Are Smooth And Wire Fox Terrier’s The Same Dog?

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 4 min.

One Dog, but Two Breeds

There are two different breeds of Fox Terrier, the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier.

Both descend from the UK in the 19th century, bred from a handful of dogs who came from other varieties of British terriers. This breeding led to other Terriers such as the Jack Russell Terrier (UK), Miniature Fox Terrier (USA) and the Rat Terrier (USA).

The Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers share very similar characteristic traits, as well as size.

The main differences are the coat of hair and the markings. All were once bred for Fox hunting but the majority are now bred for show dogs of which these guys are often masters of the ring.

The breeding history of these dogs runs back to the 18th Century, however the distinction between Wire and Smooth did not really surface until the 19th Century.

Origin: ~ England.
Bred for: ~ Fox Hunting.
Colour: ~ Tri-Colour or white with coloured patches.
Coat: ~ Smooth – Hair is smooth and short.

Coat ~ Wire – Hair is short but fluffy and wiry to the touch
Height: ~ 12 to 15 inches or

30 to 38cms.
Weight: ~ 15 to 18lbs or

16 to 18kgs.
Lifespan: ~ 12 to 15 years.
AKC Group – Terrier Group.

Wire Fox Terrier

Fox Terrier Wire
Wire Fox Terrier Dog

Smooth Fox Terrier

Fox Terrier Smooth
Fox Terrier Smooth

Both types of Fox Terrier have mostly white coats with coloured markings and have very similar body frame and facial characteristics.

They are for all intents the same dog except for difference in coats and the variations in colouration and markings.

Markings on both types can appear black at birth on the head, but then lighten later in adult life, the most common colours being that of tan and black.

Show Dogs

The Fox Terrier has been more successful than any other breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, with four Best in Show titles going to the Smooth Fox Terrier and fourteen titles going to the Wire Fox Terrier

They were both shown as one breed with two coat variations until in 1985 when the American Kennel Club listed the Wire and the Smooth as two separate breeds.

At the Crufts Show in the UK, the Smooth Fox Terrier has yet to win any Best in Show titles, while the Wire Fox Terrier has won on three occasions.

Descendant Breeds of the Fox Terrier

Whist these two breeds are occasionally argued over as to whether they are the same dog, what’s not in doubt is the worldwide descendance they have that follows them.

Their onward mixed breeding worldwide has led to a number of other fully accepted breeds within the AKC and other world renowned kennel clubs. These are:-

  • The Brazilian Terrier Brazil
  • The Chilean Rat Terrier Chile
  • The Jack Russel Terrier England
  • The Japanese Terrier Japan
  • The Miniature Fox Terrier Australia
  • The Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz Spain
  • The Rat Terrier USA
  • The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier USA
  • The Tenterfield terrier Australia
  • The Toy Fox Terrier USA

Whatever your opinion these dogs have the same genetics and come from the same original breeding terriers in the 18/19th Century.

Characteristics of the Fox Terrier

These Terriers are affectionate, lively, spirited and energetic with a high level of intelligence.

They have a high prey drive and will dig if they think something is worth investigating.

An ideal dog for children of 5 years plus as they will have both the energy and the capacity to play games.

These dogs need to be exercised and given stimulation such as toys or chews. Ignoring them may lead to damaged furniture or other items that they will see as a toy to play with.

They are not deliberately destructive just simply easily bored, but an awful lot of fun to have around.

They will be keen to learn training and tricks but may need a firm hand, not wishy washy instructions.


Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers should have their nails trimmed regularly, as I mentioned earlier, they enjoy digging, which can also lead to time spent cleaning paws or simply having to shower them on a regular basis.

Grooming the Smooth Fox Terrier will require little effort.

The Wire Fox Terrier grooming possibly require a visit to the groomers or a stripping of the coat at home to avoid matting.

Is the Fox Terrier Hypoallergenic?

The two breeds have entirely differing coats.

The Wire haired Fox Terrier IS hypoallergenic.

The Smooth haired Fox Terrier IS NOT hypoallergenic.


If you have the energy these dogs are great fun to have around. If you live in an apartment these dogs may not be ideal.

If you have kids and live in the countryside or like taking walks then this dog could be an ideal partner.

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