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This is Angel… She is a Wire Fox Terrier
Her AKC Registered Name is: Birchhurst Heaven Sent
This picture was taken in 1996 when she was competing in
AKC conformation shows.
Angel's website is intended to entertain and help educate visitors about the wild & wonderful world of the Wirehaired Fox Terrier.
(Using your mouse to click on the underlined words – hyperlinks – will take you
to a different website that will go into more depth into that particular topic.)
Most of us wirehaired fox terrier fanciers believe that it is a relatively new breed, having only recently developed its specific characteristics. Indeed, “Kendall’s Old Tip” whelped in 1866 by Sinnington Hounds, Yorkshire in Great Briton is generally considered the first prototype wft. Speculation has it that he was a descendant of the venerable (and long lost) English Black & Tan. Now, you might think that 140 years or so is a long time ago; not so if you consider the Pharaoh Hound was developed somewhere between 4000 & 3000 B.C. Still, the wft traces its ancestry to some pretty stout stock. With deference to “Old Tip,” Dame Juliana Berners included descriptions similar to wire fox terriers in literature from the 15th century. Perhaps the first recorded observations of the terrier breed, some time after 43 A.D., were from early Roman soldiers who were occupying the British Isles. Terrier is derived from the Latin: terrarius, which means of the earth. The Romans described small dogs that “went to ground” or pursued their prey to their underground lairs. This tendency to rout the game by digging in after it is why many terriers participate in “Earth Dog Trials” designed to test their abilities. Many of the games that Angel loves are indications of her inherited traits, some of which can be a tad irritating, like digging through the laundry to find her socks, (all socks belong to her.) We’ll look at some more “Foxy” history later.
Angel’s Dislikes: 1.
Squirrels (When she can’t chase them) 3.
Vacuum Cleaners 5.
Princess (One of her daughters) 6.
Being Crated 7.
Toenail Clipping 9.
Princess (This deserves repeating) 10. Anything that gets
between her & her toy
2. Squirrels (When she can’t chase them)
4. Vacuum Cleaners
5. Princess (One of her daughters)
6. Being Crated
8. Toenail Clipping
9. Princess (This deserves repeating)
10. Anything that gets between her
& her toy
You might have noticed that her colors have faded. Well, when she was showing her grooming was accomplished by “stripping” her coat. This means that the fur is plucked out just a few strands at a time. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just sorta like what happens when they shed. In this process, the outer coat develops a coarse, wiry texture that has deep coloration. As you might guess, this takes much time, effort & patience, especially on the part of the dog. We haven’t stripped her coat for some time now. She gets groomed now by clipping. This allows the soft fuzzy undercoat to become much more pronounced so that the colors that were provided by the coarse top coat fade away. The benefit of being easier on both the groomer and the dog is countered by the potential problems associated with clipping. Their skin can develop problems such as rashes, bacterial infections and skin funguses. More on “Foxy” health later.
Princess & The Cowgirl
Angel was moving around the country competing in shows when she met an irresistible young boy doggie. She was smitten and soon they fell into each other’s paws. On a brisk November evening in 1996 we had a blessed event. Even though we had prepared a wonderful whelping box,
Angel decided that cuddling in her dad’s lap was the best place to try to deliver. Once the process started she was assisted to the correct accommodations and six hours later we had six beautiful puppies (three boys & three girls.)
After a lot of tender loving care, all three boys and one of the girls were adopted by loving families. That left two of the girls. The Cowgirl was named almost immediately after she was born. She developed an attitude from the beginning that this was her house and we had just been keeping it ready for her birth. She was the first to open her eyes, the first to wag her tail, the first to walk, the first to climb out of the whelping box and the first to eat puppy food. Of course she stayed.
The Cowgirl’s favorite playmate was named by our nephew. Instead of being adventurous, like The Cowgirl, she preferred to be waited upon. She was a fastidious little girl, avoiding any of the messiness her siblings created. He decided that she was just a little Princess. The name stuck. The Cowgirl practically demanded that Princess stay and keep her company. We had many terrier people tell us we were crazy to have three wires in the same household, especially three girls. Now why would they say that?
The adventure was just beginning!
Ready for some more wire fox terrier trivia? The fox terriers come in two distinct types. They are very much the same in many ways; the energy level, the mischievousness, the stubbornness, the intense concentration and the ability to love faithfully. They are different in the type of coat they wear. Wire Fox Terriers have a thicker, coarse, wavy coat while the Smooth Fox Terriers have a smooth, shorter, less dense coat. It was once thought that these two were variations of the same breed, but most dog scholars now agree that they have two completely separate origins. It used to be commonplace to crossbreed between the two, but that practice has long since been abandoned. AKC first recognized the fox terrier (with two varieties) in 1885 but 100 years later, in 1985, they were separated into two individual breeds.
