Toy Fox Terrier

Breed Group: Terrier

Temperament and Behavior

Toy Fox Terriers are little bundles of curiosity, and playfulness similar to but slightly less energetic than their larger cousins the Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers. Self-confident, independent, and willful, they behave as if they were large dogs. Affectionate and loyal to their families, even though they are even more playful than their larger cousins, they are too delicate for small children. If not given what they believe is a proper amount of attention, they can become jealous. Bred to hunt, they should be not be trusted with mouse-like pets; but they do get along reasonably well with other household pets. Less aggressive toward same sex animals than their larger counterparts, they are somewhat more even tempered with strange dogs. Toy Fox Terriers need exercise every day. They enjoy a good play session or walk. Unlike some breeds, they will provide their own exercise in a fenced area which is an absolute requirement whenever they are off leash. But watch out, with their tiny size they can be escape artists digging under, climbing over, or squeezing through the smallest fence opening. These dogs relish adventure and are sure to pursue one whenever they get or can make the opportunity. With keen vision and acute hearing, they can be counted on to sound off whenever something is amiss. This makes them a first-rate watchdog whose barking is less likely to become a nuisance than his larger relatives. However, between his tiny size and enjoyment of strangers, he offers no ability as a guardian. He can be difficult to housebreak, especially in cold or rainy weather.

Physical Characteristics

Toy Fox Terriers look like a Smooth Fox Terriers in miniature. Between 8 and 11 inches tall they weigh between 7 and 11 pounds. Their smooth coat sheds minimally and requires only occasional brushing. They have a white coat with black or brown markings. They do not tolerate cold and should wear a coat or sweater outside in the winter. Their ears are especially vulnerable to the cold.

Trainer's Notes

With a mischievous sense of humor, Toy Fox Terriers offer less resistance to training than their Smooth and Wire relatives; however that does not mean they are easy. They have the intelligent and independent streak of their wire and smooth counterparts and like them bore easily. Successful training should be short and fun. They respond the best to games and toys. Many prefer learning tricks to formal obedience training. This is one of the few terriers that can be recommended to a novice dog owner.

Photo © by Terry Best available under the CC 3.0
Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier


Toy Fox Terriers are largely healthy dogs. About 1 in 20 suffer from patellar luxation. Other possible genetic issues include Legg-Perthes and Demodicosis. More rarely seen is the blood disorder called von Willebrand’s Disease. Some are allergic to beet pulp, corn, or wheat. They usually live into their middle teens.


Toy Fox Terriers ranked 88th in popularity in 2006 with between 700 and 800 dogs registered on a yearly basis. Before being accepted by the AKC, Toy Fox Terriers were one of the most popular non-AKC breeds.

Breed History

Bred in the U.S., Toy Fox Terriers descend directly from Smooth Fox Terriers. In the 1930s, owners of Smooth Fox Terriers found runts excelled at hunting and killing rats and other small vermin. These small dogs were more manageable than the larger Terriers and had delightful temperaments. These smaller Smooth Fox Terriers were bred with Chihuahuas, Toy Manchester Terriers, and Italian Greyhounds, to make them even smaller. The result was a smaller, slightly calmer version of a Smooth Fox Terrier. The AKC recognized the breed in 2003.

Additional Information

Toy Fox Terriers are a good choice for anyone drawn to the personality of the larger Fox Terriers but daunted by their size and energy level. The National (US) Breed Club is the American Toy Fox Terrier Club.

Is A Toy Fox Terrier THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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