the top layer of the coat from the roots by hand. This will aid in maintaining the wiry consistency of the entire coat. If you keep their coats long, they will need daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Wire’s grooming needs are as follows: 

  • Brush their coat daily and maintain facial hygiene. 
  • Bathe whenever it is required.  
  • Trim their nails once or twice weekly using a grinder. 
  • Brush their teeth twice or thrice weekly.  
  • Clean their eyes and ears weekly.

Here are a few products and equipment to meet your Wire Fox Terrier grooming needs:

Itch Relief Pet Shampoo
Buy at Amazon

Earth Rated Dog Wipes
Buy at Amazon

Vets Dog Toothpaste Set
Buy at Amazon

Tartar Control Kit
Buy at Amazon

Dog Ear Cleanser
Buy at Amazon

Dog Eye Wipes
Buy at Amazon

Dog Nail Clippers
Buy at Amazon

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow
Amount of sheddingLow

Wire Fox Terrier Health

Wires are healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. But like other dog breeds, Wires are prone to certain conditions and diseases. Thus, to keep them healthy, you must take your dog to the veterinarian for regular health check-ups and make sure they are updated with vaccinations.

Health Overview

General healthHigh
Weight gain tendenciesMedium

Megaesophagus: A congenital disease characterized by an enlarged esophagus in Wires. It affects the esophageal motility that carries the food from mouth to stomach. Symptoms include vomiting, weight loss, anorexia, and bad breath.

Degenerative Myelopathy: A condition commonly known as Chronic Degenerative RadiculoMyelopathy (CDRM) is a spinal cord disorder that causes paralysis and weakening in the hind limbs. Degeneration of the white matter of the spinal cord causes the symptoms.

Mange: Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease that affects dogs. It is passed from dogs to people and vice versa.

Deafness: A heritable condition prevalent unilaterally (deafness in one ear) or bilaterally (deafness in both ears). Bilaterally deaf canines require some special considerations. To understand your dog better, you can adopt a scientific test called the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response), which aids you in detecting deafness in dogs. 

Wobbler Syndrome: An inherent disease that causes spinal cord contraction or malformation in the canal.

Dental Disease: It affects 80% of dogs, generates tartar build-up on the teeth, causes infection of the roots and gums, and in complex situations, causes loss of teeth and damage to the kidneys. 

Parasites: Wires can be infested with fleas, worms, bugs, and ticks that can get into their systems through polluted soil, unclean water, or an infected mosquito. Signs include pain, discomfort, and even death. 

Epilepsy is the most prevalent neurological disorder in canines, affecting about 0.75 percent of the population. Epilepsy is a term for conditions indicated by repeated, uncontrollable seizures generated by a brain disorder.

Bleeding disorders: Wires are prone to bleeding disorders. After several diagnostic tests, the surgery is performed depending on the type.

Obesity: Wires are prone to obesity without proper diet and exercise. They may also get diabetes, which may be another cause of obesity.

Hip Dysplasia: A genetic disorder occurring when the thigh bones fail to fit correctly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint.

Other reasons:

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 


  • Pain  
  • Lameness

Elbow dysplasia: When Wires go lame later in life, elbow dysplasia is the most common cause. It’s a malformation of the elbow joint, loss of motion, driving it to deviate, resulting in pain and, ultimately, lameness.

Eye problems: Wires are inclined to these eye conditions: 

  • Glaucoma 
  • Distichiasis
  • Cherry Eye 
  • Entropion 
  • Cataracts

Patellar Luxation: This painful condition is the falling of the knee cap from its place in the dog’s legs. Symptoms include dogs feeling uncomfortable while hiking or running and kicking their leg to set the kneecap in its position.

Legg-Calve Perthes Disease: The blood supply of the femur is decreased, due to which the pelvis begins to disintegrate, and the hip becomes gradually weakened. Symptoms include limping and atrophies of the leg muscle. The diseased femur can be corrected with surgery. 

Spay or Neuter: In spaying, the female dog’s ovaries or uterus is removed, and in the neuter, the testicles of the males are removed. It is done to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or fathering unwanted puppies and decrease the likelihood of certain types of cancer.

Allergies: Wires can be allergic to various substances, ranging from food to pollen. If your dog licks his paws or rubs his face a great deal, get him checked by your veterinarian. 

Cancer: This disease can be cured by surgically removing tumors and chemotherapy. However, it is essential not to ignore and diagnose the symptoms earlier.

Cardiac Disease: Heart problems may be present in Wires, including mitral and tricuspid valve murmurs. They may develop a murmur as early as four to six years due to a leaky mitral valve.

Pulmonic Stenosis: One of the most frequent inherited cardiac disorders in dogs is pulmonic stenosis. It is caused by a distortion of the Pulmonic valve, which obstructs the blood flow from the heart to the lungs. 

Von Willebrand’s Disease: The most prevalent hereditary bleeding problem in dogs is Von Willebrand’s disease (VWD). It’s caused by a lack of a specific protein that helps platelets (blood cells that aid with clotting) adhere together and form clots to close damaged blood arteries. Von Willebrand factor is the name of the missing protein (VWF). 

Recommended Health Tests 

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Wire Fox Terrier Diet and Nutrition

It is recommended to measure food of 1.5 cups that are high in quality to your Wires twice a day rather than letting the food on the plate all day to eat. Since these puppies are potential weight gainers, it is better to supervise the amount of food you offer. However, ensure the diet you feed is measured and tailored to your puppy’s size, activity level, age, and weight. Likewise, limit the treats you give your Wire, specifically while training. Of course, you can always choose high-quality dog food, either homemade or commercially manufactured. Also, clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Here are the foods and supplements to meet your Wire Fox Terrier’s nutrition needs:

Adult Dry Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

Dog Hip & Joint Supplement
Buy at Amazon

MilkBone 60 Soft Chews
Buy at Amazon

Liquid Food Supplement
Buy at Amazon

Wag Wet Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

Tender Cuts In Gravy
Buy at Amazon

Wire Fox Terrier Living Condition

Wires are spunky, energetic little dogs who need regular exercise and physical and mental stimulation. They are the most suitable companion pups who adapt well to their human families. They adore playing and love the company of older children. They are delighted when they are around their family. On the downside, they undergo separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.

Did You Know?

  • Caesar, the beloved dog of Edward VII, is one of the most famous Wire Fox Terriers in history.
  • A Wire Fox Terrier, Skippy, starred in dozens of films throughout the 1930s. However, he’s best known for playing the dog Asta in The Thin Man films, featuring the antics of a private detective and his wife. 
  • Initially, Wires were bred to “go to ground” to chase small game from their dens.
  • Wires descended from the Rough Coated Black and Tan Terrier and were used for hunting foxes.
  • A hardy constitution and cocksure personality characterize the Wire Fox Terrier.
  • Wire’s energy is boundless, and their antics are endless.

Wire Fox Terrier Club Recognition

  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • CET = Club Español de Terriers (Spanish Terrier Club)
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club

Adding a Wire Fox Terrier to Your Family

Things to remember before adding a Wire Fox Terrier to your family

Getting a Wire Fox Terrier puppy from a reliable and reputed breeder who can provide you with health certificates, vaccination, and gene testing would be best. 

Cost of a Wire Fox Terrier

A Wire Fox Terrier puppy may cost around $800 to $2000, not including miscellaneous expenses.

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