So You Think You Want
A Wire Fox Terrier?

If so, it's time to do your homework. There are many people breeding Wires and it can be difficult to sort the reputable from those who are not. Websites can be very deceiving and even "testimonials" don't tell the whole story. Let's start at the beginning:

    Let's Assume You've Already Researched The Breed.

You already know Terriers are not for everyone. They need regular grooming: hand stripping for show dogs, clippering and bathing for pets. They are not trustworthy off lead and do best in a fenced yard. They have a high energy level although they do love to curl up in a lap and be petted too. They are bred to dig and go after rodents, so a garden is at risk.! There's more on some of our Wire Information Pages, however, chances are you have had a Wire (or another Terrier) and your mind is already made up.

Finding A Breeder

Most folks start out by saying, "We don't want a show dog. We just want a family pet," and that's where most Wires will go. But you do want the best family pet you can find, don't you? That means that health and temperament are most important but that you want your Wire to also be a good example of the breed. So where will you have the best (and worst) chance of finding such a dog?

The Worst: 

  1. The Newspaper:
    Reputable breeders seldom advertise in newspapers. They have people waiting for their pups and don't need this kind of advertising. More often, pups advertised here come from inexperienced, "backyard breeders" who may mean well, but breed whatever two dogs they have access to without knowledge of health history or how to successfully socialize and raise well-adjusted, trainable puppies.


  3. Pet Shops:

  4. You probably know all the horror stories about pet shop dogs but when you really want a puppy and a fuzzy, cute one is just sitting there in the window looking at you, common sense flies out the window and impulse takes over.  Sadly, that impulse buy often brings heartache in the form of health problems and temperament issues. When the pet shop person talks about their "breeders," they are talking about puppy mills and high volume breeders. Puppies are separated from their mother and littermates as early as five weeks old....missing out on important socialization time...but getting them to the store while they are still tiny and cute. When you buy from the pet shop, you are helping to keep puppy mills in business. Brokers who import many dogs from unreliable sources may also supply pet shops and advertise in newspapers.

  5. Internet Puppy Sites:
    Most of the Internet sites accept ads from ANYONE, including puppy mills and large volume breeders. Reputable breeders do not advertise there. You may see some personal websites linked to the ads here and the parents of the puppies may be shown. They often are not very good examples of the breed and are usually from those same backyard breeders who place the newspaper ads. There are a few, and just a few, referral sites that are worth checking into. Those are most often from the regional or parent clubs of the breed. In our case, that would be the American Fox Terrier Club , the Wire Fox Terrier Club of the Central States or another AKC regional Fox Terrier Club. There are just a few Internet sites that try to list only the most reputable breeders. Quality Dogs is one that is making a good effort but you should still apply the tips on this page to the breeders listed there. The AKC allows breeder listings but they do not have any conditions for advertising. They do have questions that each breeder is to answer and you will have to evaluate those answers yourself by holding them to the standards listed here.

  6. The Most Confusing: "Business" Websites:
    I think these are the most misleading. They look good....they really do. But they are a business and their purpose is to make money by  breeding and selling dogs. When your focus is on money, and not on breeding high quality dogs, lots of compromises are made.  Dogs are bred without knowing the health history of their ancestors. Bitches are bred more often than they should be. Pet puppies are sold with an agreement that they too will be bred. Puppies are not matched carefully to each family.  These people make claims that are designed to make you think they are reputable breeders so it is up to you to read between the lines. Here are a few clues:


  8. 1.  They take credit cards.
    If that sounds like a business, it's because it IS a business. Lots of money is changing hands. Reputable breeders seldom take credit cards because they don't breed that many litters. If they do take credit cards, it is usually because they have another dog related business like a boarding kennel or grooming shop.

    2.  They take non-refundable deposits on a "first come/first served" basis. If they do not have puppies or if there aren't enough for you to get one, your deposit will not be returned. It will be "rolled over" to their next litter.  You will lose your money if you find another puppy somewhere else while you are waiting.


  10. 3.  They ship "World Wide." Really? A reputable breeder carefully places a puppy with a family that they build a relationship with. They do not ship puppies just anywhere to just anyone.  The "business" breeder also often says they will deliver or meet you somewhere as they really do not want you to see all the dogs or where they are kept. On the other hand, a show breeder might also meet you at a show where you can see their dogs being groomed and competing.

    4.  They make claims that their dogs are somehow special or different from other breeder's dogs. They might say theirs are bred to have better or calmer  temperaments or to not be barkers, etc.

  11. 5.  They do not belong to the AFTC or one of the other AKC sanctioned Fox Terrier Clubs. They do not want to have to follow those code of ethics and their practices make them ineligible for membership anyway. This is a simple way to check out the person you are contacting. Be sure to check with the club to verify membership.  If they are not members, it is a red flag. Businesses and backyard breeders  never refer you to anyone else if they don't have a puppy for you.

  12. 66.  They offer different kinds of registrations, including APR    (American Pet Registry) which is something created for dogs of questionable parentage and quality. AKC registration may be offered for an extra fee. Please remember that AKC registration does not insure quality, only that both parents are of the same breed. However, you will find that almost all show breeders use the AKC registration.


The Best!

  1. The reputable "hobby" breeder:


  3. 1.  This person is almost always a show exhibitor. He shows his dogs as a way to evaluate his breeding stock. He is committed to acting in the best interest of the breed. 


  5. 2.  He is a member in good standing with AKC sanctioned Fox Terrier Clubs and has no problem adhering to their code of ethics.  He may also belong to all-breed clubs. He researches potential problems in the breed and chooses his breeding stock to minimize those issues. Every litter is carefully planned by breeding "the best to the best" and he studies pedigrees seriously with health, temperament and soundness as much in mind as beauty. He is usually familiar with most of the dogs in the pedigree. He does not advertise just a champion parent, but you will find most, if not all dogs in the pedigree are AKC Champions.

    2.  He does not take credit cards because he does not have enough litters to warrant it. Breeding for him  is not a business but a very expensive hobby and a labor of love. He does not take deposits which roll over to another litter. In fact, he considers the placement of his puppies almost like an adoption where he wants to get to know the family well so he can match the best puppy to their lifestyle and personality requests. His contract spells out what you can expect of him as well as what he requires of you in terms of care of the dog. He will also be willing to take the dog back at any time if you are unable to keep it.  This breeder will be happy to refer you to another breeder if he doesn't have a puppy for you.

    3.  Because the reputable breeder plans litters in the hopes of producing another show prospect, the prospective pet family gets the benefit of all his experience. Each and every puppy is whelped and raised as if it might be that one special puppy....and it might be! Your puppy from this breeder will be raised in a clean, stimulating environment. Since the breeder is aware of the Critical Stages of a Puppy's Life, those puppies will have been given many experiences at the correct time. It is much more than being "raised in the house with children."

                    How can you find him?

Go to the American Fox Terrier Club or the Wire Fox Terrier Club websites and check their membership lists.  The AFTC also has a Rescue Coordinator who may know where to find Wires. Reputable breeders will send you to other reputable breeders.  If you find a website, evaluate it for yourself. You should now know what to look for. If you aren't sure, ask the advice of some of the breeders listed on the AFTC site. Many are willing to give breed information.