If you are a fan of Adventures of Tintin, then you probably love his dog Snowy as well. Snowy happens to be a white Wirehaired or Wire Fox Terrier who is smart, inquisitive and has a mind of his own. Let us study the characteristics and temperament of this beautiful and clever dog breed.
Facts and characteristics
- Fox terriers are of two varieties- wire and smooth coats. The Wire Terrier is often jokingly referred to as the “well dressed brother” of the smooth coat variety.
- The smooth fox terrier was developed before the wire haired breed from Greyhound, Beagle and Black and Tan Bull Terrier. Today, the AKC has registered both varieties as two separate breeds.
- Many Wire Fox Terriers have been famous through book publications and TV or movie features. Apart from Snowy from Adventures of Tintin, Tip, another Wire, was featured in series of children’s readers called Tip and Mitten.
- Wire fox terrier height and weight- For show dogs, the ideal weight for male Wires is about 18 lbs and for bitches it is about 16 lbs- no more. Height for males, ideally, should not exceed 15 ½ inches at withers-females slightly less than that.
- Coat- The coat of wire fox terriers is described as dense, shaggy and compact without excessive curling.
- Wirehaired were originally bred for hunting. However, today, thanks to their cute looks, they are mainly used as companion dogs.
Where to find a Wirehaired Fox Terrier
Look for a reputed breeder in your area. Many dog refuge centers or dog pounds can also help you find a wire fox terrier. Buying from reputed breeders has its advantages in that; you can meet the puppy’s parents and also have the guarantee that some of the early medical checkups and vaccinations may be already done. You can also get a vet to examine your pup so as to ensure there are no genetic issues or diseases. Adopting a wire fox from rescue organizations is also great and you will be doing a great service. Here is a checklist when adopting/buying your fox terrier:
- Attitude- Bright, cheerful, alert and inquisitive
- Eyes- Clear and free off discharge
- Ears- Free from waxy buildup, no head shaking or scratching
- Mouth- Bright, pink gums
- Skin and coat- Healthy, clean and having no signs of parasites
- Body condition- Not plump or overweight. Stomach should not be distended. Nor should the puppy be very thin.
The fox terrier is curious, sociable, alert, intelligent and well mannered as long as you train your puppy from a young age. They are great with children and love human companionship. Here are some more characteristic temperamental features of fox terriers:
- Bright, happy, bold and outgoing
- Curious and interested-will run to meet people
- Attentive and curious-ever ready to explore and investigate like Snowy from Tintin
- When petted, s/he will want more attention or try to engage you in play.
- When confronted with something strange or new-will be curious, nosy and try sniffing to investigate
- Is compliant
Good training is very essential when it comes to owning a wire fox terrier. Never use outdated cruel training methods like hitting or punishing; fox terriers respond best to gentle, consistent and patient training. Never raise your voice or reprimand-use treats and gentle tone when teaching your pet the basics. Short training sessions are better than longer ones; especially when you are training your fox terrier puppy. Start with housebreaking your puppy, leash training, crate training and basic discipline such as not to chew up your belongings or dig up the garden.
All terrier breeds bark – they were meant to do so and barking is an integral part of their behavior. The breed was meant to hunt and they would alert their handler to the quarry by barking. Therefore, barking is in their DNA and you cannot do much about it. However, with lots of exercise and training, you may be able to curb the tenacity to bark, though it will never go away completely.
What to feed your Fox Terrier
The best quality homemade or commercial dog food which is nutritionally complete is the best meal for your toy fox terrier or wire haired terrier breeds. Your vet or the breeder from whom you purchased can give you the advice regarding the best dog food for your fox terrier. Here are some important tips and pointers to keep in mind about food:
- Never feed raw eggs to your pet. It can lead to biotin deficiency.
- Avoid feeding human food or table scraps to your wire haired terrier.
- Raw diet is also not recommended, as it is high in fats and could sometimes contain parasites. Avoid raw liver as it can cause vitamin A toxicity.
- Bones-especially cooked bones-can shatter and splinter. So never feed these to your fox terrier.
- Watch your dog’s weight. That is the best indication whether you need to change the food.
- Senior dogs also need special diet. Your vet can advise you.
- When selecting dog food-learn to read food labels. Avoid foods which have soy, corn or wheat as the first few ingredients listed on it. While these are okay, it is best to go for food with meat or fish in it. This way, your pet will get the balanced nutrition it needs.
- Always keep plenty of fresh water available for your pet.
- Never feed milk to your terrier-s/he does not have the enzymes to digest it.
All terriers- the giant ones the toy breeds, and the smooth and wiry coated ones- need plenty of exercise. A fair number of fox terriers succumb to a lazy lifestyle owing to lazy owners. Fox terriers love water-so a game of fetch in clean, fresh and pollution free water is always welcome. You can also go for daily walks with your terrier or play fetch on land. This is a fairly active breed but you need not provide him with Olympic level activity all of a sudden! Start gradually and organize regular walks and runs in the yard. If you plan on letting him run free in the yard, make sure there is no gap underneath the fence from where s/he could run out. Also, some pets tend to simply sit in the yard-so supervise her/him to ensure they get the exercise they need to avoid becoming obese.
- Regular grooming is a must for this breed. Keep the sessions short and fun and make sure you get your pet used to grooming right since puppyhood.
- Always end the session on positive note.
- For regular grooming, use a stiff bristle brush and brush gently yet firmly to remove stray hairs, dead skin and parasites etc.
- Bathe your pet once or twice a month, or as advised by your vet.
A well trained Fox terrier puppy will soon grow up into a delightful adult companion that will give you love and joy for years to come.