Have you ever dreamed of curling up on the couch next to a sweet, loveable pup—with wiry hair? Wire-haired dogs may not scream “soft and cuddly,” but for the most part, these funny-furred dogs have coats that are soft to the touch and not rough or scratchy. And they account for some of the worlds most popular dog breeds. Thanks to their crinkly coats, many wire-haired dog breeds have other distinctive features, such as bushy eyebrows, beards, and mustaches. But these working dogs werent bred for beauty contests—most of them were working dogs, used for hunting rodents or larger prey. Their wiry coats made them more resistant to the thorns and branches they encountered when chasing their quarry through the underbrush, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). [dam-video dam-id=”40759″ type_of_player=”jw” /] Like many curly-haired dogs, wire-haired breeds are mostly hypoallergenic dogs. While they may not be 100 percent allergy-proof for allergy sufferers, theyre generally low shedders and dont give off much dander. To keep their coats looking sharp, most wire-haired dogs require hand-stripping of their dead hair. Many owners leave this to a professional groomer, though it can be done at home. It can also be skipped if you dont mind a dullish coat during certain times of the year. Heres a look at some of the most popular wire-haired dog breeds, plus a few you may be less familiar with. Remember, when its time to add a new pet to your family, first check your local animal shelters or breed-specific rescue groups for a homeless pup waiting to be adopted.
Breeds with coarse coats and why
Wirehaired dog breeds were initially developed to offer more insulation and protection for dogs working in harsh and cold terrain. Wirehaired breeds have a coarse, short coat that feels harsh and bristly to the touch. Its also described as broken-coated. Some dog breeds only have a wiry coat, and others may also have a smooth coat.
Wire coated breeds dont shed much hair and may be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to dogs. However, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic since allergies can be triggered by skin dander and animal saliva.
Most wirehaired breeds are terriers, which were developed in the British Isles. Breeds with this coat often have pronounced and characterful beards, mustaches, and eyebrows. Most are energetic, needing lots of exercise, and they may have built-in, instinctual prey drives.
Wirehaired coats arent fast-growing but need maintenance to keep a tidy appearance. To preserve the coats wiry texture, groomers use a unique hand-stripping technique. This time-consuming and technical approach is often best left to the grooming professionals. Clipping the coat is sometimes done for convenience, but this can soften the coats overall texture over time.
Here are 13 popular wirehaired dog breeds.
oleghz / Getty s Often referred to as the “King of Terriers,” Airedales are the largest terrier breed, and they always have a wiry coat. Airedales are known for being smart, independent, energetic, versatile, and full of character. Theyre often loyal and playful with their family but can be aloof with strangers. They tend to be strong-willed and have a high prey drive, so you might also need to spend a little extra time working on their recall skills.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 22 to 24 inchesWeight: 40 to 65 poundsCoat and Color: Hard, wiry, dense, straight, short topcoat, with a softer undercoat; head and ears are tan, and the body is a mix of tan and black or dark grizzleLife Expectancy: 11 to 13 years
Paul Wills / Getty s These spunky, affectionate, and intelligent small wirehaired terriers originate from Scotland. These dogs have lots of energy and bags of character. Border terriers are up for lots of fun in the great outdoors with their owners. Borders arent without their challenges, however. Like many terriers, they can be stubborn, vocal, and prolific diggers.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 12 to 15 inchesWeight: 11.5 to 15.5 poundsCoat and Color: Double coated with a wiry outercoat and a muzzle thats normally darker in colorLife Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Laures / Getty s The Brussels griffon comes in a wire and smooth-coated variety. The coarse-coated version stands out for its rather profuse beard. Although originally bred as ratters in their native Belgium, their unique appearance, loyalty, and confident personalities quickly caught the attention of the aristocracy. Despite being fun-loving and curious, griffs arent always known for being remarkably tolerant of young kids. If introducing this breed to a family home, they are best suited to homes with older, respectful children.
Group: Toy (AKC) Height: 7 to 10 inches Weight: 6 to 12 pounds Coat and Color: Smooth coat or rough coat in red, black and tan, solid black, or belge (mix of black and reddish brown); distinctive black muzzle and beard Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Friedhelm Adam / Getty s The enduringly popular dachshund comes in wire-haired, long-haired, and smooth-coated varieties. These low-slung dogs were originally developed in Germany to hunt badgers, often digging them out from their sets. These days, they come in a standard and mini variety, and theyre popular worldwide. Loyal, protective, smart, and snuggly, youre guaranteed a dog with heaps of personality if you get a Doxie. They can also be noisy barkers, often have a high prey drive, and arent always the most tolerant with young kids or strange dogs.
