Smooth Fox Terrier
Light-Hearted And Eager To Please!

The Smooth Fox Terrier was bred to run with the hounds and horsemen on fox hunts. Its job was to pursue the fox both above and below ground until he was able to successfully bolt it out of the den.

Two Fox Terriers

This breed, which some describe as clownish in a fun way, not surprisingly has also been known for their entertaining abilities as circus performers, and some still are today. Originating in England, the breed is a fairly old one as evidenced by an early painting from 1790 depicting its likeness!

Other breeds thought to be instrumental in its development include the smooth-coated Black and Tan Terrier, the Beagle, the Greyhound, the Bull Terrier and the English White Terrier (now extinct).

The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1885.

Well-balanced and athletic in appearance, this canine epitomizes the image of a dog. Some might be familiar with the vintage RCA trademark picture of the Smooth Fox Terrier "Nipper", shown below, as the dog listening to "His Master's Voice" through a gramophone. Wow, technology has come a long way!


Appearance and Coat Care

Height: 15.5 inches
Weight: Female 15-17 lbs, Male 16-18 lbs.
Coat colors: Mostly white or all white and often with tan or black markings.
Lifespan: 12-15 years

The coat is smooth in appearance and abundant. Its texture is hard and it lies flat.

Shedding is moderate, but brushing is needed to remove loose hair. Rubbing down with a chamois cloth will keep the coat glossy. The brush shown below is ideal for removing loose hair, dander and debris while distributing the natural oils.

Grooming also includes attention to ear cleaning, nail trimming and tooth brushing. The latter being very important to overall health.

ionic brass brush for dog


Health Issues That May Affect the Smooth Fox Terrier

This breed has been known to live up to nineteen years, but the range is generally between twelve to fifteen. It is considered to be a hardy breed and with regular veterinary visits will usually not have a lot of health issues.

Some issues that may be seen include:

  • Ear problems, specifically hereditary deafness - mainly associated with the predominantly white-coated variety
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye disorders such as lens luxation, cataracts, and distichiasis
  • Bone related disorders: legg-perthes and patella luxation
  • Skin allergies.

Characteristics And Traits

smooth fox terrier

You have to get up pretty early to keep pace with a Smooth Fox Terrier. This is one dog both quick of mind and body and a barrel of energy. Full of life and very affectionate, they love to play and are happiest being the center of attention.

Don't leave the Fox Terrier alone too much as they can easily get bored and that often leads to mischief and barking.

This is a fun dog to be around that will keep you entertained. But, don't underestimate this dog based on its size - they are very confident and intelligent dogs and like to be in charge.

Owners should firmly establish themselves as the boss, without being harsh. After that is understood, these smart guys can learn anything, but it is paramount that they know the rules and who makes the rules! Then the fun can begin!

Early socialization is important to balance out their tendency to be dog-aggressive.

Their keen alertness makes them effective as watchdogs.


Exercise Needs

Very active breed that requires a good amount of daily exercise. Any opportunity to run free in a securely fenced area is great for them.

Beyond physical exercise, don't overlook the mental needs of this intelligent terrier.

This can be handled with a variety of games and creative training sessions. Agility training is another good option as it requires considerable mental focus.


smooth fox terrier white

Ideal Living Space

The Smooth Fox Terrier is adaptable to any accommodations provided sufficient exercise is given.

This terrier has very strong hunting instincts so if you have property, boundaries should be secure to prevent escape routes.

If you've ever seen these little dogs at a dog show, you may remember that they jump a lot and they can jump really high - almost like they have springs attached to their paws :)

Point being: property fencing should be high! And because they excel at digging, make sure fences go beneath ground level!


Children and the Smooth Fox Terrier

Good with older considerate children who have been taught how to interact with pets.

He will happily join in their games, but play should be supervised at all times by an adult.


Seniors or Less Active Lifestyles

Although noted for their loyalty, the Smooth Fox Terrier is most likely too energetic for a sedentary household.

That being said, seniors who like to stay active would no doubt enjoy this lively breed.


Recommended Reading

Terrier-centric Dog Training
From Tenacious to Tremendous



Breed Resource: American Fox Terrier Club
Image of Nipper by Francis Barraud, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons




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