Fox Terrier


History & Origin

The Fox Terrier has been around for some time. Their popularity saw them become the favorite of both royalty and the common man.

Most terriers developed in the United Kingdom. The Wirehaired Fox Terrier and Smooth Fox Terrier are no exceptions.

Smooth Coated Fox Terriers

These two dog breeds have different origins. The Smooth Fox Terrier developed in the 1700’s when hunting was a sport practiced by the elite. Hunters needed a dog that had the hunting instincts of their usual hunting dogs that at the same time was small enough to fit into the dens of smaller prey, such as foxes. They established a breeding program that included smooth coated black and tan terriers, Beagles, Greyhounds, and Bull Terriers. The Smooth Fox Terrier is the result.

Wirehaired Fox Terriers

Wirehaired and Smooth Fox Terriers were considered the same breed for many years. They are similar in size, personality, and body shape. The breeds were crossbred for many years. Their origins, however, differ.

Wirehaired Fox Terriers are the result of breeding wirehaired black and tan terriers with the Smooth Coated Fox Terrier. This was to get the main white color found in Fox Terriers. A dog with white in its coat is easy to spot. Dogs were often shot by accident as they were mistaken for the prey.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Fox Terrier breed in 1885.

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Both breeds have a similar temperament. They are very curious and sniff everywhere in the hope of finding out things. Running instead of walking is a Fox Terrier trait. Balls are their special toys. Playing fetch is their passion.

These daredevil dogs need an owner with a firm hand. Confidence and consistency are necessary for a Fox Terrier owner.

A fast, agile breed, Fox Terriers need an enclosed yard to play in. They are great escape artists who will not hesitate to go off on their own in search of adventure. A Foxy can jump higher than you think for his small size. As far as digging goes, look no further. They are known to dig their way out of a property in a matter of minutes.

Active dogs, they get along very well with children and are great when part of a family with an active lifestyle. Scrappy and fearless, they never back down to a challenge, even with dogs twice or three times their size!

Smaller animals do not get far with a Foxy around. Fox Terriers are quick, agile, and fast. Anything seen as prey is hunted down quickly.

Their vision is keen and their hearing excellent. Your Fox Terrier will alert you when something is amiss, even if it is still very far away.

Unfortunately, Fox Terriers are best in one-pet households. They are possessive and tend to pick fights with other pets. For all their fighting spirit, though, they make bad fighters and usually end up with the short end of the stick.

An extremely intelligent breed, they learn how to do tricks easily and love playing the part of the clown. Jealousy is a major flaw in Fox Terriers, as they do not like sharing their toys or their family.

fox terrier


nutrition and feeding


Fox Terriers have an average lifespan of thirteen years if taken good care of!


There are various options when feeding your Fox Terrier. If you choose commercial dog food, check the label for content. The grain fillers in many commercial dog food brands do nothing for your dog but make him feel full. They also cause large, sloppy stools all over the garden.

There is presently no regulation about what goes into dog food. So check your labels. A high-quality commercial dog food may cost less, but it is healthier, has fewer types of filler, and has more nutrients than more popular, cheaper brands.

Please ensure that you buy dog food that is breed specific. What is great for a large breed dog is not great for a smaller breed.

The best food for any dog is a raw food diet. It contains no additives or preservatives and is one hundred percent natural. A raw food diet is also the closest a dog would get in the wild as it is made up of protein and vegetables.

However, some foods are poisonous to dogs. Examples of these are chocolate, avocado, caffeine, grapes/raisins, baby food, raw onions/chives/garlic, peaches and plums, and of course, alcohol, to name but a few. Make sure you get the whole list and keep them away from your pet. You may end with an expensive bill from the veterinarian or a doggy funeral to arrange.


A Fox Terrier puppy grows very fast. His food needs to be small-breed puppy-specific. It is best to feed your puppy the same food he had at the breeder. If you want to change his food, do so gradually over a number of days. A sudden change in his diet causes your puppy to be very ill. He will probably defecate of vomit all over the place. You might even need to take him to the veterinarian. A slow change in diet allows his stomach to become accustomed to his new food gradually and is the best way to go.

Up until the age of six months, your Smooth Fox Terrier or Wirehaired Fox Terrier puppy needs three to four meals a day. By the time he is six months old, however, this needs cutting down to two meals daily. Once in the morning and once in the evening is fine.

Feed your puppy according to a schedule. Do not free feed. Free feeding is when food is available all the time. Some dogs eat when they are bored. Others are just eaters that will gobble up anything they see. This leads to obesity or health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

Feeding to a schedule keeps your dog’s weight in check. It also makes potty training much easier.

Remember to keep a bowl of clean, fresh water out for your puppy or adult dog at all times.

coat and grooming


Size and Coat

Smooth Fox Terriers and Wirehaired Fox Terriers have a similar build. Male dogs are somewhat larger than females. An average male Fox Terrier stands between 36cm to 41cm (measured from the withers to the floor) and weighs between 7kg and 9kg. The smaller female stands between 33cm to 38cm and weighs between 6kg and 8kg.

