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Get to Know the Toy Fox Terrier: A Jack of All Trades

With one foot in the terrier ring and one foot in the toy group, this feisty dog has a larger-than-life self-image.

Caroline Coile  |  Oct 19th 2015


Farm dog, circus dog, family dog — the Toy Fox Terrier is a jack of all trades. With one foot in the terrier ring and one foot in the toy group, this feisty dog has a larger-than-life self-image, but he’s earned it!

Toy Fox Terrier by Shutterstock.

Toy Fox Terrier by Shutterstock.

More interesting things about the Toy Fox Terrier

  • The breed is easily recognized with its elegant head and upright ears that are set high on the head. In the most frequent coloration, the head is predominately black with tan markings. The body is primarily white. Any color on the body must match the color on the head.
  • Tan and white is also a popular color in Toy Fox Terriers.
  • The Toy Fox Terrier may be confused with the Smooth Fox Terrier, Rat Terrier, or Parson Russell Terrier, but the Toy Fox is smaller. The dog may also be confused with the Chihuahua, but the Toy Fox is taller, finer boned, with a longer head and (usually, in North America) a docked tail. The Toy Fox may also be confused with the Toy Manchester Terrier or Miniature Pinscher, but the Toy Fox is predominantly white on his body and with a primarily color on his head.
  • Toy Fox Terriers descend from Smooth Fox Terriers, which generally weighed about 18 to 20 pounds in the late 1800s. Owners found that the smaller Fox Terriers, the so-called “runts,” were scrappy rat killers as well as entertaining house dogs. These smaller dogs were crossed with toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds, and Toy Manchester Terriers.
  • By the 1920s, these small Smooth Fox Terriers, many weighing about 8 pounds, were still part of the Smooth Fox Terrier breed. But in 1936, the United Kennel Club recognized them as a separate breed, the Toy Fox Terrier.
Toy Fox Terriers by Shutterstock.

Toy Fox Terriers by Shutterstock.

  • The breed is friendly, happy, curious, and confident by nature. They don’t like to be cold and are not fond of water.
  • Through the early and mid-1900s, the Toy Fox Terrier was often used in circus acts. Now they are more likely to be found doing tricks to entertain the family
  • The breed was recognized only by the UKC for 67 years. In 2003, they were finally recognized as an American Kennel Club breed.
  • The breed standards for the UKC and AKC Toy Fox Terriers are similar, except for coloration. The AKC standard allows for chocolate color in the colored areas, whereas the UKC standard does not. Also the AKC has height standards, and the UKC standard is based on weight.
  • Today’s Toy Fox Terrier weighs from 3 and a half to 7 pounds and is between 8 and a half and 11 inches tall at the shoulder.
Toy Fox Terrier by Shutterstock.

Toy Fox Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • The dog is a member of the Toy group.
  • The Toy Fox Terrier is the 110th most popular AKC breed, down from 100th five years ago. In contrast, it is the seventh most popular UKC breed!
  • The tail is traditionally docked in North America.
  • TheToy Fox Terrier was first entered in the Westminster dog show in 2004, but has yet to place in the Toy group there.
  • The Toy Fox Terrier has also been called the AmerToy.
  • The dog is a quick learner, is highly trainable, and loves to retrieve tennis balls and play with toys.
  • The Toy Fox Terrier can be found anywhere from a show ring, an agility competition, obedience tests, barn hunts, coursing ability tests, and fly ball competitions to their favorite spot lying on their owners’ laps.
  • Owners include Kristi Yamaguchi and Ashley Greene.

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here.

Read recent stories by Caroline Coile:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier