Wire Fox Terrier Dog Breed

White & Ginger Wire Fox Terrier
  • Other names:
  • Wirehaired Fox Terrier

Pronunciation: [wī(-ə)r fäks ter-ē-ər]

The Wire Fox Terrier was considered a variety of Fox Terrier until relatively recently. This bold, courageous, and highly active dog has a great sense of humor, a perpetual desire to run free, and requires a master whose velvet glove is just that: an iron fist tends to be far too much for these highly sensitive — if extremely stubborn — dogs. This is not a very common breed, but when you see one, you know it. Although they are appreciated as companion dogs, they remain highly prized hunting dogs who will stop at nothing to get their prey.

Wire Fox Terrier Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred10-15 yrs.14-15 in.15-19 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Wire Fox Terrier was bred to be a hunting dog. The AKC categorizes them in the Terrier Group, of course, as does the FCI. They were for many centuries trained to hunt down small animals by chasing after them in underground tunnels and flushing them out one way or another. They are not the best dogs for first-time families as they are not easy to train or to keep under control, but they are fine for homes with children. They are relatively small, and they are certainly cute. If you are thinking about getting one of these dogs, you should be sure to check out these Wire Fox Terrier facts:


  • Highly alert
  • Love to play
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Great with kids
  • Don't bark much
  • Are extremely cute
  • Very good watchdogs
  • Don't shed much, if at all
  • More than a bit humorous


  • Difficult to train
  • Not good guard dogs
  • Bark can be annoying
  • Grooming can be pricey
  • Can be expensive to buy
  • Will constantly try to escape
  • If they escape, they may not return
  • Require a great amount of daily exercise
  • May pick fights with much larger, stronger dogs
  • Will chase and try to kill small, non-canine animals
  • Will chase most anything that moves: cars, bicyclists, squirrels, etc.

Wire Fox Terrier Breed Description

If you're looking for basic Wire Fox Terrier information, this page will provide that. This dog is a bundle of energy who will seek sly ways to outwit you, attempt to escape, and basically get whatever she wants any way she can. No matter how in control you think you may be, however, she must be kept on a leash or in a very well-secured yard. At the drop of a hat, she will chase small animals, moving cars, and running kids — and she may not return.

The intelligence of the Wire Fox Terrier is very well-known. Don't be surprised when she outwits you, or you suddenly find her on the other side of the fence. Your best bet is to possess otherworldly amounts or firm, consistent patience.. and not turn your back on her. These dogs were bred and trained to think on their own, and there's no undoing that trait.

This breed is not known for barking much, but if they do, there is usually a very serious problem. They are also known for not backing down to other animals, whether they are badgers, much bigger dogs, or even cows. Unfortunately, their bark is far worse than their bite, and these medium sized dogs can quickly end up on the losing end of a fight they can't help but start.

The unbridled energy of this breed must be burned off with a lot of daily exercise. Unless you are a marathon runner, you probably won't tire out a Wire Fox Terrier. This will be great if you have kids, as these dogs are neither vicious with kids nor so big as to be an accidental danger – and they will play endlessly! Check of Animal Planet's Dogs 101: Wire Fox Terrier for more cool info.

Wire Fox Terrier Appearance

The Wire Fox Terrier is a distinctive-looking dog. She is sturdy, boxy and medium-sized. While they have a number of remarkable features, the most obvious one is that set of Wire Fox Terrier ears.

The triangular ears fold to the front and sit atop a rectangular, long muzzle with small, intense eyes. She'll be well-muscled. Her front legs tend to be squared with her body and the ground, and her rear legs will look ready to spring; they end in small paws that nevertheless can be — and are — used for digging a lot. Like the medium-length legs, the tail will also be moderate in size and stand straight up.

The coat that lends this breed the name "Wire" is dense, double, and coarse with a thickness that appears broken-haired as well as bottomless.

