Dog Breeds Articles

The Wire Hair Fox Terrier is an exuberant breed full of life. Learn more about this happy-go-lucky breed in detail through a member owning the breed.
Wire Fox Terriers are very intelligent, and they make great family pets as well as magnificent show dogs. This old breed of dog has an interesting history that is described by the online magazine, “Dog Owner’s Guide”, in the article entitled “The Fox Terrier”, which was written by Norma Bennett Woolf, and published in 2000 by Canis Major Publications. It says that Wire Fox Terriers originated in the United Kingdom, and they may be the ancestor of the Working Terrier. Except for their coat, Wire Fox Terriers are very similar to Smooth Fox Terriers. The Smooth Fox Terrier was actually the first of the two breeds to arrive in the United States. Wire Fox Terriers were introduced in the latter part of the nineteenth century. These dogs were originally used to hunt down and dig out fox, and they possess many of these deep-rooted instincts today.

The website article, “Wire Fox Terrier”, published by the AWTA, describes in the following, the physical characteristics of this attractive breed of dog. It says the Wire Fox Terrier, by show standards, should be mostly white and have a wiry, coarsely textured coat. “The Fox Terrier” says, in addition to the prevalent white coat, the Wire Fox Terrier has sections of black or tan fur. The coat should be very thick, with a softer, finer coat beneath. An adult Wire Fox Terrier, to be considered show quality, cannot stand more than 15 1/2 inches high at the shoulders, and there should be no more than 12 inches between the shoulders and the base of the tail. Between the occipital bone and the tip of the nose, there should be between 7 and 7 1/4 inches. A Wire Fox Terrier of proper size and proportion will weigh about eighteen pounds. A female Wire Fox Terrier is generally a little smaller in comparison to the male and weighs about 1 to 3 pounds less.

“The Fox Terrier”, in the following, provides information on the temperament and personality of this breed of dog. It says Wire Fox Terriers, for the most part, are happy-go-lucky dogs. However, they can be quite stubborn, and they have some undesirable tendencies, such as digging up the yard and ignoring commands. It is recommended that a Wire Fox Terrier is given obedience training so it realizes who is in control. Even though they are friendly and generally good-natured, these spunky dogs will stand their ground and guard their territory. Wire Fox Terriers will often challenge a dog much larger than themselves.

Wire Fox Terriers need a large yard to run and play in. They love to play fetching games and are great frisbee players. Plenty of exercise is important for the Wire Fox Terrier. If they are not burning off enough energy, they can become quite rambunctious indoors. Wire Fox Terriers love to go for walks, which is a great form of exercise for the owner as well as the dog.

Because of their inherent nature to hunt, “The Fox Terrier” recommends a fenced in yard for this particular breed of dog. It says the fence should be well below the ground, because they are famous for tunneling out. Once they are out and on the loose, it is sometimes difficult to retrieve them. A dog that has escaped and is not responding to commands will often come back if the owner lies down on the ground and continues calling its name. This is because the dog’s natural curiosity will prompt it to go see what is wrong. “The Fox Terrier” advises that it often takes a lot of patience and understanding to deal with the antics of a Wire Fox Terrier.

According to “The Fox Terrier”, Wire Fox Terriers are a breed of dog that does not excessively shed, but they should be brushed on a regular basis to help keep the coat clean and odor-free. In between baths, rubbing baking soda into the fur and brushing it out will help control odors. The same article says that Wire Fox Terriers that are show dogs, require regular plucking of the hair so the colors of the coat are as bright as possible. It says Wire Fox Terriers kept as pets do not require such extreme measures of care. It is sufficient to trim the white fur and pluck only the colored areas. “The Fox Terrier” recommends finding a professional dog groomer who is knowledgable with this particular breed.

Wire Fox Terriers have very few health concerns says “The Fox Terrier”. It advises however, these dogs are subject to problems with digestion, thyroid disease, hip dysplasia, which happens to be common in many breeds of dog, and some Wire Fox Terriers require tonsillectomies. Regular visits to the veterinarian for immunizations and checkups will help keep your pet healthy, disease-free, and will increase his chances of enjoying a long life.

The Wire Fox Terrier is a very outgoing and active dog and often very much full of themselves. Cocky and self-assured, they can get into lots of trouble. Intelligent and always alert, they love to play with toys and balls, and often real water lovers. Puppies, they are adorable little bundles of fur, but a puppy buyer must be prepared for the dog they will grow up to be.

Although they are lap sized, in their hearts they are much larger. They are friendly and outgoing with most people, but can be standoffish and protective of their family. They also can and often are, aggressive to other dogs and with most other animals of any size. Great care should be taken in bringing a Wire Fox Terrier into a home with other pets. Bred as hunters, they can see other pets as prey. If you have a cat, bird or hamster, and are getting an adult dog, be sure to find out if your dog has been with any of these pets before you bring him home. Some wires will live peacefully with other animals, but many will not. Your Wire’s natural instinct will probably cause him to see them as prey to be hunted and killed. Keep this in mind.

