Fox Terriers are lively little dogs-busy, bouncy, alert, and always ready for action. The Fox Terrier is loads of fun for older children who can give him daily play and exercise. He has a saucy manner and a happy sense of humor.
Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers are considered two separate breeds now, but used to be considered varieties within the same breed. The Smooth was the first to come along, perhaps as early as 1790. His ancestors were the smooth-coated Black-and-Tan Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the Greyhound, and the Beagle. The Wire's major ancestor was the rough-coated Black-and-Tan Terrier. Both share origins with the Airedale, Irish, and Welsh Terriers. Both are adaptable to city or country living.
Their most obvious difference, of course, is the coat. Both are predominantly white with black and tan areas. But the Smooth has a short, thick coat that needs only a quick brushing once a week. The Wire's coat is crinkled and wiry with a soft undercoat. He needs brushing twice weekly and clipping every few months.
Both dogs have black noses and small, round, wide-awake black eyes. Their legs are longer than those of most other terriers their size.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: Smooth Fox Terrier--lively and active as well as powerful. Wire Fox Terrier--alert, quick, on the tip-toe of expectation.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--not to exceed 151/2 inches at the withers; females slightly smaller than males. Weight--about 18 pounds; females slightly less.
Fox Terriers began their careers in a tough job. They were participants in the sport of fox hunting. British men and women, mounted on horseback, would chase foxes across the countryside. Fox Terriers were carried along in cloth bags or baskets by some of the riders. If the fox went down a hole or into brush where the hounds couldn't get it, the Fox Terriers were released and sent underground to scare out the fox. The dogs needed to be quick, strong, and brave in their encounters with these foxes.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.