Wire haired dog breeds have a rough and short coat which feels bristly when you touch it. They are also referred to as broken coat. Dog breeds who have this type of coat often have a pronounced and distinctive beard, moustache and eyebrows.
Wire haired coats don't grow fast, but need to be kept tidy and groomed properly. To protect the wiry texture on the coat, the grooming technique necessary is called hand-stripping. This technique will need to be performed by a professional groomers. Many wire haired dogs have a working heritage and therefore will need a lot of exercises. They were also used for hunting and might have kept their prey drive. Make sure you do your research before getting a wire haired dog, your furry friend will need a lot of physical and intellectual stimulation and also a lot of grooming.
Let's find out more about wired haired dog breeds.
What kind of dogs have wiry hair?
There are many dog breeds with a wiry coat. Some of these dog breeds only have a wired hair coat but others can come in different varieties. For example the Dachshund has four different variety: Long-haired, short haired, smooth-haired or wire haired.
Small wired hair dog breeds
If you are looking for a small wired hair dog breed as your new companion you will have a few breeds to choose from.
Affenpinscher wire haired
Affenpinscher means "monkey terrier" in German. This might be because of their primate-like faces or their cheeky personalities. Whatever the reason, the Affenpinscher is an energetic dog and will need a lot of exercise (indoor and outdoor). This dog breed loves being around adults, they are affectionate and very curious but can be sometimes difficult to train. This small dog breed has a rough and thick coat.
Affectionately referred to as the "Scottie", this wired haired terrier was bred in the Scottish highlands. Despite their distinctive “old man” look, the Scottish terrier is tough, territorial, and very independent minded. The Earl of Dumbarton nicknamed this breed “diehard” in respect of their feisty nature; other famous owners include US presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and George W Bush. Like most terriers, an untrained Scottie will chase after any small animals in sight. They typically have a long, coarser outer coat with a softer, insulating underlayer.
Wire Fox Terrier
The Wire Fox Terrier is a sturdy dog with a tough, wired coat. They're usually white, with brown and black markings around the ears and hindquarters. Wire fox terriers are renowned for their energy and intelligence. They have a low threshold for boredom, meaning they need plenty of attention and stimulation. Bred to be an independent working dogs, the fox terrier has a tendency to chase squirrels, birds, and even cats. Their thick coats require a moderate amount of grooming for a wired haired breed.
Wired haired Dachshund
The Dachshund is one of the most popular dog breed and is often referred to as the sausage dog. This might be because of its unique physique: a long body on short legs. They come in different varieties and wired haired is one of them. Originally bred in Germany, they used to hunt badgers. The Dachshund is extremely loyal, protective, intelligent and loves to cuddle. You will be guaranteed a dog full of personality if you get a Doxie. However, they can bark sometimes and be noisy so they will need to be taught not to bark for no reason. Because of their origins, they do have a high prey drive so they might not get along with other animals.
Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier is most commonly found in a smooth-coated variety but you can also found some with a broken coat (wiry coat). The Jack Russell might be a small breed, but it is full of energy! They are also very smart and love nothing more than to be stimulated physically and intellectually. They were originally bred in England to hunt foxes. Because of their hunting origins, they do have a high prey drive so might not get along with other animals.
Medium sized wire haired dog breeds
You've discover a few small wire haired dog breeds but you might want to find out more about medium sized wire haired dog breeds.
Schnauzers can be traced all the way back to 14th-century Germany. The dog was first known as the wire-haired pinscher; the name Schnauzer wasn't adopted until the late 1800s. Schnauzer comes from the German word for snout, which can also mean “moustache” or “whiskered snout.” Apart from their distinctive muzzle, the Schnauzer has long fluffy eyebrows and a wired, salt and pepper coat. They also tend to shed less than other dogs.
Kerry Blue Terrier
One of the more uncommon breeds on the list, the Kerry Blue Terrier was originally used to control pests and vermin in rural Ireland. Despite once winning best dog at Crufts, the Kerry Blue Terrier remains relatively unknown. It's a strong-minded and spirited dog that displays many of the terrier characteristics (intelligence, enthusiasm, and obedience). They have a very distinct coat that comes in different shades of blue, although some can have a “greyish” tinge. It doesn't shed and so will grow throughout the year. This means weekly grooming session and a clipping once every six weeks or so.
The Otterhound is a big dog with a very wiry coat. Originally bred for hunting, the Otterhound could chase its prey over the land and through the water (Otterhounds have webbed paws that make them swim better.) They have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and a natural curiosity. This makes them active and excitable animals, but they can also be quite difficult to handle. Otterhounds are very rare. There are only an estimated 600 Otterhounds in the world. Only 24 were registered in the UK last year.
German Wire Haired Pointer
The German Wire Haired Pointer is another working dog. This means they're intelligent, lively, and require plenty of exercise. Generally friendly and sociable, the German Pointer can still be a bit reserved around strangers. They can also be very protective of family members. Get them socialised as early as possible. Although they mean well, their protective instincts can seem intimidating to other people. The German Pointer has a wiry double coat that stands up to the toughest weather conditions. It gets especially thick during winter and sheds heavily during the summer
The Wirehaired Vizsla is a close relative to the Vizsla breed but is still a distinctly separated breed. What distinguishing both breeds is their coat. The Vizsla has a smooth coat and the wire haired Vizsla has a wiry coat. This breed was bred in Hungary to produce a warmer and more weatherproof coat for their hunting skills. The wire haired Vizsla is loyal, eager to please and affectionate. Because of their hunting origins, they have a lot of energy and will need to be active. If they are too bored, they can become destructive.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
They were originally bred to hunt, flush, point and retriever game birds and hares. This dog breed is described as being the supreme gundog. Not only do they make excellent hunters, they are also excellent family companions. The Wire haired Pointing Griffon is a bright, affectionate and playful dog who will get along with every member of the family. The Wire haired Pointing Griffon is extremely active and will need a lot of exercise.
Why do dogs have wire hair?
A wiry coat, also referred to as "broken coat", feels exactly as the name suggest: rough, thick and bristly.
Wire haired dogs were often bred for hunting purposes. For this reason, they need to have coats which will offer them more insulation and protection while working in harsh and cold terrains.
Do wire haired dogs shed?
Wire haired dogs shed a lot less than other smooth coated dogs because they have a stronger coat. They do have a double-layered coat, this means they will change from their winter coat to their summer coats, but the shedding won't be so prominent. This is actually a good characteristic for people who suffer from allergies.
What is a wiry coated dog?
As you can see, most wired haired breeds began life as working dogs. Their thick coats protected them from harsh weather conditions. It also meant they could scurry through the forests and undergrowth without damaging their skin. Unsurprisingly, their modern-day relatives still demand lots of outdoor time. They need long walks and time off the leash. These energetic dogs love chasing things too. If you don't play enough games of fetch, they'll start chasing squirrels and birds instead.
Another thing that a wired haired dog will need is regular grooming. The exact amount will vary from breed to breed, but most will need a weekly brush and a trimming once every six weeks. You can learn to do this yourself (just make sure you buy the right kinds of combs from a pet store), or you can book regular appointments at the doggy hairdressers. Each session can cost between £35-80; wired breeds tend to be near the higher end of the scale.