Fox Terrier (Smooth)

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Toy Fox Terrier: History and Appearance


The Toy Fox Terrier is a breed that originated in the United States, though there is some question about its background. One theory is that the Toy Fox Terrier descends from a variety of breeds, including the Toy Manchester Terrier, the Italian Greyhound, and even the Chihuahua. Another theory is that the breed’s ancestor is the Smooth Fox Terrier, and that the Toy Fox Terrier was bred down in size exclusively from that breed. Regardless, the crossbreeding that developed this toy terrier began in the 1900’s and eventually created the standard.

The breed was first recognized and registered by the United Kennel Club in 1936. Quickly becoming a favorite, there was continued effort among breeders to improve the standard. Though the dog was intended to be a “toy” breed, there were several breeders who wanted to create a larger dog. There was quite a bit of debate among Toy Fox Terrier fanciers, and as a result, the United Kennel Club chose to close the stud books in 1960, rendering any further changes to the purebred standard impossible.

The breed was not admitted by the American Kennel club until January of 2003. There had been some effort to get the Toy Fox Terrier recognized by the AKC, but up until that year, it had never worked out. In the 1990’s, a concentrated push was made to get the breeds standard recognized, and after 9 years of requests, the Toy Fox Terrier was allowed into the American Kennel Club. The Toy Fox Terrier has the distinction of being the only AKC toy breed that was developed in America.

The Toy Fox Terrier is truly unique, as it possesses the qualities of a toy dog and the qualities of a sporting dog in one tiny package. The Toy Fox Terrier became popular with hunters, who would actually carry the dog in their saddlebags, and then release them to search out and chase down foxes.

The Toy Fox Terrier is a small dog possessing truly versatile skills. As a family dog, it is said to be very smart, agile, and a devoted companion. The breed has a reputation for being playful, energetic, and entertaining. These little dogs also make excellent watchdogs.

As a sporting dog, it is highly valued for its ability to go to ground, hunt small animals or other vermin, and keen intelligence. The Toy Fox Terrier has even been known to climb trees and go after squirrels!

As a working dog, the Toy Fox Terrier is used as a therapy dog, service dog, and as a hearing dog. Toy Fox Terriers are also popular as pet entertainers; and are frequently featured in circus acts, as well as on television and in film.

The Toy Fox Terrier also does well as a show dog and competitive breed. Toy Fox Terriers are highly trainable and do extremely well in agility and higher level obedience classes.

The Toy Fox Terrier learns new skills quickly and has proven itself to be a highly adaptable breed. The dog has the truly confident and determined spirit of a terrier, as well as a friendly and affectionate nature.


Size matters most, as the little dog is classified in the Toy Group. The dog grows from about 8 ½ inches tall to 11 ½ inches tall. Weight ranges from 3 ½ lbs to 7 lbs. The dog has a square proportion, and is strong boned.

The head has an elegant wedge shape to it, with muscular cheeks and mildly sloping stop. The eyes and eye rims are dark. The eyes should be clear and bright. The eyes are round, set well apart, and slightly prominent. The ears are triangular. They are set close together, but do not touch. The ears are always held erect. The muzzle is fine, with a black nose at the tip. The bite is typically a scissors bite.

Though a toy breed, the dog features a powerful and athletic appearance. The body features a smooth outline and is strong, but not overly muscled. The body should be slightly tapered towards the flank, with a deep chest and slightly tucked up abdomen. Both forequarters and hindquarters are strong, with straight legs and small, oval feet. The toes are arched. The tail is set high and carried erect. It is usually docked at the 3rd or 4th joint.

This little dog has a coat that is glossy. It is finely textured, and grows smooth to the body. There may be a ruff of longer hair, but overall the coat is short.

The Toy Fox Terrier’s coat can be a variety of colors, including Tri Color, with a black head, tan markings, and a mostly white body. Other color combinations include white, chocolate, and tan; featuring chocolate as the head color. Both tri-color varieties also have black or chocolate markings on the body. The Toy Fox Terrier can also be white and tan; which is white with tan markings; or white and black, which is white with black markings. In both of these combinations, the body is more than 50% white.

The dog’s gait is very important. The dog is lithe, agile, and effortless in movement. The dog should have good, strong drive and carry both the head and the tail erect when in motion.

Showing a Toy Fox Terrier

The Toy Fox Terrier is expected to meet a specific standard when in show. There are a range of faults that can disqualify the dog from the show ring. The dog cannot be under 8 ½ inches or over 11 ½ inches. The ears must be held erect, and the muzzle cannot feature a “Dudley nose.” The mouth may not be overshot or undershot by more than 1/8 inch. White must cover more than 50% of the body, but white blazes can’t extend to the eyes or ears. Most important, the Toy Fox Terrier must present itself with a “terrier-like” temperament when in show. It cannot show fear or shyness.

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