Toy Fox Terrier
- AKC recognized in 2003
- Lifespan: 13-15 years
- Size: Small
- Energy: Medium
- Recommended Crate Size: 18” – 22” dog crate*
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Table of Contents
This toy is a fox! He’s an All-American too! Quick, smart, and downright loveable, Toy Fox Terriers have captured the heart of America and beyond.
The pint-sized pup has just enough pep to keep his family properly entertained. But, unlike some other small breeds, he doesn’t tend to get obnoxiously hyper...well, not all that often.
The TFT is a hoot! In the early 1900s, he starred in many a circus act, traveling all around the US to entertain young and old alike. He’s a natural at it too. This peppy, perky pup is guaranteed to add sunshine to any cloudy day.
Toy Fox Terrier is a playful mix of all the fun built into both Toy and Terrier breeds. Sure, he can sport the Terrier stubbornness or display some “small dog syndrome” Toys are famous for, but all in all, he’s a fairly well-balanced mix of all things good.
If you think your life would be merrier with this Toy Fox Terrier, read on to find out if that thought is fact...or fiction.
The Toy Fox Terrier, or TFT, hasn’t always been living in a cushy and comfy house, nestled in the lap of one of his beloved family members. Before he became a housedog, he was a ratter. In fact, way back in 1936, that was the job he was created for - exterminating the farm of rats and other little vermin.
It all happened when a Smooth Fox Terrier and a couple of Toy breeds were crossed. The Manchester Terrier and Chihuahua played a big role in the creation. Eventually, only the smallest of Smooth Fox Terriers were allow in the breeding, making Toy Fox Terriers teeny tiny, just as intended.
The TFT has ties to the Miniature Fox Terrier because he is a mini version of the breed. They look basically alike except for the fact that the Toy is smaller, of course.
Although the United Kennel Club crowned the Toy Fox as a proud member in 1936, it took decades before the American Kennel Club recognized the breed. In 2003, Toy Fox Terriers were finally formally inducted into the club though. His popularity has been climbing, a slow climb, but an upward one all the same.
In keeping with the basic characteristics of a Terrier, the TFT has his share of positive and not-so-positive traits, most of which were bred into him for his rat and rodent ridding duties of the past. He can be a barker. That quality makes him an excellent tiny guard dog because he’s very alert (and vocal). Nothing slides by this guy.
Barking is something that can be addressed in training camp. He is quite smart and catches on easily so chances are good he’ll know what it is you want him not to do. His Terrier temperament, however, can make training a bit of a challenge but with patience and persistence, everything is possible with this dog.
Still, his bark helped him ace his job on the farm so it will take a bit of work to convince him it is no longer a desirable quality. The best approach is to let him get his bark out, but only for a short time. Then, it’s time to “quiet”.
He also loves to dig. Along with keeping him far from your flower or vegetable garden, you’ll need to make sure not to leave him to his own devices, unattended in the back yard. He is likely to dig his way right under the fence.
Contrary to his hunting days out on the farm, the TFT is an indoor dog now. He is much too small to brave the elements. He does, however, relish his time outdoors but it is a wise idea to make sure he is always supervised. He has no clue of his limits nor his size, much less would he care. He’s a compact critter and a courageous soul but still, he’s a tiny tot as well.
While the Toy Fox has retired from the traveling circus acts, for the most part, he can be seen in agility ring performances in AKC shows where he loves to show off his complicated jumping skills.
This Toy dog has the habit of shivering before shows and on many other occasions too. You may feel bad for him like he has a bad case of stage fright but it’s just the opposite. He is full of adrenaline before the competition and shakes due to the excitement. He can’t wait to get out there and strut his stuff.
The prey drive in the Toy Fox is ferociously strong. If he spots a rabbit, rat, or even a hamster, he will take off right before your very eyes and be gone. This is important for pet parents to know and to look out for. He’s small and...he’s quick.
But, if he’s not going out to compete in a show or anticipating an enticing activity and the weather is on the nippy side, he might be cold. This breed isn’t overly fond of cold weather and should never be left out long in it. He looks absolutely adorable in winter attire though so don’t be afraid to deck him out in a warm fashion.
The TFT makes an excellent therapy dog because he’s so cheerful and is such a clown. It is also a great choice of elderly or disabled individuals as long as his exercise needs can be attended to.