Group: Hounds (AKC)Height: 8 to 9 inches (standard); 5 to 6 inches (miniature)Weight: 16 to 32 pounds (standard); up to 11 pounds (miniature)Coat and Color: Low, long body; smooth, wirehaired, or long-haired coat; colors include chocolate, tan, black, red, and more; various markings include dapple, piebald, brindle, and sableLife Expectancy: 12 to 16 years Continue to 5 of 13 below.
Jack Russell Terrier
Foto-Rabe / Getty s Most commonly found in a smooth-coated variety, Jack Russels are also often seen with a broken coat. JRTs are small, but they are anything but typical lapdogs. These dogs are known for their incredible smarts, energy, stamina, and determination. Hardy dogs that can live to a ripe old age. They would suit an active home. Be prepared to work on their high prey drive and propensity for barking.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 13 to 14 inchesWeight: 13 to 17 poundsCoat and Color: Smooth or broken coat; colors include white with black, brown, or tan markingsLife Expectancy: 13 to 18 years
German Wirehaired Pointer
Pavel Rodimov / Getty s Recognized as a separate breed to their relative, the German shorthaired pointer, the German wirehaired pointer was explicitly developed for their wiry coat. It is water-repellant, insulating, and protective. Their coat is perfect for hunting in cold water, harsh weather, and deep undergrowth. The breed has unlimited energy and stamina and wont be suited to a home that leads a sedentary lifestyle. They need plenty of exercise and enrichment to prevent problem behaviors from surfacing as a result of boredom. Providing they get plenty of activity, the loyal German wirehaired pointer can make a great family pet. They tend to be eager to please, affectionate, and fun-loving.
Group: Sporting (AKC)Height: 22 to 26 inchesWeight: 50 to 70 poundsCoat and Color: Straight, coarse, wiry topcoat, and a dense undercoat; usually have a distinct beard and whiskers; comes in liver and white or solid liver; can have spotted, ticked, or roan patternsLife Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Anke Sauerwein / Getty s The tallest of all the AKC-recognized dog breeds, the rough-coated Irish wolfhound is often referred to as a gentle giant. Known for being loyal and affectionate, they are usually very patient and good-natured with children, despite their size. This giant breed does need more space than your average dog. Youll need to budget for a big food bill each month. Theyve also retained a strong prey drive and may not be suited to a home with small furries.
Group: Hound (AKC)Height: 30 inches and upWeight: 105 to 120 poundsCoat and Color: Tall, long body; rough coat; colors include black, blue, brindle, cream, gray, and moreLife Expectancy: 6 to 8 years
navi / Getty s This iconic wirehaired breed, with a distinctive silhouette and dignified beard, is now more popular in the United States than in their U.K. homeland. Scotties form strong attachments with their family, but they are still independent and strong-willed dogs. Youre not going to be getting a lapdog in this little breed. Some Scotties can be social with other dogs, but they dont always get along. Early and ongoing socialization is important. A typical terrier, this breed has retained a strong prey drive and may not be able to live alongside other small pets.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 10 inchesWeight: 18 to 22 poundsCoat and Color: A short, sturdy little dog with a long face and pronounced eyebrows and beard; hard, wiry outer coat that forms into a long skirt on the body when left untrimmed; most commonly found in black coloring, but they also come in wheaten and brindleLife Expectancy: 12 to 14 years Continue to 9 of 13 below.
Wirehaired Fox Terrier
Colin Millum / Getty s The fox terrier comes in a smooth or wirehaired variety. More commonly found with a coarse coat and beard, they can sometimes be confused with the Lakeland terrier or the larger Airedale. This spunky, fun-loving breed has a lot of typical terrier traits. You can expect them to have a high prey drive, and they tend to be energetic and independent. The wirehaired fox terrier is a bold and loyal companion for a person who is patient, active, and not looking for a lapdog.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 16 inchesWeight: 15 to 18 poundsCoat and Color: Smooth or dense, wiry coat; colors include white and black, white and tan, and black and tanLife Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Kurucz Renáta / Getty s The wirehaired vizsla was developed in 20th century Hungary to produce a warmer and more weatherproof coat than their smooth-haired relative. The breed continues to be popular in hunting communities, but vizslas also make loyal, eager-to-please, affectionate pets. Vizslas have boundless energy and enthusiasm, and they need an active home that can give them the exercise they need. Known for being chewers, if they are bored, they can become destructive around the house. Best suited to a home where they will have company for most of the day, vizslas can be prone to separation anxiety.
