- Dog suitable for owners with some experience
- Extra training required
- Generally healthy breed
- Enjoys active walks
- Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
- Small dog
- Minimum drool
- Requires grooming every other day
- Chatty and vocal dog
- Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
- Might not like other dogs
- May need additional training to live with other pets
- May need additional supervision to live with children
- Needs a small garden
- Can live in semi-rural areas
- Can be left occasionally with training
|Lifespan:||13 – 14 years|
|Colours:||White, with tan, black or black and tan markings|
|Kennel Club Group:||Terrier|
|Easy to train:||4/5|
|Tolerates being alone:||2/5|
|Likes other pets:||2/5|
Sharp, independent minded and clever, the quick little Wire Fox Terrier is a formidable foe should you happen to be a rat, mouse or fox. Typical of the terrier type, the Wire Fox is inclined to kill first, ask questions later, and so owners should be aware of their high prey drive and desire to behave like a terrier! Around the house, Wire Fox Terriers are good and amusing companions, if given sufficient training and solid socialisation and habituation to family life – however a bored or under-stimulated Fox Terrier is likely to be loud and destructive.
History and Origins
Country of Origin: Britain
Developed in the 19th Century from a variety of working terrier types, particularly the wire coated black and tan terriers from Wales, Derbyshire and Durham. They were used to flush out foxes who had gone to ground and for general ratting and watch dog purposes. Originally the Fox Terrier was classed as one breed with two coat varieties, the Wire and the Smooth, however they are now considered separate breeds with their own respective breed standards.
The Wire Fox Terrier is generally a very healthy breed. However, in common with many small/toy breeds they can suffer from kneecaps that are prone to slipping temporarily out of place (luxating patellas) and some inherited eye problems.
Although the modern Wire Fox Terrier is primarily a show and companion dog, the working ability remains strong. An hours walk per day should be considered the minimum, with much more exercise being welcome, alongside training, games and doggy sports or competition.
Suited to most homes whether country or urban but they will need a very secure garden, and plenty of interesting walking routes with space to run and play games.
Small dog breeds, such as the Wire Fox Terrier, have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion. You can find out more about balanced diets for dogs with our step-by-step guide.
The thick, wiry coat of the Wire Fox Terrier is 2-4cm in length and the undercoat is short and soft. The facial hair gives the breed a most distinguished look. So, dog grooming for this breed involves a brush and comb through every other day will keep the coat knot-free. But it will also need to be hand stripped (where the dead hair is plucked out) three to four times a year or it will open out and become fluffy, attract dirt and let in water easily.
Best motivated with food and toys and the opportunity to play out the ‘chase-grab-kill’ sequence in appropriate ways, the Wire Fox Terrier may be fun to train for the clever and dedicated trainer. If dog training is not your thing however, this may not be the pet for you. Focus on teaching a rock-solid recall, and socialise well with other animals when young, as a fearful Fox Terrier is likely to respond aggressively rather than shying away.
Better suited to quiet, steady homes either with no children or older children who can follow rules and respect a dog’s space. Although good with their own children, terriers are not inclined to tolerate clumsy or overbearing children. For those who like training as a hobby or enjoy long walks, the Wire Fox Terrier can be an excellent companion.
While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.
Did You Know?
The name ‘terrier’ derives from the Latin ‘terra’ meaning earth. Small terriers like the Wire Fox Terrier were original bred to go to ground, down into the holes that foxes and badgers live in. This means being small enough to fit into those holes, brave enough to face a frightened fox or badger head on, and nimble enough to drive them out of their den. It is therefore not a surprise that many terriers believe themselves to be far bigger and more fearsome than their actual size suggests.