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Fox Terriers are divided into two well-known types: the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier. They both came from the British Isles, and were used to chase down foxes by hunters, hence the origin of their name. They have been traced as far back as 55 BC as told by historians and Romans that invaded Britain during that time.
In general, Fox Terriers are happy go lucky, adventurous, and sometimes full of mischief. They also have a good sense of humor, curiosity and are quite the spunky type of dogs.
Smooth Fox Terriers were recognized first, and have probably descended from crossing Greyhounds, Bull Terriers and Beagles. They apparently were officially recognized around the early 18th century. But, the first “official” ancestor of the modern Smooth Fox Terrier was a dog named Old Jock, born in 1859. The breed eventually arrived in the US in 1879, and now ranks around the mid-70s of more than 130 breeds of the American Kennel Club.
Wire Fox Terriers, on the other hand, appeared much later than Smooth Fox Terriers. Originating from black and tan working terriers in Wales, Durham and Derbyshire, they worked as fox hunters. Despite their complete difference when it comes to standards and a couple of physical attributes with its cousin, they remain the same in temperament, size and type. They were originally considered the same breed in the US, until the AKC approved separate standards in 1984, in which they were separated because of their coat type. Wire Fox Terrier coats can be a bit hard to maintain, because they more or less require ‘plucking’ or ‘stripping’ individual hairs instead of clipping them. Clipping makes the coat softer and dull.
Both breeds today are rarely used for hunting foxes due to laws banning the practice in many places, but some breeders and owners have their dogs compete in sporting events such as go-to-ground contests, in which they have to go underground to attempt to kill a caged rat or other small animal.
The standard height for both fox terriers is around 15 ½ inches, and they have a strong but short back as well as powerful hindquarters. They also have an almost equine head, forward-folded ears, a docked tail and small feet. The feet are mostly white with occasional patches of tan or black.
When it comes to the coat, Smooth Fox Terriers have a flat and short coat, which is also hard in texture. On the other hand, Wire Fox Terriers have ‘wiry’ and wavy outer layer coat that is resistant to water, and an under layer which is oily and soft, made for insulation. There is also wiry hair on its head, looking like a beard of sort, and also on the legs and feet. When it sheds, the color also starts fading, so proper grooming is a necessity for Wire Fox Terriers.
These terriers are generally happy, curious, stubborn and energetic. They also like to roam around and dig, so having a fence outside is a must. They are extremely active and will need a lot of owner patience. However, they also make good and lovable pets for any household.