Dog Breed Review

Toy Fox Terrier




If you like buying American, then the Toy Fox Terrier is waiting to hear from you! This exuberant, running, and jumping Toy breed comes from an impressive ancestry of performers. From the dog shows to the circus, yes the circus, the TFT loves the spotlight.

However, don’t let the cute face fool you. While the breed may be obedient and entertaining, they aren’t afraid to get down and dirty. Literally. 

Their talents don’t stop from performance and ratting, it extends even further. Doing what a coonhound by snuffing out game. Oh, and they make for wonderful companions. 

So what’s the breed’s story and will they be a good fit in your home?

Here is what you need to know about the Toy Fox Terrier


Before coming a hot shot circus show performer in the early 20th century, the Toy Fox Terrier had a bit more muster in its performance. Their story all begins with their ostentatious cousin, the Smooth Fox Terrier. The Smooth Fox Terrier plays a good part in this breed’s bloodline. Of course, for the speed and small size that hunters and farmers would need, it was necessary to cross with a smaller breed. That they did. Indeed, according to historians, the crosses of Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound and Miniature Pinscher would all play a part in creating this exuberant character.

Fox hunting was a big sport and a big need back in England. During the mid 19th century, fanciers and hunters made great strides in creating various hunting and ratting breeds for dual purpose. of course, as most people would fine, the terrier was most useful for the sake of ratting. According to the famous breeder, Barbara Andrews, it was, indeed, the Fox Terrier that became most reputable for vermin killing. However, farmers began to take notice that the smaller the breed got the better they could perform. Additionally, if the Fox Terrier was smaller, it could fit inside a pocket and in many instances the breed did.

For a while, the Toy Fox Terrier had to share the spotlight with the Smooth Fox Terrier. Yet, enthusiasts knew better and thought the breed was deserving of their standard. It would take a few years down the road before that came.

Coming before their standard was the dwindling popularity of fox hunting. It wasn’t as necessary and vermin killing wasn’t as big of a draw either. Furthermore, people began to take notice of how well a performer at shows the Fox Terrier or the Fox Terrier Toy was. The name for the toy was runts, which farmers would end up keeping for themselves after care selection. One legend has it that before the sport and trade became obsolete, the Toy Fox Terrier could capture up to 74 rodents per day.

During the 20’s, enthusiasts made multiple pitches to the United Kennel Club to grant recognition and distinction. Unfortunately, those requests would be put on pause until 1936, when the UKC did grant the Toy Fox Terrier full recognition. Shortly after, in 1949, the formation of the National Toy Fox Terrier Association began and the promoting of the breed was underway.

Before television, the breed could be seen with entertainers performing at circus events. Since the Toy Fox Terrier is such a smart breed, athletic and agile, the breed quickly pick up learning and displaying tricks in front of audiences. As you can imagine, this did wonders for their popularity.

The latter half of the 20th century would quiet down tremendously. It wouldn’t be until 2003 that the American Kennel Club would grant full recognition. Today, the breed is more of a household companion and a fine agility and obedience competitor. Much more rare than most breeds, the Toy Fox Terrier is the 112th most popular breed in the United States.


They may have a big heart but their frame is small. The Toy Fox Terrier can stand between 8.5 inches and 11.5 inches.

With regards to weight, the breed should fall between 3.5 pounds to 7 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

What the breed lacks in size they more than enough make up in personality. This is a breed that will have qualms being the center of attention. And, why not? With a history of performing at the circus, this lively and plenty of spirit breed is sure to put a smile on your face. Eager to please and a thirst to entertain people, the Toy Fox Terrier’s second home is on stage. Obedience and agility are activities this breed thrives in doing. 

Aside from being comical, front and center performers, the Toy Fox Terrier has a lot of courage. Brave, bold or tenacious, pick your word — it doesn’t matter, the TFT will stand up and rise against any threat to family. Extremely loyal, a watchdog with amazing ears and instinctive. Owners laud the breed for their anticipation for what they may be thinking. Communication is key for this breed and interaction is something they’ll enjoy.

Although the breed is highly energetic and lively, that doesn’t mean they are incapable of relaxing. One of the things farmers in the 19th century could appreciate is their multi dimensional ability to turn it on and turn it off.

Like a true terrier, the breed can be feisty and have a mind of its own. They can be stubborn but are typically simple to train and willing to learn. They love kids that are older and are out to lunch on other dogs. 

Adaptable, enjoys exercise, brisk walks, close contact and will thrive in apartment if all things click. That is, when they are getting their stimulation. All in all, the Toy Fox Terrier is friendly. They are competitive and yearn for a role. They just want to please and work. There’s no task too big for this small breed. 


Your Toy Fox Terrier should be a hardy and healthy breed. Typically, they get flying marks from the biggest kennel clubs and dog breeders. That doesn’t mean your Toy Fox Terrier is out of the woods. You can avoid some of the issues that do make the breed’s laundry list of complications by purchasing a Toy Fox Terrier from a reputable breeder. Someone who can provide you with sound information and credible health clearances. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and do the proper research. Read reviews and ask around. 

