Are you ready for action, adventure and plenty of energy? Sounds like you're ready to meet the Wire Fox Terrier. Standing no more than 15.5 inches high and weighing in at about 18 pounds, the Wire Fox Terrier is a small but enthusiastic bundle of happiness and fun. The breed standard says that the Wire "should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe of expectation at the slightest provocation." And most Wire Fox Terriers seem to take this description quite seriously.
The original purpose of the Wire Fox Terrier is tied to English Fox Hunting. The Terrier is one of the ancient breeds; discovered in Britain by the invading Romans in 54 B.C., described them as fox hunting dogs. The word terra, from which Terrier is derived, means earth, in Latin. As the word suggests, Wire Fox Terriers in general are a “down to earth” breed. The name describes his job; he was carried in saddlebags on the hunt and released when the hounds chased the fox to ground, the Wire would courageously follow the fox into the den at which point the hunter would pull him back out of the hole by their short (usually docked), strong tail. This tells us their characteristics have been well-defined for centuries. The Wire Fox Terrier's overall white color was encouraged at least partly because it made him easy to distinguish from the fox.
Originally recognized—along with the Smooth Fox Terrier—as simply the "Fox Terrier," the Wire and Smooth Fox Terrier breeds were separated into their current designations in 1984. This makes quite a bit of sense: not only are the Smooth and Wire varieties different in looks, most sources now agree that the two varieties do not even share common ancestry. The Wire Fox Terrier is thought to be descended from a type of rough-coated black and tan terrier, while the Smooth Fox Terrier's background likely includes a smooth-coated black and tan terrier as well as a mix of Beagle and Bull Terrier blood. The two breeds also seem to have been developed in different regions of the United Kingdom.
As a group, Terriers are fearless, independent, inquisitive and have a sense of humour. They can also be mischievous. This description is appropriate for the Wire Fox Terrier who is an intelligent, energetic, stubborn, small-medium sized dog.
The Wire is still used for hunting in many countries, the instinct still persists in their nature. Wires are definitely not lap dogs, so if you are looking for this in a breed, then a Wire Fox Terrier is not for you. However that said, the Wire will follow you around all day. They will sit next to you whenever they can and their facial expressions say it all! For most foxterrier lovers they are valued as happy, active companion dogs.
The breed is small to medium in size, weighing on average 8.1kg (18lbs). Height; 39.3cm (15.5 inches) to the shoulders. Females being slightly smaller and weighing slightly less; 7.3kg (16lbs).
The coat is non-shedding hair, not fur, so low allergy levels (hypoallergenic) for people with allergies who still want to care for a dog. Professional grooming (handsrtipping or clipping) is required few times per year. Wires need a wire brush once a week. The coat should be predominantly white with patches of black and tan. There is also an off shoot of the breed called Gingers - tan and white without any black.
As with humans, within this Terrier breed you will have different temperaments, between dogs but in general, no matter which puppy you choose, they will always mature with the inherent instinct to hunt. So squirrels, watch out!
Their energy level could be a challenge for some families. However it comes in bursts and not for long periods of time. They do not respond well to being left alone all day. A midday walk is preferable to break up the day between morning and afternoon walks. Terrier enthusiasts, be aware of their activity level; you need time to give them plenty of exercise and attention. They also need a secure (fenced) outdoor space to provide them some freedom and a chance to get outside.
The Wire Fox Terrier are great family dogs, especially with older children and love a good game with them. Because they can be boisterous at times, they are not recommended for very young children (under 5 years of age). Wire Fox Terriers have a tendency not to get along with other pets but this depends on circumstances. If a WFT is introduced to a family with cats at the puppy stage they can get along well. They are not recommended for living with toy dogs and small caged pets as they have a strong hunting instinct. Remember that they were valued in past times for their ability as vermin hunters. They will guard your home and let you know if there are strangers nearby though not yappy.
Wire Fox Terriers love attention and constantly seek it from their families. They seem always ready to get up and go; just waiting for you to point them at the action. While this can lead to some great fun out in the yard, it does mean that the Wire Fox Terrier requires plenty of consistent (read: daily) exercise. Without it, the dog won't be as happy and could develop a bad habit or two due to excess energy. Watch out for digging; the Wire Fox Terrier simply loves to dig. Wire Fox Terriers will also chase other animals, so they should not be allowed off-leash outdoors except in a controlled environment.
The breed is normally healthy and live into their mid teen years.
There are differences in the personalities between the male and female Wire Fox Terriers. Males tend to be more affectionate although also more independent. Females are more charming. Due to their level of intelligence and inquisitive nature, Wires are quick learners of commands however it is best to begin training them at a very early age.
It would not be an overstatement to say that the Wire Fox Terrier thrives in the show ring. The breed has won Best in Show an amazing and record times all over the world, including 14 wins at the biggest American Westminster Dog Show! They do not do particularly well in formal obedience training, as they find the repetition boring, but they love the challenges of agility work.