Toy Fox Terrier

Table of Contents

toy fox terrier portrait
Introducing the Toy Fox Terrier, a small yet mighty canine companion that will instantly steal your heart! These little firecrackers are adored for their spirited personalities, all bundled up in a nimble and compact frame.

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

If you’re an active individual or family who loves a dash of mischievous fun, the Toy Fox Terrier is your perfect match. This small but mighty breed thrives in both city apartments and country homes.


OTHER NAMESAmerican Toy Terrier, Amertoy
ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT8.5-11.5 inches
WEIGHT4-9 lbs
LIFESPAN13-15 years
two toy fox terriers on a wooden table
Photo: Ekaterina Gorokhova/Getty Images


The Toy Fox Terrier is a small, well-balanced dog breed that boasts an elegant and athletic appearance. They possess a sturdy, muscular build, which is a testament to their agility and strength despite their petite size.

In terms of height and weight, Toy Fox Terriers typically stand between 8.5 and 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 4 to 9 pounds. This compact size makes them a perfect fit for those seeking a small yet active canine companion.

The body of a Toy Fox Terrier is characterized by a graceful, well-defined neck that slopes into a level topline, a deep chest, and well-sprung ribs. Their short, slightly arched loin leads to a moderately tucked-up belly, giving them a sleek, streamlined silhouette. The breed’s tail is usually docked, set high, and carried erect or slightly curved when the dog is alert.

The legs of a Toy Fox Terrier are straight, slender, and well-angled, providing them with the agility and speed they are known for. Their small, oval-shaped feet have thick pads and arched toes, which contribute to their nimble movements.

One of the most distinctive features of the Toy Fox Terrier is their head, which is proportionate to their body and exhibits a refined, chiseled appearance. Their skull is moderately rounded, while their strong muzzle tapers slightly towards the nose.

The breed’s dark, round, and somewhat large eyes give them a keen and intelligent expression that many find utterly endearing. Toy Fox Terriers have erect, triangular ears that stand high on their head, contributing to their alert and attentive demeanor.

When it comes to their coat, Toy Fox Terriers are known for their short, fine, and satiny fur that lies smooth and close to the body. This low-maintenance coat requires minimal grooming and is predominantly white with black, tan, or chocolate markings. The breed’s signature color pattern is often referred to as “tricolor,” featuring a predominantly white body with black and tan markings on the head and body.

toy fox terrier on green grass
Photo: Marvin Samuel Tolentino Pineda/Getty Images


The Toy Fox Terrier is an incredibly charming breed, boasting a vibrant personality that’s packed into a compact, athletic body. These dogs are known for their intelligence and extroverted nature, making them an engaging and entertaining companion for those lucky enough to share their home with one.

Toy Fox Terriers are often described as being a perfect blend of both terrier and toy traits. On the terrier side, they’re energetic, brave, and a little bit mischievous. They possess a natural instinct for hunting and can be quite tenacious when it comes to chasing after small critters or toys. Their bravery shines through in their bold and confident demeanor, unafraid to stand their ground despite their small size.

On the toy side, these dogs are funny, playful, and incredibly affectionate. They love to be involved in everything their family does and are known to form deep bonds with their owners. Despite their spirited energy, they also appreciate the finer things in life, such as curling up on a comfortable lap for a well-deserved nap.

Their intelligence is another notable trait. Training a Toy Fox Terrier is generally a breeze, as they are quick learners who are eager to please. This combined with their alertness makes them superb watchdogs — nothing gets past those keen eyes and perky ears!

However, these terriers are not just brains and bravado. They are also very sensitive and responsive dogs, thriving best in environments where they are treated with kindness and respect. Toy Fox Terriers have a high capacity for empathy, making them wonderful companions for those living alone or families with older children.

