Wire Hair vs. Broken Coat Dog Hair

by Carlye Jones
    A wire-haired terrier can have a shaggy, unkempt appearance, thanks to all the long, coarse hairs.

    A wire-haired terrier can have a shaggy, unkempt appearance, thanks to all the long, coarse hairs.

    George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Terrier dog breed coats may be smooth, wire-haired or "broken." The smooth coat on a terrier is much the same as the coats on many short-haired smooth-coat dog breeds, the wire and broken coats are unique to terriers.

    Wire-haired and broken coats are similar. A dog with a wire coat is covered entirely in long, coarse hairs. These hairs are often unruly and give the dog a scruffy appearance, sometimes even covering his eyes. A dog with a broken coat has rough wiry hairs on most of his body but has smooth fur on his face and head. This gives his face a groomed appearance, making him look a little less shaggy than a wire-haired dog. A terrier with a wire coat that has been groomed using the rolling method, which involves continuously pulling the dead wiry hairs to create a sleeker appearance, is sometimes referred to as having a broken coat. While this is not technically a correct use of the term, it is a widely accepted common use.

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    About the Author

    Carlye Jones is a journalist, writer, photographer, novelist and artisan jeweler with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, photography, crafting, business and travel. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites.

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