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Choosing a Smooth Fox Terrier

The smooth fox terrier is an energetic, playful terrier. Until 1984, the smooth and wirehaired fox terriers were considered different versions of the same breed. They are identical except for the coat.

History and Origin

The fox terrier was developed in England in the 1700s to hunt foxes. The dog would chase the fox and bark and snap at it until the hunter was able to come and make the kill. This terrier also made great ratters. The exact breeds used to develop the fox terrier are debated but many authorities feel that bull terriers, beagles, old English terriers, black and tan terriers and greyhounds were used.

Initially, litters of fox terriers could contain both smooth and wirehaired versions. Eventually, they were bred until the lines were either smooth or wirehaired. In 1885, the fox terrier was accepted by the American Kennel club as a breed with two varieties. About 100 years later in 1984, the smooth and wirehaired fox terriers were separated into two different breeds.

Appearance and Size

The smooth fox terrier is a small, compact terrier with a lively character. The head tapers and is narrow. The ears are small, fold forward, and create a V shape. The tail is typically docked. Both the smooth and wirehaired fox terriers are identical in appearance except for the coat. The coat of the smooth fox terrier is dense, short and smooth. The majority of the coat should be white with brown, black or black and brown patches.

The adult smooth fox terrier stands around 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 15 to 20 pounds.


The smooth fox terrier is a dog full of personality. He has endless energy and loves to play any active game. Some can be aggressive, especially if not socialized early in life. The breed has a strong hunting drive and may chase anything that moves.

Home and Family Relations

The smooth fox terrier is an affectionate and loyal family pet and makes a good watchdog. They are full of energy with lots of character. The breed can be protective of their family and should be socialized with strangers early in life to prevent aggression. If not properly socialized, some dogs may become stubborn and may even try to snap.

The fox terrier can do well with older children if raised with them and loves to play lots of active games. The breed can be aggressive toward other dogs and has a tendency to chase and even kill small animals. The fox terrier likes to bark and, as with other terriers, enjoys digging.

This terrier can do well in an apartment if taken on long walks. When walking, the fox terrier should always be leashed.


The smooth fox terrier is full of energy and intelligent but, like other terriers, can be stubborn. If firm, consistent positive training is used, this terrier can excel in obedience and agility. Despite how well they are trained, the fox terrier should not be allowed to roam. He should only be walked on a leash since the breed has a strong prey drive and will chase anything, especially small animals and cats.

Special Concerns

The smooth fox terrier does not like to be left alone with nothing to do. They are intelligent dogs and need mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The smooth fox terrier is a hardy breed that has few known diseases. The most common inherited illnesses are epilepsy, deafness, diabetes, cataracts and skin problems.

The average life span of the smooth fox terrier is 13 to 14 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.