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Welcome to the world of wirehaired dog breeds! These special dogs have a unique, rough coat that’s perfect for cold weather. Most of them are lively terriers with playful beards and eyebrows.

They’re full of energy and love to play and explore. Their special coat doesn’t grow fast, but it needs careful grooming to stay tidy.

If you’re considering adopting one of these charmingly shaggy dogs, you might be curious about the different wire-haired breeds available. That’s why we’ve put together this list of our favorite wire-haired dogs. Read on to meet a variety of breeds, from bold terriers to energetic hounds!

Wire-haired Dog Breeds

Let’s dive into the lives of 10 popular wire-haired dogs and find out what makes them so interesting and fun to have around!

1. Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier, recognized by the AKC as the largest of the terrier breeds, stands proudly, with males about 23 inches tall and females slightly shorter. They boast a dense, wiry coat, predominantly tan with black markings. Their double-layer, wire-haired coat requires regular brushing and professional grooming at least four times a year, ideally by someone skilled in terrier-specific grooming and coat stripping.

Airedales are celebrated for their intelligence, independence, and abundant energy. They are versatile dogs with a playful and loyal nature towards their family, though they might seem reserved around strangers. These terriers thrive on social interaction and bond deeply with their owners, making them excellent family pets.

However, their strong-willed personality and innate high prey drive call for extra attention to training, particularly in recall skills.

2. Border Terrier

small wire haired dogs

Originating from Scotland, Border Terriers are small, wire-haired terriers known for their spirited, affectionate, and smart nature. They have a distinctive double coat with a hard, wiry outer layer and a soft, fluffy undercoat.

While they do shed seasonally, regular brushing every week or two is usually enough to maintain their coat, and they’re considered minimal shedders, not requiring high maintenance.

Border Terriers are full of energy and personality, always ready for outdoor adventures with their owners. They bring a lot of joy and activity to any setting. However, like many terriers, Borders have their quirks. They can be stubborn, tend to bark, and are known to enjoy digging. Their vocal nature makes them both a delightful and challenging companion.

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3. Brussels Griffon

wire haired small dogs

The Brussels Griffon, available in both wire and smooth-coated varieties, requires a moderate level of grooming. The wire-coated type is particularly notable for its distinctive, full beard.

Originally from Belgium and bred for catching rats, this toy breed quickly gained popularity among the aristocracy due to its unique look, loyal nature, and confident demeanor. Griffs tend to develop deep bonds with one or two family members, often sticking to their side like velcro.

While they are playful and inquisitive, Brussels Griffons may not always be the best match for very young children. They are more suited to families with older, more considerate children, as they might not tolerate the unpredictable behavior of younger kids well.

4. Dachshund

wirehaired terrier

The Wire-Haired Dachshund, a medium-sized dog with distinctively short legs, boasts a hard and wiry coat, complete with an appealing mustache, beard, and expressive eyebrows. Among the popular dachshund varieties, which include long-haired and smooth-coated, the wire-haired stands out.

Originating in Germany for badger hunting, these dogs were adept at digging out their prey. Now available in both standard and miniature sizes, they have captured hearts worldwide.

Known for their loyalty, protective instincts, intelligence, and love for cuddles, a Doxie brings a lot of personality into any home. However, they are known to be vocal barkers, have a strong prey drive, and might not be the most patient with young children or unfamiliar dogs.

5. Jack Russell Terrier

wire haired terrier

Originating from England, the wire-haired terrier breed, known for its prowess in fox hunting, is now a favorite among country dwellers and on farms.

Jack Russells, which come in both smooth and wire-haired (also known as broken) coat types, are low maintenance in terms of grooming, with weekly brushing generally enough to keep dead hair at bay. While the smooth-coated variety is more common, the broken coat type is also a familiar sight.

Jack Russell Terriers (JRTs) may be small, but they defy the typical lapdog stereotype with their incredible intelligence, boundless energy, stamina, and determination. These robust dogs often enjoy a long life and are best suited to active households. Potential owners should be ready to manage their strong prey drive and tendency to bark.

6. German Wire-haired Pointer

scruffy dog breeds

With its charming beard and bushy eyebrows, the wire-haired dog breed is not only endearing to look at, but these features also serve a practical purpose: protecting their face. The rest of their coat shields them from extreme weather and injuries.