Overall, the Toy Fox Terrier is a small dog with a big heart and an even bigger personality. They are loyal, protective, and smart, offering a unique combination of the lively terrier temperament with the sweet nature of a toy breed. Owning a Toy Fox Terrier is sure to bring joy, laughter, and a whole lot of love into your life.

toy fox terrier standing on green grass
Photo: CaptureLight/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Physical Environment

The Toy Fox Terrier is a highly adaptable breed that can thrive in various living situations, making them suitable for different types of environments and pet parents. Their small size and moderate exercise needs allow them to adjust well to apartment living, as long as they receive daily physical and mental stimulation.

Climate Adaptability

In terms of climate adaptability, Toy Fox Terriers can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but may require some extra care during extreme weather conditions.

Their short, smooth coat provides minimal insulation against cold temperatures, so they may need additional protection, such as a dog sweater or jacket, when venturing outdoors in colder climates. It is essential to monitor them closely for signs of discomfort or hypothermia during winter months and provide them with a warm, cozy spot indoors to rest.

Similarly, hot weather can also pose challenges for the Toy Fox Terrier. Although they tolerate warmer temperatures better than some breeds, it is crucial to ensure they have access to shade, fresh water, and proper ventilation during hot spells. Avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day and always be vigilant for signs of heatstroke or dehydration.

Ideal Owner

An ideal environment for a Toy Fox Terrier includes a loving and attentive pet parent who appreciates the breed’s lively and intelligent nature. These dogs form strong bonds with their human families and enjoy being involved in daily activities.

Toy Fox Terriers are best suited for individuals or families who can offer them consistent companionship and engagement, ensuring their physical and emotional well-being.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, Toy Fox Terriers can coexist peacefully with fellow canines, particularly those of similar size and energy levels. However, proper socialization is crucial to promote harmonious relationships with other animals.

Due to their hunting instincts, they may not be the best match for households with smaller pets like cats, rodents, or birds, unless they have been raised together from a young age.

toy fox terrier standing in the middle of a road
Photo: K64End/Getty Images


One of the many appealing aspects of the Toy Fox Terrier breed is their relatively low-maintenance grooming requirements. Their short, fine, and satiny coat makes upkeep a breeze, ensuring that pet parents can focus on enjoying quality time with their furry friend rather than extensive grooming sessions.

Coat Care

To maintain the coat’s healthy appearance and minimize shedding, it is recommended to brush your Toy Fox Terrier’s coat once or twice a week using a soft-bristle brush or a grooming mitt.

This gentle brushing routine will help remove loose hair, distribute natural oils across the skin and fur, and keep the coat looking clean and shiny. Since their coat is naturally smooth and close-lying, Toy Fox Terriers rarely require professional grooming or trimming.

Bathing should be done as needed, generally every 1-2 months, or when your Toy Fox Terrier gets particularly dirty or starts to develop an odor. Be sure to use a mild, dog-specific shampoo to avoid irritating their skin and maintain the coat’s natural shine. It’s also essential to thoroughly rinse the shampoo from their fur to prevent any residue buildup, which could lead to skin issues.

Dental Care

Dental care is an important aspect of maintaining your Toy Fox Terrier’s overall health. Regular teeth brushing is highly recommended, ideally at least two to three times a week, to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, prevent bad breath, and lower the risk of dental diseases.

In addition to brushing, you may also consider providing dental chews or toys designed to support oral hygiene.

Nail Trimming

Nail care is another essential component of your Toy Fox Terrier’s grooming routine. Their nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks or as needed, depending on how quickly they grow and wear down naturally. Regular nail trims will help prevent overgrown nails, which could cause discomfort, pain, or difficulty walking.

If you are inexperienced or uncomfortable with trimming your dog’s nails, consider seeking the assistance of a professional groomer or veterinarian.

Ear Care

Toy Fox Terriers have erect ears that should be checked weekly for signs of dirt, wax buildup, or infection. Gently clean the outer ear with a soft, damp cloth or cotton ball to remove debris and maintain good ear health.

Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this could cause damage or irritation. If you notice any redness, swelling, foul odor, or excessive discharge, consult your veterinarian for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Additional Grooming Tips

Lastly, it’s crucial to regularly examine your Toy Fox Terrier’s overall physical condition during grooming sessions. Check for any skin irritations, lumps, bumps, or changes in their coat or body that may indicate a health issue.

