Smooth Fox Terrier

Table of Contents

smooth fox terrier portrait
Meet the Smooth Fox Terrier – the four-legged dynamo with a sleek coat and a personality to match! With their boundless energy, cheeky charm, and a nose for adventure, these pint-sized firecrackers are the perfect blend of playfulness and loyalty.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Smooth Fox Terrier is a perfect match for individuals or families with an active lifestyle. Their high energy and playful nature make them great companions for outdoor enthusiasts and children. However, their intelligence and bold spirit also require an owner ready to provide consistent training and mental stimulation.


OFFICIAL NAMESmooth Fox Terrier
BREED GROUPTerrier Group
HEIGHT15.5 inches
WEIGHT15-18 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
smooth fox terrier standing in a meadow
Photo: Photoboyko/Getty Images


The Smooth Fox Terrier is a compact and muscular bundle of joy, full of life and energy. This breed is built for speed and agility, with every inch of their body reflecting their lively spirit.

When it comes to size, they’re quite manageable. A typical Smooth Fox Terrier stands about 15.5 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs between 15 to 18 pounds. They’re small but mighty, with a physique that’s sturdy and well-balanced.

Now, let’s talk about their distinctive features. The head of a Smooth Fox Terrier is elegant and refined. It’s long and narrow, yet in perfect proportion to the rest of their body. Their eyes are dark, small, and full of expression, always alert and watchful. You’ll often find them wearing an intelligent, curious, and slightly mischievous look.

Their ears fold forward into a neat ‘V’ shape, giving them a perky appearance. And then there’s their tail – straight, set high, and typically docked, it’s a constant blur of motion, always ready to wag at the slightest hint of fun.

One of the most striking features of the Smooth Fox Terrier is their coat. It’s predominantly white, punctuated with patches of black or tan that add character to their appearance. The coat itself is smooth (as their name suggests), dense, and lies flat against their body. It’s designed to protect them from the elements and requires minimal grooming, making them a great choice for those who prefer low-maintenance pets.

But perhaps the most endearing aspect of a Smooth Fox Terrier’s appearance is their overall demeanor. There’s a certain sprightliness in their stance, a spark in their eye, and a sense of self-assuredness that’s hard to miss. They carry themselves with a confidence that’s both charming and captivating.

smooth fox terrier in a garden
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The Smooth Fox Terrier is a breed that dances to its own rhythm, and what a lively, spirited dance it is! With a temperament as vibrant as their physical presence, these dogs are a delightful mix of intelligence, affection, and a dash of mischief.

At the heart of a Smooth Fox Terrier lies an adventurer’s spirit. They’re known for their curiosity and inquisitiveness, always ready to explore new environments and meet new friends. They live in the moment, embracing life with a devil-may-care attitude that’s truly infectious.

When it comes to their human family, Smooth Fox Terriers are fiercely affectionate and protective. They form strong bonds with their loved ones and can be quite the cuddle bugs at home. Don’t be surprised if your Fox Terrier insists on being a constant companion, following you around the house, joining you on the couch, or even trying to squeeze into your bed.

Despite their small size, these dogs have a big dog attitude. They’re bold and brave, unafraid to stand their ground when necessary. This bravery coupled with their alertness makes them excellent watchdogs. Though they’re friendly and sociable, they won’t hesitate to raise the alarm if they sense something amiss.

Smooth Fox Terriers are also known for their playful nature. They love engaging in fun activities and games, often displaying a puppy-like enthusiasm well into their adult years. Their lively expressions and boundless energy can turn even the most ordinary day into an adventure.

But what truly sets the Smooth Fox Terrier apart is their intelligence. These dogs are smart, quick learners with a knack for problem-solving. They’re always up for mental challenges and can often surprise you with their clever tricks. This intelligence, however, also means they can be a bit mischievous at times. A bored Fox Terrier can quickly become a crafty escape artist or a stealthy sock thief!

Their temperament also has a touch of independence. While they love their human family, Smooth Fox Terriers like to retain a degree of autonomy. They enjoy having their own space and time for solo exploration. This independent streak, combined with their intelligence, gives them a unique personality that’s both endearing and entertaining.

