The Smooth Fox Terrier, called the ‘gentleman of the terrier world,’ is a lively, gregarious terrier with a devil-may-care attitude, originally developed for Britain’s traditional foxhunts. They are close relatives to Wire Fox Terriers. Smooths are quite similar to their close relatives, Wire Fox Terriers. Like their crispy-coated cousins, Smooths stand no more than 15.5 inches at the shoulder. The distinguishing physical trait, besides coat type, is the head: A Smooth’s head is more V-shaped than a Wire’s. The dense, flat coat is predominantly white, with black, tan, or black-and-tan markings. These cleverly made hunters are strong and sturdy, but never coarse and clunky. Short-backed and symmetrical, they move with the unwavering grace of a pendulum clock.
Foxhunting in its traditional form is now banned in England, but for generations, it was the passion of the British gentry. A full-dress foxhunt, with all its pageantry and ritual, was an arresting sight: dozens of hunters and horses, huge packs of hounds, and tenacious fox terriers, all thundering across the vast, rolling estates of the very rich. The terriers rode in saddlebags and were released when the fox went underground. After terriers routed the fox, the horses and hounds would resume the chase.
Temperament: Independent / Friendly / Amusing
Height: 15.5 inches
Weight: 15-18 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Smooth Fox Terriers are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as patellar luxation and cardiac disease. The teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste formulated for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Patella Evaluation
- Cardiac Exam
The Smooth Fox Terrier’s short but hard, dense coat should be groomed weekly with a thick brush or hound glove. A bath every month or so should be sufficient’ unless the dog follows his nature and ends up digging a hole in the mud, in which case “bathe as needed” is the guidance that applies. Nails should be kept trimmed and neat. The ears should be checked weekly to remove any excess wax and or debris, which can cause ear infections, and the teeth should be brushed as often as possible.
Like most terriers, the Smooth Fox Terrier is lively and athletic and requires ample exercise. Long walks with his owner, chasing a tennis ball in the backyard, or playtime in a large, securely fenced area are all great ways to exercise your dog and keep him mentally and physically fit. Never allow your Smooth Fox Terrier to run off-lead, as he is likely to take off if he catches sight of a small animal he perceives as prey.
Smooth Fox Terriers are bold but not aggressive toward people. They make excellent watchdogs in the home. New owners should be aware that the breed’s innate sense to dig may affect the family yard or flowerbeds unless the dog is taught otherwise. Alert and ‘on the tiptoe of expectations,’ Smooths make excellent watchdogs. They are lively, cheerful, and funny. Equally, at home in the city or country, they are best kept in a fenced yard or on a lead, as they can eagerly run off to follow any adventure. Some can mature to become jealous or aggressive toward other dogs, cats, or other small pets. Puppy training classes with a sensible, terrier-savvy trainer are highly recommended.
The Smooth Fox Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.