When choosing which breed of dog is best for your lifestyle, it is a good idea to look back at what the dog was originally bred to do. Fox Terriers were bred to hunt and to “go to ground”. They were bred to be brave! They are big dogs in little bodies, and can be rather mischievous. They are not the ideal dog for every situation.
Fox Terriers — both Smooths and Wires — were developed in England in the 18th century for “bolting,” or driving out, foxes from their dens. These fearless hunters would dig, crawl, and squirm their way into a foxhole and attack unrelentingly until the fox bolted. For almost 100 years the breed was registered and shown in the United States as one breed with two varieties — Smooth and Wire. However, in 1984 the American Kennel Club approved separate standards for the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier.
Authorities believe the two Fox Terriers probably originated from very different sources. The ancestor of the Wire is thought to be the old rough-coated, black-and-tan working terrier of Wales, Derbyshire, and Durham. The important ancestors of the Smooth are believed to include the smooth-coated, black-and-tan terrier, the Bull Terrier, the Greyhound, and the Beagle.
Wire Fox Terriers
Wire Fox Terriers need lots of room to exercise and play, and must be in a securely fenced yard. As terriers, these dogs are bred to hunt and will do so! They may see cats, birds, hamsters, and squirrels as prey. As a rule, Wire Fox Terriers do not always get along with other terrier breeds, or dogs of the same sex. They are not compatible with toddlers, but will enjoy attention from older children. Wire Fox Terriers require committed owners. They are wonderful companions and entertainers and are very hardy, healthy animals. Their coats require attentive grooming. Their zest for life is appealing!
Smooth Fox Terriers
Smooth Fox Terriers love life in general and are curious about their surroundings. They are friendly and tend to get into things. Like their Wire Fox cousins, they are not particularly good with other Terrier breeds, or dogs of the same sex. These are sturdy dogs that can keep up with older children. They need a securely fenced yard and plenty of exercise. They want to be part of the family! They are hardy, healthy animals with a low-maintenance coat.
How Males Differ from Females
There is a slight difference between the temperament of the male and female Fox Terrier. Females are dominant (rule the roost) and strong-willed. Compared to the female, males can be more laid back.
The Fox Terrier has a flat, narrow head and a long muzzle that slopes to a black nose. There are two different coats, the smooth and the wire. The smooth coat is short and flat-lying. The wire coat is moderately long and has a dense, wiry texture. Fox Terriers are predominately white with black, tan, or black and tan markings.
Grooming & Exercise
The Wire Fox Terrier should be brushed and combed weekly and clipped or stripped (removing old hair by hand) to preserve the texture and luster of the coat. Because they shed, a Smooth Fox Terrier needs a brushing once a week, and touch-up grooming occasionally. Fox Terriers are extremely energetic and need daily exercise (long, vigorous walks and/or ball playing) as well as human interaction. With all Fox Terriers, positive reinforcement is essential in training. They do not respond to negative correction. These dogs are very intelligent and fun to train. Their small, strong bodies enable them to perform many different tricks, take long walks with their owners, or be couch potatoes! With proper and consistent training, they can become delightful companions and good watchdogs.