The Toy Fox Terrier, sometimes also known as the American Toy Terrier, is a breed that was developed in the United States during the 1930s. They were created by crossing the Smooth Fox with many different breeds including the Miniature Pinscher, Manchester Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, and of course Chihuahuas, which they bear a strong resemblance to. The intent of this breeding was to make the dogs smaller and making their personality more like that of a companion dog, while still retaining their working ability. After they were first developed these dogs were mainly used as vermin hunters. Although this breed was developed in the United States, they were not recognized by the AKC until 2003.
The Toy Fox Terrier is a small, and cute looking breed. They stand at about 10 inches tall at the withers. They usually weigh between 3.5 and 7 pounds. They have a well proportioned head that is slightly rounded on top and wedge shaped. The muzzle is an average length and slightly tapered with a well defined stop. The nose is usually black, except in chocolate dogs which will sometimes have a chocolate covered nose. This is considered a disqualification in the show ring. The eyes are large and round, and they are also dark in color. The large ears are v-shaped and stand erect and high up on the head. The tail is also high set and short, but sometimes it is docked. The Toy Fox Terrier’s coat is shiny and smooth. The coat is usually tricolor; white with black and tan markings. Some other colors can occur, but are not part of the breed standard. These dogs are easy to groom. They just need to be brushed occasionally and the nails should be kept short. These dogs are light shedders.
Though the Toy Fox Terrier is small, they have a lot of personality. They are very bright and curious, but they can also be somewhat stubborn during training. They will need proper leadership from a strong owner. An owner that is naturally authoritative will have a much easier time commanding and training this breed. These dogs are intelligent and with an owner who is a strong pack leader, they should be easily trainable. Unfortunately a lot of little dogs like this suffer from small dog syndrome. This is basically a series of bad behaviors that develop because the owner treats their little dog like a spoiled child instead of the well trained canine they should be. It is called small dog syndrome because small dogs are much more likely to be spoiled and poorly trained. They get away with behaviors that a larger dog would be punished for because their cute looks are getting them out of trouble. Small dog syndrome creates a number of behavioral issues, but the most common include the dog being destructive, obsessively barking, guarding objects, and even snapping or being aggressive. These are not natural personality traits and are created entirely by the owner. Dogs thrive on rules and expectations and a dog that is behaving this way is not happy even though their owner may be catering to all their needs. Structure is key to a well behaved dog, not matter what size they are. The Toy Fox Terrier is still a natural hunter at heart. They will chase mice and other small animals. These dogs should also be well socialized while they are still puppies. This process should include taking them out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. This will help to ensure that they don’t feel frightened or intimidated by new things later in life. Well socialized dogs are also much friendlier in generally with both people and other animals.
As such a small breed, the Toy Fox Terrier can live happily in an apartment or other small home. They are active indoors and will sometimes run around and play. They are not usually outdoor dogs, especially in the cooler months. They will need a sweater or jacket when it is cold out. These dogs are very active and will need both physical and mental exercise daily. A brisk walk is best since it will also fulfill the dog’s instinctual need to get out and walk. A dog that gets a daily walk will be much happier and less likely to display behavioral issues.
Toy Fox Terriers are a generally healthy breed. They are sometimes prone to Legg-Calvé-Perthes, which is a disease that can sometimes affect small dogs. This congenital disease affects the joints of the dog the same way that hip dysplasia does. They may also develop patellar luxation, which can affect their mobility and is exacerbated by the dog jumping up and down off of furniture. Another disease that may affect these dogs is von Willebrand’s disease, which is genetic and affects the way the blood clots. Dogs with this condition should be watched when they get cuts or scrapes because they may bleed for an abnormally long time. They may even need a visit to the vet for a minor injury. A healthy Toy Fox Terrier will like about 14 years.
Overall the Toy Fox Terrier is a friendly little dog that is excellent for families. They do need proper training and leadership, but are easy to train. They also have easy grooming and exercise requirements.