Fox Terriers are adorable and make great family companions. They’re also fearless hunters with a curious, energetic nature, so they tend to keep you on your toes!
And yes, Fox Terriers do shed hair.
How much do they shed? Well, there’s two types of Fox Terrier: smooth and wire coat. The smooth coat variety sheds a moderate amount of hair year round. However, the wire coat breed sheds very little, and is even considered to be hypoallergenic.
Let's take a closer look at Fox Terriers, how much they shed, how to groom them, and what you can do to reduce shedding in your home.
About Fox Terriers
Fox Terriers are said to have originated in England in the mid 1800's and were purpose bred "fox hunters". Their bold nature, keen senses, and speed, helped hunters pinpoint foxes and drive them out of their den. And they did so in close company with English Foxhounds.
Their hunting days are mostly over though. Like most dogs, you can usually find them lounging around the home, or running around the back yard playing!
Anyway, before we proceed, it's important to understand that there are two main types of Fox Terrier. And which breed you have will make a huge difference as to how much they shed, and therefor how much effort you'll be putting into cleaning up hair and grooming.
These are the two main Fox Terrier breeds:
- Smooth Fox Terrier
- Wire Fox Terrier
Both breeds share similar characteristics and personality traits.
For example, they're both energetic and highly intelligent, both typically weigh between 15-19 pounds, they're about the same size, and both belong to the Terrier Group.
However, there are some distinct differences between each breed, which mostly comes down to their coat. And not just how the coat looks and feels, but also in how each sheds.
What's the difference?
The Smooth Coat variety has a short-medium, smooth coat and doesn't have an undercoat. The color of their coat can be black, white, white with tan, or black and tan markings.
The Wire Coat variety has short-medium, tough, wiry hairs and these guys do have an undercoat. Their coat color can be white with black or a mixture of white, black, and tan.
As you can see, there's quite a difference in the way these dogs look. They colors are different, as well as the length and texture of the coat.
Here’s an overview table that breaks down the key differences:
Flat, dense and smooth single coat.
Tough, wiry, top coat with soft undercoat.
Short to medium.
Short to medium.
Black, white, white with tan, or black and tan markings.
White with black or a mixture of white, black, and tan.
Moderate to high.
As you can see, there are trade offs between shedding and grooming here. One is going to require more effort in one department than the other and visa versa.
Also worth mentioning is that both Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers are closely related to the Toy Fox Terrier, Miniature Fox Terrier (AKA Mini Foxie), and Jack Russel Terrier. It's easy to get these breeds confused because they're so similar, but there are differences.
Here's an example of a Toy Fox Terrier to show you what I mean:
How cute is that!
In the next section, we'll dive deeper into why Fox Terriers shed hair and how much they shed, so you know exactly what you're in for if you do decide to adopt one of these guys.
Fox Terrier Shedding
Almost all dogs shed hair to some extent.
There's no getting around it. Unless you have a one of the few breeds that don't shed, there's going to be hair floating around your home to some extent. The question is, how much.
And to answer that, we need to look at both Smooth and Wire coat Foxies separately. Because "Smooths" shed a lot differently to "Wires" so we can't put them in the same basket.
Let's take a closer look at each breed...
Smooth Coat Fox Terrier Shedding
Some say that Smooths don't shed, but this simply isn't true. Anyone who actually owns one, knows that Smooth Coat Fox Terriers shed a moderate amount of hair.
In fact, my dog Buster is a smooth coat Foxie and he sheds a lot!
The reason people tend to think they don't shed is because they typically have short, white hairs. And they're a small dog, so there's only so much shedding they can do.
But make no mistake, they shed. And given that Smooths have short hair, the growth cycle is very short, which means they're constantly shedding dead hairs to make way for the new hairs.
Also, given the nature of the hair itself, it tends to needle itself into fabric, upholstery, carpet, and virtually anything else it can find its way into. Which makes it a real nuisance to clean.
Thankfully, it's easy to reduce shedding on these guys.
All you really need is a good quality bristle brush or deshedding tool, and make regular habit of brushing. My dog hates being brushed, so a good alternative is a grooming glove.
Wire Coat Fox Terrier Shedding
Now for the good news. If you're someone who hates dog hair everywhere or suffers from allergies, then take heart because Wire Coat Fox Terriers are a low shedding breed.
With that being said, they do shed some hair.
It's just not as prevalent as their smooth coated counterparts. This is because (similar to a Poodle or Afghan Hound) their coat is more like human hair than regular dog hair or fur. And as such, it doesn't fall out at the same rate as most other dogs.
