How much do you know about the Fox Terrier? Members of this breed are confident, lively dogs that breeders first created to pursue foxes into their fox holes. This breed’s job was to drive the fox from underground up to the surface where hunters could get to them. If you’re interested in adding a Fox Terrier to your home, here are a few things you need to know.

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Where Does The Fox Terrier Come From?

Breeders first developed the Fox Terrier in England in the late 18th century for fox hunting. Their strong, small bodies enabled them to pursue foxes above and below ground. Though there are now two breeds of Fox Terrier: the Smooth Fox Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier, the Smooth-coated variety emerged first. Though breeders did not keep detailed records early on, this breed was likely the result of a mix of Beagles, Bull Terriers, and Greyhounds, along with a few black and tan terriers.

At first, smooth and wire coats were considered two varieties of the same breed, but historians have determined the different coat types likely resulted from different ancestry entirely. Though the two coat types share similar size, temperament, and shape, wire-coated fox terriers probably emerged in Wales, Derbyshire, and Durham. However, the two breeds are still governed by one body, the Fox Terrier Club.

What Does a Fox Terrier Look Like?

Fox Terriers are comprised of two breeds whose main difference in appearance is their coat, though the shape of their head differs slightly as well.

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The Smooth Fox Terrier has a short, hard coat that is usually predominantly white. Their head is long and wedge-shaped with v-shaped ears and small, dark eyes.

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The Wire Fox Terrier has a double coat with a coarse, “wiry” texture that provides better insulation from the cold than their smooth-coated counterparts. Their heads are less wedge-shaped and more rectangular than the other variety as well. 

Both breeds are mostly white with colored markings of brown, tan, or black, especially on the face and back. 

The average male Fox Terrier weighs between 17 and 19 pounds, females between 15 and 17 pounds. They are usually about 15 inches tall at the shoulder, with females generally slightly smaller. 

What Is A Fox Terrier’s Personality Like?

Like most terriers, this breed is strong-willed, confident, energetic, and independent. They will try to outsmart you, yet have you laughing at their goofy antics. They are vigilant watchdogs that can also be a bit annoying when it comes to barking. They are generally friendly with people, even strangers, but may be wary of other dogs and even pick fights. This breed is curious by nature, sweet and playful, with plenty of energy for activities like running, hiking, and fetch.

How Hard Is It To Train a Fox Terrier?

Socializing and training a new puppy is essential for any dog, and this breed is no exception. Their strong, independent personality means they need early and consistent training to avoid problem behaviors later on. With a firm hand and plenty of patience, training your pup can be an enjoyable pastime for you both. These dogs are energetic and smart, so they learn quickly and easily, which also means they become bored easily. Keeping them interested and engaged with your training is the key to keeping their attention and burning off some of that energy. 

During training, try to avoid methods like shouting or punishment, as these harsh techniques may cause your terrier to shut down. Instead, try to stick with positive reinforcement and keep your training sessions short and fun. A great-tasting training treat doesn’t hurt either. If you begin to feel frustrated, end your training session as quickly as possible, preferably on a positive note. 

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How Much Exercise Does A Fox Terrier Need?

Despite their small size, these dogs require quite a bit of regular exercise to dispel some of their energy and to maintain a healthy, happy weight. This breed is a working and hunting dog, so they always have plenty of energy. They also have a high prey drive as a result of their breeding, so make sure to keep your terrier leashed whenever you are out and about. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise are prone to boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior; we all learn eventually that a tired terrier is a well-behaved dog.

This breed also loves food and can be prone to obesity. In addition to adequate exercise, it’s essential to follow serving-size recommendations from pet food manufacturers or your veterinarian, no matter how much they flash you those hungry puppy dog eyes!

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Do Fox Terriers Have Health Problems?

Although generally a hardy breed, Fox Terries can suffer from a couple of inherited health issues.

  • Deafness: a problem in most white dogs, fox terriers have a higher rate of deafness than some other breeds. 
  • Cataracts: cataracts occur when the lens of the eye begins to thicken and turn opaque, causing difficulty seeing. It most often presents in older animals, but not always. They can be surgically removed in most cases.
  • Legg-Perthes Disease: sometimes confused with hip dysplasia, Legg-Perthes disease usually occurs in small breeds and involves a deformity in the ball of the hip joint that causes arthritis. It can be repaired with surgery and rehabilitation therapy.  

A Fox Terrier’s life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years.

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How Do You Groom a Fox Terrier?

If you choose to bring home a Fox Terrier, grooming needs will depend on their coat type. Smooth coats need only occasional brushing with a firm-bristled brush. Wire coats shed less than smooth coats, but their coat needs to be hand-stripped to maintain their texture. Most owners leave this task to a professional groomer. 

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The Fox Terrier: A Fantastic Pet For the Right Home

This breed isn’t for everyone. They are friendly and loyal, but their high prey drive and intense exercise needs won’t suit every household. These dogs need a job, whether that job is hunting or participating in some other kind of canine competition like agility or obedience. With the right owners, a Fox Terrier can make an excellent canine companion.

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