They are generally friendly and curious and tend to be into things. Like a bright child they are great fun, but also a challenge to live with. The Wire requires a lot of attention from it’s people and needs to be part of the family. They want to be with you wherever you are, whatever you are doing. They are great couch and bed companions.

Wires, like most terriers, require enough room to exercise and play. They are generally great with older children and they enjoy the hours a child will spend with them. They are best with a securely fenced yard and should never be allowed to run loose. If they see something they think is prey or play, they will not come when they are called. A loose Wire is in great danger as he does not understand he is not immortal and can be hurt or killed. They have a great curiosity and will get into trouble when left to their own devices.

All puppies are cute. They are so new and innocent. They are also a challenge to raise correctly. Up until they are six months old they have puppy teeth that are very sharp and can cause some real damage. They also take some time to house train. They need a lot of attention and should be in a home that has someone home most of the day. The adult dog is past all this. He may be already house trained, and used to walking on a leash. He will be more settled in.

There are advantages to both the puppy and the adult. Take both into consideration when you start looking for your new pet. The Wire usually lives a long and healthy life. Many live to be 15 years old or more. They are generally very hearty and do not have any major heredity problems. They are strong and seldom get sick if properly protected from contagious disease by regular vaccination and sensible feeding and care. They do tend to be allergic to fleas and can have some skin problems.These are usually easily dealt with by good care and a clean environment.

The Breed Standard: (The American)

-General Appearance:

The Terrier should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe of expectation at the slightest provocation. Character is imparted by the expression of the eyes and by the carriage of ears and tail. Bone and strength in a small compass are essential, but this must not be taken to mean that a Terrier should be “cloddy,” or in any way coarse-speed and endurance being requisite as well as power. The Terrier must on no account be leggy, nor must he be too short on the leg. He should stand like a cleverly made, short-backed hunter, covering a lot of ground.

N.B: Old scars or injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice a Terrier’s chance in the show ring, unless they interfere with its movement or with its utility for work or stud.

-Size, Proportion, Substance:

According to present-day requirements, a full-sized, well balanced dog should not exceed 151/2 inches at the withers-the bitch being proportionately lower-nor should the length of back from withers to root of tail exceed 12 inches, while to maintain the relative proportions, the head-as mentioned below-should not exceed 71/4 inches or be less than 7 inches. A dog with these measurements should scale 18 pounds in show condition-a bitch weighing some two pounds less-with a margin of one pound either way.

The dog should be balanced and this may be defined as the correct proportions of a certain point or points, when considered in relation to a certain other point or points. It is the keystone of the Terrier’s anatomy. The chief points for consideration are the relative proportions of skull and foreface; head and back; height at withers; and length of body from shoulder point to buttock – the ideal of proportion being reached when the last two measurements are the same. It should be added that, although the head measurements can be taken with absolute accuracy, the height at withers and length of back are approximate, and are inserted for the information of breeders and exhibitors rather than as a hard-and-fast rule.


The length of the head of a full-grown well developed dog of correct size-measured with calipers-from the back of the occipital bone to the nostrils-should be from 7 to 71/4 inches, the bitch’s head being proportionately shorter. Any measurement in excess of this usually indicates an oversized or long-backed specimen, although occasionally-so rarely as to partake of the nature of a freak-a Terrier of correct size may boast a head 71/2 inches in length. In a well balanced head there should be little apparent difference in length between skull and foreface. If, however, the foreface is noticeably shorter, it amounts to a fault, the head looking weak and “unfinished.” On the other hand, when the eyes are set too high up in the skull and too near the ears, it also amounts to a fault, the head being said to have a “foreign appearance.”

Keen of expression:

Eyes should be dark in color, moderately small, rather deep-set, not prominent, and full of fire, life, and intelligence; as nearly as possible circular in shape, and not too far apart. Anything approaching a yellow eye is most objectionable.

Ears should be small and V-shaped and of moderate thickness, the flaps neatly folded over and dropping forward close to the cheeks. The topline of the folded ear should be well above the level of the skull. A pendulous ear, hanging dead by the side of the head like a Hound’s, is uncharacteristic of the Terrier, while an ear which is semierect is still more undesirable.

Disqualifications: Ears prick, tulip or rose.

The topline of the skull should be almost flat, sloping slightly and gradually decreasing in width toward the eyes, and should not exceed 31/2 inches in diameter at the widest part-measuring with the calipers-in the full-grown dog of correct size, the bitch’s skull being proportionately narrower. If this measurement is exceeded, the skull is termed “coarse,” while a full-grown dog with a much narrower skull is termed “bitchy” in head. Although the foreface should gradually taper from eye to muzzle and should dip slightly at its juncture with the forehead, it should not “dish” or fall away quickly below the eyes, where it should be full and well made up, but relieved from “wedginess” by a little delicate chiseling. While well developed jaw bones, armed with a set of strong, white teeth, impart that appearance of strength to the foreface which is so desirable, an excessive bony or muscular development of the jaws is both unnecessary and unsightly, as it is partly responsible for the full and rounded contour of the cheeks to which the term “cheeky” is applied.

