Wire Fox Terrier: Temperament and Personality



Wire Fox Terrier: Temperament and Personality




Most dogs with a whole lot of personality seem like they have a mind of their own. A smart dog, who decides by himself, can be a real headache for new owners. Enter the Wire Fox Terrier. 


For new Wire Fox owners, figuring out how these cuties can behave and become good companions may be rough. But if you're up for the challenge, you'll find out a lot more to love about Wire Fox Terriers. For example, most dogs of this breed are great with the kids. 


They go by many names: wire fox terriers, wire-haired fox terriers, WFT, wires, and foxies. Whatever you choose to call them, we hope you'll have a better understanding of this wonderful breed from this article.



dog with apple in the grass




Their dense, wired coats are often coarse. These are just some of the descriptions you'll find when asked what a Wire Fox Terrier looks like. The medium-built terrier has noticeably elongated muzzles covered in a wired coat that seems to be a beard. 


One distinct appearance of this breed is the pair of triangular ears that seem to fold to the front. It has a bold and small expressive pair of eyes, which most owners find amusing. They're dark and deep-set, lively and full of pride and intelligence.


Being an active dog gives it well-tone muscles. It has a medium, firm, and sturdy body with pointed tails. It has seemingly squared front legs while the rear ones seem to sprint and are ready to jump.


This dog has a base coat in white color. It can have splotches of brown or black over the coat or a blend of the two. The medium-sized terrier has a well-balanced build that is always ready to run, jump, and chase.




A foxie would have a back that is not more than 15 and 1/2 inches. The point starts from the withers to the tail roots. A female foxie would be no longer than 12 inches. It would have a head size of 7 to 7 ¼ inches.






Foxies can grow up to 15 ½ and ½ inches tall, while the bitch can be shorter by an inch or two.




If you own a male wire fox terrier, it can weigh from 17 to 19 lbs. A female wire fox terrier weighs two lbs. less, which is 15 to 17 lbs.



Life Span

A wire fox terrier usually lives for 13 to 14 years but may live longer with a healthy lifestyle.




A wire fox terrier is a rare companion dog that doesn't work for everyone. It is naturally playful and would probably tire anyone. So before getting one, make sure you have a lot of energy and attention to spare. 


Avoid leaving your foxie alone at home for a long time. It has tendencies to be sensitive and may dig up if left unattended. It may damage things. Leave some chew toys so that they can turn to them when bored.


The dog is consistently energetic, bouncy, and curious. It is intelligent and has expressive eyes. It will probably help you when it sees you reaching or looking for something. It's always ready to help.


However, for new dog owners, it can be a headache. It can be stubborn. The dog decides if it wants to follow your instructions during training. This is because it's naturally independent, which most foxie owners love. It senses weakness, so don't go around showing it. You'll like the wire foxies' proud and alert antics. 


It has tendencies to escape. And no matter how you want to control it, the dog will surely find a way out. It gets distracted easily when playing with kids and little animals. Next thing you know, it's already running to chase some cars. 


One thing that makes this dog breed a good family companion is he goes well with the kids. If your family loves fun activities, this dog will always be on top of everything. It always has legs ready to jump and run. 


If it's accustomed to meeting strangers when young, it can be friendly but not to random animals… or small animals. It will probably be digging into them or chasing them. Wire fox terriers have high prey instincts. So you know they're up to something when they suddenly disappear.


It would sense weakness, so make sure you're always on top, or it will. It doesn't know it's a small dog, so he doesn't care about bigger dogs challenging it. Being aggressive and fearless is natural to a terrier. That's why it would brim with pride and confidence in dog shows. 




Because foxies are playful, you have to give your foxie plenty of space to move. Set up a fence in your backyard. Let the kids play along. He needs to release his energy. 


If you live in an apartment with limited space, make sure to dedicate playtime and a walking routine, or else it can be trouble. A foxie moves around most of the time. So if nobody in your apartment could take it out for a walk or play, get an indoor dog instead.


Always dedicate time for walking. Just make sure it has a leash on because it will always run after anything distracting and interesting for him. They love to chase, so you can also introduce them to fetching. Indoor activities that work for foxies include hide-and-seek. You can also bring your pup on a hike, kayak trip, or boating trip.  




You can always teach your foxie some tricks, and it will surely learn it fast. It's a smart dog anyway. However, it would always be up to the dog if it wants to follow your instructions because it's an independent thinker. 




Each dog breed has its own unique history and the WFT is no different. Like the Beagle, wire fox terriers were bred for hunting in England. Enthusiasts believed they descended from the now-extinct terriers from Wales, Durham, and Derbyshire. The Black and Tan terriers have rough coats and black and tan coat colors. 


Although there were speculations that they may have descended from beagles, greyhounds, or English Terriers, they were Black, and Tan terriers developed to be white-coated versions of it. They have done this by breeding them with Smooth Fox Terriers. 


