Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Wire Fox Terrier Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Personality & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Wire Fox Terrier

Height: 14 – 15 inches
Weight: 13 – 20 pounds
Lifespan: 13 – 14 years
Colors: White, white and black, white and tan, tricolor
Suitable for: Houses with yards, companionship, families with older children
Temperament: Fun, playful, and smart

The Wire Fox Terrier is a sturdy, short backed hunting dog. It has a mostly white coat with dark round eyes. It has small, triangle-shaped ears that fold forward, and a short tail that stands erect. It has a long muzzle with a beard and eyebrows.

The Wire Fox Terrier began in the 1700s. It’s mostly white color that makes it easier to see during a hunt, and there’s no red color allowed, so it’s not mistaken for a fox. The American Kennel Club recognized the Wire Fox Terrier as a unique breed in 1985. Before that, it was a favorite of King Edward VII and has appeared in several television shows and movies.

Divider 1

Wire Fox Terrier Puppies

Wire Fox Terrier Puppy
Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

When you’re looking for a Wire Fox Terrier, take extra caution when dealing with dog breeders. There are reputable and high-quality breeders but there are also puppy mills or backyard breeders that do not care for the puppies’ health and well-being. Better breeders will check the Wire Fox Terrier puppy for genetic defects, which can cost extra. The knowledge and ability to breed out certain defects can also raise the price of your dog. We also recommend checking the local animal shelters, as Wire Fox Terrier puppies can often be found there at a reduced price.

Generally, Wire Fox Terriers tend to be energetic and playful pups. They will create strong bonds with their families and will want to play with you regularly.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Wire Fox Terrier

1. The Wire Fox Terrier and Smooth Fox Terrier were once one breed, existing since the middle of the 1700s.

2. The Wire Fox Terrier instinctively chases small game from their dens.

3. The Wire Fox Terriers’ popularity grew when it starred in six Thin Man films.

Fox Terrier standing in a grassy field_kellymmiller73_shutterstock
Image Credit: Kellymmiller73, Shutterstock

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Wire Fox Terrier 🧠

The Wire Fox Terrier has an upbeat personality and is very affectionate. It has plenty of energy and is independent enough to complete tasks on its own and won’t get too upset if you leave them alone for a short time. It has an insatiable drive to hunt and will chase yard animals with fierce determination.

The Wire Fox Terrier is also highly intelligent and easy to train, but it has a low threshold for boredom and can be destructive if not given some task to perform. Constant mental and physical stimulation are the best defense against boredom and will help you bond better with your Wire Fox Terrier.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Wire Fox Terrier is a perfect family pet. They may be a little too jumpy to allow around children unsupervised, but older kids up to the elderly will find that they make fantastic companions that are funny, eager to please, and protective.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Wire Fox Terrier will require considerable socialization early in life to get them used to other family pets, especially if they are significantly smaller. Their prey drive is hard to remove, and professional help from puppy classes or pet training schools may be required.

Toy Fox Terrier in grass
Image: Pikist

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning a Wire Fox Terrier

Here are some important things to consider before you purchase a Wire Fox Terrier.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Wire Fox Terrier requires a standard high-quality dry dog food that will supply a balanced meal and help keep their teeth clean. We recommend a food with chicken, turkey, or lamb listed as the first ingredient, and you should also see lots of fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and blueberries listed among the ingredients. Avoid foods with a lot of chemical ingredients or preservatives.

Exercise 🐕

The Wire Fox Terrier is a very active dog that will require a considerable amount of regular exercise. It enjoys long walks but chasing balls and playing fetch are also great ways to burn off excess energy and keep your pet fit and healthy.

Wirehaired Fox Terrier squinting in the sun
Image Credit: Kozlik, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

The Wire Fox Terrier can be quite stubborn when it wants something or doesn’t want something, but they are usually eager to please their owners and enjoy mental stimulation, so they are not hard to train to do new tricks. Positive reinforcement training with lots of praise and treats when they succeed is the best method. Keeping your training sessions at the same length and holding them at the same time each day is also critical to success. Dogs are very routine-based animals and keeping training sessions on a schedule will help your Wire Fox Terrier understand what you expect from them.

Grooming ✂️

The Wire Fox Terrier requires continuous brushing to help keep their fur free of tangles and mats. Show dogs will likely need professional grooming, but even non-show dogs will require clipping to keep the coat manageable. Nails will also need monthly trimming, and ears will require weekly cleaning to help stave off infection and odor. If you start early, you can train your Wire Fox Terrier to allow you to brush their teeth, which can help reduce the chance of dental disease, but make sure you only use a doggy toothpaste when doing so.

Health Conditions ❤️

Unfortunately, purebred dogs like the Wire Fox Terrier see more serious illnesses than mixed breeds, and we’ll take a look at some of the more common issues it may face in this section. The Minor conditions section is about rare or non-life-threatening illnesses. The Major conditions section is about common illnesses and serious illnesses.

Minor Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is another condition that affects a wide variety of dogs and is the number one cause of lameness in dogs. Hip dysplasia is usually transmitted genetically and causes the hip socket to form improperly. Symptoms include difficulty in rising from a resting position, a swaying gate, pain, and stiffness.

  • Wobblers Gate

Wobblers Gate is a condition that affects the neck. It’s usually seen in large dogs but can also occur in smaller dogs like the Wire Fox Terrier. Wobbler syndrome usually affects dogs before the age of three, and symptoms include difficulty moving the head as well as uncoordinated back legs. Some dogs may also suffer from severe neck pain.

Serious Conditions
  • Cataracts

Cataracts is a disease that affects many dog breeds as well as humans, and it causes the lens of the eye to become increasingly cloudy until the dog can no longer see. If left untreated, cataracts can cause the lenses to become dislodged, which and lead to glaucoma and blindness. Symptoms of cataracts include a bluish-grey tint to the lens.

  • Luxating Patella

A luxating patella is when the elbow becomes dislocated due to the stretching of the patella ligament that holds them in place. As the elbow becomes dislocated more often, the ligament stretches more, worsening the condition.

Divider 5

Male vs Female

This is one of the rare breeds where the female Wire Fox Terrier is slightly taller than the male Wire Fox Terrier, while the male is slightly more affectionate. Otherwise, there is not much difference between the two.

Divider 3


The Wire Fox Terrier is a great choice for large homes with a fenced in yard and children over the age of five. It can be strong-willed and stubborn, but it’s also easy to train and eager to please. You may want to keep them away from small animals and babies, but they make a loyal and protective companion for adults.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our in-depth look at the Wire Fox Terrier, and it has sparked your interest enough that you will consider getting one. If we have helped you find your next pet, please share this Wire Fox Terrier complete guide on Facebook and Twitter.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Astrid Mai, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database