WIRE FOX TERRIER STANDARD
AKC Wire Fox Terrier
The Terrier should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe
of expectation at the slightest provocation. Character is imparted by the expression
of the eyes and by the carriage of ears and tail.
Bone and strength in a small compass are essential, but this must not be taken to
mean that a Terrier should be "cloddy," or in any way coarse--speed and
endurance being requisite as well as power. The Terrier must on no account be leggy,
nor must he be too short on the leg. He should stand like a cleverly made, short-backed
hunter, covering a lot of ground.
N.B. Old scars or injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed
to prejudice a Terrier's chance in the show ring, unless they interfere with
its movement or with its utility for work or stud.
Size, Proportion, Substance
According to present-day requirements, a full-sized, well balanced dog should not
exceed 15½ inches at the withers--the bitch being proportionately lower--nor should
the length of back from withers to root of tail exceed 12 inches, while to maintain
the relative proportions, the head-as mentioned below-should not exceed 7¼ inches
or be less than 7 inches. A dog with these measurements should scale 18 pounds in
show condition--a bitch weighing some two pounds less--with a margin of one pound
The dog should be balanced and this may be defined as the correct proportions of
a certain point or points, when considered in relation to a certain other point
or points. It is the keystone of the Terrier's anatomy. The chief points for
consideration are the relative proportions of skull and foreface; head and back;
height at withers; and length of body from shoulder point to buttock--the ideal
of proportion being reached when the last two measurements are the same. It should
be added that, although the head measurements can be taken with absolute accuracy,
the height at withers and length of back are approximate, and are inserted for the
information of breeders and exhibitors rather than as a hard-and-fast rule.
The length of the head of a full-grown well developed dog of correct size--measured
with calipers--from the back of the occipital bone to the nostrils-should be from
7 to 7¼ inches, the bitch's head being proportionately shorter. Any measurement
in excess of this usually indicates an oversized or long-backed specimen, although
occasionally--so rarely as to partake of the nature of a freak--a Terrier of correct
size may boast a head 7½ inches in length. In a well balanced head there should
be little apparent difference in length between skull and foreface. If, however,
the foreface is noticeably shorter, it amounts to a fault, the head looking weak
and "unfinished." On the other hand, when the eyes are set too high up
in the skull and too near the ears, it also amounts to a fault, the head being said
to have a "foreign appearance."
Keen of expression. Eyes should be dark in color, moderately small, rather deep-set,
not prominent, and full of fire, life, and intelligence; as nearly as possible circular
in shape, and not too far apart. Anything approaching a yellow eye is most objectionable.
Ears should be small and V-shaped and of moderate thickness, the flaps neatly folded
over and dropping forward close to the cheeks. The topline of the folded ear should
be well above the level of the skull. A pendulous ear, hanging dead by the side
of the head like a Hound's, is uncharacteristic of the Terrier, while an ear
which is semierect is still more undesirable. Disqualifications--Ears prick, tulip
The topline of the skull should be almost flat, sloping slightly and gradually decreasing
in width toward the eyes, and should not exceed 3½ inches in diameter at the widest
part--measuring with the calipers--in the full-grown dog of correct size, the bitch's
skull being proportionately narrower. If this measurement is exceeded, the skull
is termed "coarse," while a full-grown dog with a much narrower skull
is termed "bitchy" in head.
Although the foreface should gradually taper from eye to muzzle and should dip slightly
at its juncture with the forehead, it should not "dish" or fall away quickly
below the eyes, where it should be full and well made up, but relieved from "wedginess"
by a little delicate chiseling. While well developed jaw bones, armed with a set
of strong, white teeth, impart that appearance of strength to the foreface which
is so desirable, an excessive bony or muscular development of the jaws is both unnecessary
and unsightly, as it is partly responsible for the full and rounded contour of the
cheeks to which the term "cheeky" is applied.
Nose should be black. Disqualifications--Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable
extent with either of these colors. Mouth--Both upper and lower jaws should be strong
and muscular, the teeth as nearly as possible level and capable of closing together
like a vise the lower canines locking in front of the upper and the points of the
upper incisors slightly overlapping the lower. Disqualifications--Much undershot,
or much overshot.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck should be clean, muscular, of fair length, free from throatiness and presenting
a graceful curve when viewed from the side. The back should be short and level with
no appearance of slackness--the loins muscular and very slightly arched. The term
"slackness" is applied both to the portion of the back immediately behind
the withers when it shows any tendency to dip, and also the flanks when there is
too much space between the back ribs and hipbone. When there is little space between
the ribs and hips, the dog is said to be "short in couplings," "short-coupled,"
or "well ribbed up." A Terrier can scarcely be too short in back, provided
he has sufficient length of neck and liberty of movement. The bitch may be slightly
longer in couplings than the dog.