Adult Fox Terriers are medium sized dogs. Their small, V-shaped ears droop forwards onto a flattish skull. For a smaller dog, their necks are thick and muscular. The body is rounded off by strong, straight legs.

The main difference between the two breeds is their coats.

Wirehaired Fox Terrier Coat

The coat of the Wirehaired Fox Terrier is curly (wiry) and harsh. They are available in white with black or brown ‘spots’. He has a double coat. Wirehaired Fox Terriers do not shed much. They are considered hypoallergenic.

Smooth Fox Terrier

A Smooth Fox Terrier’s coat, as the name suggests, is short and smooth. Colors are white, black, black and tan, tricolor, red, and brown.

Smooth Fox Terriers have a shedding tendency.


Smooth Fox Terrier Grooming

The Smooth Fox Terrier needs regular brushing. This gets rid of loose hairs that normally end up all over the home. It also keeps his skin and fur in great condition because it gives the hair a shine due to distributing the natural oils. The blood flow to his skin is also stimulated during this time.

Wirehaired Fox Terrier Grooming

The Wirehaired Fox Terrier’s grooming needs are more complicated than his smooth cousin’s. To look great, he needs clipping. This is preferably at a doggy parlor where the dog’s different grooming styles are known. They do not shed as much, except seasonally. They do not need brushing often.

The basics of grooming Fox Terriers

Your new puppy does not need regular bathing. Every now and again (when he gets a doggy smell) is fine. When bathing, use a good, high-quality shampoo and conditioner. Cheaper shampoos tend to cause skin irritations and rashes.

Less active dogs need to have their nails clipped regularly. Long nails tear, causing your dog much pain. For those afraid to do so themselves, take your dog to the doggy parlor or local veterinarian. It is a quick job and does not cost much.

Clean their ears with a damp cotton wool ball. If you see a discharge or discoloration, take him to the veterinarian. It is a sign of infection.



Exercise, Energy, and Activities

Fox Terriers are high-energy dogs bred to chase things. They will chase anything: a ball, a cat, a bicycle, a vehicle. This breed thus needs a secure, safe environment. Foxies need an enormous amount of exercise daily. If you do not have the time for this, do not get one. You will end up with a frustrated dog that chews up the furniture!

If off your property, keep him on a leash at all times, even when at the dog park. He will probably pick a fight with dogs much larger than he is or start chasing everything he sees. They do, however, make excellent running partners!

A clever breed, Fox Terriers also need mental stimulation in order to be happy. They excel at sports that challenge their physical and mental abilities. Such sports include obedience, flyball, earth dog trails, and agility competitions. Just remember to keep them on a leash when not participating!

Training and Sleep/Rest

Potty training a Fox Terrier is notoriously difficult. They potty train easily, but do not understand why they cannot do their business in the home too! A Fox Terrier owner needs perseverance.

Puppies need to go out often to do their business. They also need positive reinforcement when they do it right. Do not use any form of harsh treatment when they make a mistake. You might end up with a dog that is scared of everything.

Housetraining is easy when you follow a schedule. Because a puppy’s stomach needs to ‘go’ about fifteen minutes after a meal, scheduled meals are very important.

A good housetraining schedule to start with is as follows:

  • Take him to his potty area about fifteen minutes after a meal.
  • Or, take him to his potty area first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
  • Or, take him to his potty area every 35 minutes to one hour during the day.

As he grows older and learns bowel and bladder control, the times between ‘going to potty’ will extend.

Puppies need a lot of sleep. Eighteen hours or more a day is quite normal. Do not worry about it. Puppies are babies. Babies grow while they sleep, and a puppy does a lot of quick growing during the first few months of their lives.



Health Issues

The two Fox Terrier cousins are very healthy dogs. They do not get sick easily or cost you a lot in veterinarian bills. There are, however, certain health problems they are susceptible to. Always purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder. This person will tell you everything you need to know about the breed and your puppy’s history.

The two main health issues in these breeds are deafness and patellar luxation. Deafness is usually hereditary but normally poses no problem. A dog’s other senses make up for this lack. Patellar luxation, or floating kneecap, is common in smaller dog breeds. A small surgical procedure rectifies the condition.

Minor health concerns associated with Fox Terriers include cataracts (which are surgically treated), lens luxation (common in most terrier breeds), and Legg-Perthes Disease. Legg-Perthes Disease is an inflammation and disintegration of the bones at the hip joint. It is hereditary. Surgery is the only way of rectifying the problem.

To Sum Up

Two quirky, fun loving breeds, the Wirehaired and Smooth Fox Terriers are either loved or hated. They are busy dogs that get into mischief frequently and are quite difficult to train. They need strong, alpha owners. These dogs are not suitable as pets for the elderly.

Fox Terriers make great family dogs in one-pet families. They adore children and playing with them.

If you want a great family dog that gives more than it receives and that will lay down his life for you in a crisis, please consider either of the Fox Terriers.

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