Wire Fox Terrier Coloring

Wire Fox Terrier colors tend to be very few in number, and they range from one to three-color combinations. The white Wire Fox Terrier tends to be the most common coat color. The other combinations tend to be in addition to a primarily white coat, and they are:

  • Tan
  • Red
  • Liver
  • Black
  • Brindle
  • Slate Blue
  • Black and tan

Wire Fox Terrier Size

The typical Wire Fox Terrier size is in the medium range, and there are slight differences between males and females. The mature male is the larger of the two, and he weighs around 17 to 19 pounds; when fully grown, the female is around 15 to 17 pounds. The male reaches about 15 inches in height and the female is slightly shorter at around 14 inches.

Average Adult Height

14-15 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

15-19 lbs

Wire Fox Terrier Variations

Until 1985, the Fox Terrier was considered one breed with two varieties: the Wire and the Smooth Fox Terriers. That year, the AKC announced that they were separate breeds rather than variations of a single breed.

As far as any types under the Wire-coated Fox Terrier breed, there are none universally recognized. There may be the occasional backyard breeder attempting to sell a Miniature Wire-haired Fox Terrier or a Toy Wire Fox Terrier, but there are no such dogs unless they are runts, crossbred with other breeds, or simply called that as a marketing gimmick.

Wire Fox Terrier Temperament

This breed, like all Terriers, is a bundle of contradictions. They are small but will pick a fight with any size dog; they will get into trouble but in a humorous way; and they will expect a demanding overlord with a very gentle touch. The Wire Fox Terrier temperament is not an easy one to deal with, but you'll find it's worth the work.

As they were bred to chase small animals, keep up with hounds on the hunt, and to go underground for the kill, they are independent, quick-witted, and highly energetic dogs. They make good watchdogs, but their size will prevent them from being adequate guard dogs if it comes down to a tussle. They'll outfox you, and even with very high fences that go well underground to help against their desire to dig, you'll be surprised. They are not easy to train, but once yours knows who's in control — and you have to be firm yet calm as the Wire Fox Terrier is very sensitive — they are great for agility and behavior training.

They can't be trusted around small animals, and while most of their mischief will leave you laughing, it's best to make sure they are not let loose around cats, rats, squirrels and other small, furry animals--they are all about the business of the hunt.

Wire Fox Terrier Photos

Below are pictures and images of the Wire Fox Terrier.

White & Black Wire Fox Terrier
White & Ginger Wire Fox Terrier
White Wire Fox Terrier
Two Wire Fox Terriers Playing
White Wire Fox Terrier
White, Black, & Tan Wire Fox Terrier in Show Position

Living Requirements

Living with a Wire Fox Terrier may sound easy-- how can anyone resist those perky ears, inquisitive eyes, and playful stance? This breed requires a lot of constant, confident, and calm work and they need a lot of training and socialization. As these Terriers are accustomed to being on their own, they don't tend to have separation anxiety. They won't bark much, they should be fine as indoor or outdoor dogs, and they are always ready to run and play.

These dogs do pose two basic challenges, however: one is escaping and the other is chasing (and killing) small animals. If you have a yard, you will need a very secure fence as they jump higher and dig deeper than you think. Around small animals of most any kind, they basically cannot control themselves from chasing, catching and killing; you need to keep them constrained. With other dogs, they may be aggressive, and they don't know to not start a fight with a dog several times their size.

If you have allergies or your next question is, Is a Wire Fox Terrier hypoallergenic, then you're in luck: they are!

Wire Fox Terrier Health

The Wire Fox Terrier doesn't have many health concerns, but those that this breed can develop tend to be typical of most white and / or small dogs. They also have some hereditary problems.

  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Eye problems
  • Legg-Perthes disease, which may be mistaken for hip dysplasia

These dogs have an average life span of 13 to 14 years, but they are known to live a bit less longer — sometimes as short as 10 years.

  • Arthritis
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye Problems
  • Legg-perthes Disease
  • View all 5...

Wire Fox Terrier Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Wire Fox Terrier as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • United Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • Club Espanol De Terriers
  • View all 15...