At the same time, Smooth Fox Terriers are known for their loyalty. Once they form a bond with someone, it’s for life. They’re extremely devoted to their families and crave companionship. They thrive in environments where they’re treated as part of the family, sharing in all the joys and sorrows.

smooth fox terrier walking in a meadow
Photo: ESOlex/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Physical Environment

The Smooth Fox Terrier is a vibrant and adaptable dog breed that can thrive in various environments, provided they have the right mix of love, care, and mental stimulation. They’re suitable for both city apartments and country homes, as long as they have enough space to unleash their boundless energy.

Climate Adaptability

Smooth Fox Terriers are hardy dogs, but there are a few considerations regarding climate adaptability. In colder climates, their short, smooth coat doesn’t provide much insulation against the cold. Therefore, during winter months, they might need a doggy sweater or extra indoor time to stay warm.

In hot climates, ensure they have access to shade and fresh water to prevent overheating, as they can be prone to heat exhaustion due to their energetic nature.

Ideal Owner

Ideal pet parents for Smooth Fox Terriers are those who lead an active lifestyle and appreciate a dog’s lively and playful nature. These dogs thrive on interaction and engagement, so they do best with individuals or families that can provide them with plenty of attention, affection, and mental stimulation.

One thing to remember is that these dogs don’t enjoy being left alone for extended periods. They crave companionship and can become anxious or bored when left alone, which may lead to destructive behavior. They’re happiest when they’re part of family activities, whether a game in the backyard or a cozy movie night on the couch.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, Smooth Fox Terriers can coexist peacefully, especially if they’ve been socialized from a young age. However, due to their hunting origins, they might have a high prey drive and may chase smaller pets like cats or rodents. It’s essential to supervise interactions until you’re confident that all pets can live harmoniously together.

smooth fox terrier running on snow
Photo: LexussK/Getty Images


When it comes to grooming, the Smooth Fox Terrier is a wonderfully low-maintenance breed. Their short, smooth coat is practically designed for easy care, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer not to deal with extensive grooming routines.

Coat Care

Let’s start with their coat. The Smooth Fox Terrier’s coat is dense and lies flat against their body. This means they don’t require frequent bathing or professional grooming. A bath every few months or when they get particularly dirty should suffice. Of course, if your Fox Terrier is an adventurous spirit who loves getting into muddy mischief, you might find yourself giving baths a bit more often!

Brushing is an important part of their grooming routine. Despite their short hair, Smooth Fox Terriers do shed, especially during the change of seasons. A weekly brush with a firm bristle brush or a hound glove will help keep shedding under control, remove loose hair, and keep their coat looking its best. Plus, brushing is a great way to bond with your pet and check for any skin issues or parasites.

Dental Care

Now, let’s talk about dental care. Like all breeds, Smooth Fox Terriers need regular teeth cleaning to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Brushing their teeth a few times a week with dog-friendly toothpaste is ideal. If your Terrier isn’t fond of the toothbrush, dental chews can be a good alternative to help maintain oral health.

Nail Trimming

Next up are nails. Smooth Fox Terriers are active dogs, and their nails usually wear down naturally. However, if you hear a clicking sound when they walk on hard floors, it’s time for a trim. Nail trims can be tricky, especially if your dog is nervous, so don’t hesitate to ask a vet or a professional groomer for help.

Ear Care

Don’t forget about their ears. Smooth Fox Terriers have folded ears, which can be prone to infection. Regular checks and gentle cleaning with a dog-safe ear cleaner can help prevent any issues. If you notice any redness, swelling, or an unusual smell, it’s best to consult a vet.

Additional Grooming Tips

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that every Smooth Fox Terrier is unique and may have specific grooming needs. For instance, some might have sensitive skin that requires special shampoos, while others might need extra brushing during heavy shedding seasons.

smooth fox terrier walking on yellow autumn leaves
Photo: Photoboyko/Getty Images Pro


Welcome to the energetic world of the Smooth Fox Terrier! If you’re looking for a canine companion who loves being active, this breed is a perfect match. With their high energy levels and playful nature, Smooth Fox Terriers require a good deal of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Exercise Amount & Types

A typical Smooth Fox Terrier needs at least an hour of exercise each day, but they definitely won’t say no to more! This can be divided into two walks or play sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. But don’t limit their activity to walks around the block – these dogs love variety!

A game of fetch in the backyard can become an exciting adventure for a Smooth Fox Terrier. They love chasing after toys and balls, and their agile bodies allow them to make quick turns and jumps. Plus, it’s a great way for them to burn off some of that boundless energy!