Traveling back to 19th Century England, we find that the fox terriers were used for the purpose that their name implies. During the aristocratic social occasion known as the fox hunt, English Fox Hounds would chase the poor beleaguered creature around the countryside, followed close at hand by the horse riding “hunters.” Every once in a while, the fox found a hole or a burrow that the hounds were too large to penetrate. Then they called up the terriers and these plucky dogs would follow the fox into the hole & flush it out. Mind you, this could be a very hazardous occupation. The fox didn’t want to get caught, and could be very argumentative about it, not to mention the possibility of finding more dangerous creatures lurking in those holes. Then there were the occasional cave-ins….
Aside from running about the countryside for the sport of the rich, fox terriers earned their way on the farms and in the villages by dispatching various types of rodents & pests. They are very quick and agile with an unrivaled single-mindedness. They would catch the nuisance in their powerful jaws and destroy it with the patented “terrier shake,” throwing their head from side to side until they felt satisfied with their success. Angel has inherited that tendency as all of her plush squeaky toys have met that ultimate fate with not a single one surviving the encounter, usually within the first three minutes.
Okay, so now you think you know a little about Wire Fox Terriers. Not really... not if you are thinking of going out and getting one for your very own. To be able to make the life altering decision of inviting a force of nature like a foxy into your home you should do a lot of research first.
In fact, any decision that involves bringing a living, breathing being into your home requires a lot of thought and consideration. ALL dogs are social animals and crave positive contact with their “pack.” We’ve seen friends and neighbors that brought dogs home only to relegate them to a solitary existence as a yard ornament, chained up outside; their only contact with their “pack” is at feeding time or when their owner feels like it on a Saturday stroll through the park. Cats can be ignored because they will ignore you right back. Dogs that are ignored will lose their spirit and self-esteem. Behavior problems that most dogs develop don’t happen out of abuse, but because of neglect.
End of “Pet” Peeve.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get breed specific. Not all foxys behave the same. There are foxys that will tolerate, even sometimes like being around small children and other animals. There are some foxys that will cuddle on the couch with you for hours at a time and never require a lot of attention or exercise; not many, but they do exist. Generally speaking there are some common traits that seem to run in this particular breed that can help you when you are looking to narrow your search when looking for an ideal companion. There are a couple of places on the web that we feel give the best analysis of what to expect of a foxy.
The first is a site by Michele Welton who has a place called “Your Purebred Puppy, Advice You Can Trust.” The page that discusses Fox Terriers is “Smooth Fox Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers: What’s good about ‘em; What’s bad about ‘em.”
Another is a page put up by the American Fox Terrier Rescue. Since these people see many of the “throw away” dogs, they have valuable information that might save a foxy from being placed improperly. Their page is aptly called “Is A Fox Terrier Right For Me?”.
The final site we recommend is very well written by a long time owner of foxys and is on the Wirefoxterrier.com website. It is also named accordingly “Do I Want a WFT?”. PLEASE! Before you consider bringing a foxy into your life, read these words of wisdom. It may save you a lot of trouble and some foxy a heartbreaking experience.
Final bit of Wire Fox Terrier trivia: the WFT has won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show more times than any other breed. First you should know that the Westminster Dog Show, the most prestigious dog show in the United States and the second longest running sporting event in U.S. history (the Kentucky Derby is first by a year,) has been in existence since 1877. The Wire Fox Terrier has won an amazing 13 times! The closest runner-up is the Scottish Terrier with 7 wins. I really don’t have an argument as to why foxys have won so many times except that the judges might give them extra points for behaving in the arena. That takes an extraordinary amount of self-control, something that is not in abundance with this breed.
Soon we’ll have stories & more pictures of Angel, Princess & The Cowgirl
The Fights (mostly Angel & Princess)
Displays of Intellect (problem solving, cause & effect, etc.)
Other Health Issues (Angel’s seizure disorder, her recent surgery, etc.)
Training (or lack of interest in)
More WFT Trivia!
All this & more as soon as Dave figures out how to create additional pages.
(he’s a novice, you know)
Website created 1/16/03 by Dave because
Angel doesn’t type very well.
Angel says: “Be patient, Dave is just
starting to learn HTML”
still doesn’t know what he’s doing!
He needs to learn how to make second
and third pages w/links.
Every attempt was made to ensure accuracy
both historically and otherwise by reading
a whole lot of books. A bibliography is available
by e-mailing Angel
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