From the rich and famous, like actress Ashley Greene and her dog Marlow who is “her life” she says, to royalty, the canine comedian has won a giant spot in the hearts of many through the years. The breed is ever growing in popularity and it’s not a wonder why.
Tiny yet muscular, this athletic little dog is a real looker. He generally stands 8.5 to 11.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs in around 3.5 to 9 pounds, soaking wet.
He’s elegant looking with his V-shaped ears and overly large expressive eyes.
His tail sits high to top his proud appearance off. It can be short and somewhat straight of shiny and long. Sometimes his tail is docked by clipping it about three-fifths down but not all owners choose to do so.
The Toy Fox’s gait is graceful and quick. He carries himself with dignity and is a self-confident fellow.
The Toy Fox’s head is solid and he has a black nose with the exception of chocolate colored breeds. His muzzle is proportionate to his head and is quite strong. His teeth sport a scissor bite.
The coat of a TFT is generally white in color for the background. It is short, fine, and glossy. Colors on his coat include black with tan and tan areas on his face, all white with tan and no black, white with black, and a chocolate accent but the chocolate variety is not allowed in competition showings with the UKC. There are tri-color varieties as well.
It is recommended that you feed your Toy Fox Terrier high-quality dog food that is meant for Toy breed dogs since their requirements are different than standard sized dogs. It is also highly advised that you speak to your breeder or veterinarian about his nutrition.
You may be asked to feed him small frequent meals throughout the day initially until he gets bigger. Some continue this routine due to the fact the breed is so small and cannot handle a lot of food at one time.
Limit in between snacks because you’ll want to assure that what the TFT does eat is the optimal nutritious food and amount possible and not spoil his appetite with treats.
If given the chance, this pup has the potential to become obese. He does love to eat so keep an eye out to make sure his caloric intake and energy output is well-balanced.
As with all pets, be sure to keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for him at all times and encourage him to drink it.
The Toy Fox is very easy to groom but he does shed a bit, contrary to what you might initially think due to his short, fine hair. He has a constant shedding but sheds more in the spring and fall. You’ll want to keep him brushed but once or twice per week is generally good.
Of course, you’ll want to bathe him once every month or two. If he gets a hold of a critter or chases a skunk, he will need an additional scrub. Use a hypoallergenic shampoo on him that is for sensitive skin.
Even though he’ll naturally wear his nails down if he is able to dig enough, you will want to trim them when needed and also tend to any chips, cracks, or splits they get.
This breed is prone to go periodontal disease and other dental issues, partly due to his scissor bite. Be sure to brush his teeth at least once per week using a doggie toothbrush and doggie toothpaste.
Toy Fox Terriers' ears should be kept clean and dry to prevent ear infections. If he paws at them or if they become red or irritated, take him in to see his vet so he can be checked out. Untreated ear infections can lead to severe complications which may require surgery or can lead to deafness.
The Toy Fox Terrier is very active and needs to get his energy out. He will benefit from one or two 30 to 40 minute walks per day with some fun playtime in between.
Keep in mind though that his legs may be quick but they are short too. Also, you’ll need to protect him from larger or aggressive children or animals that may come his way on the walks and make certain he doesn’t dart off after any small critters.
This pup loves to do whatever activity it is you are doing so keeping him active shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, this is a great dog breed to help you get off the couch and get some exercise yourself.
Don’t neglect to keep him mentally active as well. He can’t get enough of having fun so you can combine fun physically and mentally challenging games for his delight and for his physical health.
Pet Crates Direct recommends 18” to 22” dog crates* for most adult Toy Fox Terrier.
The Toy Fox Terrier is able to go from zooming around on the floor to lounging in your lap in a matter of seconds. Some TFTs are more active than others. The personality of an individual pup should be evident by his twelfth week of life or so and it should be noted that this breed does have a wide range of personality and activity types.
Most Toy Foxes are little packages of dynamite one minute and lap lovers the next. Their medium energy level seems to come and go in a fairly even flow. They are pro at fetching and will do so for hours on end, a trait that dates back to their days on the hunting ground, rounding up small creatures.
As a rule, all Toy Fox Terriers adore their human families. They are very good with children but older children are preferred because of the TFTs small size and their vigor which could result in a child being overpowered.
A child might also hurt this Toy breed or rile him up to the point of defensive aggression. The same is true of large or aggressive dogs. The TFT is not one to back down so if he is threatened, he might get himself into more than he can handle.
