10 Things About Owning a Wire Fox Terrier - An Owner’s Experience

Copyclem
8 min readAug 12, 2023
Our beloved Anu the Wire Fox Terrier

When my wife and I first decided that we were going to get a puppy, the first thing that came to mind was having hair all over the place, on the floor, the couch, the bed, and on our clothing.

If shedding is your only kryptonite, let’s get a Wire Fox Terrier then, they don’t shed, she said. And with those words, a wonderful relationship began to take form with our beloved Wire Fox Terrier.

In this article, we’ll be sharing 10 things from our personal experiences about our wire fox terriers, in hopes of helping you decide if they are the right breed for you.

Wire Fox Terriers Are Hypoallergenic

Wire fox terriers, like many breeds of the terrier group, are considered non-shedding. To be more accurate, the sheddings are very minimal and won’t leave a mess like other breeds.

Wire Fox Terriers have a double coat, a wiry outer coat, and a soft undercoat. Over time, the outer coat dies and gets loosened. In its intended habitat, the dead outer coat gets brushed off during their work routine chasing foxes through the woods or into the burrows.

But those working days are long gone, so as an alternative, you emulate the process using the hand-stripping technique, or simply by using an electric clipper.

Hand stripping provides the opportunity for new hair growth (whereas clipping doesn’t), and in return, helps retain the rich vibrant colours of their coat.

For more information on how shedding differs between the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier, and how it affects their hypoallergenicity, please refer to this article.

Wire Fox Terriers Don’t Drool

All dogs drool at some point, especially when there’s food involved. But the Wire Fox Terrier is a breed with a very low drooling tendency. Hence, if you don’t want a dog that’s constantly slobbering like a Bulldog or a St. Bernard, then a Wire Fox Terrier can be an option to consider.

Wire Fox Terriers Don’t Smell

It’s natural for dogs to smell. Some breeds, however, do smell less than others and the Wire Fox Terrier is one of those breeds. Brushing their coats 2–3 times a week can prevent dead skin and dirt build-up, which can further reduce the chance of smell.

Depending on your living environment (urban/rural), or if they’ve gotten into some mischief rolling in the mud or over dead animals and worms, Wire Fox Terrier can easily go on for 3–4 weeks without a bath and still not smell.

Wire Fox Terriers Are Not Aggressive

Despite the common perception that terriers are aggressive by nature, we find this to be more of a training than a temperament issue. In our case, the two Wire Fox Terriers we’ve had were very gentle around people and other animals.

Wire Fox Terriers are cheerful, outgoing, and friendly breeds. They’ll run up to greet people in excitement, or to a group of pups with curiosity. But aggression has never been an issue.

Hanging out with his friend, Ken the Golden Retriever.

In our opinion, we attribute their gentle demeanor to starting their socialization early.

For both our Wire Fox Terriers, we started taking them out to parks to hang out with other dogs when they were only a few months old, right after they completed their mandatory vaccinations.

We believe that exposing puppies to their environment early can really help with letting them understand the world around them, teaching them mannerisms, as well as providing you as a parent a great opportunity to find and correct any undesirable behaviours and interactions early.

Wire Fox Terriers Barks For a Reason

Wire Fox Terriers are watchful by nature. Hence they tend to bark at things (sounds) they’re unfamiliar with. You can definitely train them not to bark, but first, we would like to share how we view barking from 2 different perspectives.

Barking as a form of alerting:

For a Wire Fox Terrier who lives in the city, the sound of buses and car honks, for example, is a daily norm. But for a Wire Fox Terrier who lives on a farm, these could be sounds of an intruder, and it’s natural that they will bark to bring attention to this ‘intrusion’.

Hence, our disposition towards barking is to keep it under control (a few barks are okay, continuous is not), so as not to affect the dog’s natural instinct to warn us of something.

In our case, our current Wire Fox Terrier tends to bark whenever he hears the sound of our neighbor coming home at different hours of the day. He’d always start off with a growl, followed by a few barks.

Our approach is to let him know that we’re aware of the sound, then reassure him that it’s just our neighbor coming home. And if he carries on into a bark, we’ll stop him using a firmer tone and he’d retreat back to a growl and stop.

The only other time he would bark is when he hears barking coming from other dogs. He would typically go into a series of short barks as if he were having a conversation.

Our approach is to make up a ‘pretend’ conversation with him (asking who’s he talking to, etc.), then distract him and draw him away from the situation.

Barking as a form of expressing emotions:

If dogs start to bark as an expression of their emotions, unlike the above-mentioned, you would want to correct it.

When our pups were little, whenever they started to bark, we would use the rattle bottle method to stop the barking behaviour.

