Toy Fox Terrier

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Toy Fox Terrier

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The Toy Fox Terrier, also known as the American Toy Terrier, the Amertoy or simply the TFT, is truly an American breed that is favored by sportsmen and women for its gameness and diminutive size. Hunters carry this tiny dog with them in pockets or packs and then release it to scamper down holes to flush the wily fox. The Toy Fox Terrier is a "terrier" through and through: smart, alert, active, full of himself and fearless. They are highly adaptable to different life styles and routines, and make excellent travel companions, although they do tend to be barky. The TFT was admitted into the American Kennel Club in 2003, as a member of the Toy Group.
Mature Toy Fox Terriers stand between 8½ and 11½ inches at the withers, with 9 to 11 inches being preferred. Adults typically weigh from 5 to 7 pounds. The basic color of this breed is white, with a darker color on the head and typically on the body. They do come in solid white as well.

History & Health


The Toy Fox Terrier was developed in the United States from crosses of the Smooth Fox Terrier from England and several smaller breeds, probably including the Toy Manchester Terrier, the Italian Greyhound, the Miniature Pinscher and the Chihuahua. Some fanciers feel that the TFT is simply a Smooth Fox Terrier bred down in size, but that is not the more commonly accepted theory. In any event, the TFT was breeding true and was first recognized and registered by the United Kennel Club in 1936, at its headquarters at Kalamazoo, Michigan. The National Toy Fox Terrier Association was founded in 1949. In the 1970s, breed enthusiasts made several unsuccessful attempts to gain recognition of the Toy Fox Terrier by the American Kennel Club. Finally, another group of fanciers organized in 1994 and began their 9 year quest to get the breed accepted by the AKC. This time, they succeeded. The Toy Fox Terrier was admitted into the AKC's Toy Group in 2003.
Toy Fox Terriers are animated and versatile. In addition to being game fox-flushers, they excel at hunting rats and other rodents and competing in agility, obedience, earthdog trials, fly-ball and other performance disciplines. They make wonderful urban apartment dogs but thrive equally well in rural environments. They are extremely entertaining and make devoted companions. They also have been used as service dogs, to assist the disabled with household tasks.


The average life span of the Toy Fox Terrier is 12 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation and Von Willebrand disease.

Temperament & Personality


The Toy Fox Terrier was developed in America by breeding Smooth Fox Terriers with toy breeds to bring them down to size. These dogs are a hybrid of classic terrier and toy traits: they are fearless and plucky like a terrier, but enjoy the companionship and affection that comes with being carried and coddled like a toy. They are excellent watchdogs, alert and vigilant, they will quickly sound the alarm when they hear or see someone approaching. Toy Fox Terriers bond deeply with the people they love and insist on being treated as a full member of the family, which includes sleeping in the bed. Toy Foxes make excellent family dogs and are a smart choice for first time dog owners.

Activity Requirements

Toy Foxes do not need a lot of vigorous activity to maintain health and happiness. Their favorite activity in the world is chasing a ball, which they will happily do indoors or outdoors. You should walk your Toy Fox daily, if possible, but as long as they have time to play ball, their activity requirement is pretty much met.
Active owners can enroll their Toy Fox in agility or flyball, which they love. They are highly intelligent dogs who catch on to these activities and usually excel in the ring.
Their size makes Toy Fox Terriers ideal for apartments or condos, but these adaptable animals can happily dwell in any sized living space.


Toy Fox Terriers are highly trainable and catch on to new behaviors quickly and easily. All you need to train a Toy Fox are treats and lots of excited praise. These tiny dogs don't take kindly to being treated harshly and will mistrust you if you use physical corrections. Luckily, training them is a joy and they are naturally well-behaved, so they hardly ever test a person's patience.
Toy Fox Terriers are a snap to house train, unlike almost every other terrier and toy breed. They are small enough to use pads of canine litter boxes in the house, which is an added benefit for elderly owners or for people who live in apartments or condos.

Behavioral Traits

Toy Fox Terriers are not recommended for families with toddlers. Small children are far too clumsy and do not understand a dog's boundaries well enough to handle living with a toy breed. The child can injure the dog inadvertently, and if the dog doesn't like being poked at or picked up by a well-meaning child, the dog may snap or bite.
Excessive barking is a common complaint among Toy Fox Terrier owners. They are alert little watchdogs but will bark and just about anything that moves. Teaching your Toy Fox to obey commands to quiet down can save your eardrums and your sanity.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Toy Fox Terrier is truly a toy and a terrier and both have influenced his personality and character. As a terrier, the Toy Fox Terrier possesses keen intelligence, courage, and animation. As a toy his is diminutive, and devoted with an endless abiding love for his master. The Toy Fox Terrier is a well-balanced Toy dog of athletic appearance displaying grace and agility in equal measure with strength and stamina. His lithe muscular body has a smooth elegant outline which conveys the impression of effortless movement and endless endurance. He is naturally well groomed, proud, animated, and alert. Characteristic traits are his elegant head, his short glossy and predominantly white coat, coupled with a predominantly solid head, and his short high-set tail.

