Toy Fox Terrier (American Toy Terrier)

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tricolor (white, black & tan); white, chocolate & tan; white & tan; white & black
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Pros Cons

  • playful and sociable

  • fabulous watcher

  • easy to groom

  • smart and highly trainable

  • may be too rowdy

  • won’t make a decent guardian


The Toy Fox Terrier is a miniature copy of the Smooth Fox Terrier, which was developed in the early XX century in America. It obtained the wide recognition of hunting community for its persistence in pursue and tiny size. This adaptable, buyout and resourceful dog also quite often enjoys the status of a beloved companion animal.


The history of the Toy Fox Terrier is closely intertwined with the history of the Smooth Fox Terrier, which is actually its immediate forebear. The latter breed always stood out for diversity of size of its specimen, with some canines grew up to 10 kilos while others were as diminutive as 3 kilos. Moreover smaller dogs were much more appreciated by sportsmen then its heavier fellows as they obviously possessed more hunting drive and tenacity. They were also kept as vermin exterminators on farms and dauntless watcher of farmers’ houses.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) granted its official acceptance to the Smooth Fox Terrier in 1912. The smaller breed members also received the recognition of this reputable club. In the middle of the 20s of XX century admirers of the smaller dog requested the UKC to single it out as a distinctive breed that was eventually achieved in 1936. The new breed was registered under the name Toy Fox Terrier. The Kennel Club (AKC) recognised it in 2003.

Over several decades the breeders of the Toy Fox Terrier argued about its optimal size, some favoured a larger canine; others strived to produce the dogs of a toy size. To miniaturize the dog some fanciers crossed their pets with such breeds as the Miniature Pinscher, Italian Greyhound, Chihuahua and Manchester Terrier. This practise was strongly criticised by other breeders who didn’t like the thought of diluting its gene pool. In turn the UKC supported the view that the dog should preserve its small size but it shouldn’t be mixed with other breeds. That’s why the breed’s studbook was shut down by the UKC on August 31, 1960 so crossbreeding was completely prohibited.

Presently the Toy Fox Terrier not only helps hunters to flush a fox and other game but also thrives at eradicating rats and other rodents and contesting in obedience, agility, fly-ball and other performance trials. Its popularity as a family pet is caused by its small size and outgoing nature.


The character of the Toy Fox Terrier represents the combination of typical terrier and toy features. It owes its fearless nature and gameness to the terrier side of its ancestry, but it craves company and attention of its favourite people just like a toy. This dog develops tight bonds with its family and expects to be treated as its full-fledged member, which usually means sleeping in the bed. The breed does well in the role of the first dog and it’s alright with children. Nonetheless it isn’t advisable for families with toddlers as they are too awkward and can unintentionally hurt this rather fragile dog.

The Toy Fox Terrier treats all unfamiliar people with a great deal of wariness although it isn’t predisposed to direct aggression. It will quickly makes friends with newcomers in your house if you show the dog that they can be trusted. The breed’s member always stays vigilant to its environment and reacts to every unusual sound or smell with a ringing bark. This implies that it will make a fairly decent watch dog. It’s essential to teach this dog to quiet upon command otherwise unreasonable barking may turn into a nasty habit. Despite its well-pronounced protective instinct this dog is probably too small to become a good guardian.

In general the Toy Fox Terrier tolerates other dogs in the house but its specimen can behave itself aggressively with unfamiliar canines (especially of the same sex). Its inborn hunting instincts also makes it dangerous for other small species of animals so this dog shouldn’t be introduced to the household with pre-existing rats, hamsters or guinea pigs. However this breed is fine with domestic cats and other non-canine pets if it has been reared with them since a young age.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· legg-calve-perthes disease;

· patellar luxation;

· von Willebrand disease.


The grooming of the Toy Fox Terrier is a breeze. Its short straight coat requires only a weekly brushing in order to look tidy. Bathe your pet occasionally, perhaps after it’s plumped into mud or something smelly. This breed is a light shedder but due to its miniature size its constant shedding is barely noticeable.

The rest includes such standard care procedures as monthly nail trimming and regular ears’ check-ups. Toy breeds are predisposed to periodontal disease, so brush the teeth of your Toy Fox Terrier at least on a weekly basis.


The training of the Toy Fox Terrier requires very trivial efforts. This clever and responsive dog seems to enjoy learning process so it can master incredibly complex tricks. Tasty treats and plentiful of verbal encouragement can be a guarantee for its successful training.

On the other hand it’s recommended to avoid any amount of firm handling or harsh discipline in the work with this dog as they won’t bring desirable results. Unlike majority of terrier and toy breeds the Toy Fox Terrier can be fairly easily housetrained. Moreover it usually quickly learns how to use a canine litter box for its essential needs, which makes it a perfect companion for elderly people or apartment dwellers.


The Toy Fox Terrier is an unpretentious breed when it comes to its activity level. Its favourite occupation is retrieving a ball that it will always readily perform both indoors and outdoors. The owner should take this dog for a walk on a daily basis although it won’t mind if you skip a day or two as long as it has plentiful toys to play with.

This breed does equally well in a small apartment and spacious mansion and makes a lovable pet for those who prefer more sedentary lifestyle. Be mindful though that without essential minimum of physical activity the Toy Fox Terrier tends to become hyper active, unruly and fairly destructive.