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, your Smooth Fox Terrier will happily join you on your adventures. Be it a hike in the woods, a day at the beach, or a jog in the park, these dogs are up for anything that involves physical activity and time with their favorite human.

Dog Sports

Smooth Fox Terriers are incredibly smart and agile, making them excellent candidates for dog sports like agility, flyball, or obedience competitions. These activities not only provide physical exercise but also offer mental stimulation which is crucial for this intelligent breed.

Exercise Precautions

Remember that all exercise should be done in a safe, enclosed area or on a leash, as Smooth Fox Terriers are known for their chasing instincts. Their curious nature can sometimes lead them astray, so it’s important to ensure their safety while they’re having fun.

smooth fox terrier walking on thin ice
Photo: LexussK/Getty Images


Training a Smooth Fox Terrier can be an exciting journey, filled with lots of learning, bonding, and a few cheeky surprises! Known for their intelligence and quick wit, these dogs are quite trainable, but their independent streak can sometimes make the process a bit of a challenge.

Smooth Fox Terriers are quick learners who love to please their human friends. This makes them responsive to positive reinforcement methods. A kind word, a belly rub, or a tasty treat can work wonders in motivating them during training sessions.

Start with basic obedience training – commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and ‘leave it’. These not only instill good manners but also ensure your dog’s safety. Consistency is key here. The more consistent you are with your commands and expectations, the quicker your Fox Terrier will catch on.

Next, consider socialization. Smooth Fox Terriers are naturally friendly, but early socialization helps them become well-rounded dogs. Introduce them to different people, environments, sounds, and experiences. This can help curb any potential aggressive tendencies and make them more comfortable in various situations.

Remember, Smooth Fox Terriers are energetic and need plenty of mental stimulation. Incorporate fun activities in their training routine to keep them engaged. Agility training, for instance, can be a great way to channel their energy and challenge their minds.

Training a Smooth Fox Terrier requires patience and a sense of humor. They’re known for their mischievous nature and might occasionally test your limits. But don’t get frustrated. Keep sessions short and fun to hold their interest. And when they do something right, shower them with praise and rewards.

smooth fox terrier sitting among tall grasses
Photo: Valeriia Boiko

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding a Smooth Fox Terrier is not just about filling their bowl, it’s about ensuring they get the right nutrients to support their energetic lifestyle and overall health.

What to Feed & How Much

When choosing food for your Smooth Fox Terrier, look for high-quality dry, wet, or raw food that follows the AAFCO guidelines. This ensures that the food contains the appropriate balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The choice between dry, wet, or raw food depends on your dog’s preference and any specific dietary needs they might have.

The amount of food your Smooth Fox Terrier needs depends on their age, size, and activity level. Puppies generally need more food than adults as they’re growing and developing. An adult Smooth Fox Terrier, on the other hand, requires about 1 to 1.5 cups of good quality dry food per day, divided into two meals. However, always consult with your vet to determine the ideal portion size for your particular pet.

Keep in mind that every Smooth Fox Terrier is an individual with their own nutritional needs. Regular vet check-ups can help monitor your dog’s weight and overall health, allowing you to make any necessary adjustments to their diet.


Treats can be a great training aid and a way to show your Smooth Fox Terrier some love. But remember, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Choose healthy options like pieces of fruits, vegetables, or dog-specific treats.


Water is an essential part of your Smooth Fox Terrier’s diet. Ensure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times, especially during hot weather or after exercise.

smooth fox terrier with her puppies
Photo: Kurguzova/Getty Images


The Smooth Fox Terrier is a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of about 12-15 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Here are most common health issues associated with this breed:

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This condition affects the hip joint and is often seen in small dog breeds. Early detection through regular vet check-ups can help manage this condition effectively.

Lens Luxation: This is a hereditary eye condition where the lens of the eye becomes dislocated. Regular eye exams can help detect this issue early.

Deafness: Some Smooth Fox Terriers may be born deaf or develop hearing problems as they age. Regular hearing checks can help catch any issues early on.

Skin Allergies: Smooth Fox Terriers can be prone to skin allergies, which can lead to itching and discomfort. A diet rich in omega fatty acids can help support skin health.

Patellar Luxation: This condition is when the knee joint slides in and out of place, causing pain or lameness. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent this condition.

