Smooth Fox Terrier - What you Need to Know
about Smooth-Coated Fox Terriers

Did you just bring home a new Smooth Fox Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

One of the original Fox Terrier breeds, the smooth-coated Fox Terrier originated in the United Kingdom at the end of the 18th century. Not much is known about its origin but it's believed that some of the breeds used in its development include the Bull Terrier, the Beagle, the Greyhound, and the smooth-coated black-and-tan terrier.

Like most terriers, the Smooth Fox Terrier was used to hunt small animals. Farmers used it to protect their stock and crops from rats and other small vermin. It would follow and drive out it's pray from their underground hiding places towards farmers who would then kill it.

In addition to working on farms, the Smooth Fox Terrier was also used in more traditional hunts where it was used to drive the foxes out from their underground holes towards larger dogs and their handlers.

In the breed's early days, the Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers were considered different varieties of the same breed. Many breeders even crossed them to add more white pigmentations to wirehaireds' coats. While some breeders may still continue this practice, the interbreeding has been discouraged for some time now.

What's interesting, and not many know this, is that most likely both breeds were developed independently of each other and are not related. If that's the case, the term 'interbreeding' is the wrong term to use but crossing these breeds is still discouraged today.

In addition to hunting, the Smooth Fox Terrier excels at dog agility, tracking, and makes a good watchdog.

The first breed standard was developed in 1876 and hasn't changed much since. The AKC recognized the breed in 1885 but it wasn't until 1985 when separate standards were written for the Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers.

Physical Characteristics of Smooth Fox Terrier Puppies

Smooth-coated Fox Terriers are medium sized, well-proportioned dogs that, with the exception of their coats, closely resemble wirehaired terriers.

He has strong body with a short, level back; long, downward sloping shoulders; deep chest; and muscular neck. Where allowed by law, the tail is usually docked by 1/4 and carried high.

The most distinctive feature of this breed is his elongated, almost flat head with a tapered muzzle. The nose is black and the ears are V-shaped with a forward drop. The eyes are dark, moderately small, and set high.

The front legs are straight when viewed from all angles. The back legs are strong, muscular, and free from droop. The feet are round, compact, with moderately arched toes.

The coat is what really distinguishes the smooth-coated Fox Terrier from the wirehaired terrier. It's smooth and flat, but similar to wire's coat, extremely dense. The dominant coat color should be white, with markings of any color other than liver, brindle, or red.

    Height Weight
  Male 18 - 20 inches 35 - 60 pounds
  Female 16 - 18 inches 30 - 55 pounds


The Smooth Fox Terrier is full of life. He is energetic, cheerful, playful, and enthusiastic. He is also very intelligent, inquisitive, and mischievous.

Bold but not aggressive, he is affectionate and loyal with his family. He loves being included in family activities and loves children. While he is not shy, he can be reserved with strangers.

Similar to other terriers, the Smooth Fox Terrier loves to bark and dig. His tendency to bark at strange noises makes him a good watchdog. Digging is a behavior that is common among almost all terriers and very difficult to stop.

While smooth-coated Fox Terriers make excellent pets, they are not recommended for families with other small pets. They can be aggressive towards other dogs, even those much larger than them. Socializing your dog at a young age may help control his aggression towards other dogs but will most likely not help with their behavior towards smaller animals.

Because of their strong hunting instinct, these dogs must always remain on leash or in an enclosed area that they can't escape. A dog that is not protected will run away in search of prey.

All dogs need regular exercise but dogs as active as this breed need it even more. A Smooth Fox Terrier that is not sufficiently exercised can, and most likely will, develop numerous behavioral problems.

Smooth Fox Terriers also require firm handling. If you allow your dog to establish his dominance over you or your family, he may become more difficult to handle. Some dogs may become more aggressive, others may develop separation anxiety, become snappish, jealous, too protective, or unpredictable in their behavior with humans. While some dogs may acquire one or two of these behaviors, other will acquire all of them.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

While they make excellent pets, Smooth Fox Terriers are not for everyone. This breed will do best with an owner who leads an active lifestyle but at the same time can offer his pet plenty of attention. It also requires firm handling.

This is a very active breed and will probably do best in a setting where he can run and play off leash. But with enough exercise, he can and will adjust to an apartment lifestyle.

Some Smooth Fox Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Like all breeds, the Smooth Fox Terrier needs regular exercise to stay in shape and out of trouble. Similar to other terriers, his exercise requirements are much higher than those of many other breeds.

He will gladly accompany you on long walks and jog with you. If you are into bicycle riding, you may take your pet along. He can also get plenty of exercise by playing and running off leash. But no matter what activity you choose, never let you pet off leash in an area where he can escape -- his hunting instinct is just too strong...

At a minimum, every Fox Terrier needs to have several long walks every day.

Grooming of Smooth-Coated Fox Terriers

Fox Terriers with smooth coats are average shedders and easy to groom. Much easier, in fact, than their wirehaired cousins...

Brush 2 to 3 times per week with a firm bristle brush to remove loose hair. Periodically trimming the nails, brushing your dog's teeth, and cleaning the ears is also recommended.

Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary.

Health Concerns

Like other dog breeds, Smooth Fox Terriers are susceptible to numerous diseases, some hereditary, others nonhereditary, and some caused by complications from internal and external parasites.

Some of the diseases common to this breed include deafness, Legg-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, and cataracts. Visit dog health problems for more information about dog diseases and health.

Buy only from reputable Smooth Fox Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Smooth Fox Terrier puppies is between 13 and 15 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Smooth Fox Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this dog behavior and obedience training guide.

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