Wire fox terriers used to accompany fox hunters in chasing and killing foxes. Their preying instincts remain in modern-day wire foxies. Although they seem to have existed since the late 18th century, it was only in 1985 when they got recognition from the American Kennel Club. 


The Wire Fox Terrier and Smooth Fox Terrier are different breed types in England in the late 18th century. The Smooth Fox Terrier debuted in 1862, while the wirehaired dogs became recognized in 1878 in England. It was in the 20th century when this breed started dominating dog shows. 



Health Problems

A wire fox terrier should be healthy when taken care of right. However, there are some issues you might have to deal with as it grows. 


The breed is prone to allergies. You'll find it licking its paws and fur. Constant scratching, especially in the ears, is just one of the symptoms of having allergies. Furthermore, it can also have ear infections because of allergic reactions to grasses, fleas, or pollen.


It's also prone to patellar luxation when the kneecap tends to misalign. It is very painful, so be observant if it shows lameness in the legs. 


Other concerns are eye problems, distichiasis, Legg–Perthes, lens luxation, cataract, deafness, and joint issues. One thing you can do is to have your foxie tested for eye, knee, and cardiac tests so you can provide the proper care for your wire fox terrier.


Depending on if the ears fold down to the front naturally, some have only one ear folded. In this case, you might need to have its ear under the gluing process. However, some owners won't usually allow this procedure. It is advisable to have his ear glued at his teething stage.



How to Care for Wire Fox Terriers

Caring for your fox terrier will cost you up to 800 dollars annually. Depending on how much you would spend for veterinary care, food, toys, grooming, and licenses. Fleas and ticks may thrive when it's warm. Keep an eye on it. Bathe it regularly and before grooming.


When it comes to the legs and beard furs, it will need frequent clipping or hand stripping every 4-6 weeks. Do this to keep them from getting tangled.


Always make sure the dog gets to exercise daily. Walking should be a routine. If you are busy, indoor games would be good, especially if there are kids around. Again, do not leave him alone for a long time. It will have constant urges to dig, chew, and chase when it gets bored and left unattended. It's a must to give the pet chewing toys, so it's always busy.


Avoid giving people food. Dogs have specific nutrient needs. Give them high-quality dry dog food for the right age. Mix it with some broth or water. Always make sure his water and food bowls are clean.


Indoors, you can house your foxie with a soft doggie bed. Put in some pillows and a blanket. Get it accustomed to that space while young. Make sure it's always clean. Outdoors, set up a dog house where it can stay, especially if you have a backyard.





Feeding and Nutrition for Wire fox Terrier

Feed your foxie puppy within eight to twelve weeks old four small puppy meals daily. When it's three months old, give it three puppy meals a day. It depends on how you feed your adult foxie. It could be anywhere from a large bowl of high-quality dog food once a day or divided into smaller bowls for two meals a day.


Just make sure you are providing your foxie pup with a high-quality brand of puppy food and nutritious treats. Always check the labels. Dry dog food is best for an adult foxie. Mix it with broth or water. You can also have it in small parts. When it gets stubborn, it might leave the food and get back to it later.


But sometimes, it would be eager to know what you are eating. Just make sure it doesn't consume above 10% of its daily diet.



Coat Color and Grooming

Foxies would shed from low to none. However, they can tangle often. They have a bright white base coat plus some tan or black splotches. Keep them shiny with regular grooming.


Just have a pair of scissors, medium-toothed comb, brush, or dog shampoo. Brush the coat every once or twice a week. Make sure it gets accustomed to grooming care while still a pup.


To brush its coat, spray some water with spray bottle mist. If it has tangled furs, use your fingers to separate them. There are detangling brushes you can use. Do it one part at a time.


Bring your puppy to the groomer every 4-6 weeks for stripping and clipping.



smiling dog on the sidewalk



Children and Other Pets

Foxies are usually good with kids. They would get along because kids could match the foxies' energy. They can be friendly to the pet they grow with. However, they can be aggressive with male dogs. And they can get even more unfriendly to non-pet male dogs. 



Rescue Groups

If you want to take care of homeless wire fox terriers, you can find them in these rescue organizations:


  • American Fox Terrier Rescue
  • Rose City Fox Terrier Rescue, Inc.
  • Wire Fox Terrier Rescue Midwest
  • Abandoned Terrier Rescue Association 



Breed Organizations

Here are the organizations specific for wire fox terrier lovers:



Growing communities of wire fox terrier lovers thrive in the following Facebook groups:






More About This Breed

  • Born to be fox hunters, now fashion dogs and family companions.
  • They have high-pitched barks.
  • King Edward VII of England owned a wire fox terrier named Caesar. Caesar marched along behind King Edward VII’s casket at his funeral.
  • They were also a favorite dog breed cast for films; one of them The Thin Man.
  • They are a rare and uncommon breed.
  • They have won more rewards from the shows of Westminster Kennel Club than other breeds.
  • The AKC registered the first fox terrier, Cricket, in 1885.
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