These dogs have a double-layered, water-repellent coat that thickens in winter and sheds in summer, so be prepared for a fair amount of hair around your home during shedding season. Unlike the German Shorthaired Pointer, the German Wirehaired Pointer was specifically bred for its wiry coat, which is ideal for hunting in cold water, harsh weather conditions, and dense underbrush.

This breed is known for its limitless energy and stamina, making it unsuitable for a sedentary household. They require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent behavioral issues due to boredom. If their need for activity is met, the German Wirehaired Pointer can be a wonderful family pet. They are typically eager to please, affectionate, and full of fun.

7. Irish Wolfhound

large wire haired dog breeds

Irish Wolfhounds, recognized for their double coat featuring a harsh, wiry outer layer and a soft undercoat, shed moderately throughout the year. Despite their size, their coat maintenance is relatively minimal, requiring just some hand stripping or plucking.

Often described as ‘gentle giants,’ rough-coated Irish Wolfhounds are known for their loyalty and affection. They are typically patient and good-natured with children. However, due to their large size, they do need more space compared to smaller breeds. With their strong prey drive, they might not be the best fit for homes with small animals.

These giant dogs are not only intelligent and gentle but also a bit shy. Early socialization is key to helping them feel comfortable around new people and situations. Generally, Irish Wolfhounds are great with children and other pets, making them a wonderful addition to a family.

8. Scottish Terrier

wirehaired terrier

This wire-haired terrier, the Scottish Terrier, sports a dual-layered coat with a hard, wiry topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. Regular weekly grooming is necessary, but frequent baths aren’t recommended due to their tendency towards dry skin.

True to their terrier-like nature, Scottish Terriers are excellent watchdogs with a surprisingly powerful bark for their size. Originally bred for hunting badgers and foxes, they have a natural inclination for vermin hunting, so be prepared for some enthusiastic digging in your garden!

Scottish Terriers have gained popularity in the United States, known for forming strong bonds with their family while maintaining an independent and determined character. While some Scotties may socialize well with other dogs, they don’t always mesh easily, making early and continuous socialization crucial.

9. Schnauzer

scruffy dogs

With their distinguished arched eyebrows, mustache, and beard, wire-haired Schnauzers boast an almost royal demeanor enhanced by their sharp intelligence. This combination of attributes contributes to their widespread popularity. Additionally, their stiff, wiry coats result in minimal shedding and less odor, making them a practical choice for many homes.

Tracing their roots back to 14th-century Germany, Schnauzers were initially known as wire-haired pinschers. These regal dogs are not only known for their intelligence but also for their amiable disposition, qualities that make them exceptional companions. This breed is quick to learn and adept at adapting to the needs of their human companions.

Due to their high activity levels, they require sufficient exercise and mental stimulation to stay content. When their energy is properly channeled, they thrive and show their best qualities. Additionally, this breed is available in different sizes, including miniature and giant varieties, catering to a range of lifestyles and preferences.

10. Kerry Blue Terrier

wire haired dogs

The Kerry Blue Terrier, a less common breed on our list, has its origins in rural Ireland, where it was initially used for pest and vermin control. The breed’s coat is unique, being soft and wavy without an undercoat, and feels like a blend of fine human hair and wool.

Unlike many other breeds, the Kerry Blue doesn’t shed, but its hair continues to grow year-round. This characteristic necessitates very regular grooming, at least weekly, and clipping approximately every six weeks.

Kerry Blues are known for their strong-willed and lively nature, embodying many typical terrier traits. Their coat is particularly noteworthy, varying in different shades of blue, and some may even exhibit a greyish hue. This distinct coloration, combined with their spirited personality, makes them a standout breed.


The world of wirehaired breeds, including the Wire Fox Terrier and Wire Haired Vizsla, offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of working dogs. These breeds, originally bred to hunt foxes and serve as versatile hunting dogs, were equipped with thick coats to protect them from harsh weather and rugged terrain.

Today, their descendants retain a love for the outdoors, thriving on long walks and time to roam freely. Their energetic nature and penchant for chasing make them ideal companions for active lifestyles.

However, owning a wire-haired dog boasts its own set of responsibilities, particularly in grooming. Regular care, varying slightly among breeds, typically involves weekly brushing and a trim every six weeks to maintain their distinct coat.

Whether you choose to learn grooming techniques yourself or prefer the expertise of professional groomers, it’s an essential part of caring for these unique and spirited companions. In embracing both their need for physical activity and grooming, you ensure that your wire-haired dog not only looks great but lives a happy, healthy life.

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