Toy Foxes get along exceptionally well with cats in the household, even if the cat is double or triple his size. Your TFT and your cat may form a tight bond and even be found snuggling or playing together.
If you aren’t one to share the sofa or your bed with a dog, this one may not be for you unless you really stand your ground. He is given to want to be right where you are, night and day. At night, he loves to snuggle under the covers alongside you. This little fellow often doesn’t know where you stop and he begins. He wants to be that close!
This breed is known for being a bit on the noisy side. Other than his barking, he’s a great candidate for an apartment or small condo living due to his tiny size but his vocal-ness will need to be addressed during training or your neighbors will be very unhappy.
He can be very opinionated and territorial. These behaviors can be corrected along with other not-so-great traits but chances are, he will display both naughty traits and then you can work with him.
The TFT craves attention. He does not fare well in a household where no one is home with him much of the time. His separation anxiety issues go into full swing when left alone.
But, since he is pint-sized, he’s very portable and loves to go where you go so if taking him along with you to work or on your travels is a possibility, he’d be the perfect companion.
Due to his history as a hunter and his Terrier traits, the TFT can be independent, willful, and downright stubborn at times. With proper training though, you can correct naughty behaviors.
Another thing this breed is is...smart! He is very quick to catch on and will floor you with his intelligence at times. This trait can also cause him to bore easily which spells trouble. He is apt to chew a shoe or use his excess energy in a destructive manner if not fully exercised physically and stimulated mentally.
Training this perky and smart guy isn’t too difficult if you can get past his Terrier attributes of being a bit bull-headed. Remember, his stubbornness made him a successful hunter in the days of old. But, he is given to a strong pack mentality so establishing yourself as his leader in an assertive and calm way is a must.
This dog can get bored easily so keep the sessions short and sweet. Give him challenges so training is not too simple.
Housetraining should be a breeze for the most part unless you have a usually stubborn TFT (which is possible). Be sure you have established yourself as the pack leader and proceed from there. He should catch on fairly quickly to what you are asking of him. Remember how tiny his little bladder is and take him out frequently.
You may also want to incorporate a housetraining pad, a pee yard or kitty litter box where he can do his business in the event you aren’t home or he can’t make it all the way outside. This is also handy during the cold winter months because this pup doesn’t like the cold. He also hates to get wet so a good back-up plan during rainy times is wise too.
Crate training is a nice idea for this Toy breed. He is a tiny thing in a great big world and a crate can serve as a den did in doggie history when dogs were much more like wolves. Since he is not a fan of being left alone, a crate is comforting during those times too.
Socializing your TFT is best done as early as possible. You’ll want to expose him to as many different people, places, and environments as you can. Take him where it’s loud and bustling with energy and calm places too. Be sure he’s around other dogs of various sizes and some cats as well.
Obedience training is not an option. It’s a must. Teaching him to obey you is imperative for his safety and the safety of other humans and animals. The task shouldn’t be too difficult though. He does like to please people and is certainly sharp enough to know what you are telling him.
Remember, this character worked at the circus. He’s a performer and a trickster. It would be a shame to let all the talent go to waste so embrace his skills and teach him some fun tricks. He’s a show-off so he’ll love the attention the tricks fetch him.
Agility training is another great opportunity for this breed to shine. He is quick and limber so he’s likely to master the course in no time.
Brain game training is suggested for the Toy Fox Terrier too. If he doesn’t use it, he’ll lose it to keep his brain on the cutting edge.
The Toy Fox Terrier generally enjoys a healthy life expectancy of about 13-15 years. There are, however, certain health conditions that the TFT is hereditarily more apt to get and other conditions that he is given to for other reasons such as his small size.
Making sure you get your Fox Terrier from a reputable and responsible breeder is a must unless you are lucky enough to rescue one from a shelter or organization. Because breeders get greedy, especially with breeds that can bring in a good amount of dough, it is up to you to check references and choose accordingly.
Broken bones are not unusual in this breed although he is stronger than most Toy breeds. If you fear your little guy has a fracture, take him to be checked out immediately and be sure to keep him out of harm’s way when you can. He is too tough and courageous for his own good most of the time.
Cold affects this breed a lot. He’s just not cut out to endure it, like many other Toy breeds. It is important to keep him out of the extreme cold conditions and to dress him in protective clothing if he must go out.
