How to Train a Toy Fox Terrier

A diminutive satin-coated terrier with an amusing toy-dog personality, the Toy Fox Terrier is, as breed fanciers say, ‘truly a toy and a terrier.’ They began as barnyard ratters but are today beguiling companions with a big personality. A surefire recipe for fun: Take the lovability of a lapdog. Combine with terrier tenacity. Pour the mixture into a beautifully balanced container. Wrap in a tight-fitting satin coat. Top with large, erect ears and dark eyes that sparkle with eager intelligence. This is the Toy Fox Terrier, a lithe but sturdy little comedian standing under a foot tall but packed with enough charisma for a whole kennel of ordinary dogs. The breed’s admirers like to say, ‘TFTs are truly a toy and a terrier.


In the early 20th century, American breeders of Smooth Fox Terriers created the TFT by crossing their litter runts with toy dogs, Chihuahuas and Italian Greyhounds among them. The result was a dog possessing the fire of a true terrier but with a beguiling toy-breed personality. They began as barnyard ratters but soon found their way to show business, where their cleverness, grace, and nifty looks served them well as circus trick dogs. Today they perform at championship levels in competitive agility.



Obesity is a serious issue for Toy Fox Terriers. Healthy diet and exercise are a must. Responsible breeders will screen their stock for health conditions such as patellar luxation and eye disease. The dog’s anal glands must be checked often, and the teeth need to be cared for regularly.

Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
  • Patella Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Primary Lens Luxation(PLL)


The Toy Fox Terrier requires minimal grooming. Shedding is helped along by using a small shedding comb or a gentle hound glove. The breed needs only an occasional bath. The owner should start grinding or trimming the pup’s toenails at a young age if possible, so that he will be accustomed to the procedure.


Quick, alert, and athletic, Toy Fox Terriers like running and romping. They enjoy walking, running, and hiking outdoors when they have the chance. On ‘days off,’ they are happy to run laps in the living room! Kids especially are charmed by the unending energy and zeal for play throughout this dog’s life, but as with all toy breeds, they are not recommended for small children. Their small size makes them ideal for an apartment, although they love to explore the outdoors.


Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for all dogs and help to ensure that the Toy Fox Terrier grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. Housebreaking can involve just training the puppy to go outside, or it can include training him the use of a potty pad indoors, which can be very helpful for travel or during inclement weather conditions. Toy Fox Terriers are content and capable of any range of activities from hunting, to obedience, to just lounging around in the sun (or on the sofa). They are naturally extroverted and highly intelligent, which makes training, including housetraining, a breeze.


The Toy 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.

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