10 Wirehaired Dog Breeds

Which breeds have coarse coats and why

Wire Haired Dachshund profile shot

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Wirehaired dog breeds have a coarse, short coat that feels harsh and bristly to the touch. It's also referred to as broken-coated. Breeds with these coat types often have pronounced and characterful beards, moustaches and eyebrows.

These coats were originally developed to offer more insulation and protection for dogs working in harsh and cold terrain, than that gained from a smooth coat.

Wirehaired coats aren't fast-growing, but they do need maintenance to keep a tidy appearance. To preserve the coats wiry texture, a grooming technique called hand-stripping is used. This is time-consuming and technical, and owners often choose to leave this task to professional groomers. Clipping the coat is sometimes done for convenience, but this can soften the coat texture over time.

Some dog breeds are only found with a wiry coat, and others can come in this variety as well as smooth-coated.

Read on to find out more about ten popular wirehaired dog breeds.


No dog breed is truly hypoallergenic as allergies can be triggered by skin dander and saliva. Wirecoated breeds don't shed much hair, though, and they may be less likely to trigger a reaction as a result.

  • 01 of 10

    Airedale Terrier

    Airedale Terrier stting on a road with grass in the background

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    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 usually loyal and playful with their family, but can be aloof with strangers. Their history means 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.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 24 inches

    Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: 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 grizzle; distinctive beard, and they are the largest of the terrier breeds

  • 02 of 10

    Border Terrier

    Border Terrier head shot

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    These spunky, affectionate and intelligent little wirehaired terriers originate from Scotland.

    With lots of energy and bags of character, Border Terriers are up for lots of fun in the great outdoors with their owners. Borders aren't without their challenges, however. Like many terriers, they can be stubborn, vocal and prolific diggers.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 15 inches

    Weight: 11.5 to 15.5 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Double coated with a wiry outercoat and a muzzle that's normally darker in color

  • 03 of 10

    Brussels Griffon

    Young Brussels Griffon head shot

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    The Brussels Griffon comes in a wire and smooth-coated variety. The coarse coated version stands out for their 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 aren't always known for being particularly tolerant of young kids. If introducing this breed to a family home, they would be best suited to one with older, respectful children.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: 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

  • 04 of 10


    Wire Haired Dachshund sitting on grass

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    The enduringly popular Dachshund comes in a wire and smooth-coated variety. 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 they're popular worldwide. Loyal, protective, smart and snuggly, your guaranteed a dog with heaps of personality if you get a Doxie. They can also, however, be noisy, often have a high prey drive, and aren't always the most tolerant with young kids or strange dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 5 to 9 inches

    Weight: Up to 32 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Low, long body; smooth, wirehaired, or long-haired coat; colors include chocolate, tan, black, red, and more

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Jack Russell Terrier

    Wire Haired Jack Russell Teriier with chew in its mouth

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    Most commonly found in a smooth-coated variety, Jack Russels are also often seen with a broken coat.

    JRT's may be 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, that is prepared to work on their high prey drive and propensity towards barking.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 13 to 14 inches

    Weight: 13 to 17 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Smooth or broken coat; colors include white with black, brown, or tan markings

  • 06 of 10

    German Wirehaired Pointer

    German Wire Haired Pointer lying in long grass

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    Recognized as a separate breed to their relative the German Shorthaired Pointer, the GWP was specifically 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 won't be suited to a home that leads a sedentary lifestyle. They need plenty of exercise and enrichment to prevent problem behaviors surfacing as a result of boredom.

    Providing they get this, the loyal GWP can make a great family pet. They tend to be eager to please, affectionate and fun-loving.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 50 to 70 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: 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 patterns

  • 07 of 10

    Irish Wolfhound

    Irish Wolfhound standing in front of blurred grass background

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    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, however, and you'll need to budget for a big food bill each month. They've also retained a strong prey drive and may not be suited to a home with small furries.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 30 inches and up

    Weight: 105 to 120 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Tall, long body; rough coat; colors include black, blue, brindle, cream, gray, and more

  • 08 of 10

    Scottish Terrier

    Scottish Terrier sitting on grass in front of trees

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    This iconic wirehaired breed, with a distinctive silhouette and dignified beard, is now more popular in the United States than in their UK homeland.

    Scotties form strong attachments with their family, but they are still independent and strong-willed dogs. You're not going to be getting a lapdog in this little breed.

    Some Scotties can be social with other dogs, but they don't always get on with them. 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 small furries.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 inches
    Weight: 18 to 22 pounds
    Physical Characteristics: 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 brindle

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Wirehaired Fox Terrier

    Wire Haired Fox Terrier standing on a rock in front of mountain landscape

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    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.

    Despite all of this, the Wirehaired Fox Terrier will make a bold and loyal companion for someone that is patient, active and not looking for a lapdog.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 16 inches

    Weight: 15 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: V-shaped, forward-folded ears; dense, wiry coat; colors include white and black, white and tan, and more

  • 10 of 10

    Wirehaired Vizsla

    Wirehaired Vizsla sitting in the back of a car

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    The Wirehaired Vizsla was developed in 20th century Hungary to produce a warmer and more weatherproof coat than that of their smooth-haired relative.

    The breed continues to be popular in hunting communities, but Vizslas also make loyal, eager to please and 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 home.

    Best suited to a home where they will have company for most of the day, Vizslas can be prone to separation anxiety.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21 to 25 inches

    Weight: 45 to 65 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Dense, wiry, close-lying topcoat, with pronounced eyebrows and beard; the water-repellent undercoat is also dense on the top of the body. Their coat comes in varying shades of solid golden rust

Many of the wirehaired dog breeds mentioned above have a working heritage. They often need lots of exercise, and they may have built-in, instinctual drives that will need to be appropriately focussed.

Doing your research before you offer a home to a dog will help to ensure you are a match in terms of lifestyle and temperament.