The Wire Fox Terrier

Of the thirty-three terrier breeds (most of which were first used for hunting of some sort and so came up as aggressive and lively), the Wire Fox Terrier has a reputation for scampishness. That is, the breed with the challenging personality that has been identified throughout its history as being as foxy as the fox it was once used to hunt.

Though beginning in the 15th century, it was the smooth-haired Fox Terrier was favored by the British to go to ground for small game animals, the sibling Wire Fox Terrier was right on its heels. By the 18th century»when the English made fox hunting the ideal sport, the hunt masters (the one assigned to kill the fox) chose terriers to be by their sides, though were dismayed that the terrier»s legs were too short to keep up with the foxhounds. This generated a great number of hunt kennels, where the smooth-haired Fox Terrier was bred, developed, and improved upon to meet the hunt masters» needs and standards and where»by the mid-18th century»the Wire Fox Terrier became an improvement on the smooth.

A cross between the smooth Fox and the rough-haired Black and Tan Terrier, the Wire Fox Terrier was now brought to the hunt, too, to be used in the hunt for fox routing. With a muscular, low-to-the-ground and compact body, the Wire Fox was an energetic and game breed (by now acknowledged as a separate breed, that is) that continued as the ideal foxer for another hundred years.

Then, in the early 1900»s, the attraction to both varieties/breeds took on a very different bent: the Smooth Fox Terrier was discovered by the general American public»in the 1920»s»on the logo for a recording company label, pictured listening to «his master»s voice.» But the Wire Fox Terrier was spotted»in 1934»playing the role of Asta, Nick and Nora»s impish pet in the Thin Man, and the Wire Fox Terrier personality (and reputation) was born.

The Wire Fox Terrier is still today lively, playful, and a little foxy. Full of peppery spunk and on the hunt for play at all times may, as some have decided, suggest a challenging (ahem»obstinate) way, but given its alertness, this also means the Wire Fox is a great watchdog and even better pet for kids.

In fact, the Wire Fox Terrier needs activity. So daily exercise and a small bit of space to romp are ideal elements in the Fox environment. Also ideal is an occasional bath for the wiry, broken haired coat and frequent brushing to prevent what little hair might mat--from the shedding that does occur.

The rest of the needs of the Wire Fox Terrier with staying powers that outlast the best fox and with the hardy and cocksure personality are simple if you are up to it»if you are up to the antics of a terrier breed that are always a surprise. Even to the Master.

Stephanie Hetu
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