Wire Fox Terriers are highly trainable dogs and by associating the unpleasant sound of a rattling bottle with barking, the technique quickly took care of the temperamental behaviour.

Wire Fox Terriers Are a Smart Trainable Breed

Wire Fox Terriers are definitely smart pups who can learn quickly. Training them to stay, sit, wait, and even potty training is relatively easy. But due to their independent nature, stubbornness, and short attention span, they’ll not always obey your command.

Hence it is important that your training be interesting, and make each command appealing by associating it with elements of fun, treats, praises, and encouragement.

Playing a game of ‘fetch’.

In our experience on the subject of obedience, calling them back in parks or having them walk by our side unleashed has not been much of an issue.

But in a new environment, we would recommend leashing up first, as curiosity can easily be the cause of temporary distraction and disobedience.

Wire Fox Terriers Can Be Left Alone

To be honest, we find this to be a very subjective matter. Hence we will only speak from our own experiences. Both our Wire Fox Terriers can be left alone at home without any issues for as long as we’re out at work.

In the case of our first Wire Fox Terrier, watching cartoons was his thing, hence we would leave the television on before we left for work.

Since there was no way of telling what actually happened during our absence (as we didn’t have surveillance back then), we could only assume everything was fine from seeing no signs of destruction or misbehaviour when we returned.

Always the first to go to bed.

In the case of our current Wire Fox Terrier, sleeping is his thing. Since he was little, he would sleep through the entire duration of our absence. And now that we have a camera installed, we are certain that everything was in order from the live feeds and recorded footage.

We believe the key here is not to give rise to any opportunity for separation anxiety to develop from the very beginning. We have a specific way of behaving around them, and below are a few things we believe have helped with eliminating any form of separation anxiety in our Wire Fox Terriers.

  • we’re not hyper or exaggerated in the ways we talk or act, except during playtime or rewarding them for something;
  • we make it a point to play with them indoors, as well as take outdoor walks every day;
  • when we leave the house, we would let them know where we’re going and when we’ll be back, over time they’ll start to understand you from your tone, and can learn to remain calm while you’re away;
  • upon coming home, we enter the house in a very calm, “nothing out of the ordinary” manner, instead of going “Oh! Look who’s back!”, we believe this helped with nominalizing the environment between us being present and absent;

Wire Fox Terriers Cuddle At Their Own Discretion

To us, the Wire Fox Terrier is a bit like a dog with the personality of a cat. They’ll cuddle up to you when they want to. You can’t force them to do certain things against their will.

For example, when we’re on our couch watching a movie, both our Wire Fox Terriers will come to lie down next to us. But after a while, our first Wire Fox Terrier will continue to sit and watch the show with us, while our second one prefers to climb into his cod and carry on sleeping.

Prefers to cuddle with his toys over us.

Naturally, they’re not a clingy breed in our experience. Even when we’re out at the park, they would usually prefer to play with their friends than to cling to our side. Unless they wanted to play fetch.

However, they’ll always be aware of where we are and would respond well to a call-back command.

Wire Fox Terriers Are Suitable for First-Time Pet Owners

Due to their high trainability, they can easily adapt to your lifestyle. But for a first-time dog owner or terrier owner, you’ll need to understand that they’re an active breed. So make sure they’re getting enough activities and exercises to keep them healthy physically and mentally.

Dogs appreciate stability, Wire fox Terriers are no different. So create a routine they can adapt to, knowing that they’ll always have their share of fun and treats. Building trust with your furry friend goes a long way.

Wire Fox Terrier Makes a Great Pet

In a nutshell, we think the Wire Fox Terrier makes a great pet for the following reasons:

  • they’re courageous enough to run in the woods chasing squirrels, yet small enough to adapt to playing fetch in the confined space of an apartment;
  • they’re always up for an adventure with you, but comfortable with being on their own;
  • they’re relatively low-maintenance, and can be easily groomed even if you choose to do it yourself;
  • they’re really not as ‘barky’ as everyone says they are, at least not in our experience;
  • they have a heart and soul of a big dog, but the appetite of a small pup;
  • they’re people friendly, and dog-friendly (with adequate socialization and training);

Conclusion

All breeds can make good companions. However, choosing a dog whose temperament matches yours will make things easier down the road, in the sense that the puppy can easily adapt to your lifestyle and you’ll also have fewer compromises to make.

In the case of a Wire Fox Terrier, the energy and radiant they bring are definitely one of a kind. With adequate training, they can be very well-mannered and have a tremendous amount of joy to have around the house.

What are some of the concerns you have about owning a Wire Fox Terrier?

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Copyclem

Writing about what I care, and learning from what I write.