Other names: Smooth Fox Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier
The Fox-Terrier is a fearsome hunting dog, brave and resilient, held in high esteem for his many skills. Despite his small constitution, this dog is very confident, even too much so at times, especially when it comes to fellow canines. An iron fist in a velvet glove is needed to attain a seamless cooperation with this dog. Exceptionally active, this dog needs available and sporty owners who can meet this dog’s many needs for expenditure, especially if he is not employed in hunting missions.
Key facts about the Fox Terrier
Origins and history
The Fox Terrier breed is very old and descends from various Terrier varieties that have once been widespread in England, generally for fox-hunting purposes. The original breeding of the Terrier for fox-hunting purposes took place in the beginning of the 19th century under Reverend Jack Russell’s initiative. It has been continued by hunting enthusiasts while the Fox became ever more refined in its constitution, thanks to dog show regulars. He is reportedly the result of cross-breeding between the Bull Terrier and Manchester Terrier.
Physical characteristics of the Fox Terrier
Female : Between 13 and 14 in
Male : Between 14 and 15 in
Female : Between 13 and 18 lb
Male : Between 15 and 20 lb
The coat can be either a solid colour, bicoloured or tricoloured. White must always be the dominant colour. It is accompanied by certain black, black-and-tan, or fawn patches.
Type of coat
The hair is short.
In the smooth-haired variety, the coat is straight, flat, coarse, dense and abundant. In the wire-haired variety, the hair is dense and very coarsely-textured, as its name indicate. The undercoat is softer however.
The eyes are dark.
The Fox Terrier, which is categorised into two varieties on the basis of its coat only, is a very active and lively dog, that contains all that force and strong skeletal structure within a compact constitution, without ever seeming stodgy. Upright, it resembles a well-built hunting horse. The skull is flat, quite narrow, narrowing further around the eyes. The stop is moderately pronounced. The jaw and mandible are strong and beefed up. The eyes, small and dark, must be as round as possible and radiate an intelligent expression. The ears are small, V-shaped, folding forwards towards the cheeks; they fold at the top of the skull. The limbs are straight and big-boned; they should present no angulations when looked at from the front. The tail hangs high and is always sported cheerfully; it is never curved towards the back nor tucked in.
Good to know
In England, Fox Terriers are held in particularly high esteem, owing most notably to their many victories at the famous Westminster Best in Show.
This is indeed the most successful breed among all others, with a total of 18 wins, 14 of which were claimed by the wire-hair variety.
The Fox Terrier is very affectionate within the family despite his strong temperament. He is fond of his owners, welcoming of guests that he knows, and knows how to be gentle and docile with children.
This terrier is very energetic, lively, cheerful and bubbly. His very feisty personality makes him particularly fond of playtime, especially with children, if the latter are respectful towards him.
A real live wire, this dog is no display dog, even if he might occasionally enjoy sleeping at his master’s feet after returning from a walk or hunt.
Energetic, lively, very fast, tireless and rarely still, the fox is a fearless dog that can satisfy the most dynamic and athletic of owners.
His hunting skills make him a rather intelligent dog who knows how to adapt to the various missions entrusted to him.
Resilient, brave and clever, the Fox Terrier is a very good work assistant for anyone in need of one. He can hunt for various animals, from little pests to bigger game. He is particularly esteemed for his underground hunting skills (digging), most notably in fox and badger-hunting.
His versatility allows him to carry out overground hunting (by lifting and fetching small game, both feathered and coated); chase-hunting (by forming a ring of running dogs to tease the big game out) and underground hunting (by hunting in burrows).
Fearful / wary of strangers
Invited guests are always welcomed by this hunting dog. However, whenever a stranger approaches, he will most likely start barking, so as to stop anyone he might perceive as an intruder in their tracks.
A proper, precocious introduction is therefore needed for this strong-willed dog to accept someone’s entrance onto his home turf. As soon as that occurs, he becomes very welcoming.
Still, it is strongly advised owners of a Fox Terrier keep a close eye on him if he is sent to welcome guests (whether enthusiastic about it or not) who wish to cross the doorway into their home.
The stubborn and tenacious side of the Fox may make him seem like an independent dog, but he can be clingy too. His attachment to his social group is well concealed at times but, nevertheless, still very present.
As soon as a trusting relationship is established between the dog and his adoptive family, he takes it to heart to please them, and the approval of members of his social group is very important to him.
Behaviour of the Fox Terrier
If he has had sufficient amounts of exercise both prior to and after a period of being alone, the owners’ absences will not be a problem for this dog.
If he hasn’t, he will start barking and being disruptive to express his feelings of frustration and discomfort at the situation.
Some toys may keep him busy and could distract him from feeling the time going by too much. But at any rate, absences should not be lengthy as the Fox won’t tolerate that.
Easy to train / obedience
Despite his tenacious and stubborn temperament, the Fox Terrier is eager to please, which considerably facilitates various types of training. Having said that, a precocious and firm training (cruelty-free) is indispensable in making this dog a pleasant companion animal.
Quite confident and dominant by nature, this dog will not easily be bent to anyone’s will if he does not detect a certain dose of good intention and coherence in the orders he receives.
His strong-headedness should never justify any show of brutality in trying to yield his cooperation- this will only serve to sully the confidence and mutual respect established between master and dog.
In fact, as soon as the Fox Terrier pup is first integrated into the household, some limits must be established and a strict framework imposed, to stop him from picking bad habits up. Patience will be the key word in securing encouraging results.
The help of a professional in training and canine behaviourism will not be an extravagance, especially for novice owners.
Training must first prioritise hailing in order to keep the dog under control when a foreign element catches his eye. Socialisation must also be prioritised as this dog can prove to be very imposing (even aggressive) towards fellow canines and other animals, with a constant need to have the upper hand.
The Fox Terrier is a fierce barker. In this sense, he is a good alarm-dog, and even though this might not be the function most sought after by owners, it will be difficult to suppress his barking as it is one of his main means of communication.