Complete Guide To Wire Fox Terriers: Health, Grooming, Exercise and More

Small, spunky, and full of life, the Wire Fox Terrier is an adorable little dog. This dog does not sit on laps and rather enjoys time exploring, hunting, and romping around with children. Fiercely intelligent, the Wire Fox Terrier excels at agility and rally competitions and quickly learns new tricks and behaviors.  

I see this breed of dog occasionally in my veterinary practice but have seen quite a few over the past 20 years as a veterinarian. They are fun, energetic, confident little dogs that would make a great family pet for most homes.

How Big Do Wire Fox Terriers Get?

This dog is a small breed of dog with both males and females reaching 15.5 inches at the shoulder. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and will weigh around 18 pounds. A female comparatively is smaller, usually weighing between 15 and 17 pounds.  

What Do Wire Fox Terriers Look Like?

There are two types of Fox Terriers, and for an extended period were treated as one dog. There are Smooth Fox Terriers and Wire Fox Terriers. The Wire Fox Terriers have a thick, wooly, and fuzzy texture that feels almost like the outside of a coconut.

This breed of dog should be primarily white but can have other colored markings throughout the fur. They can have black, tan, or black and tan markings, but the head is usually one solid color. Breed standards allow for slight markings on the face like a blaze, split face, or color on the ears and eyes.  

What Is The Personality Of A Wire Fox Terrier?

True to their name, the Wire Fox Terrier is a Terrier breed through and through. They are feisty, independent, overly confident, and have a high prey drive. Although this may seem like a handful, they are incredibly intelligent and can be pretty easy to train if given the correct training methods. This dog is the type of dog that needs short training sessions that are interesting and consistent. The dog responds well to positive training methods that use plenty of treats and praise throughout the process.  

This breed is a happy-go-lucky kind of dog that is fun to have in your family. They enjoy the company of children and have enough energy and spitfire to match the most rambunctious child. Be careful with this breed of dog and other animals and dogs. While friendly, the Wire Fox Terrier tends to get scrappy with other dogs and has an instinct to chase small rodents, animals, and cats.  

How Much Grooming Do Wire Fox Terriers Need?

How you groom your dog will largely depend on how you plan to work with your dog. Wire Fox Terriers entering the show ring must have their coats hand stripped frequently to remove dead and dying fur from the coat. This grooming method can be done by the owner with patience and practice or done by a professional.

Those that plan to keep the Wire Fox Terrier as a pet will be perfectly fine clipping and trimming the fur to keep it short and tangle-free. Regular brushing with a short bristled brush will help reduce shedding and eliminate dirt and debris. Like all dogs, be sure to keep the nails trimmed short, and the eyes and ears kept clean.  

What Are The Exercise Needs Of A Wire Fox Terrier?

Although this is a small dog breed, the Wire Fox Terrier will need a hefty amount of exercise. This dog has a great deal of energy and must be properly exercised to discourage nuisance behaviors at home. The dog will enjoy a long walk, a good game of fetch, or simply chasing a ball around a fenced yard. Because this dog is a Terrier and has an instinct to pursue prey, it is essential always to keep this dog leashed or enclosed in a fenced area.

The dog also needs plenty of mental stimulation to stay happy. Because this dog is so intelligent, it excels at canine athletic competitions. It thrives in environments that combine agility and speed, like rally and agility competitions. Enrolling your dog in these activities not only helps to keep your pup exercised and fit, but it gives you a fun activity to help you better bond with your dog.  

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Wire Fox Terrier?

Before we start with the food lists, just know that grain-free dog foods are a myth. There’s zero science showing that they are helpful. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that it’s causing issues in certain breeds of dogs. Food allergies are the only reason to even consider a grain-free diet but only choose one with the help of your veterinarian.

Best Puppy Food For Wire Fox Terriers:

Best Adult Food For Wire Fox Terriers:

I do tend to recommend larger dog food manufacturers over the smaller, boutique-style dog foods. In 20 years of being a veterinarian, I’ve just seen less issues with the major dog foods versus these small companies. There are fewer recalls and I find that they are more cost effective.

My philosophy on dog food is that most foods are fine for most dogs except in cases where a dog has a specific issue that requires a specialized dog food. For the vast majority of pet owners, the above foods are an excellent choice.

How Long Does A Wire Fox Terrier Live?

12-15 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can Wire Fox Terriers Have?

This particular breed is usually quite healthy. While I can occasionally come across a Wire that has dental disease or is overweight, it’s not prevalent at all in the breed.

The only issue that I would watch out for is luxating patella which may show up as a dog that lifts their hind leg on occasion while walking or running. This can vary from a mild issue to one that could require surgery. Consult with your vet if you are seeing an abnormal walking gait.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Wire Fox Terrier?

American Fox Terrier Club

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find a Wire Fox Terrier?

Both Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers are relatively easy to find due to the popularity of the breed. It is essential to always vet your breeder thoroughly before committing to a puppy. You want to make sure the breeder is knowledgeable about the breed and is happy to answer any questions you may have. If possible, try to meet the entire litter of puppies. You will want an energetic and bold puppy, but never one that is aggressive, shy, or overly assertive.

American Fox Terrier Club Breeder List

AKC Puppy Marketplace

It is also possible to rescue a Wire Fox Terrier from a rescue group. There are plenty of rescues that specialize in this high-energy and intelligent dog breed. Start with the American Fox Terrier Rescue group to find a list of local rescues. Not only will you be able to find the purebred dog of your dreams, but you will be able to help a dog find its forever home.  

Fun Facts About the Wire Fox Terrier

  • The Fox Terrier was bred to help hunters track and hunt foxes. After running to their hiding place, this dog breed was trained to “bolt” foxes, or spring foxes. The Fox Terriers would work to drive the foxes toward the hunters and foxhounds.
  • Historically, all-white Wire Fox Terriers were preferred because they stood out to hunters and didn’t look like the foxes they were hunting. 
  • Wire Fox Terriers have been associated with royalty. England’s King Edward VII owned Caesar, a loving and devoted companion. After the death of the King, Caesar walked behind the casket during the funeral. Caesar always wore a collar that read, “I am Caesar. I belong to the King.”
  • For years the Smooth Fox Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier were treated as the same breed. It wasn’t until 1985 that the AKC recognized the dogs as two separate breeds.  
  • The first Fox Terriers came to the United States in 1879, with the Smooth coat imported first, followed shortly after by the Wire Fox Terrier. In 1885 the first American Fox Terrier Club was formed, and in the same year, the first Fox Terrier, named Cricket, was registered with the AKC.