Wire Fox Terrier

Written by: Jamie
Updated: November 25, 2020

Want to learn more about the Wire Fox Terrier? The only breed to have won the Westminster Kennel Club, ‘Best in Show’ Title 15 times! Then check out the guide below.

Wire Fox Terrier and a ball

Height: 15.5 inches
Weight: Male 8 kilos, female 7-8 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Check out the Wire Haired Fox Terrier’s pros and cons below:


  • Highly intelligent and easy to train
  • Family-friendly pet
  • Minimal shedding
  • Hardly drools


  • Strong prey drive
  • High energy levels, needs lots of exercise
  • Regular brushing is needed to maintain the coat
  • Potential to wander off on an exploration


The Wire Haired Fox Terrier is just one of the two established breeds under the Fox Terrier category. The second is the Smooth Fox Terrier. These medium-sized canines are another member of the Terrier family. Whilst they closely resemble the Smooth Fox Terrier, they are believed to have been developed independently.

Fox Terriers are highly intelligent and easy to train. They are somewhat ok for first-time owners, as long as they have the time, energy, and patience to offer this breed. Naturally, Fox Terriers make excellent watchdogs and will quickly alert you to anything out of the ordinary.

Wire Fox Terrier with gift boxes

Although the Wire Fox Terrier doesn’t shed their fur often, they still have high grooming needs. Show dogs need more attention and are often hand stripped before their event. Professional grooming may be needed, especially if hand stripping is a technique you aren’t used to.

Fox Terriers have an excellent sense of smell and make excellent trackers. Yet their strong prey drive means they can’t be off-leash. The breed will immediately start a chase and could mistake smaller dogs for prey. They could also wander off exploring and will need to be kept on a leash.

This canine makes an excellent family companion, especially for active families. They are ideal playmates for children above the age of 6 and love being part of a busy household. Whilst they prefer being the only dog in the house, they adore affection from every single member of the family.


Fox Terriers originate from England during the late 1800s and are separated into two different breeds. The Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier. Both were developed independently, used by fox hunters to drive prey out of their burrows, thanks to their small size. The canine was then dragged out of the burrow by their tail (docked).

The Wire Fox Terrier is thought to be a descendent of the extinct Black and Tan Working Terrier. Both Queen Elizabeth and her son Edward VII were proud owners of the breed. This canine was mostly popular amongst hunters until the early 1900s when families began taking an interest.

In 1913, the Wire Fox Terrier Association was established in the UK. The breed is still highly popular across the world, especially in the UK and America. Today Wire Fox Terriers are commonly seen as family companions, dog show competitors, and are occasionally still used for fox hunting.

Wire Fox Terriers have won 15 ‘Best in Show’ Titles at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as of 2019. They have won this category more than any other breed! Yet it was the Smooth Fox Terrier who started competing in the show ring around two decades earlier than the Wire Fox Terrier.

Related: Our comprehensive guide to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever breed is out.


Wire Fox Terrier Temperament:

Fox Terriers really are a bundle of fun! They are excitable, energetic, playful, affectionate, independent, and have a complete mind of their own. Like other members of the Terrier family, barking and digging are deeply enjoyable! Thankfully, their affectionate side makes it all worthwhile! The Fox Terrier temperament will have any owner entertained.

This breed is independent but they don’t like being left alone with nothing to do. If they get bored, they’ll entertain themselves with destructive behaviours. Ensure they have been walked and have plenty of toys and games to keep them occupied until your return.

Are Wire Fox Terriers Good With Strangers?

Wire Fox Terriers make fantastic watchdogs and will instantly alert you to any stranger approaching your territory. They can be protective over their family so socialization will be needed to prevent potential aggression. They will be aware and suspicious, but if their owner is relaxed with the newcomer, they should settle down.

Wire Fox Terrier resting

Are Wire Fox Terriers Good With Children?

Yes, this breed gets along well with children. Their energy levels match a child perfectly and they could spend all day long playing games together. They may be a little too excitable for smaller children but won’t intentionally harm a child.

Are Wire Fox Terriers Ok With Other Dogs?