Nose should be black.

Disqualifications: Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors.

Mouth: Both upper and lower jaws should be strong and muscular, the teeth as nearly as possible level and capable of closing together like a vise. The lower canines locking in front of the upper and the points of the upper incisors slightly overlapping the lower.

Disqualifications: Much undershot, or much overshot.

-Neck, Topline, Body:

Neck: Should be clean, muscular, of fair length, free from throatiness and presenting a graceful curve when viewed from the side. The back should be short and level with no appearance of slackness-the loins muscular and very slightly arched. The term “slackness” is applied both to the portion of the back immediately behind the withers when it shows any tendency to dip, and also the flanks when there is too much space between the back ribs and hipbone. When there is little space between the ribs and hips, the dog is said to be “short in couplings,” “short-coupled,” or “well ribbed up.” A Terrier can scarcely be too short in back, provided he has sufficient length of neck and liberty of movement. The bitch may be slightly longer in couplings than the dog.

Chest deep and not broad, a too narrow chest being almost as undesirable as a very broad one. Excessive depth of chest and brisket is an impediment to a Terrier when going to ground. The brisket should be deep, the front ribs moderately arched, and the back ribs deep and well sprung. Tail should be set on rather high and carried gaily but not curled. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length: A three-quarters dock is about right-since it affords the only safe grip when handling working Terriers. A very short tail is suitable neither for work nor show.


Shoulders when viewed from the front should slope steeply downwards from their juncture, with the neck towards the points, which should be fine. When viewed from the side they should be long, well laid back, and should slope obliquely backwards from points to withers, which should always be clean-cut. A shoulder well laid back gives the long forehand which, in combination with a short back, is so desirable in Terrier or Hunter. The elbows should hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the sides, carried straight through in traveling. Viewed from any direction the legs should be straight, the bone of the forelegs strong right down to the feet.

Feet should be round, compact, and not large-the pads tough and well cushioned, and the toes moderately arched and turned neither in nor out. A Terrier with good-shaped forelegs and feet will wear his nails down short by contact with the road surface, the weight of the body being evenly distributed between the toe pads and the heels.


Should be strong and muscular, quite free from droop or crouch; the thighs long and powerful; the stifles well curved and turned neither in nor out; the hock joints well bent and near the ground; the hocks perfectly upright and parallel with each other when viewed from behind. The worst possible form of hindquarters consists of a short second thigh and a straight stifle, a combination which causes the hind legs to act as props rather than instruments of propulsion. The hind legs should be carried straight through in traveling. Feet as in front.


The best coats appear to be broken, the hairs having a tendency to twist, and are of dense, wiry texture-like coconut matting-the hairs growing so closely and strongly together that, when parted with the fingers, the skin cannot be seen. At the base of these stiff hairs is a shorter growth of finer and softer hair-termed the undercoat. The coat on the sides is never quite so hard as that on the back and quarters. Some of the hardest coats are “crinkly” or slightly waved, but a curly coat is very objectionable. The hair on the upper and lower jaws should be crisp and only sufficiently long to impart an appearance of strength to the foreface. The hair on the forelegs should also be dense and crisp. The coat should average in length from 3/4 to one inch on shoulders and neck, lengthening to 11/2 inches on withers, back, ribs, and quarters. These measurements are given rather as a guide to exhibitors than as an infallible rule, since the length of coat depends on the climate, seasons, and individual animal. The judge must form his own opinion as to what constitutes a “sufficient” coat on the day.


White should predominate; brindle, red, liver or slaty blue are objectionable. Otherwise, color is of little or no importance.


The movement or action is the crucial test of conformation. The Terrier’s legs should be carried straight forward while traveling, the forelegs hanging perpendicular and swinging parallel to the sides, like the pendulum of a clock. The principal propulsive power is furnished by the hind legs, perfection of action being found in the Terrier possessing long thighs and muscular second thighs well bent at the stifles, which admit of a strong forward thrust or “snatch” of the hocks. When approaching, the forelegs should form a continuation of the straight of the front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. When stationary it is often difficult to determine whether a dog is slightly out at shoulder but, directly he moves, the defect-if it exists-becomes more apparent, the forefeet having a tendency to cross, “weave,” or “dish.” When, on the contrary, the dog is tied at the shoulder, the tendency of the feet is to move wider apart, with a sort of paddling action. When the hocks are turned in-cow-hocks-the stifles and feet are turned outwards, resulting in a serious loss of propulsive power. When the hocks are turned outwards the tendency of the hind feet is to cross, resulting in an ungainly waddle.


The Terrier should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe of expectation at the slightest provocation.


Ears prick, tulip or rose.

Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors.

Mouth much undershot, or much overshot.
Additional Resources

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