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Terriers come in many shapes and sizes. Have you ever wondered about the qualities which set the Wire Fox Terrier apart from the others? They are inquisitive, strong willed, impulsive and live on the tiptoe of expectation! They are very healthy & loyal and love their family! 


There are several opinions to the origins of the breed. However, artists' paintings depicting dogs in the early 18th century resemble both the Smooth and the Wire Fox Terrier. In the 1930s, they were the most popular Terrier breed with 7,345 Wires registered with the UK Kennel Club. By comparison, in 2002, there were 665 Wires registered. Even Belgian cartoonist Hergé used the Wire Fox Terrier as Tintin's loyal companion Snowy!


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. Professional grooming is required approximately 4 times per year. Wires need a good brush out 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), which have a slightly different temperament.


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.


Wire Fox Terriers 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. Also, if you keep a pair of Wire Fox Terriers, do not keep two of the same sex; opposite sexes are fine together. They will guard your home and let you know if there are strangers nearby.


The breed is normally healthy and live into their mid teen years. Ear infections can occur due to hair in the ear canal and lack of cleanliness; if ears get wet, they should be carefully dried.  Skin rashes can occur with repeated clipping of the coat and may also be caused by fleas. Pancreatitis can result from overfeeding or an incorrect diet. Most people love a Wire and very often purchase another if they lose their beloved pet.


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. Wire Fox Terriers also make excellent show dogs and love the show ring. They do not do particularly well in formal obedience training, as they find the repetition boring, but they love the challenges of agility work.


The WFT breed is on the decline along with many other breeds due to the lack of information and publicity about these breeds, which is unfortunate. Two of the best things about living with Wire Fox Terriers are they are fun-loving and are happy companions!

By Kay Guimond (1923-2019)

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