Group: Sporting (AKC)Height: 21 to 25 inchesWeight: 45 to 65 poundsCoat and Color: Dense, wiry, close-lying topcoat, with pronounced eyebrows and beard; the water-repellent undercoat is also dense on the top of the body; comes in varying shades of solid golden rustLife Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
West Highland White Terrier
Eudyptula / Getty s The affectionate and happy West Highland white terrier is a faithful family companion. Its brilliant, speedy for its tiny legs, and a cunning hunter for vermin in the Scottish Highlands. These energetic dogs need daily exercise every day. The Westie’s self-reliance and independent streak can make it difficult to train but can be overcome with early, consistent training.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 10 to 11 inchesWeight: 13 to 20 poundsCoat and Color: White, with a double coat of medium lengthLife Expectancy: 13 to 15 years
Feverstockphoto / Getty s The bushy eyebrows and beard of the standard schnauzer are the breed’s trademark. Still, these stately canines possess the intelligence and friendly nature that make them such outstanding companions. They were bred as ratters, herders, guardians, and hunters on the farms in Germany. This intelligent breed learns quickly and adapts to its humans needs. This highly active breed needs an outlet for its energy and content when adequately exercised and engaged. It also comes in a miniature and giant variety.
Group: Working (AKC)Height: 17 to 20 inchesWeight: 30 to 50 poundsCoat and Color: Double coat with wiry appearance; black and salt and pepperLife Expectancy: 13 to 16 years Continue to 13 of 13 below.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Ihar Halavach / Getty s This larger Irish terrier was born and bred to work. These dogs have the typical terrier tenacity—which makes them effective hunters but sometimes challenging canine companions. They are an all-around working dog traditionally used to herd sheep and cattle and hunt mice, rats, and rabbits on the property.
Group: Terrier (AKC)Height: 17 to 19 inchesWeight: 30 to 40 poundsCoat and Color: Short coat that is soft and wavy with no undercoat; Blue-gray in color in adulthoodLife Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Known as the ‘King of Terriers’ thanks to being the largest of all the terrier breeds, the Airedale has a reputation for possessing bucket loads of character and has a clever, friendly and courageous nature that has won many a heart. Standing at about 23 inches, their tan wiry coat is dense with black markings and they have a long head that sports a beard and mustache.
Although wiry coats offer less shedding and more protection than many other coat types, they do have their own special grooming requirements that you’ll want to learn to ensure your wirehaired pup stays happy and healthy. Below, we walk you through our favorite wiry haired dog breeds and exactly how to keep their coat looking its best.
There’s no getting around it, stripping is time consuming and tedious, although, it can actually also be quite therapeutic! And the good news is, when done correctly, it shouldn’t bother your dog in the slightest. Expect to spend around 2 hours every 4 – 8 weeks stripping your dog’s coat, depending on how quickly it tends to grow.
While there are no truly hypoallergenic dog breeds, wiry dog breeds don’t tend to shed anywhere near as much as some of our other furry friends and so they’re less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Most wirehaired dogs are terriers and tend to spot beards, mustaches and bushy eyebrows that give them an endearing and beloved look.
A hardy dog that could easily live to be 18 years of age, the Jack Russell Terrier has a compact and rectangular body with dark, almond shaped eyes that wear an intelligent and alert expression. Confident and active, they’re affectionate with those they love and get on well with other dogs.
Wire fox terrierThe more common variety of fox terrier—the other is the smooth fox terrier—foxys were bred to be tireless hunters, and they remain an energetic, feisty breed. Like most terriers, they’re intelligent, curious, and bore easily if they’re not kept engaged. Regular walks, games of fetch, and other play activities are essential. Because of their strong prey instinct, you need to keep them out of run-ins with rodents, cats, and the family gerbil. With that in mind, foxys are great pets for kids—playful and full of energy just like they are. These
Do wiry hair dogs shed?
Often referred to as the “King of Terriers,” Airedales are the largest terrier breed, and they always have a wiry coat. Airedales are known for being smart, independent, energetic, versatile, and full of character. They’re often loyal and playful with their family but can be aloof with strangers.
Why does my dog have wiry fur?
What terrier has wire hair?
A dull, dry coat can often be due to micronutrient deficiencies. It is well established that conventional dog foods are lacking in skin-nourishing omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids aid skin and coat health by improving the framework upon which skin cells are built and organised.