Size, Proportion and Substance
Size: 8.5 - 11.5 inches, 9 -11 preferred, 8.5 - 11.5 acceptable. Proportion: The Toy Fox Terrier is square in proportion, with height being approximately equal to length; with height measured from withers to ground and length measured from point of shoulder to buttocks. Slightly longer in bitches is acceptable. Substance: Bone must be strong, but not excessive and always in proportion to size. Overall balance is important. Disqualification: Any dog under 8.5 inches and over 11.5 inches.

The head is elegant, balanced and expressive with no indication of coarseness. Expression is intelligent, alert, eager and full of interest. Eyes: clear, bright and dark, including eye-rims, with the exception of chocolates whose eye-rims should be self-colored. The eyes are full, round and somewhat prominent, yet never bulging, with a soft intelligent expression. They are set well apart, not slanted, and fit well together into the sockets. Ears: The ears are erect, pointed, inverted V-shaped, set high and close together, but never touching. The size is in proportion to the head and body. Disqualification: Ears not erect on any dog over six months of age. Skull: is moderate in width, slightly rounded and softly wedge shaped. Medium stop, somewhat sloping. When viewed from the front, the head widens gradually from the nose to the base of the ears. The distance from the nose to the stop is equal to the distance from the stop to the occiput. The cheeks are flat and muscular, with the area below the eyes well filled in. Faults: Apple head. Muzzle: Strong rather than fine, in proportion to the head as a whole and parallel to the top of the skull. Nose: Black only with the exception of self-colored in chocolate dogs. Disqualification: Dudley nose. Lips: are small and tight fitting. Bite: a full complement of strong white teeth meeting in a scissors bite is preferred. Loss of teeth should not be faulted as long as the bite can be determined as correct. Disqualification: Undershot, wry mouth, overshot more than 1/8 inch.

Neck, Topline and Body
The neck is carried proudly erect, well set on, slightly arched, gracefully curved, clean, muscular and free from throatiness. It is proportioned to the head and body and widens gradually blending smoothly into the shoulders. The length of the neck is approximately the same as that of the head. The topline is level when standing and gaiting. The body is balanced and tapers slightly from ribs to flank. The chest is deep and muscular with well sprung ribs. Depth of chest extends to the point of elbow. The back is straight, level, and muscular. Short and strong in loin with moderate tuck-up to denote grace and elegance. The croup is level with topline and well-rounded. The tail is set high, held erect and in proportion to the size of the dog. Docked to the 3rd or 4th joint.

Forequarters are well angulated. The shoulder is firmly set and has adequate muscle, but is not overdeveloped. The shoulders are sloping and well laid back, blending smoothly from neck to back. The forechest is well developed. The elbows are close and perpendicular to the body. The legs are parallel and straight to the pasterns which are strong and straight while remaining flexible. Feet are small and oval, pointing forward turning neither in nor out. Toes are strong, well-arched and closely knit with deep pads.

Hindquarters are well angulated, strong and muscular. The upper and lower thighs are strong, well muscled and of good length. The stifles are clearly defined and well angulated. Hock joints are well let down and firm. The rear pasterns are straight. The legs are parallel from the rear and turn neither in nor out. Dewclaws should be removed from hindquarters if present.

The coat is shiny, satiny, fine in texture and smooth to the touch. It is slightly longer in the ruff, uniformly covering the body.

Tri-Color: Predominately black head with sharply defined tan markings on cheeks, lips and eye dots. Body is over fifty-per-cent white, with or without black body spots. White, Chocolate and Tan: Predominately chocolate head with sharply defined tan markings on cheeks, lips and eye dots. Body is over fifty-percent white, with or without chocolate body spots. White and Tan: Predominately tan head. Body is over fifty-percent white with or without tan body spots. White and Black: Predominately black head. Body is over fifty percent white with or without black body spots. Color should be rich and clear. Blazes are acceptable, but may not touch the eyes or ears. Clear white is preferred, but a small amount of ticking is not to be penalized. Body spots on black headed tri-colors must be black; body spots on chocolate headed tri-colors must be chocolate; both with or without a slight fringe of tan alongside any body spots near the chest and under the tail as seen in normal bi-color patterning. Faults: Color, other than ticking, that extends below the elbow or the hock. Disqualifications: A blaze extending into the eyes or ears. Any color combination not stated above. Any dog whose head is more than fifty-percent white. Any dog whose body is not more than fifty-percent white. Any dog whose head and body spots are of different colors.

Movement is smooth and flowing with good reach and strong drive. The topline should remain straight and head and tail carriage erect while gaiting. Fault: Hackney gait.

Any dog under 8.5 inches or over 11.5 inches.
Ears not erect on any dog over six months of age.
Dudley nose.
Undershot, wry mouth, overshot more than 1/8 inch.
A blaze extending into the eye or ears.
Any color combination not stated above.
Any dog whose head is more than fifty percent white.
Any dog whose body is not more than fifty percent white.
Any dog whose head and body spots are of different colors.

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