The Wire Fox Terrier will need lots of socialization to ensure kind behaviour to other pooches. The breed is fearless, dominant, and won’t hesitate to initiate a fight. This can land them in trouble, especially with dogs much larger than they are. Whilst they prefer to live alone, they can live with another dog if introduced from an early age.

Cats and other small pets should be avoided. The Fox Terriers’ strong prey drive could put these animals in danger.


The Fox Terrier dog should receive up to one hour of exercise each day. This should be strenuous as the breed is known to have high energy levels. Their intelligent mind will need mental stimulation such as dog sports. The breed excels in this area and often competes in the show ring.

young Wire Fox Terrier

Thanks to their strong prey drive, this canine will dart at the sight of sudden movement! Be sure they are on a leash or at least exercised in an enclosed space. Fox Terriers love chasing a ball so include these types of interactive games during their daily exercise routine.

Recommended: Read our comprehensive guide on the Pomsky next.


Learn about the Fox Terrier’s breed-related health issues below:

  • Atopy- This skin disease is life-long. Symptoms include itchiness and inflammation.
  • Cataracts- A change in lens reveals an abnormal cloud. If large this could affect vision blocking light from reaching the retina, thus causing blindness.
  • Lens Luxation- This inherited condition is commonly seen amongst Terrier breeds. The fibers holding the lens in place weaken, causing the eye to shift from its normal position.
  • Luxating Patellas- A condition causing the kneecaps to temporarily dislocate out of place.
  • Glaucoma- A build-up of fluid results in pressure on the eye. It leads to redness, pain, and a loss of vision.
  • Legg-Perthes Disease- The hip joint deteriorates and collapses. Dogs will begin to limp and after some time, won’t be able to hold their weight in the affected area.

Intelligence & Training

The Wire Fox Terrier is deeply intelligent and can quickly pick up on commands. However, like most Terriers, independence, stubbornness, and dominance are traits an owner will have to face. This breed can be a little sensitive so only positive training methods will work on this pooch. Harsh techniques will make them switch off from training.

Wire Fox Terriers excel in dog sports and are great learners. To gain their attention, make sure training sessions are fun and different each time. They can get bored rather quickly so don’t make it slow, this pooch is intelligent and can easily keep up with a quick training pace.

Respect training should be started first, followed by obedience. Once this pooch respects your leadership and you have a bond, their listening skills will work better! Practicing their recall is another important task for the Fox Terrier. They have a strong prey drive so plenty of time should be spent focusing on this area.

A Wire Haired Terrier puppy can be trained from as early as 8 weeks. The earlier the sessions start, the easier it is to guide their behaviour. Training lessons should last around 10-15 minutes. Begin indoors, then start practicing your commands in different locations outside. Don’t forget to continuously socialize with other dogs and people.

Recommended: Check out this guide to learn more about the Bouvier Des Flandres breed.


The Wire Fox Terrier sheds minimally but will need lots of brushing to remove any loose strands. Their short dense coat will need a brush twice a week. Pin brushes, slicker brushes, and wide-toothed combs are the best tools to use.  This pooch would benefit from professional grooming once or twice a year.

Wire Fox Terrier closeup

Aim to wash this breed every 4-6 weeks. Their beard will require cleaning with a damp cloth after feeding, needing extra attention every so often. Hand stripping is a grooming technique used mostly amongst show dogs. This can be practiced at home using tools such as a stripping knife. Professional grooming may be better for this task.

Remove any wax and debris from the ear canal every week. Nails should be trimmed monthly and teeth brushed at least three times a week. Grooming methods should be introduced to a Fox Terrier as early as possible. Try to make this relaxing. Grooming is a great way to bond with your pooch.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at Jamie@woofbarkgrowl.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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  1. I have lived and worked with Fox terriers all my life my father being a Kennelman for a large hunt.
    I agree of course with your comments on the strong prey drive of the fox terrier but we could not live and work with them if we had to keep them on a leash all the time. Wire Foxes can be trained for prompt recall even in situations when prey is available but the trainer must understand how prey is tracked. Occasional calling will not achieve a prompt recall constant whistling is much more effective as the terrier will hear it and return in the inevitable break in scent. Rewards help but the terrier is a friendly soul and responds best to praise and a quick refocus on an interesting activity.

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