7 Best Wirehaired Hunting Dogs

Wirehaired hunting dogs are designed for harsh weather, with their thick double coats offering good insulation and protection from wet and cold.

Even though they are not as soft to touch as their longhaired or even shorthaired cousins, they do hunting jobs tremendously well.

What breed of hunting dog is wirehaired?

There are quite a few hunting dog breeds that come dressed in wirehaired coats. Some breeds are very popular, others are really rare, but they are exceptional hunters worth mentioning.

  1. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  2. German Wirehaired Pointer
  3. Wirehaired Dachshund
  4. Wirehaired Vizsla
  5. Irish Wolfhound
  6. Otterhound
  7. Wire Fox Terrier

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Wirehaired hunting dogs

The origin of wirehaired pointing griffon is still being debated because of a Dutch breeder, Eduard Korthals, who bred it in a kennel in Germany.

But despite their uncertain origin, griffs are amazing versatile hunters, loved by many hunters around the globe. Even though pointing griffon has been around in North America since the late 19th century, it’s still a relatively rare breed in the US and Canada. 

Wirehaired pointing griffon has a thick double coat. The undercoat is very dense, water-resistant, and down-like. The outer coat has a harsh texture and is wiry and straight. 

The coat of pointing griffon can protect it really well against cold water and wind during upland and waterfowl hunting. 

The coat color should ideally be gray with brown, roan, or chestnut. The white markings on the chest and paws are acceptable, but whole brown, white or orange colors are considered undesirable, and a black coat disqualifies the dog from the show.

Wirehaired pointing griffon is a very outgoing dog, has a high energy level, and requires frequent exercise. Regular hunting expeditions will serve well to tame this breed, and its hardworking and honest disposition will make every one of your hunts a great pleasure.

The griff is considered a non-shedding breed, and while that’s not entirely true, it sheds a lot less than other breeds.

German Wirehaired Pointer

Wirehaired hunting dogs

Wirehaired pointer, developed in Germany, is a medium-sized versatile hunting dog. One of its ancestors is a wirehaired pointing griffon, hence the resemblance.

The double coat on GWP is a very functional trait, protecting the dog from harsh weather and against getting tangled in thick bushes.

The undercoat is dense enough to provide excellent insulation against the winter cold, and it sheds almost entirely when the weather gets warmer. 

The topcoat of GWP is wiry and coarse, usually 1 – 2 inches long and straight. The outer coat should lie flat on the body.

When born, GWP’s coat is usually soft and silky or a little woolly, and it doesn’t provide nearly as good protection against elements as the wiry coat of an adult dog.

The coat’s colors should come in patterns of brown and white. The brown can vary between liver or brown, and patterns can be spotted, roan (mixed brown and white hairs), ticking (small areas of dark hair on white), or solid.

The coat can shed year-round, but the shedding should not be too heavy unless it is getting warmer.

The GWP can sometimes be aloof with strangers but loves his family, and it’s really friendly to people he knows. It’s considered a good watchdog and can be aggressive towards strange dogs approaching his family and property.

Wirehaired pointer is a very happy and lively dog who needs a lot of exercises and enjoys hunting in any form: upland, waterfowl, and tracking big game alike.

Wirehaired Dachshund

Wirehaired hunting dogs

Originally from Germany, the wirehaired dachshund is a small hunting dog developed to flush burrowing animals.

Funnily enough, even though the standard breed is rather small, there are also miniature and rabbit types of dachshunds.

They also come in three different coat types: shorthaired, longhaired, and wirehaired.

The wirehaired dachshund is the most common type in Germany, but unfortunately, the least common in the US and the most recently added to breeding standards.

The coat of wirehaired dachshund is a double deal, with a soft and fluffy undercoat and a short and hard outer coat.

Although the most common standard breed colors are chocolate, red, black and tan, or chocolate and tan, the wirehaired type also has its own exclusive “wild boar” color. It is a unique color blend, where single hair has a brindled appearance. The coat pattern usually comes in piebald, but they can also come in dapple and brindle patterns.

The “sausage dogs” can be very temperamental towards strangers. They require a lot of attention. Otherwise, they can get bored and start misbehaving.

Despite its size, the wirehaired dachshund is a very energetic dog, and as an independent dog, may not require a lot of instruction while out hunting. 

Wirehaired Vizsla

Wirehaired hunting dogs

Cousin to Hungarian vizsla, the wirehaired vizsla, also originates in Hungary. They are excellent hunting dogs with an above-average nose, very versatile, and easy to train.

The wirehaired vizsla is an amazing pointer but also excellent in retrieving and tracking, even when swimming.

