HomeNewsJul 7, Toy Fox Terrier: A Complete Dog Breed Profile

    Jul 7, Toy Fox Terrier: A Complete Dog Breed Profile

    Toy Fox Terrier    by Janice Jones    |Last updated 07-07-2022

    A true American made breed; the toy fox terrier is spunky,
    eager to please, intelligent and the perfect dog for those who hate to

    A real entertainer, smuggler, lap
    dog, and exercise partner, this companion has a lot to offer. 

    However, beware, with all that enthusiasm for
    life, all that playfulness and curiosity, there is always a downside. 

    Three Toy Fox TerriersThree Toy Fox Terriers

    A true American made breed; the toy fox terrier is spunky,
    eager to please, intelligent and the perfect dog for those who hate to

    A real entertainer, smuggler, lap
    dog, and exercise partner, this companion has a lot to offer. 

    However, beware, with all that enthusiasm for
    life, all that playfulness and curiosity, there is always a downside. 

    Any highly intelligent breed can get bored
    easily, so anyone looking for a lively, playful companion do expect to do some
    training and socialization early.

    This is one tiny dog, with adult size ranging from 3 to 9
    pounds and 8 to 11 inches tall, they make a great apartment dog but do equally
    well in a family home or on the farm. 

    They do well with older children, but due to their small size, families
    with very small children might want to consider another breed.  Being somewhat squirmy, a small child could
    drop them easily causing damage to their slender bodies.

    You will life with a Toy Fox Terrier will never be
    dull.  Even circus clowns found this breed
    to be the perfect show companion, teaching them to do jumping tricks and even
    walk on a tight rope. 

    They learn easily,
    so training is not difficult, but if training is not your cup of tea, consider
    another breed.  These dogs have known to
    be destructive indoors and out, especially if left alone for long periods. 

    After all, they are terriers, and they like
    to dig, chase, bark, and investigate anything novel.  Do not overlook puppy proofing your home
    before the big day.  Truly, the epitome
    of the big dog attitude in a small dog package, be prepared to help protect him
    from himself.

    They excel in agility, and other doggie sports such as
    flyball and rally.  Unlike most small
    breed dogs, they are generally easy to housetrain which is a big plus.  For those without immediate access to the
    outdoors, these dogs do well with litter box or pad training.  In 2013, they were ranked number 107 in popularity
    with the American Kennel Club

    Quick Facts About the Toy Fox Terrier

    Other Names Used:  Amer-Toy, TFT, American Toy Terrier

    Affiliation:  Toy with AKC


    Height:  8 1/2 inches to 11
    inches (21.5–29.2 cm)

    Weight: 3 to 9 pounds

    Coat Type:  Short, sleek

    Colors:  Five different combinations with white as
    the predominant color:  White and Tan, White
    and Black, White, Black and Tan, White and Chocolate, and White, Chocolate and

    Country of Origin:  USA

    Activity Level:  Moderate

    Life Expectancy:  Up to 15 years

    Good with Children:  Older Children, not very young children

    Good with other pets:  Yes

    Shedding:  Moderate


    American Toy Fox Terrier at Small Dog Place

    Toy Fox Terriers were developed in the
    United States during the 1930s to be used on the farm to hunt and kill rats and
    other small vermin as well as hunt squirrels. 

    Toy Fox Terriers were developed by crossing small Smooth Fox Terriers
    (most likely the runts of the litter) with Chihuahua and Manchester
    Terriers.  Other breeds that may have
    been used included the Miniature Pincher and the Italian Greyhound. 

    First registered with The United Kennel
    Club in 1936, but did not gain American Kennel Club recognition until 2003,
    becoming AKC’s 148th breed. 

    Personality of the Toy Fox Terrier

    The Toy Fox Terrier blends the feisty nature of a terrier
    and the loving, devoted nature of the toy into a package that is neither
    terrier or toy.  This blending created a
    unique combination of characteristics. 

    Explanations for At a Glance Ratings 

    • Playfulness:  Most=5   Less=1
    • Affection:  Most=5   Least=1
    • Friendliness Towards Strangers:  Most=5  Least=1
    • Good with Children:  Good=5   Not Good=1
    • Good with Other Dogs:   Good=5   Not Good=1
    • Good for First Time Owners:  Good=5  Not Good=1
    • Amount of Exercise Required:  Much=5  Minimal=1
    • Ease of Training:   Easy=5   Difficult=1
    • Watch Dog Ability:   Excellent=5   Poor=1
    • Grooming Needs:   Extensive=5  Minimal=1
    • Shedding:   Heavy Shedding=5   Minimal Shedding=1
    • Cold Tolerance:   Cold Well Tolerated=5    Poorly Tolerated=1
    • Heat Tolerance:   Heat Well Tolerated=5   Poorly Tolerated=1

    love to snuggle on your lap, but they are equally happy chasing squirrels,
    digging in the dirt and entertaining you with their great athletic

    However, no two Toy Fox
    Terriers are truly alike.  Some may be
    more terrier-like, and others are happy to be couch potatoes.  Usually reputable breeders know their puppies
    well and can help steer you towards a puppy with the traits you desire.

