When someone hears the name Fox Terrier, they may think of either a Wire Fox or Smooth Fox Terrier. While the two breeds are similar, the main difference is the coat and they are bred independent of one another. A Smooth Fox Terrier has a coat which is smooth and flat, yet thick, dense and hard. On the other hand a Wire Fox Terrier has a broken coat which has a dense, wiry texture to it. The coat color is alike on both dogs, and each can have a base coat of black and tan, or tan with some white spots.
Another thing that makes the dogs similar is that both were originally bred for hunting foxes. Fox Terriers were bred and trained to chase foxes into a hole and actually venture inside to retrieve the fox. Because the fox would often act out with aggression towards the dog, a Fox Terrier needed to be courageous enough to pursue the fox and not back down. Both breeds still display the same brave temperament today, never cowering when up against another animal, no matter what the size may be.
Throughout the years, a Fox Terrier was a blanket name given to a group of fox hunting dog breeds. The Wire Fox and Smooth Fox continued to be shown in professional shows under the same breed standard for several years. Research concluded the two dogs should not have been categorized together as one breed alone. Though many terrier lovers refer to the dogs as cousins, the belief is actually that the two dogs are not related at all.
Terrier lovers claim the Wire Fox is a descendant of the Rough Black and Tan Terriers, which hail from Wales. The Smooth Fox Terrier finds its origins in the combination of a Smooth Black and Tan, a Bull Terrier and a Beagle. The Wire Fox and Smooth Coat were eventually broken into different breeds. In 1985, the two breeds were actually separated and recognized as two distinct dogs. Now, each one is registered separately with the American Kennel Club and other professional organizations. Most people do not realize the Smooth Fox Terrier was a recognized breed in the United States for more than 15 years, long before the Wire Fox Terrier burst onto the scene.
Both dogs are similar size-wise, each weighing around 15-25 pounds and standing between 15-18 inches in height. Both breeds have a high energy level and active nature, and display a fierce streak of independence. One major feature of the terrier breed is their capacity to respond well to training, being naturally intelligent, the dogs love to participate in obedience and agility trials. The dogs also need training to avoid becoming bored and acting out in a destructive manner. Both breeds have strength, power and endurance that can seem to be never ending. The Smooth Fox and Wire Fox both make suitable breeds to bring into a home and will provide years of love and loyalty for their owner.