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Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mix: Info, Pictures & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mix

Height: 14–16 inches
Weight: 15–18 pounds
Lifespan: 15–18 years
Colors: Black, white, brown, red
Suitable for: Active owners, affectionate owners, experienced dog owners, families of all sizes, homeowners
Temperament: Energetic, affectionate, stubborn, loving, loyal

Also known as the Smooth Foxy Rat Terrier, the Smooth Fox Terrier and American Rat Terrier mix is an adorable little dog who is spunky and has a seemingly endless amount of energy. If you’re looking for a dog with a big personality stuffed inside a little package, this might be the dog for you!

They are highly energetic outside and will happily run and play all day long, but they also calm down quite a bit when inside. It’s common to find your dog curled up next to you on the couch or cuddling on your lap.

The Fox Terrier Rat Terrier mix dogs are loyal and loving, and they make lovely additions to families of all sizes. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about this breed before bringing one into your home.

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Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mix Puppies


The first thing you need to be prepared for before committing to this breed is their high energy level. While they only need around 45 minutes of dedicated exercise each day, they will very happily bounce around your backyard, run, play games, or go for walks. They love moving and being active, and if you don’t get your pup’s energy out each day, they’re likely to turn to unwanted behavior. Make sure that, even as puppies, these dogs get the exercise and activity they need.

Although these dogs love to get lots of exercise each day, they are prone to hip dysplasia. This serious health condition can cause significant pain and discomfort. Although there is no way to avoid it altogether, you should try to avoid exercising your dog on hard surfaces as a puppy. Puppy’s joints are particularly vulnerable when they’re developing, so always exercise on grass or dirt when possible.

It’s also important to note that these dogs have a relatively high tendency to bark. Their small size might lead you to believe they’re suitable for apartment life, but they’re not recommended for homes with noise restrictions. They tend to bark at all unfamiliar noises and people walking by outside.

Lastly, although these hybrids have short hair, they do shed quite a bit, so you need to be ready to clean up loose hair from your home regularly. Weekly brushing will help cut down on this, but you won’t avoid it altogether.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mixes

1. They Make Good Guard Dogs

You may see one of these small dogs with their unassuming size and think they wouldn’t make for good guard dogs. While they may not be able to take down an intruder or potential threat, they’ll certainly alert you to their presence! These hybrids bark loudly at passersby, so they are bound to get your attention if they sense danger.

2. Both Parent Breeds Come from One Breed

Interestingly, the American Rat Terrier was developed from Smooth Fox Terriers, which means they share a similar history. Smooth Fox Terriers were mixed with other Terriers to create a unique breed, and the result was the American Rat Terrier.

3. They Were Originally Bred for Hunting

Terriers were bred for hunting small game and flushing out rats and rodents from their homes and hiding places. As such, they have a high prey drive, and many still have an affinity for chasing small vermin.

Parent Breeds of the Smooth Foxy Rat Terrier
Image Credit: Jumpstory

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mix 🧠

This hybrid is well known for its intelligence and hunting ability. While they have the ability to learn commands rapidly, their stubbornness can often lead them to disobey.

They are incredibly energetic and would be happy to spend the entire day running and playing outside. They love exercising alongside their owners, so they make good companion dogs for active owners.

Despite their high level of energy and affinity for exercise, they’re relatively calm indoors and will happily relax and snuggle with you or any of your family members.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes! Smooth Fox Terrier and American Rat Terrier mixes make wonderful family pets, especially for those families who have highly active homes. Their energy level makes them great for households where there is always someone around to play or exercise with.

The dogs are incredibly loyal, protective, and affectionate, making them great additions to just about any family. They will happily spend time with you and your family members, young and old, and they get along very well with children as well. Given their smaller size, you should watch to make sure smaller children don’t accidentally hurt your dog, but you never have to worry about your dog showing aggression toward your children.

These hybrids love human interaction, so they prefer to be around people more often than not. If you have a home where someone is around at all times to give them attention and relaxation time inside, your pooch will be very pleased

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

These hybrids tend to get along just fine with other dogs, including other dogs that live in your home and those they meet outside while exercising or playing at a dog park. They’re accepting of just about any dog they meet.