In addition, you should be scheduling regular veterinarian visits for your TFT to ensure they maintain their good standing health. If you, then there is no reason to believe that TFT can’t live as long as 15 years.

It appears that terriers have issues with their joints and the TFT is no exception. Your TFT may experience a condition, Legg Calves Perthes. When the femoral head begins to degenerate around the hind leg, it will cause disintegration of the hip joint. If this persists, expect inflammation around the bone and joints as well as pain. Limping is one sure sign that your Toy Fox Terrier may have an orthopedic issues.

Patella Luxation is when the kneecap slips out of place. Another common problem for breeds like the Toy Fox. This can lead to injuries of the ACL and a great deal of pain. Breeds like the Boston Terrier, Chihuahua and Cocker Spaniel also suffer from this disorder. An authority on the issue of this condition, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals had a survey studying over a hundred breeds and the Toy Fox Terriers ranks 18th worst with a 6.3 dysplastic rating out of 250 plus evaluations. That puts them in the company of breeds like the Bulldog and Chow Chow.

Demodex or Demodectic Mange may be of concern for this breed. Quite simply, this is a skin infection typically due to a specific infestation of mites. Normally, this will result in redness, irritation and itchy skin. It can also progress to hair loss and immune system issues are possible. Luckily, there are some solutions like medication, special shampoo treatment, if necessary.

Hypothyroidism is a serious issue that causes harm to the immune system. This is because the thyroid glands aren’t getting out hormonal production. Mostly, the issues will lie with their coats and issues with weight, lethargy, etc. There is medication out there that can help maintain the condition. Always consult with your Vet.

Len Luxation is when the lens of the eye doesn’t form properly. Of course, this is similar to the common joint issues like Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. When there’s a lack of proper alignment it causes the lens to detach from the original location causing issues with the eyes and vision. It can lead to potential blindness.

A lack of special protein that dogs need to help stick together and form clots, which works in sealing up broken vessels is called, Von Willebrands. This is quite common and the most common bleeding disorder in dogs and humans. The Toy Fox Terrier may suffer from this disorder.


Because the breed has a proclivity to jump up and run off, early training is necessary. Consistent and firmness in the approach is absolutely helpful as well. You’ll want to curb these habits before they worsen as adults. 

A secure fence will go a long way because of the breed’s propensity to wander a bit. That or leashing the Toy Fox Terrier up during playtime romps or walks. Remember, this is a former ratter, which means they have strong inclination of prey drive. If you have other smaller animals like mice, birds, or even cats, you’ll want to socialize your Toy Fox Terrier as a puppy to teach them and show them new encounters and new people.

This is a toy breed. They won’t tolerate a smaller child in their face or rough housing with them. Most people say avoid getting a dog like this if you have smaller children. However, proper socialization and teaching your child how to properly handle and treat a dog under supervision will help.

If your Toy Fox Terrier will be living in an apartment, make sure you give them plenty of adequate exercise. The breed relies upon it. Plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep them from boredom.

Typically, the breed is good with any climate but be mindful of colder weather. This is a dog that should be indoors, have a role, and not spend too much time alone. In addition, you should check their ears for bacterial infections, trim their nails routinely and give them a bath as necessary.


A Toy Fox Terrier may not eat as much as other dogs. That’ll depend on your dog’s age, metabolism and energy requirements. A high quality formula and diet is necessary for any breed. Meat should be the first ingredient. It can be salmon, or some other fish, or chicken, beef or poultry. A proper balance of fruits and vegetable, while giving them quality crude fat levels, protein sources and calories.

Most owners seem fine with two meals a day and 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup per day. Breaking that up into meals helps avoid Bloat, a fatal condition of the stomach and prevents obesity.

As always, you should provide your Toy Fox Terrier with fresh drinking water.


The Toy Fox Terrier should have a consistent length running the entirety of the body. The texture should be fine, smooth to the touch. Shiny and appealing silky.

This is a seasonal shedder that is going to need occasional grooming. A once over per week will do the trick to help eliminate dead hair and make your TFT’s coat look at its best.

The American Kennel Club states there are four acceptable coat color options: White and black, white and tan, white black and tan, white chocolate and tan.

There are no acceptable markings.

Fun Toy Fox Terrier Facts

  • Aside from being the TFT, their nickname is also the “Amertoy.”
  • According to the American Kennel Club, the Toy Fox Terrier is their 148th breed to obtain recognition.
  • According to the AKC, the original breed standard for the TFT was back in 1876.
  • Aside from their ability to rat, perform on stage at the circus, the breed can also use their keen senses to “tree” raccoon.

Closing Words

Don’t want a breed that will be docile and sleep all day? The Toy Fox Terrier is quite the opposite. This is a lively breed, relatively new to the dog kingdom. They’ll entertain you everyday for free after work or before.

If you want something to fit in your pocket and keep them safe from snatchers — there is no better breed than the TFT to do so. They are feisty, brave, bold and smart. They are loyal and loving,  which they’ll seek in return. For the right family, the Toy Fox Terrier can bring devotion, affection and plenty of fun.




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