How to Groom a Wire-Haired Fox Terrier

Also called the wire fox terrier, wire-haired fox terriers are named for their dense, wiry coats. These dogs are predominantly white but may have patches of red, brown or black as well. Because their coats are short and dense, wire fox terriers shed minimally. If you want to keep your terrier’s coat looking clean and healthy, however, it is wise to brush your dog once a week and bathe him when necessary.


Step 1Brush your wire-haired fox terrier’s coat using a slicker brush or firm bristle brush at least once a week. Move the brush in the direction of hair growth using long, gentle strokes. If using a bristle brush, select one that has short, closely spaced bristles.

Step 2Cut out any stubborn mats with a pair of small scissors or a mat rake. Hold the hair to avoid causing your dog any discomfort and start at the end, working your way through the mat toward your terrier’s body. Once you have worked through the end of the mat, pinch the bottom of it right against the dog’s body, using your fingers as a guide to avoid cutting the dog’s skin.

Step 3Go over your terrier’s coat using a medium steel comb. Since you already brushed your dog, the comb should go through the hair easily. Start at the head and work your way down the dog’s shoulders and along his back, then down the legs.

Step 4Comb out your terrier’s beard using the steel comb, gently pinching the skin under your dog’s chin on the opposite side of the beard you are combing to keep his head still. If your dog’s beard is tangled, you may need to start with a small slicker brush or mat rake to break up the tangles. Once you’ve worked through the tangles, go over the beard again with the comb.


Step 1Fill your bathtub with a few inches of lukewarm water and place your wire-haired terrier in the tub.

Step 2Wet your terrier’s coat using a pet sprayer or handheld shower head. The pressure from the sprayer will help the water penetrate your dog’s wiry coat.

Step 3Drizzle a small amount of dog shampoo down your dog’s back and use your hands to work it into a lather. Be sure to work the shampoo into your dog’s undercoat.

Step 4Rinse your terrier well, then shampoo and rinse him a second time. The first lather and rinse will remove dirt and dead hair from your dog’s coat, and the second will help to whiten his fur.

Step 5Dry your terrier using a large bath towel. Once you have removed most of the moisture from his coat, you can finish drying him using a blow dryer on the lowest heat setting.


Step 1Use a pair of grooming clippers to trim the fur on your wire-haired terrier’s neck and back. Decide what length you prefer for your dog’s coat and select the proper clipping blade. A #10 blade will give your terrier a short, smooth coat, and a #7 blade will leave the hair a little longer.

Step 2Clip the hair on your dog’s shoulders and work your way down his legs to the elbow, moving in the direction of hair growth. You may also clip the fur on your dog’s chest so that it is even with the elbow.

Step 3Trim the hair on your dog’s head and the outside of his ears using a #15 blade. Clip the hair on top of your dog’s head short but leave his eyebrows intact. Trim the hair on the underside of your dog’s ears with straight shears; this will help improve air circulation and prevent infection. Never put anything into your dog’s ear canals.

Step 4Use your clippers with the #10 blade to trim the fur on your terrier’s belly and the inside of his legs. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging or irritating your dog’s sensitive skin in these areas. If you are nervous about hurting your dog, you can trim the fur by hand using a pair of thinning shears.

Step 5Cut the fur on your dog’s feet using a pair of straight shears. Trim the fur between his toes so that it is even with the pads, then trim the fur around the outside of the feet to give them a cleaner look.

Step 6Trim the hair on your dog’s lower legs carefully using the #7 blade. Blend the shorter hair above the dog’s elbow with the longer hair below by lightly skimming the surface of the hair with your clippers.

Other Grooming Tasks

Step 1Check your wire-haired fox terrier’s ears regularly for signs of infection. If your dog gets an ear infection, his ears may become red or develop a discharge or foul odor.

Step 2Clean your terrier’s ears once a week using a dog ear cleansing solution. Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle and squirt the solution into your dog’s ear canal. Massage the ear to distribute the fluid, then wipe the ear clean with dry cotton balls.

Step 3Brush your terrier’s teeth weekly using a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Many dry dog foods contain ingredients that help to keep a dog’s teeth clean, but brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can help to improve his gum health and fight bad breath.

Items You Will Need

  • Slicker brush or firm bristle brush
  • Small scissors or mat rake
  • Medium steel comb
  • Bathtub
  • Water
  • Pet sprayer or handheld shower head
  • Dog shampoo
  • Large bath towel
  • Blow dryer
  • Grooming clippers
  • Thinning shears
  • Straight shears
  • Dog ear cleansing solution
  • Cotton balls
  • Dog toothbrush
  • Dog toothpaste


  • To preserve the wiry appearance of your terrier’s coat, you should strip his coat rather than cutting it. Wire-haired fox terriers intended for showing are stripped, which involves pulling out loose and dead hairs. If you want to strip your dog’s coat, you should have a professional show you how and be prepared to spend a couple of hours doing it every three to four weeks.
  • In addition to lathering and rinsing your terrier twice, you can also use a whitening shampoo to brighten his coat.


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