The topcoat on WV is quite harsh and rather short (up to 1,5 inches), with a soft undercoat that gets really fluffy in winter months and should protect the dog from the icy water and cold weather while out hunting.

The outer coat should be close lying and strong, never long, soft or silky. The undercoat is water-resistant and should always be present, even in a thin layer in summer.

The color is uniform, usually russet-gold, or a shade lighter or darker. The white spots on the chest are acceptable.

Wirehaired vizsla is a natural hunter, which makes its training an easy one. They are great swimmers and often swim for pleasure if the occasion arises. 

The WV requires a lot of attention and loves to be mentally and physically challenged. They are usually gentle and caring and do great around children. If provided enough exercise, they can also make great indoors dog.

Irish Wolfhound

Wirehaired hunting dogs

Irish wolfhound, as the name suggests, originated in Ireland. It is considered the tallest of the dogs. Its height, by AKC standards, should be greater than that of the Great Dane.

But considering the height of the Irish wolfhound, it is not the heaviest dog. The build should resemble that of a Greyhound, with a slim structure and deep chest.

Irish wolfhound was designed for long and often solitary hunts for wolves based on the dog’s sight rather than scent. 

The coat of the Irish wolfhound is harsh and very thick. It should be rough, enough to repel burrs and other clingy plants and objects. 

The coat grows close to the body, although some coats grow relatively long. Ideally, you should not let it too long, as it’s not a breed standard according to AKC.

The coat of the Irish wolfhound comes in gray, brindle, red, black white, and fawn colors.

The Irish wolfhound’s coat is not water-resistant, like in some other breeds, but it does protect the dog from too much cold and wet weather.

Despite its size, the Irish wolfhound is a gentle soul. Usually very quiet and happy to be around people. It is not considered a guard dog, but it’s well able to protect himself and his family in case of danger.


Wirehaired hunting dogs

Otterhounds are a large ancient breed of hounds from the UK. Fishers initially used them for hunting otters who were depleting fish stock in rivers and lakes.

After otter numbers declined, otterhounds were successfully used for bear, raccoon, and mink hunting. 

Otterhounds can also do great work finding wounded game, thanks to their exceptional sense of smell. During the morning hunt, they were known for finding the scent of an otter that passed on the water the evening before.

The otterhound has a thick double coat about 3-6 inches long. The undercoat is resistant to water and soft to touch. It’s rather wooly in appearance and quite oily. Otterhounds usually lose most of it for summer and grow it back before the cold winter months.

The outer layer is also oily. It is rough to the touch. It is very dense and coarse and has a broken appearance.

The color of the coat can be any “hound” combination, like whole colored or in tan or black combination. The white markings on the chest and paws are acceptable.

The otterhounds are incredible swimmers and require frequent swimming exercise. They can swim for hours, and they often dive, even in the cold water.

They were not bred to be pets, so they come off as strong-willed dogs that require a solid personality to train them. They are always playful and happy to be with their family and are good with small children.

There are less than 1000 Otterhounds worldwide, so, unfortunately, they are on the list of Vulnerable Breeds.

Wire Fox Terrier

Wirehaired hunting dogs

Wire fox terrier, also known as the wirehaired terrier, is one of many terrier breeds. Originally from England, it was bred, as the name suggests, to hunt foxes. 

The coat of wire fox terrier is wiry, often appearing broken. It can sometimes get wavy or crinkly. 

In general, the outer coat of the wire fox terrier should be so dense that you cannot part it with your fingers to see the skin underneath.

The undercoat is soft, short, and very fine. It should provide protection from wind and rain and cold weather.

Many wire fox terrier owners, who take their dogs to shows, clip their dogs instead of stripping the hair by hand. This practice tends to make the coat more soft and fluffy.

The color is predominantly white with brown markings on the face and ears and a saddle or splotch of black. Some other black or brown markings on the body are also acceptable.

The wire fox terriers are lively dogs, very smart and alert. They make good watchdogs, and more often than not, will outsmart their owners. 

They are really friendly with people but rather wary and sometimes aggressive with strange dogs.

Grooming requirements

Considering the design of the coat, the wirehaired dogs should not have soft and silky hairs.

The best option to maintain a rough and wiry coat is to hand strip the hair. That means plucking out any long and unruly hair by hand or with a stripping knife.

Hand-stripping is a time-consuming procedure, but it will help your dog’s hair stay healthy and new hairs grow correctly.

If you plan to show your dog, one of the methods is taking the coat down, all at one time.

If you are not pressed for time, you can roll the coat, which means taking out only a few stray hairs at a time.

To keep your dog’s coat from tangling and matting, you should give it a brush once a week. That will also help with keeping the shedding to a minimum, although most wirehaired dogs don’t shed a lot.

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