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Smooth Fox Terrier | Breed Info: Pictures, Traits, Facts, Puppies

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

smooth fox terrier outdoor

Height: 13 – 16 inches
Weight: 15 – 20 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Colors: Cream, black, white, pied
Suitable for: Active families, those looking for a small guard dog
Temperament: Devoted, reserved, energetic, loud

The Smooth Fox Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds in existence; in fact, they were the first terrier breed to receive official recognition from The Kennel Club.

They were originally developed as hunting dogs, and they still retain most of those instincts today. They love to chase anything, so they’ll definitely keep squirrels out of your backyard — but they may just harass the cat too.

These dogs aren’t as well-known as many other terrier breeds, but it’s believed that most of those descended from Smooth Fox Terriers. That makes this a breed worth knowing, and after wading through the guide below, you’ll know quite a bit indeed about these dogs.

divider 10Smooth Fox Terrier Puppies

Smooth Fox Terrier puppy
Image credit: PxHere

Smooth Fox Terrier puppies are tiny, adorable things, and while they don’t get much bigger, they certainly stay adorable. These dogs are blurs, constantly in motion, and they love to chase after anything they see — birds, rodents, tennis balls, and even a stray leaf will do in a pinch.

However, dealing with their energy as pups is different from dealing with it when they’re full-grown. It’s one thing when they get exhausted racing from one end of the house to the other, but it’s quite another when they need hours of vigorous exercise a day.

That’s why it’s so important to know what you’re getting into before you bring one home. If you don’t think that you can keep up with a furry ball of lightning, don’t bother adopting one — it’s not fair to you or the dog.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Smooth Fox Terrier

1. They were bred to hunt in concert with Hounds. 

While they make great hunting dogs, Smooth Fox Terriers aren’t impressive as trackers. That wasn’t what they were bred for, however.

In the 19th century, hunters would set loose a pack of hounds to follow a scent trail (usually that of a fox); the Smooth Fox Terrier would follow behind these dogs. Once the hounds ran their quarry into a hole, the Smooth Fox Terrier would spring into action, darting into the den to finish the job.

That requires fearlessness, a trait these dogs have in spades.

2. The most recognized dog at the Westminster Dog Show was a Smooth Fox Terrier. 

The very first Westminster Dog Show was won by a Smooth Fox Terrier named Ch. Warren Remedy. Being the show’s first champion is quite a noteworthy achievement.

However, the dog wasn’t finished. She also won the second Westminster Dog Show and followed it up by taking the third a year later. Her three overall wins set a record that still hasn’t been matched.

Ever the gracious competitor, Ch. Warren Remedy eventually stepped aside and let another dog win.

3. Despite their diminutive stature, these pups make fantastic guard dogs. 

It’s unlikely that a burglar will cower in fear at the sight of a 15-pound Smooth Fox Terrier — but don’t tell the dog that. These pups are convinced that they’re the most fearsome animals on the planet.

You need that kind of courage if you’re going to dive into holes to chase prey, and that bravery serves them well today. They’re absolutely unafraid to raise the alarm if they see trouble, so you can rest assured that you’ll know the second that you’re being robbed.

smooth fox terrier tricolor
Featured Image Credit: Peakpx

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Smooth Fox Terrier 🧠

Smooth Fox Terriers are extremely intelligent dogs. However, they balance that out with a strong stubborn streak.

These pooches often do well in agility trials and other competitive events, as they’re quick learners. They can be easy to train if they trust and respect you, but if you’re not sure what you’re doing, they may decide to rebel instead. As a result, it’s often recommended that you only adopt one if you’re an experienced owner.

They’re not great at controlling their emotions either. If they see something to chase, they’ll take off after it, regardless of where they happen to be at the time. Whether they can find their way home again is a worry for later.

When they’re around people they trust, these dogs are friendly, outgoing, and natural showmen. They love to play and receive affection, and they can get quite jealous if they’re being ignored.

Around strangers, though, they’ll become reserved and suspicious. They’re not necessarily prone to aggression, but don’t expect them to be mistaken for extroverts anytime soon.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

If properly trained and socialized, Smooth Fox Terriers can make fantastic family pets. They love their families, and they’d happily give their lives to protect them.

They love to play and wrestle with young kids, but you should always monitor them around children. They can be prone to biting and snapping; this rarely reaches the level where it would break skin, but it’s painful nonetheless and can be traumatizing for young kids.

Also, it’s fairly common for them to become protective of their favorite person. This can be a serious problem, one that you need to correct as soon as possible. After all, you don’t want them snapping at the kids simply for approaching one of their parents.

Their shyness around strangers can make them poor choices for families that do a great deal of entertaining. You may need to crate them if your kid has friends over, and they’re unlikely to be the life of your next party.

However, you may need to enlist the help of all your loved ones just to properly exercise these dogs. They can play fetch all day long, and they’ll need more than a simple walk to tucker them out. They can be overwhelming for a single person to take care of.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Smooth Fox Terriers have extremely high prey drives, especially regarding smaller animals. That makes them a poor match for a family that has cats, gerbils, ferrets, or other small creatures.