Early detection and prompt veterinary attention can make a significant difference in addressing potential concerns.

toy fox terrier walking on a sidewalk
Photo: Antonio Batinic/Getty Images


Although small in size, the Toy Fox Terrier is an energetic and agile breed that requires regular physical activity to maintain their overall health and happiness. Meeting their exercise needs is essential for preventing boredom, managing their spirited nature, and promoting a well-balanced temperament.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Toy Fox Terrier will need at least 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise, which can be divided into multiple shorter sessions throughout the day. This exercise can include various activities such as walks, playtime, or engaging in mentally stimulating games. It’s crucial to tailor the type and intensity of the exercise to your dog’s age, fitness level, and individual preferences.

Toy Fox Terriers enjoy going for walks and exploring their surroundings, making daily walks an excellent way to keep them active and mentally stimulated. You can also incorporate interactive playtime into their exercise routine by engaging in activities such as fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek with toys.

In addition to physical activities, it’s essential to provide mental stimulation for your Toy Fox Terrier. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, or obedience training can help keep their minds engaged and challenge their natural intelligence.

Dog Sports

Toy Fox Terriers are known for their agility and excel in various dog sports, such as agility trials, flyball, and obedience competitions. Participating in these activities not only provides an excellent source of exercise but also strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion while showcasing their impressive athleticism and versatility.

Exercise Precautions

When exercising your Toy Fox Terrier, it’s important to consider factors such as weather conditions and their small size. In extreme temperatures, opt for indoor activities or adjust the duration and intensity of outdoor exercise to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort. Additionally, be mindful of their delicate stature and avoid activities that may put undue stress on their joints or cause accidental injuries.

toy fox terrier swimming in the water
Photo: Edgar Bullon’s Images


Training a Toy Fox Terrier can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, thanks to their intelligent and eager-to-please nature. These small dogs are known for their quick wit and ability to learn new commands with relative ease, making them a delight to work with for both novice and experienced dog owners.

Basic Obedience

When it comes to training, it’s essential to start early and maintain consistency. Begin with basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come, and gradually progress to more advanced skills as your Toy Fox Terrier masters the fundamentals. Early socialization is also crucial in shaping a well-rounded and confident adult dog. Introduce your puppy to various people, environments, and situations to help them adapt to new experiences and become comfortable in different settings.

Positive Reinforcement

Toy Fox Terriers respond best to positive reinforcement training methods, which involve rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime. This approach not only fosters a strong bond between you and your canine companion but also encourages them to repeat the desired behavior.

Avoid harsh or punitive training techniques, as these can damage the trust between you and your dog and hinder their learning progress.

One potential challenge when training a Toy Fox Terrier is their strong prey drive, which can sometimes lead to distractions during training sessions. To overcome this, ensure that you keep the training environment as free from distractions as possible and gradually introduce controlled distractions once your dog has mastered the basics.

Consistency in Training

Consistency and patience are key factors in successfully training your Toy Fox Terrier. Make sure to practice regularly and establish clear expectations to reinforce good behavior. Keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain your dog’s interest and enthusiasm.

toy fox terrier lying on green grass
Photo: Edgar Bullon’s Images

Diet & Nutrition 

What to Feed & How Much

A well-balanced diet is crucial for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Toy Fox Terrier. When selecting a suitable food for your canine companion, choose high-quality options that follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. These guidelines ensure that the food meets the necessary nutritional requirements for your dog’s specific life stage and size.

Toy Fox Terriers can be fed dry, wet, or raw food, depending on your preferences and their individual dietary needs. Dry kibble is often a popular choice due to its convenience, dental benefits, and affordability. Wet food or a raw diet can provide additional moisture and variety, but it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet.

The amount of food you should feed your Toy Fox Terrier will depend on their age, weight, activity level, and metabolism. Generally, adult Toy Fox Terriers require around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals. Puppies may need more frequent feedings, typically three to four times a day, to support their growth and development.

