Breed standards

Fox Terrier (Wire)

Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Last Updated: 16 Jul 2009

Kennel Club, London 1994

FCI Standard No 169

Group 2 (Terriers)

Active and lively, bone and strength in small compass, never cloddy or coarse. Conformation to show perfect balance, in particular this applies to the relative proportions of skull and foreface, and similarly height at withers and length of body from shoulder-point to buttocks appear approximately equal. Standing like a short backed hunter covering a lot of ground.


Alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on tiptoe of expectation at slightest provocation.


Friendly, forthcoming and fearless.

Head And Skull:

Topline of skull almost flat, sloping slightly and gradually decreasing in width towards eyes. Little difference in length between skull and foreface. If foreface is noticeably shorter head looks weak and unfinished. Foreface gradually tapering from eye to muzzle and dipping slightly at its juncture with forehead but not dished or falling away quickly below eyes where it should be full and well made up. Excessive bony or muscular development of jaws undesirable and unsightly. Full and rounded contour of cheeks undesirable. Nose black.


Dark, full of fire and intelligence, moderately small, not prominent. As near circular in shape as possible. Not too far apart nor too high in skull nor too near ears. Light eyes highly undesirable.


Small, V-shaped, of moderate thickness, flaps neatly folded over and dropping forward close to cheeks. Top line of folded ears well above level of skull. Prick, tulip or rose ears highly undesirable.


Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Clean, muscular, of fair length, free from throatiness, broadening to shoulder, presenting a graceful curve when viewed from side.


Seen from front, shoulders slope steeply down from junction with neck towards points which should be fine; viewed from side, long and well laid back and sloping obliquely backwards. Withers always clean cut. Chest deep, not broad. Viewed from any direction, legs straight, bone strong right down to feet. Elbows perpendicular to body, working free of sides, carried straight when moving.


Back short, level and strong without slackness, loin muscular, slightly arched. Brisket deep front ribs moderately arched, rear ribs deep, well sprung. Very short coupled.


Strong, muscular and free from droop or crouch. Thighs long and powerful. Stifles well bent, turning neither in nor out. Hocks well let down, upright and parallel when viewed from rear. Combination of short second thigh and straight stifle highly undesirable.


Round, compact with small, tough and well cushioned pads, toes moderately arched. Turning neither in nor out.


Docked: Set high. Carried erect, not over back or curled. Of good strength and fair length.
Undocked: Set high. Carried erect, not over back or curled. Of good strength and fair length to maintain a balanced appearance.


Fore and hind legs move straight forward and parallel. Elbows move perpendicular to body, working free of sides. Stifles turning neither in nor out. Good drive coming from well flexing hindquarters.


Dense, very wiry texture, & 3/4; in on shoulder to 1 & 1/2; in on withers, back, ribs and quarters with undercoat of short, softer hair. Back and quarters harsher than sides. Hair on jaws crisp and of sufficient length to impart appearance of strength to foreface. Leg hair dense and crisp.


White predominates with black, black and tan or tan markings. Brindle, red, liver or slate-blue marking undesirable.


Height at withers not exceeding 39 cms (15.5 ins) in dogs, bitches slightly less.

Ideal weight in show condition 8 kgs (18 lbs) for dogs, bitches slightly less.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.