Breed At A Glance


Loveable, loyal, energetic, active, intelligent, trainable

Life Expectancy
15 years

Average Height
8.5” – 11.5”

Average Weight
3.5 – 9 lbs

Coat Color
Mostly white with tan and/or black markings

Coat Length/Texture
Short, fine

Shedding Propensity

Also known as American Toy Terrier, Amertoy

General Temperament

“Versatile” is perhaps the best way to describe the Toy Fox Terrier. They are equally happy on the hunt for small game and vermin, performing tricks, or just lounging on the couch. Careful breeding has given the Toy Fox Terrier a desire to please its owners while retaining the indicative terrier intelligence and inquisitiveness. They grow very attached to their humans love to spend time with them in whatever way they can. Some even seem to believe they are human themselves, and want to be afforded the same rights.

Toy Foxies are active indoors and capable of taking care of their own exercise needs, and are more adaptable for apartment life than the larger Fox Terriers. Nevertheless, they love activity and the outdoors and, with proper direction, frequently excel at agility trials, flyball, and obedience. Toy Fox Terriers maintain their puppylike enthusiasm well into their teens.

Territoriality is a terrier trait that has not been lost on this breed. A Toy Fox Terrier has a surprising deep bark for a dog of it’s size, and will be sure to announce the arrival of visitors. They can be wary of strangers, which can make this breed a relentless watchdog, but the dog must be taught from an early age that some visitors are welcome friends. Like most toy breeds, they can be a little snippish with unruly children, although they are more patient than many of the other terriers. Early socialization will help to minimize this trait, although children should be taught the proper way to interact with the dog.

The terrier instincts can still run strong in this breed, and they tend to run off after anything that they find interesting, and may pick fights with dogs much larger than themselves. Suburban backyard fences will need to be buried deep and checked regularly to keep the dog out of harms way.

Breed History

Toy Fox Terriers were developed in the United States by combining smaller Smooth Fox Terriers with other toy breeds including Miniature Pinchers, Toy Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas and Italian Greyhounds. The addition of these other breeds allowed the Toy Fox Terrier to achieve a more palatable disposition than the larger Foxies, while still maintaining the terrier spirit.

The Toy Fox Terrier is a relatively recent addition to the American Kennel Club, becoming fully recognized in 2000 and accepted into the toy group in 2003.

Body Structure and Composition

As far as toy breeds go, the tiny Toy Fox Terrier is one of the more stout and muscular specimens. It is square in appearance, the height being approximately equal to the length. The ears are proportionately large and set high on the head, and always carried erect. The strong muzzle meets the skull in a more pronounced stop than it’s Smooth Fox Terrier progenitors. The topline is always level, both when standing and running. The tail is set high and held erect, and is often docked if the dog will be in the show ring in the U.S., although this is primarily cosmetic and most other countries have banned the practice.

The Toy Fox Terrier has a short and fine coat and does not handle cold temperatures well. This breed will need to sleep indoors and may require a sweater in particularly cold areas.

Medical Information

The most frequent medical issue that faces the Toy Fox Terrier is allergies, many of which are food-born and can be controlled with a proper diet. Demotetic mange is caused by a parasite and occurs in all dogs, but the Toy Fox Terrier is particularly sensitive to it, and can develop skin problems as a result.

Legg-Calves-Perthe’s disease, a hereditary condition that causes degeneration of the hip joint (similar to hip dysplasia) has been known to occur in some Toy Fox Terrier lines. Be sure to find a reputable breeder that can provide health screening documentation for the dams and sires used in their breeding program. Another inherited disease that has affected this breed is Von Willdebrand’s disease (a form of hemophilia), though this can also be controlled through a careful breeding program.

Luxating patellas (also known as “slipped stiffles”), a condition that occurs when the kneecap slips out of place, has been known to affect this breed, though perhaps not as frequently as in many other toy breeds.

Anecdotal Information

Despite its versatility, the Toy Fox Terrier is a relatively rare breed, ranking 101st on the American Kennel Club’s registration list in 2011.

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