The Fox Terrier was originally bred to flush foxes out of their hiding places during fox hunts. Today they’re primarily family companions and show dogs, although you’ll occasionally find them in the hunt country of the northeastern United States, still performing their traditional role.

The Fox Terrier is actually two breeds of dog, the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier. Except for their coat, the two breeds are almost identical. These dogs are curious, smart, outgoing and active. With proper training they can learn to get along with other pets. Possessing a strong instinct to hunt, Fox Terriers should be monitored closely around other small animals.

Fox terriers originated in 19th-century England, where they took part in fox hunts with the landed gentry. Bred to hunt rodents, going to ground as necessary, fox terriers are energetic and persistent. Two types of fox terriers share the breed, wire and smooth. Although, on the surface, their appearance is different, they share similar profiles, personalities and instinctual behaviors. Topping out at around 18 pounds and 15 inches in height, this breed from England is ideally sized for the house, and its rugged nature is suited to the outdoors too.

Fox Terrier Temperament

This lively pet generally enjoys a sunny disposition and a desire to please. Most are naturally good with children and will play all day long if possible. Fox terriers have a strong preying drive that can override their good manners, leading them wherever their nose takes them. This instinct also makes them persistent diggers unless their owners are firm and vigilant outdoors.

The dogs’ fierce independent streak makes them more difficult to train, but their eagerness to please their people eventually wins out. As an owner, you must be just as persistent as your small canine ball of energy in reinforcing boundaries and obedience. Patience brings results.

General Features Of A Fox Terriers

  • Fox Terriers like to eat and can become overweight. Be sure to monitor their food intake and give them regular exercise to keep them in shape.
  • Fox Terriers can be hard to housetrain — crate training is recommended.
  • Fox Terriers bark a lot and their barks typically are high-pitched.
  • Fox Terriers are prone to chasing rabbits, birds, cats, and even other dogs. They’re scrappy and will pick fights with other dogs, even those that are much larger than they are. Be sure to keep your Fox Terrier on leash when he’s not in a secure area.
  • Fox Terriers should not be trusted alone with non-canine pets unless they have been trained to get along with them.
  • Fox Terriers are highly energetic and need about 30 to 45 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. If they don’t get a chance to burn off their natural energy, they can become destructive or turn into nuisance barkers.
  • While they’re loyal to their families and love to play, Fox Terriers are too rough and energetic to play with young children.
  • Fox Terriers are escape artists. They can jump higher than you might think and will dig holes or otherwise try to escape from their yards.
  • Fox Terriers are a fairly rare breed. If you’re buying a puppy, you may find it hard to track down a good breeder — and even when you find one, you may have to wait several months for a litter to be born.

3 Different Types Of Fox Terrier Breeds

There are three breeds of fox terrier. These are:

  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier

Characteristics Of A Fox Terriers

HEIGHT8.5-11.5 inches
WEIGHT3.5-7 pounds
LIFE SPAN 13-15 years
BREED SIZE small (0-25 lbs.)
GOOD WITH seniors   dogs   cats   families
TEMPERAMENT outgoing   friendly   playful
INTELLIGENCE high
SHEDDING AMOUNT occasional
EXERCISE NEEDS high

Fox Terriers Health

Fox Terriers are a hardy breed in general, with no major health concerns. However, some dogs are affected by the following conditions. Not all Fox Terriers will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog’s been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

In Fox Terriers, you should expect to see health clearances from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that the eyes are normal. Because some health problems don’t appear until a dog reaches full maturity, health clearances aren’t issued to dogs younger than 2 years old. Look for a breeder who doesn’t breed her dogs until they’re two or three years old.

  • Deafness is often a problem with predominantly white dogs. Living with and training a deaf dog requires patience and time, but there are many aids on the market, such as vibrating collars, to make life easier. Because this is a hereditary problem, you should notify the breeder so he or she can make changes in the breeding program.
  • Cataracts are an opacity on the lens of the eye that causes difficulty in seeing. The eye(s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve the dog’s vision.
  • Legg-Perthes disease is generally a disease of small breeds, and this condition — a deformity of the ball of the hip joint — can be confused with hip dysplasia. It causes wearing and arthritis. It can be repaired surgically, and the prognosis is good with the help of rehabilitation therapy afterward.
  • Lens Luxation is when the lens of the eye becomes displaced when the ligament holding it in place deteriorates. It’s sometimes treatable with medication or surgery, but in severe cases the eye may need to be removed.

What Does A Fox Terrier Look Like?

A fox terrier is typically tricolor, mostly white with black and brown markings. It has a cropped tail, triangular ears that fold over forward on its head and a long snout. Its legs are proportionate to its body, which has a square profile. Wire fox terriers have bushy eyebrows and luxurious chin whiskers.

Are Fox Terriers Good Family Dogs?

Yes, most fox terriers are excellent family dogs. Their independent streak balances out with a strong sense of loyalty to family members. They are small enough to fit on a lap but rugged enough for mountain hikes.

How Long Do Fox Terriers Live?

On average, fox terriers live between 14 and 16 years.

How Big Do Fox Terriers Get?

Male fox terriers get to be as big as 19 pounds and 16.5 inches at shoulder height. Females are usually a few pounds lighter and an inch or two shorter.

Can Fox Terriers Be Left Alone?

Yes, trained fox terriers are fine on their own for short periods of time. For longer periods up to eight hours, such as when people are at work or school, they should probably be crated or contained.

How Much Do Fox Terriers Cost To Own?

Depending on its lineage and geographic location, a fox terrier puppy costs between $500 and $2,000. The annual cost of owning this breed includes vet checkups, immunizations, grooming, food, treats and toys. You will also have the initial costs of bedding and/or dog crate, a leash and a collar. The first years’ expenses could add up to about $1,500, but thereafter will be more in the range of $500 to $1,000 annually.

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