However, the same cannot be said about cats and other small animals. These dogs were bred to flush out rodents, so their high prey drive often leads them to chase and pin down cats or small pets like hamsters, guinea pigs, or rabbits. They’re not recommended for homes with animals other than dogs.

Additionally, their high prey drive also means they will have the urge to chase squirrels, rabbits, or neighborhood cats when walking or exercising outside. Always make sure you exercise your dog on a leash and harness. Also, always ensure your gates and fences are adequately secure before letting your pup outside, as they will happily wander off in search of prey if given the opportunity.

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Things to Know When Owning a Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mix:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These dogs are small, and although they’re highly energetic, their recommended amount of food each day is only a cup. You should split this up into two meals to help maintain their levels of energy.

Their high activity level means they need food that is high in protein content. Choosing a food with a high protein content that includes multiple protein sources will help keep your pooch going all day long.

These dogs do sometimes experience hypothyroidism, so plan to reduce their food intake a bit or schedule a vet visit if you notice your pooch gaining weight uncharacteristically. Obesity in small dogs especially can cause significant issues, so be ready to address the problem if it becomes apparent.

Additionally, because they’re prone to hip dysplasia and other joint issues, you should choose a food that includes glucosamine or omega-3 fatty acids or supplement their regular food with a fish oil or glucosamine pill to help limit their risk.

Exercise 🐕

These dogs have a high energy level and will gladly exercise with you all day long. They need a minimum of about 45 minutes of dedicated exercise in the form of walking and running, but the more activity they get outside of this exercise, the better! Active playtime is excellent for this mix, but don’t replace regular exercise with backyard or indoor play.

Smooth Fox Terriers and American Rat Terriers both have a high level of intelligence, and these hybrids inherit that as well. As such, mental stimulation in the form of obedience training, puzzle toys, or logic games is recommended daily to keep their minds sharp.

Training 🦮

These dogs are known for their intelligence and loyalty, which are generally two traits for a highly trainable dog. However, Terriers are known to be very stubborn, and this hybrid is no exception. They will learn commands, tricks, and your house’s rules very quickly, but they’re likely to disregard you or any other person who tries to establish dominance or leadership.

Most people will struggle with training these hybrids, and it takes a very well-trained and skilled dog owner to be able to coax some obedience out of them. Beginning a training regimen early on from puppyhood and staying remarkably consistent and persistent will help establish a leadership role for yourself. However, hiring a professional for help is a good idea.

Grooming ✂️

These dogs do shed quite a bit, considering their short hair length, so you should plan to brush them weekly to reduce shedding and prevent matting and tangling. They can be bathed on an as-needed basis or just once every few months, but more frequent bathing should be avoided, as it can cause dry, irritated skin.

You should make sure to keep your dog’s nails trimmed, and you should wipe any debris or wax out of their inner ears about once a week to prevent infection.

Lastly, plan to brush their teeth regularly to prevent plaque build-up and other tooth and gum problems or infections.

Health Conditions ❤️

These hybrids are generally very healthy and hearty dogs, and they often live very long, happy lives, sometimes up to 20 years! Still, you should plan regular visits with your vet at least once a year for a check-up and always keep an eye out for the below issues that are more common with this breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypothyroidism
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia

Male vs Female

Both male and female mixes will be about the same size, but females can be a bit smaller. For the most part, both sexes will be fairly equal in temperament and behavior. You may find that males have a higher prey drive and are more active, but usually, the difference isn’t very noticeable.

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Final Thoughts

Smooth Fox Terrier & American Rat Terrier Mixes are small dogs that are full of energy and spunkiness. They are very active dogs who will happily run and play continuously, but they also love cuddling and relaxing inside when playtime is over.

These dogs may be small in size, but they’re big in personality, so if you’re looking for a new member of the family and not merely a pet, this hybrid may suit you perfectly. They’re also loyal and loving, so they make great additions to most families.

As long as you have the time to dedicate to supplying them with the exercise they need and don’t mind putting in some additional time and energy to train them, this may be the perfect dog for you and your home.

Featured Image Credit: chaya_may_be_little, instagram

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