It’s important to monitor your Toy Fox Terrier’s weight and body condition regularly to ensure they are not underfed or overfed. Adjust their food intake as needed and consult with your veterinarian for personalized guidance on your dog’s specific nutritional requirements.


Treats can be a useful tool for training and reinforcing good behavior, but they should be given in moderation to avoid excessive weight gain or dietary imbalances. Opt for healthy and low-calorie treats, such as small pieces of fresh fruits or vegetables, lean meats, or specially-formulated dog treats.


Water is another essential component of your Toy Fox Terrier’s diet. Make sure to provide clean, fresh water at all times and change it daily to encourage proper hydration. Regularly cleaning the water bowl will also help prevent the growth of bacteria and algae.

toy fox terrier with a cat
Photo: Ekaterina Gorokhova/Getty Images


The Toy Fox Terrier is generally a healthy and robust breed with a life expectancy of around 13 to 15 years. However, like any dog breed, they may be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these potential concerns can help you take proactive measures to ensure your Toy Fox Terrier’s overall well-being and longevity.

Some common health issues associated with the Toy Fox Terrier breed include:

Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and potentially affecting the dog’s mobility. Mild cases may require minimal treatment, while more severe cases may necessitate surgical intervention.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This disorder affects the hip joint due to inadequate blood supply to the femoral head, resulting in the bone’s degeneration. Symptoms include lameness and pain in the affected leg. Treatment often involves surgery followed by physical therapy to restore function.

Dental Issues: Toy Fox Terriers, like many small breeds, may be prone to dental problems such as overcrowding, plaque buildup, and periodontal disease. Regular teeth brushing, dental chews, and professional cleanings can help maintain good oral health.

Demodectic Mange: This skin condition is caused by the Demodex mite and can result in hair loss, redness, and scaly skin. Toy Fox Terriers may be more susceptible to this issue due to their genetics. Treatment typically involves medicated shampoos, ointments, or oral medications prescribed by a veterinarian.

Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter (CHG): This inherited disorder affects the thyroid gland, leading to decreased thyroid hormone production and an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). Symptoms include lethargy, weight gain, and developmental delays. Treatment involves lifelong hormone replacement therapy.

To promote the health and well-being of your Toy Fox Terrier, it’s essential to provide regular veterinary care, including routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative measures for parasites. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet, proper exercise, and grooming routine can contribute to your dog’s overall health.

By being aware of potential health risks and taking proactive steps to address them, you can help ensure that your Toy Fox Terrier leads a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. If you have any concerns about your dog’s health, consult with your veterinarian for guidance and appropriate treatment.

toy fox terrier playing in the snow
Photo: Edgar Bullon’s Images


The Toy Fox Terrier has a fascinating history that can be traced back to the early 20th century in the United States.

This small but spirited breed was developed by crossing Smooth Fox Terriers with various toy breeds, such as the Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound, and Manchester Terrier. The goal was to create a smaller, more companionable version of the Fox Terrier while retaining its hunting instincts, intelligence, and lively nature.

Smooth Fox Terriers were renowned for their ability to hunt and eliminate vermin on farms, making them a popular choice among farmers and rural communities. By introducing toy breeds into the mix, breeders aimed to develop a more compact and agile dog capable of adapting to both urban and rural environments.

The result was the Toy Fox Terrier, a breed that combined the tenacity and hunting prowess of the Smooth Fox Terrier with the affectionate and adaptable nature of the toy breeds.

The Toy Fox Terrier quickly gained popularity as a versatile and entertaining companion. In addition to their skills as ratters and farm dogs, they also found success as circus performers during the early 1900s.

Their intelligence, agility, and natural ability to learn tricks made them a favorite among circus trainers, who often referred to them as “trick dogs.” These talented canines could perform a variety of feats, such as walking tightropes, jumping through hoops, and even riding horses.

Over time, the Toy Fox Terrier’s popularity spread beyond the circus ring, and they became cherished pets in households across America. Their small size, low-maintenance grooming requirements, and endearing personalities made them an ideal choice for families, seniors, and city dwellers alike.

