Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Fox Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Fox Terrier
There are two types of Fox Terriers, the Smooth and the Wire coated. These little dogs are known all over the world thanks to their adorable looks and kind, alert natures. They are lively, energetic characters that were originally bred to hunt, but these days they are a popular choice as companions and family pets. They are the most alert of all terriers and as such they need to be given a ton of exercise as well as a tremendous amount of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-balanced dogs.
The very first Wire Fox Terrier to be officially recognised and recorded was a dog called Old Tip. The Master of the Sinnington Hounds bred him in Yorkshire in the mid eighteen hundreds and although his pedigree remains a bit of mystery, he is the foundation of the terriers we see today.
The Smooth Fox Terrier is believed to have been created by crossing Old English Terriers with Bull Terriers, smooth coated black and tans, Greyhounds and Beagles. The result was a terrier that could be used with foxhounds and their job on the hunting field was to indicate just where a fox had gone to ground. Their history can be traced to around the middle of the 19th century, but at the time broken coated and smooth coated terriers were classed together as a single breed.
The Wire Fox Terrier is thought to have the same ancestry as the smooth coated terrier and history shows they were used in the hunting field in much the same way as their smooth coated counterparts. However, it was much later that the two terriers were separated as enthusiasts developed the Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers that we see today.
In 1876 the first breed standard was established by Officers of the Fox Terrier Club and little has been changed to this day. With this said, today’s breed standard is clearer on how much these terriers should weigh and that they should no longer have their tails docked.
Height at the withers: Males 36 - 41 cm, Females 33 - 38 cm
Average weight: Males 7 - 9 kg, Females 6 - 8 kg
Fox Terriers are lively, alert little dogs that always give the impression of being ready to take chase after anything that takes their fancy. They exhibit a lot of strength in a small package and always have a keen expression in their eyes. Their head is flat and quite narrow with just a slight hint of a stop. They have strong, muscular muzzles and neat black noses.
They boast having dark, smallish circular eyes that boast an alert and intelligent expression. Their ears are small and V-shaped which drop forward close to a dog's cheeks with the leathers being moderately thick. They boast a perfect scissor bite where the upper teeth neatly overlap the lower ones and their necks are muscular, longish, being wider at the shoulder.
The Fox Terrier has well laid back, long, sloping shoulders with fine points. Their withers are clean cut and front legs nice and straight with strong bone from the elbow down to a dog's feet. They have deep chests and short, level backs and powerful, slightly arched loins. Their foreribs being moderately sprung whereas their back ribs are deep.
Hindquarters are muscular and strong and Fox Terriers have long and powerful thighs and strong back legs. Their feet are compact, round and small in size with hard pads and moderately arched toes. Tails are set high and carried happily but never over a Fox Terrier's back.
When it comes to their coat, the Fox Terrier has a flat, straigh coat that both hard and thick. The predominant coat colour is white with other variations including the following:
Fox Terriers are renowned for being friendly and fearless little dogs that boast a ton of personality. They are among the best watchdogs on the planet and will soon let an owner know when they are any strangers about. They form strong bonds with their families and will protect them if they think a member is being threatened in any way.
Because they are high-energy terriers, they need to be well socialised from a young age and their training needs to start early for them to be truly well-rounded, obedient dogs and even then, their training has to continue throughout their lives always making sure it is consistent.
One thing these little terriers cannot resist doing is digging and they will happily dig up a lawn and flower beds when the mood takes them or when boredom is allowed to set in. They were bred to do just this and it's an instinct that's deeply embedded in a Fox Terrier's psyche. However, with the correct training and handling, these little dogs can be taught not to dig up the garden, carpets and furniture.
Fox Terriers can be a little dominant when they meet other dogs, but with the right amount of socialisation at a young age, this type of behaviour can be successfully controlled.
Although intelligent, Fox Terriers are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak which means it can be a bit of a challenge to train them to do things and this includes on the "obedience" front. With this said, in the right hands and with the right sort of consistent training and firm guidance, these little terriers can be taught to do as they are told.
It's essential for Fox Terriers to be taught the basic commands from an early age because the two things they like to do most is to dig and bark at any opportunity. Having been taught the right commands, it is possible to curb these two behavioural issues and to nip the problems in the bud. With this said, it is safer to walk a Fox Terrier on a lead when out in a park or in the countryside or they might take off after something they've spotted in the distance totally ignoring any recall commands.
Both Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers are known to get on well with children which is why many families choose the breed as a family pet. However, they have had a reputation for being a bit snappy which is why they need to be well socialised and introduced to as many new things early in their lives as possible. Any interaction between dogs and children needs to be supervised by an adult to make sure things remain calm and that neither the dog or the kids get too boisterous.
Fox Terriers need to be introduced to cats and other pets in the home when they are young and even then, care has to be taken when one of these terriers is around them or their instincts might get the better of them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Fox Terrier is between 13 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Fox Terriers are robust little dogs and they don't suffer from the sort of hereditary and congenital health issues that so frequently plague other pedigree dogs. However, they may suffer from health disorders during the course of their lives, but these do not tend to be breed specific conditions.
In a nutshell, the fact that Fox Terriers boast a hardy constitution has meant there has not been a need to test the breed for any hereditary or congenital disorders. With this said, Fox Terriers do not do well in very hot climates but they thrive in cooler ones.
As with any other breed, Fox Terriers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Wire coated Fox Terriers need a little more in the way of coat care than their smooth coated counterparts, but with this said, both are not high maintenance dogs and only really need to be wiped over with a grooming mitt on a regular basis to remove any dead or loose hair. Wire Fox Terriers need to be brushed regularly with a slicker brush to take out any dead hair and to prevent any knots or tangles from forming in their coats.
A Fox Terrier's coat does need to be hand stripped several times a year which is best left to a professional groomer because it takes time to do and it's important that it be done correctly. It's also important for a Wire Fox Terrier's coat to be trimmed when a puppy is about 3 months old.
Fox Terriers are high energy dogs which means they need to be given the right amount of exercise, but they also need a tone of mental stimulation or boredom sets in and this is when all the trouble starts. They need to be taken out for several long walks a day and they enjoy taking part in activities like Flyball which they are very good at.
Fox Terriers also benefit from being allowed to romp around in a back garden as often as possible, but the fencing needs to be ultra-secure or their instincts may just get the better of them and if there is one thing these terriers are very good at, it's digging their way out of a garden.
If you get a Fox Terrier puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Fox Terrier, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Fox Terrier in northern England would be £17.43 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of March 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Fox Terrier and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Fox Terrier would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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