toy fox terrier dog

The Toy Fox Terrier is an ‘All-American’ breed, that is known to be alert, smart and playful.

As a small terrier breed, they are hunters at heart, with certain lap dog qualities – this combines to give them an outgoing and inquisitive nature, yet enjoyment of being around others.

Although they are adaptable to apartment living, their need for running about and seeking out prey makes them ideal for farms and countryside settings.

Brief History

The Toy Fox Terrier directly descends from the Smooth Fox Terrier; a breed known for chasing prey, notably foxes. This much-loved breed can be traced as far back as 1500s England.

The Smooth Fox was cross-bred with other types of smaller dogs, including the Chihuahua, Greyhound and Manchester Terrier, to create a new breed with unique personality and looks. This contributes to their somewhat calmer temperament and smaller statute. Notwithstanding, this is a dog that also believes it’s larger than it truly is, and is bold and courageous in its approach!

The Toy Fox Terrier started off working as ratters, but due to its agility, ended up in show rings, and became loving companions to their owners.

It was only in recent years that the American Kennel Club recognized this breed in the ‘toy dog’ category, back in 2003. Although it was registered with the UK version in 1936.

Physical Features

Small in build, its square body sits on an elegant head that is expressive, eager and alert.

Usually, the nose is black, although chocolate Toy Fox Terriers have a self-colored nose. The eyes are clear and dark, with alert v-shaped ears. Its docked tail is set high.

Its coat is shiny, smooth and fine to touch. It is distinguished by a white body and colored head. This can be tricolor (mostly black with tan markings), tan, black and chocolate – sometimes also chocolate and tan.

Average Height:

8.5-11.5 inches

Average Weight:

3-7 pounds

Life Expectancy:

13-14 years


When it comes to adaptable, intelligent dogs with an amusing personality, the Toy Fox Terrier is unbeatable!

They are smart, and therefore easy to train. It also helps that they are confident, determined, and not easily deterred – thanks to their hunting background.

toy fox terrier

But this is also a playful type, that enjoys lots of fun and games and certainly needs lots of attention too! Although good with older children, like most toy breeds it does not do particularly well with small children. They also have a slight territorial tendency, making them harder to integrate with other dogs, except those they are brought up with.

Training from a young age is important for this breed, to curb any unwanted behavior. If socialization is neglected, they can display aggressive behavior towards other dogs

Special Needs

This is a breed of dog that demands plenty of attention from its owner. When it becomes bored or scared, it’s prone to barking excessively.

Their little bodies make them somewhat susceptible to broken limbs; one of the reasons why they are not best around young kids.

Males particularly are known to be hard to housetrain, and obedience classes are a must from the get-go.

It’s hunting instinct means that digging is their thing! Therefore special attention needs to be given to outdoor space to contain them securely.

Possible Health Concerns

Although a healthy and active dog, it may still be susceptible to certain conditions:

The Toy Fox Terrier may be predisposed to ‘Luxating Patella’.  This occurs when the patella slips out of the trochlear groove and causes lameness, displacing the kneecap at the same time.

Inherited conditions can also include; ‘Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter’ displayed in dwarfism, inactivity, abnormal coat hair, and delayed opening of the eye. As well as ‘Von Willebrands’ disease’ which results in excessive bleeding from the nose and gums. It may also be susceptible to Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Finally, they may experience femur deterioration known as ‘Legg-Perthese disease’.


The intelligent and exuberant Toy Fox Terrier does well with lots of off-leash exercise, playtime, and long hikes. They also enjoy taking part in organized dog sports, running, and playing catch.

It’s fair to say that they are highly active, so lots of daily exercise is required for this breed, especially if they live in apartments. Additionally, they benefit greatly from outdoor space or a yard that can be contained.


Without high-quality nutrition, the Toy Fox Terrier can suffer from numerous problems such as skin allergies.

Since this is a dog prone to obesity, extra attention also needs to be paid to mealtimes. Official guidelines suggest no more than ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality dry food a day, preferably given in two meals. Treats should be kept to a minimum.


For those not big on grooming, the Toy Fox Terrier is the ideal pet! His smooth soft coat requires little effort, although a daily brush will help remove dead hair.

He needs a bath only once a month or so, which can coincide with nail trimming – as and when needed.

Their ears should be checked weekly for any signs of infection, at the same time they should be wiped clean to keep them healthy and infection-free.

Additionally, daily teeth brushing is a must, since smaller dog breeds tend to have more dental problems.

There’s never a dull moment with your Toy Fox Terrier, who enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle, but is also well conditioned to apartment living.

Sprightly in nature and unquestionably smart, they are quick to learn and enjoy plenty of sports and agility training. But, for all their talents, the Toy Fox Terrier is a barker at times, and does not enjoy being left home alone. Their hunting instinct often comes to the fore, especially given the option to escape!

But it can’t be denied that this is a playful dog breed, curious by nature and always fun to have around.

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