Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Fox Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
The Fox Terrier is one of the most curious, intense, and impulsive of the terriers -- indeed of all breeds.
Untiringly active and playful, he has a special passion for ball chasing -- which really helps with exercise -- and he seldom walks when he can run.
The Fox Terrier loves the outdoors but must always be kept on-leash (he is a fast, agile, independent chaser) or in a secure yard, preferably supervised, because his ingenuity and relentless hunting instincts may drive him over or under the fence.
This daredevil with the peppery personality does best with active owners who are firm, confident, consistent leaders. He has a marked stubborn streak, a mischievous sense of humor, and will take clever advantage if indulged.
Fox Terriers are scrappy and fearless with other animals. They won't back down if challenged, and they may do much of the challenging themselves.
They have a high prey drive and extremely quick reflexes, so little creatures that run won't get far.
This breed has keen vision and acute hearing and can be counted on to sound the alert when anything is amiss -- sometimes even when nothing is amiss, but might be in the future!
Fox Terriers love to tunnel and dig and can be possessive of their food and cherished toys.
If you want a dog who...
- Is small, yet dynamic, sturdy, and tough -- not a delicate lapdog
- Makes a keen watchdog
- Is a snap to groom (Smooth coat)
- Doesn't shed too much (Wirehaired)
A Smooth or Wirehaired Fox Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
- Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
- Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Digging holes
- Shedding (Smooth coat)
- Regular brushing and clipping (Wire coat)
A Smooth or Wirehaired Fox Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier
If I was considering a Fox Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense. Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things.
- Animal aggression. Fox Terriers are a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
- Fence security. Many Fox Terriers are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
- Barking. Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, terriers are not the best choice for you. For the same reason, terriers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some terriers have high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.
- Mind of their own. Fox Terriers, though more amenable to training than many other terriers, must be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Fox Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
- Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
I do NOT recommend terriers for small children. Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
- Shedding. Smooth Fox Terriers shed much more than you might think. Their short hairs come off on your hands when you pet them, and stick tenaciously to your clothing, upholstery, and carpeting.
- Grooming. To keep their wiry coat free of mats, Wire Fox Terriers require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months. But don't expect your pet Fox Terrier to look like the Fox Terrier show dogs you've seen in books or on TV. That particular look takes hours of work by experienced show groomers.
To learn more about training Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Smooth and Wirehaired Fox Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2014 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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