Toy Fox Terriers are small dogs with satiny coats that come in white, chocolate, and tan; tricolor; white and black; or white and tan. The coat is shiny, smooth, and fine in texture. These dogs have dark, round eyes and erect ears. Their tails, which may be docked, are carried high. Toy Fox Terriers measure 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 4 to 9 pounds.
Feisty and bold, yet eager to please, the Toy Fox Terrier gets along with most people and pets.
Friendly and outgoing, Toy Fox Terriers make great companion animals for families with older children. They are very loyal to their loved ones and enjoy a variety of activities, including playing in the yard, lounging on the couch, and hunting. They have a lot of energy and are perfect playmates for kids. Their small size and adaptability make them perfect for apartment living, although they benefit from access to a fenced yard. These dogs are easy to groom.
Toy Fox Terriers are a surprisingly agile breed. In pursuit of squirrels, these little dogs have been known to climb trees with ease.
Friendly, alert, and intelligent, Toy Fox Terriers make good companion animals for active families with older children. The breed's small size makes it a poor choice for homes with toddlers, and its noisy nature and need for activity makes the Toy Fox Terrier a better fit for suburban homes with a yard than city apartments. Lots of exercise and attention will minimize the noisiness and destructiveness of these little dogs, though.
Toy Fox Terriers are very loyal and quickly become attached to their families. They are also naturally protective and make decent watchdogs. When not playing with loved ones or clowning around, these dogs enjoy hunting and ridding their environment of rats and other vermin.
Feisty and bold, yet eager to please, the Toy Fox Terrier gets along with most people and pets. These little dogs are also highly adaptable and tend to be more manageable than other terrier breeds. Still, they are terriers to the core, and that means a tendency toward being highly spirited, self-possessed, and full of attitude. When outdoors, they should be kept on a leash or inside a securely fenced yard at all times; otherwise, they may get into trouble or chase after squirrels or neighborhood cats.
Toy Fox Terriers are not known to suffer from many serious genetic issues, but this is not a guarantee that any individual dog will be free of health problems or congenital disorders. The breed has very thin skin and may need to wear a sweater for warmth during the winter or when in cold climates.
Luxating patellas, primary lens luxation, and von Willebrand's disease, which is a bleeding disorder, are all seen in Toy Fox Terriers. Additionally, the breed can carry or be affected by congenital hypothyroidism with goiter. This disease of the thyroid gland results in death within weeks for severely affected puppies. Fortunately, a DNA test is available to identify carriers of the disorders, and there is hope that careful breeding will eventually make this disorder very rare.
With routine veterinary care, proper nutrition, daily exercise, and canine vaccinations, Toy Fox Terriers typically live 12 to 15 years.
Smart, eager to please, and easy to train, Toy Fox Terriers learn quickly and rarely forget commands. This is fortunate, considering the breed's tendency to get into trouble and behave inappropriately without training. Like other terrier breeds, the Toy Fox has an insatiable desire to bark, dig, and explore. These feisty little dogs can also be aggressive toward other dogs without training.
To improve the effectiveness of training, sessions should be kept short and interesting. Toy Fox Terriers tend to bore easily and will quickly lose interest if there's too much repetition during training. Unlike other toy breeds, these dogs are usually easy to housetrain, provided they start with a housetraining pad or litter box. Female Toy Fox Terriers generally get the hang of housetraining before males.
In addition to training, socialization is important to ensure the Toy Fox Terrier grows into a confident, tolerant, calm, and well-adjusted adult dog. Introduction to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and people early in life will reduce later aggressiveness and overly suspicious behavior in the breed. Puppy kindergarten is good during the first months of life, and walks around town, visits to neighbors' homes, and trips to the dog park will help later on.
Easy to groom, Toy Fox Terriers need only occasional brushing to keep their coat healthy, shiny, and manageable. These dogs don't shed very much, either, making them ideal for anyone interested in purchasing or adopting a low-maintenance dog breed. If shedding ever does become a problem, a quick brushing two or three times weekly should be enough to control loose hair and keep it off furniture and clothing.
Bathing these dogs is rarely needed, unless they roll around in something harmful, stinky, or sticky. Even then, a quick shampoo with a pH-balanced product will gently wash the coat while keeping the skin safe from irritation and drying. A thorough rinsing is important to remove all traces of soap residue that can cause itching or other problems.
The nails need trimming every week or two, and the teeth should be brushed every day to prevent tartar buildup, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. Additionally, weekly ear checks can detect wax buildup and signs of ear infection before a serious problem develops.
Toy Fox Terriers were created in the 1930s by crossing a number of toy breeds, including Italian Greyhounds, Manchester Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, and Chihuahuas. The American dogs were developed primarily to hunt foxes and were designed with two coat types: Smooth and Wire.
These little dogs were often used on farms to clear rats and other small rodents from granaries and barns. They were sometimes called "little farm dogs."
Today, these feisty little dogs are popular competitors in dog shows. They are also beloved companion animals, especially for active families.
The American Kennel Club did not officially recognize the Toy Fox Terrier until 2003.