12 Interesting Terriers With Wiry Hair (With Pictures)

Terrier dogs are beloved for many reasons. Most were bred to hunt rodents, although some developed to pursue more sizable game like foxes and rabbits. As such, they are innately energetic, enthusiastic, and easily-trained companions who have enjoyed enduring popularity as working dogs and pets.

Wire-haired dogs appeal to many owners as they shed little hair and are less inclined to trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people (although skin dander and saliva still come into play). With so many esteemed terrier breeds to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the terriers with wiry hair.

12 of the Different Terriers With Wiry Hair

It is worth noting that while the grooming needs of many terriers are relatively low, terriers require ample exercise to stay healthy and happy.

1. Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier | image by Les Chatfield via Flickr | CC BY 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Average Size: 9-15 pounds
Coat: short, wiry, smooth

The Jack Russell Terrier is a trainable and spritely working dog who makes an excellent pet.

Bred in the 1800s as a diminutive yet bold fox-hunter, they have earned a reputation as being courageous and noble. In New Zealand in 2007, a Jack Russell Terrier named George heroically gave his life to protect five children from being mauled by two aggressive pit bulls.

Jack Russell Terriers can have both wiry and smooth coats. The wire-haired version shed somewhat less, but both varieties share the quintessential Russell spirit.

2. Scottish Terrier

scottish terrier | image by jacinta lluch valero via Flickr | CC BY-SA 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12 years
Average Size: 18-22 pounds
Coat: medium, wiry, double

One of the most popular terriers with wiry hair, the Scottish Terrier is now more prolific in the United States than in its homeland.

Bred for hunting badgers and foxes amidst the inhospitable terrain of the Scottish Highlands, the Scottie is a formidable working dog in an adorable package. In the 1930s, their mustache-like facial hair and charm led to their popularity amongst such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart.

Scottie’s are blessed with both a protective, wiry topcoat and a soft, thick undercoat. They can be black, wheat yellow, or brindle-striped.

3. Wire Fox Terrier

wire fox terrier | image by AHLN via Flickr | CC BY 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Size: 15-18 pounds
Coat: medium, wiry, double

The adorable and appropriately named Wire Fox Terrier was bred for the hunt but now rules on the show circuit. Originating in the 1700s, the duty of the Wire Fox was to bolt foxes from their lairs, which enabled hunters to pursue them out in the open.

The distinctive muzzle and compact size of the breed made them perfect for this work, but their gregarious nature eventually led to them becoming decorated show dogs (15 Westminster Kennel Club Bests in Show and counting).

4. West Highland White Terrier

west highland white terrier  | image by Xavi via Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Average Lifespan: 13-15 years
Average Size: 15-20 pounds
Coat: medium, double

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is another of the terriers with wiry hair built for the wilds of Scotland.

An earth-dog specializing in running rats out of the ground, Westies were a diamond in the rough of the Scottish hills for a century before their personalities brought them fame on the dog-show circuit. Curious and merry, they have the capacity to charm anybody they set their sparkling dark eyes upon.

Their distinctive, all-white double coat appears fluffy, but is wiry and somewhat hard to the touch.

5. Norwich Terrier

norwich terrier | image by Gamma Corvi via Wikipedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Size: 12 pounds
Coat: short, wiry, double

Among the smallest working terriers, the Norwich Terrier is a courageous ratter in the body of a lapdog.

They are closely associated with Cambridge University, where an early version of the breed gained popularity in the 1870s and ’80s as adorable pets who could also drive rats out of infested dorm rooms.

The dichotomy between their cuddly toy size and hard, wiry coats perfectly encapsulates the different facets of their being: they are tough yet precious, tender and winsome, hardworking and sturdy.

6. Welsh Terrier

welsh terrier | image by Beppe50 via Flickr | CC BY-NC 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Size: 20 pounds or less
Coat: medium, wiry, double

The Welsh Terrier emerged in the 1700s and is known as an intrepid hunter in the field, and a mellow companion at home.

Bred to hunt fox and badger in the remote, craggy environs of Northern Wales, these terriers developed powerful jaws and robust, compact bodies with relatively long legs that enable them to traverse the roughest terrain.

Like all terriers, they are indomitable when confronted, but they rarely start the fight…only finish it.

7. Norfolk Terrier

norfolk terrier | image by Olli Wilkman via Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Average Size: 11-12 pounds
Coat: short, wiry, double

The Norfolk Terrier is a spirited working dog whose neatly-folded ears distinguish it from its cousin, the Norwich.

Developed as ratters and fox bolters, they are adventurous little sprites in the field, although they are more common as pets nowadays. At no higher than ten inches at the shoulder, they make a compact and adaptable companion.

The double coat of the Norfolk Terrier is weather-resistant, with the outer coat comprising hard, wiry, straight hair about 1.5 to 2 inches in length, and a longer ruff for protection.

8. Border Terrier

border terrier | image by cswtwo via Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Size: 11.5-15.5 pounds
Coat: short, wiry

The Border Terrier is considered one of the most amiable and easygoing terriers with wiry hair.

Bred to run peacefully alongside Foxhounds, the Border Terrier plays well with other dogs and knows how to share the hunting duties. Regarded as a true working-class terrier who gets the job done, their generous spirit also makes them excellent family pets.

Adding to their appeal is their wiry, weatherproof coat, which is naturally repellant to dirt. Baths are rarely required, with toweling usually all the Border Terrier needs to stay clean.

9. Airedale Terrier

airedale terrier | image by Adam Sowers via Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Average Lifespan: 11-14 years
Average Size: 50-70 pounds
Coat: short, medium, wiry

Dubbed the King of Terriers, the Airedale has well and truly earned its moniker.

While the largest of all terriers, they are also tough and remarkably versatile. Although first bred as duck and rat hunters in the mid-1800s, they came to prominence during the First World War as messengers, sentries, and guard dogs for the British Armed Forces.

The Airedale has a dense, wiry coat with a softer undercoat. It is often closely clipped, although when grown out it can appear almost curly.

10. Irish Terrier

irish terrier | image by: congerdesign

Average Lifespan: 13-15 years
Average Size: 25-27 pounds
Coat: medium, wiry, double

The Irish Terrier is known as the ‘Daredevil’ of their homeland.

Considered by many to be the ultimate farm dog, the Irish Terrier is a watchdog, flock guardian, ratter, and hunting companion who is comfortable both on land and in the water. In World War One, they added messenger and sentinel to their storied work history.

Their fiery-red coat and playful disposition make them natural ambassadors for the Emerald Isle. Low-shedding and with low grooming requirements, they are a salt-of-the-earth, unpretentious, and eminently loveable breed.

11. Lakeland Terrier

lakeland terrier | image by Michael Frank Franz via Flickr | CC BY-NC 4.0

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Size: 17 pounds or less
Coat: short, wiry, double

The Lakeland is one of the oldest breeds of terriers with wiry hair, and among the oldest terriers in their native Britain.

The breed has been known by several names, including the Patterdale, Fell, Cumberland, and Westmoreland Terrier. No matter what they’ve been called, their reputation as valiant workingman’s companion has remained intact through the generations.

The Lakeland Terrier has a dense, wiry coat with longer hair on the muzzle, which creates the bearded appearance that has made this hearty charmer as popular in the show ring as they are at the earthdog events in which they excel.

12. Glen of Imaal Terrier

glen of imaal terrier | image by: Kindall

Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
Average Size: 32-40 pounds
Coat: medium, wiry

More reserved in temperament than most terriers, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is a quiet achiever amongst the breeds. Developed as badger hunters, they honed a vigorous working sensibility in the remote glen in the western Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, where life and landscape were tough.

Virtually unknown outside of Ireland until the 1980s, they were brought to the United States by dedicated breeders extolling their scruffy virtues. Their wiry, no-fuss coat is the perfect complement to their hardworking but easygoing nature.