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Wire Fox Terrier: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Care & Traits

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Wire Fox Terrier Dog

Wire Fox Terrier: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Care & Traits

The Wire Fox Terrier is an instantly recognizable dog that makes a wonderful pet. They have a long history, have won many awards, and are excellent hunters. If you have the chance to purchase one of these dogs but would like to know more about them first, keep reading as we discuss their appearance, temperament, diet, and health concerns, so you can see if they are right for you.

Breed Overview


15–15.5 inches


15–18 pounds


12–15 years


White, black, tan

Suitable for:

Individuals or families looking for a lively and affectionate companion


Energetic, affectionate, fearless

The Wire Fox Terrier originated in the British Isles in the 1700s. They have a rough, wiry coat that has a distinctive appearance, and they are usually mostly white but can have tan, black, or black and tan patches on the face and ears and in the saddle area. They have long, wedge-shaped heads and a small beard. They have endless energy and often engage in clownish activities, making them fun to have around, especially if you have children. They are also great companions for people who love the outdoors.

Wire Fox Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Wire Fox Terrier Puppies

Fox Terrier puppy on a yellow-gold background
Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

Wire Fox Terriers will exhibit their high intelligence and energy levels when they are still small puppies, and their puzzle-solving capabilities can make it difficult to keep them contained when they start to explore their surroundings, so take extra care to puppy-proof dangerous areas. You will also want to start training and socializing them with as many other animals, people, and places as possible, to help them feel more comfortable around these things as adults.

To find a Wire Fox Terrier puppy, check with your local shelters and pet stores to see if they know of a local breeder. You can also look online to find one. Ensure that you research each breeder that you are considering for a better chance that you will get a healthy pet. A high-quality breeder will provide all the paperwork that goes along with your pet so you can register them with the American Kennel Club and other organizations, enter them into contests, and breed them if you purchased breeding rights.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Wire Fox Terrier 🧠

The Wire Fox Terrier is an adventurous dog that enjoys going for long rides or walks with their owner, and they are always ready to play any game that you choose. They can be wary of strangers at first but then usually warm up to them and can even be quite outgoing. They form strong bonds with their family members and will want to participate in household activities and family events. They are intelligent and good at problem-solving but can also be headstrong and need extra convincing to do what you tell them to do.

Wire Fox Terrier
Image Credit: GermanSu, Pixabay

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The energetic and playful nature of the Wire Fox Terrier makes them well-suited for active families that enjoy spending time outdoors. Large families can help make it easier to walk and play with your pet enough each day so they can get the exercise that they need, which will prevent boredom and weight gain. Children are especially good companions, as long as they are old enough to understand that they shouldn’t be too rough when playing.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Wire Fox Terrier can get along well with other dogs, especially if they spend time with them while still a puppy. However, their fearless attitude will prevent them from backing down from any dogs looking for a fight, no matter how large they are, and their strong prey drive can cause them to chase after smaller animals, including cats.

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Things to Know When Owning a Wire Fox Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Wire Fox Terrier will need high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age. You will also want to check the ingredient list to ensure that the first ingredient is a real meat like turkey or beef. If you are unsure about what brand is best, talk it over with your vet, as they will be able to provide advice specific to your pet. Always follow the portion recommendations on the bag closely, and limit the number of treats that you serve to no more than 10% of your dog’s total caloric intake, to reduce the risk of weight gain.

Wire Fox Terrier with his toy on green field
Image Credit: Pavel Shlykov, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Wire Fox Terriers need a substantial amount of daily exercise to keep them healthy and prevent boredom. Take your pet for a walk or engage in a play session that stimulates their mind as much as their body as often as possible. Aim for no less than 1 hour per day, and include plenty of puzzle games, long walks, agility training, fetch, and rides in the car to keep them busy.

Training 🎾

Begin training your Wire Fox Terrier when they are still a puppy and their mind is the most open to learning new things. Starting at this time will also get them into a routine that they can retain into adulthood as long as you keep it simple, short, fun, and consistent. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of treats, pets, and praise every time they do something right, and never get mad at them when they don’t succeed, or they will lose interest, which can make training harder.

Grooming ✂️

The dense, wiry coat of the Wire Fox Terrier requires frequent brushing to keep it looking its best, and you may need to hand-strip the dead fur to prevent tangling and matting. You will only need to bathe them when they get dirty, and when you do, it’s important to use a high-quality shampoo that doesn’t strip their skin of its natural oils. Clip the nails every few weeks, especially if you hear them clicking on the floor, and check the ears frequently for signs of wax buildup or other problems. It’s also important to brush their teeth manually as often as possible with a pet-safe toothpaste to help slow the progression of dental disease.

Wire Fox Terrier
Image Credit: Serhii Bobyk, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity affects more than 50% of dogs in the United States, and it can lead to several health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular issues. It’s also mostly preventable by serving the appropriate amount of food each day, limiting treats to no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake, and ensuring that they get plenty of exercise.
  • Dental disease is a common issue affecting all dog breeds, with more than 80% of dogs in the United States having some form of it by the age of 3. You can help slow the progression by brushing their teeth manually as frequently as possible with a pet-safe toothpaste and scheduling frequent checkups with the vet to look for signs of it.
Serious Conditions
  • Lens luxation is common among all terrier breeds. The condition occurs when the support ligaments in the eye that hold the lens in place fail. It can result in pain and redness and will often require surgery to clear up.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease causes the head of the femur bone to deteriorate unexpectedly, leading to pain when moving the joint, loss of leg muscle, and even lameness. Treatment includes weight management, medication, ice packs, and surgery.
  • Patella luxation is a condition that causes the dog’s kneecap to slip out of its groove due to a loosening of the patella ligament that holds it in place. Owners may notice their pet skipping a step or running on three legs in the early stages. It can affect one or both knees and lead to other problems, like chronic pain and arthritis. In some cases, your dog may need surgery to treat it.

Male vs. Female

Male Wire Fox Terriers tend to be larger and more robust than the females and can be more dominant and territorial. They are also often more playful, but that can make them harder to train than the females, as they can stay more focused on the task at hand. Females are also more independent and will spend less time underfoot.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Wire Fox Terrier

1. The Wire Fox Terrier has won more Best in Show titles at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show than any other breed.

As of 2019, the Wire Fox Terrier has won 15 titles since the start of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This is definitely a show breed!

2. The Wire Fox Terriers were built to be hunting dogs.

Don’t let their size fool you. Their rough coat helped protect their skin from the rough underbrush that they would encounter chasing foxes and rodents.

3. Several famous people owned a Wire Fox Terrier.

It is common for well-known figures in society to own dogs. A Wire Fox Terrier was owned by King Edward VII, William Randolph Hearst, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Final Thoughts

The Wire Fox Terrier can make a wonderful pet for any family, especially those with plenty of spare time to run and play with their pet to help them get the exercise that they need or plenty of family members who can pitch in. They are friendly and affectionate dogs that will quickly capture your heart with their comical activities. They get along well with children and other dogs, but their strong prey drive might cause them to chase after smaller pets, including cats. However, plenty of early socialization can help them get along with at least any pets currently in the household.

Featured Image Credit: Radovancev Zarko, Shutterstock

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