If you are considering getting a Wire Fox Puppy, then this is a must read! In my experience with our Michi and talking to other Wire Fox Terrier owners, this article is very accurate. Click here to read.
I used the above linked article to answer the questions from our personal experience with Michi. My comments are in bold. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. No matter what kind of puppy you have, I think that first year is the hardest and most rewarding! A lot of similarities to having a baby . . . I’ll be honest and say there were times with Michi in that first year that I questioned my decision to get a puppy! But she really did just end up being a wonderful addition to our family and has brought us a lot of joy!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of personality or temperament does the Wire Fox Terrier have?
This spirited little terrier is known for his alert, “ready-for anything” outlook on life. The standard describes him as being “on the tip toe of expectation,” but he is not “hyper” or high-strung. The Wire is devoted to his owner and will pop up to follow his “person” from one room to another, just to be sure he isn’t missing out on anything! His tail is always wagging and he joyfully greets his owner, even if he has seen him only a few minutes earlier. At the end of the day, however, the Wire is content to curl up on a lap and be petted.. He is a loyal and loving companion.
Perfect Description! Michi is always up for playing, but when it’s time to settle down and watch TV has no problem chilling out—love that about her. And Michi is known for following me into the bathroom! One of the things we have loved about our Michi and hear about Wire Foxies are their fun and amusing personalities.
2. What were they originally bred to do and how does it affect their behavior today?
Originally the Wire was bred in England to hunt rodents, rabbits and fox. He did not run with the hounds but would be tucked in the “Terrier Man’s” saddlebag on fox hunts.. When the fox went to “earth”, the courageous little dog would be dropped to the ground to follow the fox down the hole. His job was not to attack the fox, but to corner him and bark until the huntsman came to dig the fox out. Always tenacious, he was an excellent hunter. Today’s Wire still likes to dig and will do his best to keep your yard free of mice, rabbits and more. However, he does best in a fenced yard or on a lead as he is eager to run off to follow any adventure. Everything interests him, from a leaf blowing in the wind to a child playing ball. He loves a good run but can adapt well to city life and long walks on a lead.
Michi hasn’t been a big digger. A fenced in yard has sure been nice to have for her. We will often find her darting back and forth across the yard just for the fun of it. She has been a challenge to teach how to walk on a leash without acting like a sled dog, but she is getting better. Our trainer has helped us with that—consistency is our problem, but she knows what she should do!
3. What health issues do these dogs have?
Well-bred Wire Fox Terriers are generally strong, healthy dogs. The Fox Terrier Club of the UK states, “As a breed the Wire is a hardy dog that doesn’t suffer from many health problems and any problems they do have tend to be as individuals and non-breed specific. The breed’s hardy constitution and known longevity has never led to the need for breed testing for clinical or hereditary defects. The breed is suitable for hot, sunny climates but thrives in cool climates.” (http://www.thefoxterrierclub.co.uk/Wire%20Info.htm ) While most references list the Wire Fox Terrier life span as 12-14 years, it is not unusual for them to live longer
This is another reason we wanted a Wire Foxie!
4. Are Wires good with children?
A Wire who has been raised and socialized properly as a puppy is generally very good with well behaved children, although he may be too active for some. While he probably wouldn’t mean to hurt a child, he is a “bouncy” dog and could accidentally scratch a toddler or small child. Wires love to play and will retrieve a ball or toy that is thrown time and time again!
Michi has been awesome for our kids! In fact, there have been times when my youngest has been a bit of a bully to Michi and I wished Michi wasn’t so nice! When Michi was a puppy and had her sharp puppy teeth and wanted to bite on everything especially little moving legs, feet, hands, arms, etc., that was when she was a bit too much for my younger kids.
Something our vet told us was to redirect puppy biting to toys as soon as they want to chew on hands and fingers, so they learn that biting humans is a no, no. We have started to do that with our 5 week old puppies. She also said when they do bite or bite too hard, to make a high pitched yelp and not play with them for a bit. That is how they learn biting inhibition with their littermates.
5. Terriers have a reputation for being stubborn. Are Wires difficult to train?
Over all, Wires are happy little dogs that just want to have fun and they are so cute and amusing that their owners are often willing to overlook their naughty behavior. However, they are also smart enough to know just what you will and will not allow. The key to having a trainable Wire is to win each small battle when they are puppies. If you are trying to hold them or do nails and they resist, do not give up. An experienced breeder will have already started teaching the puppy that his human is in charge before he goes to his new home. The mother dog also teaches the puppy basic manners including bite inhibition, and to learn his place in the litter and with older dogs. For this reason, puppies should stay with their mother and littermates at least until they are seven weeks long. Many reputable Wire breeders keep their puppies until they are 10 or 12 weeks old and at that time, the pups are learning their place in the “human pack.”
There are many successful Wires that compete in performance events like obedience, agility and earth dog trials. They earn their Canine Good Citizen certificates and do well as therapy dogs, due in part to their small size and eagerness to meet new people.
