Wire Fox Terrier
(AKC Terrier Group)
Wire Fox Terrier

The Wire Fox Terrier has a flat, tapering, narrow skull, and ears that fold forward above the skull level, making V-shaped flaps. The small, deep-set round eyes should be keen and fiery in expression. The tail is normally docked to three-quarters its length and stands on top of the dog rather than hanging out behind. Feet are round and compact. The body is square-proportioned and short-backed. The coat is predominately white, with spots of black and ginger; the twisting hairs are wiry in texture. The dog’s overall impression should be one of speed, power, and endurance.


The Fox Terrier is one of the very oldest terrier breeds. Like other terriers, the Fox Terrier was developed as a hunter, in this case of fox (and rats) in England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The dog’s job wasn’t actually to attack the fox, however. Instead, its goal was to "bolt" a fox from its den or hiding place by barking and lunging at it until it finally fled. As such, this breed had to be small enough to get into a fox hole, but long-legged enough to keep up with fox hounds.

Though their ancestry may originally have been quite different, the Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers were interbred for many years and were long considered to be varieties of a single breed. By the early 1900s this crossing of the Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers stopped, and the two eventually became officially recognized as separate breeds.

Today the Wire Fox Terrier is primarily a companion dog, and one whose playfulness, spunkiness, quickness, and scrappiness are deeply admired by its devotees.

Key Facts:



The Wire Fox Terrier is adored by many, but isn’t for everyone. Intelligent and easily trained, the Wire Fox Terrier gets bored easily. And while these dogs bond with their family and are generally eager to please, their prey drive is so strong that they just cannot contain themselves if they see a fox, opossum, or even a cat wandering within eyesight.

Unlike many terrier breeds, the Wire Fox Terrier is excellent with children: He can be patient, protective, and extraordinarily playful with them. In addition, this breed doesn’t shed, which means busy parents don’t have to worry about grooming as much as with some breeds (although the dogs do have to be clipped three to four times a year). They can be excellent watchdogs. They generally don’t do well in the obedience ring, but they excel at agility and performing tricks.