Wire fox terrier
Other namesWire hair fox terrier
Wirehaired terrier
Fox terrier
Common nicknamesWire
Kennel club standards
The Kennel Club standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Wire Fox Terrier (also known as Wire Hair Fox Terrier, Wirehaired Terrier or simply Fox Terrier)[1] is a breed of dog, one of many terrier breeds. It is a fox terrier, and although it bears a resemblance to the Smooth Fox Terrier, they are believed to have been developed separately. It originates from England.


Coat colour has a predominant white base
A wire fox terrier with tri-colour coat

The Wire Fox Terrier is a sturdy, balanced dog weighing 7.7 to 8.6 kg (17 to 19 lb) for males and 6.8 to 7.7 kg (15 to 17 lb) for females. It should not be more than 39 cm (15+12 in) at the withers.[2][3] Its rough, broken coat is distinctive. Coat colour consists of a predominant white base with brown markings of the face and ears, and usually a black saddle or large splotch of colour; there may be other black or brown markings on the body.


Two of the Wire Fox Terrier's most distinctive traits are its energy and intelligence. It has a low threshold for boredom and requires stimulation, exercise and attention. The Wire Fox Terrier is a companion animal that requires near-constant attention.

The dog should be alert, quick and ready to respond swiftly with enthusiasm. However, they should also be friendly, communicative, and playful if they receive the proper care and exercise. Bred to be independent thinkers, they are capable of tactical maneuvering for vermin and other sport.

Often, Wire Fox Terriers are abandoned or surrendered for reasons that may include: running away instead of coming on a command; chasing cars, bicycles, other dogs, etc.; or taunting and then attacking other animals, including a household's cats and other dogs –and they are able to do serious damage. But these are actually normal behaviors for a breed designed to hunt not only foxes, but also badgers and boars, with no more fear of cows or buses than they have of small prey. Keeping one as a pet requires firm control to redirect these prey instincts and provide the dog with enough exercise and diversion. With diligent supervision, Wire Fox Terriers can be amusing, exciting, long-lived companion animals.


Clipped four-year-old male wire fox terrier

Wire Fox Terriers kept for show are hand stripped; if the hair becomes too long, it is taken out by hand in order to preserve the colours and the glossiness of the coat. Many kept as pets are clipped monthly by a groomer. Clipping dulls the colours and makes the coat soft, curly and more difficult to keep clean, but it is preferred by many owners due to being a simpler (and cheaper) procedure than stripping.


The Wire Fox Terrier was developed in England by fox hunting enthusiasts and is believed to be descended from a now-extinct rough-coated, black-and-tan working terrier of Wales, Derbyshire, and Durham. The breed was also thought to have been bred to chase foxes into their burrows; the dogs' short, strong, usually docked tails were used as handles by the hunter to pull them back out.

Wire Fox Terrier c. 1915

Although it is said Queen Victoria owned one, and her son and heir, King Edward VII, did own a Wire Fox Terrier named Caesar, the breed was not popular as a family pet until the 1930s, when The Thin Man series of feature films was created. Asta, the canine member of the Charles family, was a Wire Fox Terrier, and the popularity of the breed soared. Milou (Snowy) from The Adventures of Tintin comic strip is also a Wire Fox Terrier.

In the late 20th century, the popularity of the breed declined again, most likely due to changing living conditions in the Western world and the difficulty of keeping hunting terriers in cities due to their strong prey instincts.

As of 2019, the Wire Fox Terrier has the distinction of having received more Best in Show titles at Westminster Kennel Club dog shows (currently 15) than any other breed.[4] Matford Vic, a Wire Fox Terrier, is one of only five dogs to have won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on more than one occasion. She won the competition twice, in 1915 and 1916. The only dog to win it on more occasions was Warren Remedy, a smooth fox terrier, who won it on three occasions between 1907 and 1909.[5]

Noteworthy wire fox terriers

See also


  1. ^ "Wire Fox Terrier - Information, Characteristics, Facts, Names". DogBreedsList.info. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Wire Fox Terrier". United Kennel Club. 1999. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Official Standard of the Wire Fox Terrier" (PDF). American Kennel Club. February 9, 1991. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Best in Show Winners". The Westminster Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
  5. ^ "Best in Show Winners". The Westminster Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  6. ^ "Hot Dogs: Wau - wir sind reich! (1999) "Millionaire Dogs"". IMDb. Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg (ORB), EIV Entertainment Invest GmbH & Company KG, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF). 29 January 1999. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  7. ^ Petside: Sky, a Wire Fox Terrier, Named Best in Show at the 2012 National Dog Show. Archived 2012-11-28 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  8. ^ Forever Foxed: Famous Fox Terriers No. 1; Thomas Hardy's Dog. Retrieved 2019-03-26.