To ensure your Smooth Fox Terrier leads a healthy and happy life, a balanced diet is crucial. Feed them high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Treats should be given sparingly to avoid obesity, which can lead to various health issues.

Regular veterinary checks are essential to catch any potential health problems early. Your vet will also keep your Smooth Fox Terrier up-to-date with vaccinations, which are key to preventing serious infectious diseases.

Remember, a healthy Smooth Fox Terrier isn’t just about physical health. Mental stimulation and plenty of love and attention contribute to their overall well-being. With the right care, you can look forward to many joyful years with your energetic and charming Smooth Fox Terrier!

smooth fox terrier walking in the snow
Photo: LexussK/Getty Images


The Smooth Fox Terrier has a fascinating history that takes us back to 18th-century England. These dogs were initially bred for fox hunting, with their small size and agile bodies allowing them to chase foxes out of their dens.

Their origins are largely undocumented, but it’s believed that they were created from a mix of various breeds including the Black and Tan Terrier, Greyhound, and Beagle.

In 1885, the Smooth Fox Terrier made its way across the Atlantic and was registered by the American Kennel Club. The Smooth Fox Terrier was originally classified under the same breed standard as the Wire Fox Terrier; however, in 1984, the two breeds were officially separated, and each was given its own distinct standard.

Despite its long history and undeniable charm, the Smooth Fox Terrier isn’t as popular as some other breeds. It currently sits at 141 out of 200 on the AKC’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds. But don’t let the rankings fool you – those who know and love the breed can vouch for its unique appeal!

The Smooth Fox Terrier has also made a name for itself in popular culture. One of the most famous Smooth Fox Terriers is Asta, the canine sidekick in the “Thin Man” series of films from the 1930s and 1940s. Asta’s clever antics and playful personality won over audiences and helped raise the profile of the breed.

Another notable Smooth Fox Terrier is Caesar, a loyal companion to King Edward VII. Caesar was so beloved that he walked in the king’s funeral procession in 1910, a testament to the deep bond between the two.

Parent Club

The parent club for the Smooth Fox Terrier breed in the United States is the American Fox Terrier Club (AFTC). The AFTC has a rich history, being established back in 1885, which makes it one of the oldest breed-specific clubs in the country.

The club is dedicated to the promotion and protection of both the Smooth and Wire Fox Terrier breeds. For more information, you can visit their official webpage.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Smooth Fox Terrier’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

smooth fox terrier puppy lying on a stack of hay
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Thinking of welcoming a Smooth Fox Terrier into your family? That’s exciting! Before you do, there are a few things to consider. Prepare for a lively, intelligent companion who’ll need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Get ready with toys, a comfy bed, and a feeding plan in place.

If you choose to buy, ensure you purchase from reputable breeders who prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs. However, consider rescuing instead. There are many wonderful Smooth Fox Terriers waiting for their forever homes.

Both the American Kennel Club and the American Fox Terrier Club can provide resources and assistance if you’re looking to rescue. These organizations are dedicated to the well-being of the breed and can guide you in making the best choice for you and your future furry friend.


Are Smooth Fox Terriers good pets?

Absolutely! Smooth Fox Terriers are known for their intelligence, energy, and affectionate nature. They make excellent companions for active families and individuals who can offer them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Are Smooth Fox Terriers rare?

While they’re not as common as some other breeds, Smooth Fox Terriers aren’t considered rare. They rank 141 out of 200 on the American Kennel Club’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds.

Do Smooth Fox Terriers bark a lot?

Smooth Fox Terriers are alert and vocal dogs. They may bark to alert you to something unusual, out of excitement, or if they’re bored. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help manage excessive barking.

How smart are Smooth Fox Terriers?

Very smart! These dogs are quick learners with a keen intelligence. They excel at problem-solving and can pick up new commands and tricks quite quickly.

Are Smooth Fox Terriers good with children?

Yes, Smooth Fox Terriers can be great with children, especially when they’re raised together. Their energetic and playful nature makes them a fun companion for older kids. However, interactions with younger children should always be supervised.

How much exercise do Smooth Fox Terriers need?

Smooth Fox Terriers are an active breed that requires at least an hour of physical activity each day. This could include walks, playtime in the yard, or brain-stimulating games.

Are Smooth Fox Terriers easy to train?

Smooth Fox Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, which can make training easier. However, they also have an independent streak, so consistent, positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

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