Overall, Michi has been pretty easy to train. We are, however, grateful we decided to get Michi some training. Both for her and to teach us how to train her! We think it helped her become an ideal family pet for us.
6. How does the Wire get along with other dogs, cats and small pets?
Well, I wouldn’t count on him getting along with a guinea pig, ferret or rabbit! His hunting instinct would make short work of them! I have Wires that can even catch a bird on the fly.
If a Wire is introduced to cats while still a small puppy, he has a fairly good chance of getting along. We have one puppy that loves to play with her owner’s barn cats. We have another that tolerates cats but gets along mainly because the cats stay out of his way. Wires have a strong chase instinct and love to chase almost anything….cats included!
Wire Fox Terriers don’t seem to know that they are small dogs. They will not back down from a challenge from even a much larger dog. If they are not afraid to put their head down a hole where a snapping, snarling fox is waiting, they will not be fazed by another dog. In fact, they may even enjoy a little confrontation! Wires can and do often live companionably with another dog but may not get along when there are three. They almost always get along best with a dog of the opposite sex. When in pairs, the female will usually be the one in charge. The experienced owner of a Wire Fox Terrier knows that many times we need to turn away and let the dogs work out their differences. In most cases, there’s a lot of noise and no damage.
We have socialized Michi with other dogs at a young age and she hasn’t had problems. If there has been an issue, it is usually because we didn’t introduce the dog slow enough and Michi came on too strong and excited and caused the other dog to react, thus, Michi reacted. I have learned to always have Michi on a leash when introducing a new dog and introduce them in steps. First, to observe each other until they calm down, then to do their sniffing, and eventually letting them off leash to play.
7. Will an older puppy or adult dog be able to bond to his new owner?
Absolutely. Whenever I place a retired champion or a dog that has lived with me for a long time, it is very difficult for me. The dogs, however, usually go trotting off with tails wagging and make a quick adjustment. They are always are glad to see me when they come to visit, but never look back when it’s time for them to leave again. This is due to their love of people and their happy, stable temperament. These dogs make wonderful family dogs as they are usually house broken, have lovely manners, travel well and are easy to groom. I think they also love being the “only” dog and the focus of their new owners attention.
8. Are Wires “hyper” or aggressive?
While Wires are high-energy dogs, they are not “hyper.” They do like activity and can always find a way to amuse themselves. If you won’t throw a toy, a Wire will often toss it himself and then chase after it. He loves to run and explore in his fenced yard but will be equally happy curled up on a chair looking out the window. It is a rare Wire that doesn’t like being held on a lap and petted at the end of the day. If you will allow him in your bed, he will snuggle under the covers and lie close to you at night. He is mischievous though and will try to get by with whatever tricks he can. You really need to have a good sense of humor to like living with a Wire.
It is always a surprise to me when I hear of Wires being described as aggressive. Most are very affectionate and eager to meet and play with almost anyone they meet. Wires who are properly socialized and raised to know their place in relation to their human “pack” would seldom be considered aggressive toward people. Early training and a firm owner go a long way toward avoiding problems.
They are a breed that need to be exercised to be their happiest! Our trainer told us atleast an hour a day. No, we are definitely not 100% especially in the winter months. But we do try to get her regularly walked or ran and often I make it one of my kid’s chores to either walk her or take her in the backyard to play. We also will take her to the park with us and we take her camping and hiking.
There are times when we have had to leave Michi corralled up in the house for 1/2 day and she does fine, but has a crazy amount of energy that needs to be released when we come home, so be prepared to get some of that energy out in order for your Wire Foxie to be able to settle down.
About The Wire Fox Terrier
Click Here to read for a fun article by Time Magazine about Wire Fox Terriers.
Wire Fox Terriers at times have gotten a bad rap. Truth be told, I have to agree with some of the opinions floating around, but maybe not with the extreme “one size fits all” manner in which their opinions were shared. What I mean is, yes, so far in our adventure Wire Fox Terriers are active. Yes, they (and when I say they I mean our little Wire Fox Terrier girl) can be somewhat stubborn. Yes, they are very intelligent (you can see it in their cute little eyes when you’re talking to them) and, of course, they aren’t for everyone. But, let’s be honest, these things can and are said about lots of different breeds. In my somewhat limited experience, almost any dog can be trained from a puppy to be a welcome addition to a family.
I really think it is good to make responsible decisions about which dog to purchase. Not every dog works for every family. And NO, I do not think that everyone should have this particular type of dog. However, I do think that each of us have a right to learn, grow, and to develop. Everyone deserves the right to decide for themselves if this is the right dog for them. I believe that educating yourself is critical in this decision making process as well as being realistic about what you can handle. (Have you had dogs before? Have a fenced yard? Got time to spend working with the dog and exercising the dog? etc.). Has it been simple and painless? No, but what dog isn’t to some degree? And so far, this dog has been a great experience for my family!
My kids spend time each day with the dog, playing and also with her sitting on their laps. My smallest child is four years old and she loves this dog and spends time with her all day. The animal is smart and is a great pet for my family.