The Wire Fox Terrier

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Wire Fox Terrier
Weight: 15 — 19 lbs
Height: 13” — 15”
AKC Rank 2008 #88
Lifespan: 10—13 yrs
Group Terrier
Origin: England

Dog Breed Info - Wire Fox Terrier

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Breed Overview

Origin: 1800’s. Original Function: Vermin hunting, Fox bolting. Today: Earthdog trials.

The Wirehaired Fox Terrier was a good hunting dog, finding fox in their boroughs and forcing them to bolt out into the open. The Wire possibly came from the Rough Coated Black and Tan Terrier of Wales, the Foxhound and maybe the English Hound. Following WWII the Wirehaired Terriers saw an increase in popularity. A hundred years aft the American Fox Terrier Club was set up, the AKC divided the Fox Terrier into two separate breeds. Thus, by 1985, we had the smooth version and the wirehaired versions, both registered by the AKC.


Very trainable. Enjoys training sessions and tries to please, especially if you use clicker training and positive reinforcement. Pick up a clicker for around $3 at a pet store and put it to good use.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Wire Fos Terrier? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Most Wire Fox Terrier puppies are easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

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The Wire Fox Terrier is a little bundle of energy. She's lively and loves to run, explore, hunt, and chase small animals for fun. She can be quite mischievous as well as entertaining and independent. Being a terrier, she may enjoy digging and barking as a pastime. She’s a bit aggressive with strange dogs.

If you happen to get a Wire Fox Terrier or puppy with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Wary of other dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

No. Maybe if raised with them, but would prefer to be the only animal in the house. Might go after small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Yes, likes people and greets people well.


Yes, very playful.


Yes, quite affectionate.

Good with children?

Yes, especially older, well-mannered kids. Loves to play and run with them.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. Generally good with seniors. If the senior can walk a distance daily and throw a ball for a half hour, the Wire Fox Terrier might work out. If longevity or training are issues, find a Wire Fox Terrier Rescue group or kennel and adopt a 2 or 3 year old dog that is already house trained and knows a few commands. That will save a lot of headaches.

Living environment

House with doggie door and medium fenced yard or a farm. Any safe place where a ball can be thrown and the dog can chase after it with no chance of escaping.

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Energy level

Fairly high energy. Needs an outlet for her energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Needs two good walks on leash. A vigorous play session is helpful.

Yes, needs plenty of exercise. A young Wire Fox Terrier will keep busy in a modest sized fenced yard and must have things to do and toys to play with to keep busy.


Excellent watchdog.

Guard dog

No, not a guard dog. Likes people too much.


Yes, sheds some.


Comb or brush (with a stiff bristle brush) the Fox Terrier 3 times a week. Shape with scissors as needed, roughly every 3 months.


Suggested Reading For The Wire Fox Terrier
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

2nd book from left - "Play With Your Dog" teaches you HOW to play and when and where to play with your dog. It's some interesting psychology.

3rd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" that offers great mental stimulation for your Fox Terrier. An incredible variety of things are offered for your dog to learn and do and even I was surprised!

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.


Wire Fox Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Wire Fox Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Wire Fox Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.

Wire Fox Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Wire Fox Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Wire Fox Terrier Rescue In the event you do adopt one, try to locate the dog health records for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site At this time, there are only 116 dogs for sale at Petfinder (above) so you might have to search for Wire Fox Terrier Rescue groups online. Also, look for kennels and foster homes.

Dog Health Issues For The Wire Fox Terrier
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Wirehaired Fox Terrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect either rear leg of the Wire Fox Terrier. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.
  • Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treat right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem. Found in many breeds including the Wire Fox Terrier and Smooth version too.

  • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The Wire Fox Terrier will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Urinary Bladder Cancer—Life threatening cancer and bladder stones blocking and making urination impossible. Can metastasize and spread quickly. Look for blood in urine, difficulty eliminating, difficulty urinating, breathing problems, more frequent trips to urinate with little coming out. Go to the vet immediately for checkup. Survival will depend on where the cancer is, how far along it is and if it has metastasized or not.

  • Legg-Perthes—A disease of the hip joint in young dogs. It is a deforming of the head of the femur head where it fits into the pelvic socket and is generally noticed at around 6 to 8 months age. The disease affects small and toy breeds and can range from mildly debilitating to totally debilitating. It’s very painful and the dog will have a lame leg at the affected hip. Pain can become severe in some dogs and the dog will go from occasional limping to continuous carrying of the leg. Severe muscle atrophy can set in with the appearance of shortening of the affected leg. Restricted joint movement is also a common sign Legg-Perthes. Surgery will usually restore a dog to a fairly normal life but prevention at the breeding stage is the right solution.

  • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

  • Dermoid sinus—Hereditary—An infection and inflammation noticed at birth in the sinus or tubes running along the spine from the rear end to the neck. These are a thick-walled tubes with skin cells, fiber tissue, hair and oils. When the sinus becomes infected with bacteria and inflamed, it can cause swelling and infection in the spinal cord which causes encephalitis and abscesses.. Surgery is the remedy.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and can lead to blindness if not treated properly.

Other health problems could occur with your Wire Fox Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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