The breed’s adaptability and charm also led to appearances in television shows, movies, and advertisements, further cementing their status as a beloved American breed.

Despite its widespread popularity, the Toy Fox Terrier faced some challenges in gaining official recognition from major kennel clubs. It wasn’t until 1936 that the United Kennel Club (UKC) acknowledged the breed, and it took several more decades for the American Kennel Club (AKC) to follow suit. The AKC finally recognized the Toy Fox Terrier as a distinct breed in 2003, classifying it within the Toy Group.

In popular culture, the Toy Fox Terrier has made appearances in movies like “The Adventures of Milo and Otis” and “Footloose,” as well as television shows like “Frasier” and “Spin City.” These appearances have undoubtedly contributed to the breed’s enduring appeal and recognition.

Today, the Toy Fox Terrier continues to be a popular choice among pet owners who appreciate its spirited nature, affectionate demeanor, and adaptability to various living situations. The breed also excels in various dog sports and activities, such as agility, flyball, and obedience competitions, showcasing its intelligence and athleticism.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Toy Fox Terrier in the United States is the American Toy Fox Terrier Club (ATFTC). Founded in 2001, the ATFTC is dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of the Toy Fox Terrier breed.

The club strives to educate the public about the breed, encourage responsible breeding practices, and support activities that showcase the talents and versatility of these charming dogs. You can visit their website for more information.

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

toy fox terrier playing with a ball
Photo: Ksuksa/Getty Images


Ready to welcome a Toy Fox Terrier into your life? Prepare for endless joy! You’ll need a cozy bed, nutritious food, stimulating toys, grooming essentials, and a vet for regular check-ups. If buying is your path, ensure you choose a breeder with a stellar reputation to guarantee a healthy, happy puppy.

However, consider the rewarding journey of rescue. Many Toy Fox Terriers wait in shelters, ready to shower their new family with love. The American Kennel Club and the American Toy Fox Terrier Club can guide you through the rescue process.

Whether you choose to adopt or buy, remember: you’re gaining more than a pet. You’re inviting a lively, loving friend into your life who’ll fill your days with laughter and companionship. With a Toy Fox Terrier, every day is an adventure!


Are Toy Fox Terriers good pets?

Yes, Toy Fox Terriers make excellent pets due to their affectionate, intelligent, and lively nature. They are great companions for families, seniors, and individuals living in both urban and rural environments. However, their high energy levels and strong prey drive make early socialization and consistent training essential for a well-behaved pet.

Do Toy Fox Terriers bark a lot?

Toy Fox Terriers can be quite vocal, especially when they are alert or excited. They may bark at unfamiliar sounds or people, making them good watchdogs. However, with proper training and socialization, excessive barking can be managed and minimized.

How big do Toy Fox Terriers get?

Toy Fox Terriers are a small breed, typically weighing between 4 to 9 pounds and standing 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder. Their compact size makes them suitable for apartment living and easy to transport.

Do Toy Fox Terriers get along with cats?

While each dog’s personality and experiences vary, Toy Fox Terriers can potentially get along with cats if they are introduced and socialized properly from a young age. However, due to their strong prey drive, it’s essential to supervise interactions between a Toy Fox Terrier and smaller animals, including cats.

Are Toy Fox Terriers hypoallergenic?

No, Toy Fox Terriers are not considered hypoallergenic. They have a short, smooth coat that sheds moderately. However, their grooming requirements are relatively low-maintenance, and regular brushing can help minimize shedding.

How often should I exercise my Toy Fox Terrier?

Toy Fox Terriers require at least 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise to maintain their overall health and happiness. This can include walks, playtime, or engaging in mentally stimulating activities. Tailor the type and intensity of exercise to your dog’s age, fitness level, and individual preferences.

Are Toy Fox Terriers easy to train?

Yes, Toy Fox Terriers are generally easy to train due to their intelligence and eagerness to please. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and can learn new commands quickly. However, consistency, patience, and early socialization are crucial for successful training and a well-behaved adult dog.

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