Allergies seem to plague the Toy Terrier. He is subject to be allergic to grass, weeds, laundry detergent residue in his bedding or clothing, carpet and many other things that may touch his skin. If his skin is becoming irritated or his is scratching profusely, take note of what elements he is around and let his vet know. Chances are she can recommend or prescribe an ointment for him.
Food allergies are not uncommon in the breed either. If you note any changes in your TFT after he has eaten, especially something he’s not accustomed to eating, speak to your vet about it as soon as you can. Some food allergies can be severely dangerous.
Demodicosis is also known as “Mange”. It is a skin condition that is caused by mites and while it can be seen in any dog, Toy Fox Terriers and other breeds have more of a likelihood of contracting it. The reason why Toy Foxes are susceptible to it is not really clear. The condition involves a mite, the Demodex mite that infests the dog and causes irritation, itching, and inflammation.
When the mites reach enough in number to inhibit the skin and hair follicles of the dog, it can easily end up in lesions of the skin, infections of the skin, and extensive hair loss. The condition is contagious and must be treated immediately for the safety and well-being of your dog and for the safety and well-being of the humans and other animals that are around him.
Serious eye diseases have known to occur in the Toy Terrier like Glaucoma which is caused by a blocking of tear ducts and the onset of extreme pressure within the eyes. The condition can be painful and can lead to blindness. If you suspect your dog has this disease, your vet can conduct an eye test for it and in the event that he does, treatment will be recommended.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is another eye ailment seen in this breed. The problem involves a bilateral degeneration of the retina and ends up causing progressive vision impairment, eventually leading to blindness in some cases. The condition is hereditary and can be diagnosed by your pup’s veterinarian.
Heart disease shows up in TFT breeds more frequently than in some other breeds. It is believed they are genetically dispositioned to be vulnerable to the condition but a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and other preventative measures can be taken to help give your dog the best chance of not getting it.
Legg-Calve-Perthes is a disease than the TFT may be susceptible to, unfortunately. It is usually found in puppies but can come later as well. The condition entails an insufficient blood supply to the head of the rear leg bone which causes degrading.
Limping and lameness are signs of the problem so be sure to have tests fun if you feel your dog has this. Surgery is usually an option and there is a good chance he will be as good as new.
Patellar Luxation is another problem the Toy Fox may be apt to. The condition is marked by a kneecap popping out of joint due to a birth deformity or even an environmental reason at the root. If your pup is limping or cannot walk, seek help immediately.
Hypothyroidism is an inadequate supply of hormones from the thyroid. It causes a dog, or human, to be overly tired and also to lose hair. There is testing that can be run if you feel your TFT is suffering from the condition and when caught early, the treatment is usually successful and fairly simple.
Von Willebrand’s Disease is a medical ailment that may be hereditary to the Toy Fox Terrier. Your dog may even carry it and not have it himself as can one or both of his parents.
That is why blood testing is so important when going through a breeder. This condition is a bleeding disorder and is very serious in nature. If you notice an abnormality in the clotting of your dog’s blood, it is imperative you get him to his vet for an examination immediately.
The fact that there are medical woes to watch for does not mean your little Foxy One will get any of them. All of the conditions he may be prone to get are worth watching out for though. By catching a problem early on, he is much more likely to have a full recovery and a long and happy, healthy life.
Is a Toy Fox Terrier A Good Match for Me?
Do you think you might need this cute little clown in your life? Are you looking for a tiny dog who is confident and sturdy enough to hold his own but portable enough to take along with you wherever you may go? If so...there are a few things you should do some soul searching about before you run out on a Toy Fox hunt.
Are you able to be with this good lookin’ fellow much of the day? He doesn’t do well left alone. He will also need ample exercise so you must be willing and able to give that to him or find someone who can do it for you.
Can you watch out for this little guy who has no concept of his own limits? That means giving him some independence but not too much. Many Toy dog owners tend to be too protective.
Some treat their Toys as toys which is not good for any dog. There are shelters full of pint-sized breeds due to pet parents not realizing they are real live animals that require a good bit of care. So if you can find the balance between his nostalgia and his reality, the two of you may be a perfect match.
If you have taken a good look at what the Toy Fox Terrier is all about (and, what he is not about) and feel you’d like to have this foxy class act clown in your life, congratulations. Your life will be full of love and laughter thanks to this animated, amusing, and simply amazing character.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.