They’re not necessarily aggressive toward other dogs, but they will likely try to dominate their fellow canines. This can cause problems, especially since they’re fearless but lack the muscle to back up their bluster.

All of the above can be mitigated with proper socialization, but you’ll be fighting nature to a certain extent. These dogs are generally happiest being the only pet, so that’s something to keep in mind before you commit to owning one.

Smooth fox terrier lies on a stump in the park_elena valenbaya_shutterstock
Image credit: Elena Valebnaya, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Smooth Fox Terrier

Smooth Fox Terriers are sweet, fun-loving dogs, but owning one isn’t always easy. Below, we’ve listed a few things you should keep in mind before starting the adoption process, so you’ll be less likely to regret your decision down the line.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These dogs are in constant motion, so they need proper fuel to keep them that way. We recommend a high-protein kibble, especially one that uses quality meats rather than animal by-products.

Don’t be tempted to overfeed them, though. These are small dogs, and they don’t need to eat much. Obesity is a major problem for the breed, and it doesn’t take much for them to pack on the pounds.

Go easy on the treats and table scraps as well. It’s okay to give them a little bit as a reward every now and then, but do so sparingly. They’re huge sources of empty calories, and you don’t want your dog to get fat.

You can take advantage of their high prey drive by buying them a treat ball or something similar. These toys dispense a little bit of kibble at a time while your dog chases them; this will both burn off calories and keep your Terrier’s mind engaged.

Exercise 🐕

Don’t get a Smooth Fox Terrier unless you’re prepared to spend a great deal of time tuckering them out. These dogs need a ton of exercise, and they can turn destructive if they don’t get it.

However, they’re not really couch destroyers or shoe chompers. These dogs love to do one thing: dig. They’ll have your lawn looking like a slice of Swiss cheese in no time if you don’t burn off their excess energy.

They do need daily walks, but that’s unlikely to be sufficient. You’ll need to make them run. An easy way to do that is by playing fetch, as they love to chase after anything that’s in motion.

They do well with agility training too. All that running and jumping, not to mention figuring out when to run and jump, will tucker them out in no time.

If you’re successful at burning off all their energy, you’ll find that the average Smooth Fox Terrier can be a lovable lap dog, perfectly content to watch TV by your side all night.

smooth fox terrier smiling
Featured Image Credit: Pxhere

Training 🦮

Training is essential for these dogs; fortunately, it often goes smoothly, so this shouldn’t be much of a speed bump.

The most important thing that you can teach them (besides basic socialization skills) is the ability to harness their prey drive. They’ll take off after anything that moves, and if you don’t have a leash on them at the time, you may never see them again.

Commands like “stay,” “wait,” and “on me” are all important — they teach your dog to wait for your approval (or at least check in with you) before bolting after something. Those few seconds could be all the time you need to get them under control.

You’ll also need to do something about their digging. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to curb the instinct entirely. Many people choose instead to give the dogs a dedicated corner of the yard in which to dig.

Smooth Fox Terriers respond best to positive reinforcement, so any sort of punishment is likely to be counterproductive. You can also likely rely solely on praise and affection rather than treats, as they’ll do anything to please a human they respect.

Grooming ✂️

Smooth Fox Terriers generally aren’t heavy shedders. However, they do shed quite a bit twice a year, so you’ll need to be prepared for those times when they happen.

You’ll still need to brush them regularly, though. Take a pin brush to their fur once or twice a week; that should be all you need to keep their coats shiny and healthy.

All the other grooming is fairly standard: trim their nails regularly, brush their teeth a few times a week, and keep their ears clean.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Smooth Fox Terriers are one of the healthiest breeds around, as long as you keep them active and their weight manageable. Nevertheless, there are a few conditions that they’re prone to developing.

Minor Conditions
  • Deafness
  • Cataracts
  • Distichiasis
  • Lens luxation
  • Shoulder dislocation
Serious Conditions
  • Patellar luxation
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Idiopathic epilepsy

Divider 5Male vs Female

The two genders are almost equal in terms of size, although males often weigh a few pounds more. This extra weight is usually muscle.

They’re similar in terms of temperament as well. Males might be a tad bit more playful, whereas females are likelier to guard resources (including you).

Divider 3Final Thoughts

If you want a smaller dog that will keep you on your toes, love you like there’s no tomorrow, and even protect your stuff, the Smooth Fox Terrier may be right up your alley. These little pups have outsized personalities, and they’re completely devoted to their owners.

That doesn’t guarantee that owning one will be smooth sailing, however. They don’t really get along with other animals well, thanks to their high prey drives, and their incredible energy levels make them demanding pets. They’ll also try to dig to the center of the Earth every time you put them in the yard.

If you’re capable of keeping up with them, though, you’ll find a Smooth Fox Terrier to be a wonderful companion. Just try not to be grossed out every time they bring you a dead bird — it’s a gift, after all.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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