It's also not as subject to seasonal shedding as some dogs.
Seasonal shedding is something you typically see on dogs with thick, wooly coats. It typically occurs during spring and fall, when a dog's coat naturally prepares for a change in season.
The not so good news is that Wires are a lot more work when it comes to grooming. So it's a kind of "trade off" between spending time cleaning up loose hair and spending time grooming.
In the next section, we'll discuss this in more detail.
What Are They Like to Groom?
Grooming your Fox Terrier is pretty straightforward. It really amounts to a good brushing and bathing regime more than anything else. But ultimately, the amount of work you are in for depends on whether you own a smooth or wire coated Fox Terrier.
Smooth Coat Fox Terriers are very easy to groom. You just need to brush regularly with a good quality brush, like a bristle brush, and you will find this makes a huge difference.
Wire Fox Terriers are more difficult and time consuming to groom. This is because they have both a top coat and a thick, soft undercoat. The top coat is essentially the wiry protection layer, while the undercoat helps to regulate body temperature.
It also adds another element to the grooming process. Since you're not just brushing one coat, you now need to take both the top and bottom coat into consideration.
How do you groom a Wire coat?
It is recommended to brush daily with a brush that reaches the undercoat, like a slicker brush for example. As well as a regular bristle brush to naturally spread the oils of his coat.
They also need regular clipping and trimming to keep their coat in top shape. However, you can also hand strip the loose hairs off of the wire coat if you want. Which may be a good idea if you want to do it yourself. Because this generally leads to less dander floating around during the grooming process, which is what causes allergy.
All things considered, it's probably better to hire a professional dog groomer to do this. But if you're committed to learning how it's done, you can do it yourself.
Here's a video I found about hand stripping your Wire Fox Terrier which may help:
Whichever grooming method you choose, it takes a lot more work to groom a Wire than a Smooth. Either way, regular brushing helps maintain a healthy coat and removes loose hairs. And the more dead hair you can brush out, the less will be floating around your home!
Bathing is also important to keep your dog's coat in good shape.
Just make sure you use a quality dog shampoo (not regular human shampoo) and try not to bath too often. Because over bathing can strip the natural oils from your dog's coat and cause it to become dry and irritated. Which in turn can lead to discomfort and excessive shedding.
Are Fox Terriers Hypoallergenic?
No dog is ever truly hypoallergenic. As long as they have saliva in their mouth and skin on their body (lol) there are allergens present. There's no escaping this.
However, Wire coat Fox Terriers are considered hypoallergenic as far as "hypoallergenic breeds" go. In other words, this breed is about as good as it gets for allergy sufferers.
And the reason is because they don't shed much hair.
See, it's not the hair itself that causes allergy, it's actually the saliva and dead skin (AKA dander). And when this gets stuck on your dog's hair, and that hair falls out and becomes airborne, the sneezing begins.
So less shedding, means less dander in the air, which means potentially less allergens.
But remember, Wire coats do shed at least some hair.
So they can cause some irritation, especially if you're someone who's very sensitive to this. And as I mentioned earlier, Smooth coats shed a decent amount, so they're not hypoallergenic.
How to Stop Excessive Shedding
The simplest and most effective way to reduce "normal" levels of shedding, is to brush your Fox Terrier regularly. And there's a couple main reasons why this works so well.
Firstly, brushing removes dead hair and dander from your dog's coat, which keeps it out of your home. So daily brushing is just common sense and a good goal to strive for.
Secondly, when you brush your dog, it spreads the natural oils of the coat evenly throughout the coat. Which helps maintain a healthy, moisture rich skin and coat. Which is one of the best ways to minimize excessive shedding in virtually any breed.
Apart from shedding, regular brushing is also good because it makes it easier to groom your dog, since it helps prevent matts and knots that are common among Wire Fox Terriers.
Other methods of reducing shedding include regular bathing, maintaining a healthy diet, using natural remedies like coconut and olive oil, or using a quality natural supplement for example.
Fox Terriers are a fantastic breed that will make a great addition to any home. They're a playful, energetic, and highly intelligent breed that love to be by your side.
As far as shedding and grooming is concerned, it really depends on the whether you have a Wire or Smooth coated breed. On one hand, Smooths shed moderately, but are very easy to groom. While on the other hand, Wires shed very little, but are fairly intensive to groom.
It's a trade off.
Either way, a healthy diet and regular grooming regime is all it takes to keep the shedding under control. Make it part of your daily routine and you'll never look back.