toy Fox terrier

The Toy Fox Terrier is an all-American small dog breed. Developed to create a smaller Smooth Fox Terrier, this adorable little dog is highly intelligent and a star in circus rings and performance sports. 


The Toy Fox Terrier (TFT) is directly descended from the Smooth Fox Terrier, which was developed in England. He was created in the United States by breeding with toy breeds like Chihuahuas and Manchester Terriers. 

The Smooth Fox Terrier accompanied hunters to flush out foxes from their burrows. This breed came in different sizes with the smallest being more prized.

Smaller Smooth Fox Terriers were feistier and served as ratters, hunters for small game and defenders of the home. 

In the beginning, these runts were registered under the larger Smooth Fox Terriers. But in the 1920s, a petition was made to have the smaller dogs recognized as a separate breed. 

In 1936, the Toy Fox Terrier was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club and later in 2003 by the American Kennel Club.

Physical Characteristics

The Toy Fox Terrier has a small muscular athletic body. He has a solid head with large eyes and V-shaped ears. His tail can be long or short and straight.  

This small dog has a notable short coat that is mostly white with glossy fur. His coat is a little longer at the ruff. The most common coat color variations include:

  • Tricolour
  • White and tan
  • White and black
  • White, chocolate and tan


Fully grown, the TFT has a height of 8 to 11 inches (22 to 30cm) and weighs 3 to 7 pounds (1.5 to 3kg). 

Character & abilities

The TFT has the best traits of the terrier and toy breeds. He is tenacious, spirited and affectionate with his people. He is eager to participate in any activities with them, whether it is playing or sitting on the couch. 

This small dog breed is fiercely loyal and protective. He is aloof with strangers but proper socialization will help him be friendly towards any visitors welcomed into the home.

Despite his size, he has a big bark and makes an excellent guard dog. Anyone breaking into the home will be put off by the noise he will make. 

Like other terrier breeds, the TFT will chase small animals. He should be walked on a leash to make sure he doesn’t run off and get into trouble. 

The TFT doesn’t know he is a small dog. He will not back away from a confrontation with a larger animal. His interactions with other dogs should be supervised. 

This small dog makes a lovely companion for older children. Most toy breeds are better off with playmates who understand how to handle them with respect.  The TFT is not recommended for homes with small children. 

The TFT copes well with other dogs and cats in the home but he can be territorial around strange dogs. 

Trainability & Intelligence

The TFT is highly intelligent and trainable. He performs well in obedience, agility trials, flyball and rally competitions.

Housetraining this dog is easy because he is small and can be taught to use a litter box.

This terrier is eager to please but has a mind of his own. He will insist on being permitted on the bed and couch just like his family members. 

He can be a tyrant and should not be allowed to think he is the leader of the pack. Early socialization and training should steer him to become a well-mannered companion. 

Exercise Needs & Nutrition

This hardy breed has abundant energy and is lively into his old age. He can be active indoors but also enjoys exploring the outdoors.

As an adorable companion, TFT owners can spoil this dog with treats and table scraps. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits and excessive weight gain.

Depending on the dog’s size, build, metabolism and level of activity, an adult TFT will thrive on two meals a day of high-quality dog food that is formulated to provide complete wholesome nutrition. 


The TFT’s short coat requires minimal care and sheds occasionally in the spring. A good comb for grooming glove can be used every week to remove loose and dead hair.

It is only when necessary that baths are required, especially after the dog has been playing in the dirt or mud. 

Dental care is very important. Daily brushing of the teeth can prevent tartar build-up, gum disease and doggy breath. 

This dog keeps close contact with his people and their furniture. To prevent his nails from getting caught in upholstery or accidentally scratching someone when cuddling, it is important to schedule monthly paw care. 

Living Conditions & Adaptability

Not all TFTs are show dogs. This trainable dog is adaptable to apartment living, as long as he gets daily exercise. 

This pup is a housedog and should not be left outside for long especially in the cold season. When out walking, he should be protected from harsh weather using a dog coat or raincoat. 

As a natural hunter of small animals, this small dog may not get along with pets like mice and hamsters. 

Even though the Toy Fox Terrier is happier sleeping on the bed or sitting on the couch with his human family, he should not be allowed to jump off heights. It is safer to use a dog ramp or stairs. 


Generally healthy, the Toy Fox Terrier is susceptible to health conditions and diseases like:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Demodectic mange
  • Canine von Willebrand’s Disease(VWD)
  • Congenital hypothyroidism with goiter (CHG)

This dog cannot tolerate cold weather and needs to be carefully acclimatized.

The TFT has a lifespan of 13 to 15 years.


If looking for a fun-loving spunky dog that also likes to cuddle comfortably as a lap dog, the Toy Fox Terrier fits the bill. This low maintenance dog has a beautiful sleek physical appearance and makes a devoted companion. 

Homing a new dog can be daunting and our team at All The Small Dog Breeds believe it is important to get the best match. Our small dog breed descriptions provide details for consideration.  

Once you have identified your new furry friend, we recommend adopting from a reputable breeder or local animal shelter.


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