    They are a warm weather breed, preferring warmer climates
    especially those where it does not rain. 
    They hate getting wet and can chill easily.  That does not mean that they cannot live
    anywhere—they will only need a little sweater or coat on those cold winter

    They bond strongly to their person or family and do not like
    being apart for too long.  Since they do
    bark (and some do more so than others) they make good guard dogs.  Training early on helps with the barking
    problem.  Being a terrier, they are also
    territorial, so be prepared to help protect your tiny TFT even from
    himself.  He does not realize he is

    These dogs are smart and like to please, so training is
    usually easy.  Basic training should
    begin the day you bring the dog home and continue indefinitely.  They respond to a consistent, positive, gentle
    approach.  Prior to bringing the puppy home,
    we recommend you puppy-proof your home and have a plan for socializing him
    after the big day. 

    They love comfort and will easily win your heart and your
    pillow, often snuggling under the covers if possible.  If sharing your bed is not an option,
    consider a warm, comfortable bed or crate and train early. 


    This is the perfect dog for anyone who
    would rather play with their dog than groom them.  A quick brushing once a week is enough to
    keep shedding hairs in check and remove dead hairs. 

    An occasional bath is needed when they are
    especially dirty or have rolled in something unpleasant.  Other than that, nails will need to be
    clipped, teeth brushed, and ears cleaned periodically.  You are done!

    Health Concerns

    This is a healthy breed, living to a ripe old age of 15, but
    like all dogs, they are prone to some genetic disorders.  The list below does not include infectious diseases or other conditions that any dog can get.   Toy Fox Terrier owners and breeders reported
    the following list of diseases.

    Primary Lens Luxation

    This is a painful condition that causes blindness in many breeds
    especially terrier type breeds.  When the
    tiny fibers (called zonular fibers) that hold the lens of the eye in place collapse,
    the lens moves  If the lens falls
    into the anterior chamber of the eye (front of eye) glaucoma and loss of vision

    Periodontal Disease

    Gum disease in this breed is common because tarter tends to
    build up on the teeth.  Owners can
    prevent this by regularly brushing the TFT’s teeth.  This breed will likely need professional
    cleanings at the veterinary hospital.

    Demodectic Mange

    Considered to have a genetic component, this skin disorder
    is caused by a microscopic mite.  All
    dogs have small amounts of these mites that life in their hair follicles, but
    when the mites begin to increase, they cause problems.

    Demodicosis is the name given to the
    condition, and it can be a localized infection or generalized mange covering a
    large part of the body.  Two types have
    been reported.  The Juvenile onset demodicosis
    begins in dogs as young as three months of age. 
    The Adult onset mange does not occur until the dog is over five years
    old and is usually in combination with another disease.  Treatment consists of medications and dips.

    Patellar Luxation

    Patellar luxation is common in small breed dogs and refers
    to a condition where there is a dislocation of the kneecap either in one or
    both legs. 

    Mild forms usually do not
    require treatment, but when the problem becomes more severe, the dog may
    experience pain and limping.  Treatment
    may involve rest, medication, and surgery as a last resort. 

    Read more

    Legg-Calve Perthese Disease

    Similar to hip dysplasia in that both involve the hip joint,
    Legg-Calve Perthese Disease leads to the changes in the head of the femur or
    leg bone.  This ends up causing pain and
    limping and has no known cure at this time. 

    Treatment involves medication to reduce inflammation and ease pain.  Restricting movement also helps make the dog
    more comfortable.  Surgery is also an
    option and involves removing the head of the femur.

    Read more

    von Willebrand’s Disease

    This disease is known as an autosomal recessive genetic problem,
    meaning that the trait must be present in both the mother and the father, even
    though neither parent may show signs of the disease. 

    Less severe than the disease known as Hemophilia,
    affected dogs, (and people) with von Willebrand’s disease will bleed abnormally—more
    profusely than normal. 

    This can cause
    problems in many areas of life from clipping nails to undergoing surgery.

    Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter (CHG)

    This is really a problem for breeders
    as most puppies die by the age of three weeks. 
    Adult dogs may carry the trait and not show any signs of the disease.  This would not be a problem for a spayed or neutered
    dog, only for dogs used for breeding purposes. 

    Puppies that are born to parents who are both carriers of the condition
    are lethargic, have larger heads, do not open their eyes or ears, and develop a
    swelling on the underside of their neck. 

    Even with treatment, the swelling or goiter will increase and eventually
    constrict the airway causing death. 
    Breeders with these puppies elect to have them euthanized.


    • Lovable, loyal, playful, entertaining
    • Can live most anywhere
    • Minimum grooming required
    • Easy to train and housebreak
    • Relatively healthy


    • Retained some terrier instincts such as strong prey drive,
    • Barker
    • Require much socialization and training

    References/Breed Club

    American Toy Fox Terrier Club

    If you enjoyed this breed, you might want to check out these other breeds.

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