Background and History
Yes, the clue is in the title. The Fox Terrier is a more leggy terrier, in fact the second tallest breed in the Terrier group after the Airedale Terrier, and bred for hunting vermin, rabbits and foxes during the nineteenth century . This breed was an optimal size to be an all-rounder in hunting. Not only was it small enough to run foxes to earth, but at the same time was able to keep pace with hounds during the chase.
Like all Terriers this breed also proved invaluable in removing vermin on farms.
The smooth and wire-haired versions were not distinguished and continued to interbreed until relatively recently. In 1985 the AKC officially designated them as separate breeds with different standards for showing. The wire-haired is the most common and finds itself placed at 104th most popular dog in the AKC rankings. The smooth-haired trails slightly positioned at 124.
Character and Temperament
This Terrier breed is particularly alert, and loves to play. Once more be aware that they very much enjoy digging. This hangover from their hunting days may play out under your favorite rose bush. They are also a very energetic breed, capable in the past of maintaining a long chase. It is little surprise that they need lengthy walks and a high level of exercise. These Terriers absolutely love a game and are able to play for hours.
It is a testament to the fineness of this breed, that they have been used as a foundation breed for other well-known terriers. These include the Jack Russell Terrier and the Rat Terrier.
Some owners report that they have an occasional tendency to repeatedly disappear into the distance when off the leash. This comes from their alertness in detecting and pursuing scents which was clearly a blessing on the hunting fields. The Fox Terrier can also be a little aloof with strangers who enter your home.
But this can all be off-set with early socialization and consistent recall training. This makes them a suitable dog for first-time owners who have time to invest in training and a good measure of interactive play.
For the different stages in a puppy and adult dog’s development please click here.
The Fox Terrier is a great dog outside and inside the house. But be aware that some of the breed do have a reputation for being suspicious and occasionally snappy towards other dogs. But with proactive and early socialization this can be largely avoided.
These dogs love to dig and may need training to counter this tendency if you are particularly proud of your yard or garden.
In keeping with the breed’s hunting background they can be independent and distracted by scents. This means early and consistently recall training should be prioritized.
A Fox Terrier will be very keen to please you so with positive reinforcement strategies is capable of being trained to a high standard.
Click here for an outline of the benefits of training. Click here for information on socializing a puppy and here for socializing an adult dog.
These athletic and energetic dogs require between 1 to 1.5 hours a day walking in keeping with their heritage as hunting and working dogs.
They also enjoy frequent opportunities for play and exploring and investigating in safe, enclosed areas.
The Fox Terrier is a beautifully proportioned breed. Their length and height are roughly the same giving a squared elegance only enhanced by their head and muzzle being of equal length.
The legs are long and powerful with tautly muscled thighs and a deep chest. The short tail is carried high with v-shaped upright ears.
These dogs stand at around 15 inches (38cm) with the female only slightly shorter than the male. The male dog weighs around 17-19 Ibs (8-9 kgs) with the female generally slightly lighter at 15-17 lbs ( 7 – 8kgs).
Coat and Grooming
The wire-haired Fox Terrier has slightly heavier grooming requirements and needs brushing two to three times weekly. It is recommended that any shed hair still lodged in the wiry coat should be ‘plucked’ as part of the grooming routine. The Fox Terrier benefits from being clipped around three times a year.
The smooth-coated Fox Terrier requires only weekly brushing. Although be aware that this breed does shed hair around the house.
Lifespan and Health
These dogs are generally a very healthy breed with a lifespan between 12 and 14 years. They have very few specific health problems. Some can be prey to deafness and eye problems. Occasionally some dogs suffer from luxating patellas where the kneecap becomes temporarily dislocated.
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