Chest deep and not broad, a too narrow chest being almost as undesirable as a very
broad one. Excessive depth of chest and brisket is an impediment to a Terrier when
going to ground. The brisket should be deep, the front ribs moderately arched, and
the back ribs deep and well sprung. Tail should be set on rather high and carried
gaily but not curled. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length-a
three-quarters dock is about right--since it affords the only safe grip when handling
working Terriers. A very short tail is suitable neither for work nor show.
Shoulders when viewed from the front should slope steeply downwards from their juncture,
with the neck towards the points, which should be fine. When viewed from the side
they should be long, well laid back, and should slope obliquely backwards from points
to withers, which should always be clean-cut. A shoulder well laid back gives the
long forehand which, in combination with a short back, is so desirable in Terrier
or Hunter. The elbows should hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the
sides, carried straight through in traveling. Viewed from any direction the legs
should be straight, the bone of the forelegs strong right down to the feet. Feet
should be round, compact, and not large--the pads tough and well cushioned, and
the toes moderately arched and turned neither in nor out. A Terrier with good-shaped
forelegs and feet will wear his nails down short by contact with the road surface,
the weight of the body being evenly distributed between the toe pads and the heels.
Should be strong and muscular, quite free from droop or crouch; the thighs long
and powerful; the stifles well curved and turned neither in nor out; the hock joints
well bent and near the ground; the hocks perfectly upright and parallel with each
other when viewed from behind. The worst possible form of hindquarters consists
of a short second thigh and a straight stifle, a combination which causes the hind
legs to act as props rather than instruments of propulsion. The hind legs should
be carried straight through in traveling. Feet as in front.
The best coats appear to be broken, the hairs having a tendency to twist, and are
of dense, wiry texture--like coconut matting--the hairs growing so closely and strongly
together that, when parted with the fingers, the skin cannot be seen. At the base
of these stiff hairs is a shorter growth of finer and softer hair--termed the undercoat.
The coat on the sides is never quite so hard as that on the back and quarters. Some
of the hardest coats are "crinkly" or slightly waved, but a curly coat
is very objectionable. The hair on the upper and lower jaws should be crisp and
only sufficiently long to impart an appearance of strength to the foreface. The
hair on the forelegs should also be dense and crisp. The coat should average in
length from ¾ to one inch on shoulders and neck, lengthening to 1½ inches on withers,
back, ribs, and quarters. These measurements are given rather as a guide to exhibitors
than as an infallible rule, since the length of coat depends on the climate, seasons,
and individual animal. The judge must form his own opinion as to what constitutes
a "sufficient" coat on the day.
White should predominate; brindle, red, liver or slaty blue are objectionable. Otherwise,
color is of little or no importance.
The movement or action is the crucial test of conformation. The Terrier's legs
should be carried straight forward while traveling, the forelegs hanging perpendicular
and swinging parallel to the sides, like the pendulum of a clock. The principal
propulsive power is furnished by the hind legs, perfection of action being found
in the Terrier possessing long thighs and muscular second thighs well bent at the
stifles, which admit of a strong forward thrust or "snatch" of the hocks.
When approaching, the forelegs should form a continuation of the straight of the
front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. When stationary it
is often difficult to determine whether a dog is slightly out at shoulder but, directly
he moves, the defect--if it exists--becomes more apparent, the forefeet having a
tendency to cross, "weave," or "dish." When, on the contrary,
the dog is tied at the shoulder, the tendency of the feet is to move wider apart,
with a sort of paddling action. When the hocks are turned in-cow-hocks-the stifles
and feet are turned outwards, resulting in a serious loss of propulsive power. When
the hocks are turned outwards the tendency of the hind feet is to cross, resulting
in an ungainly waddle.
The Terrier should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe
of expectation at the slightest provocation.
Ears prick, tulip or rose.
Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors.
Mouth much undershot, or much overshot.
Approved February 9, 1991
Effective March 27, 1991