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Smooth Fox Terrier

Quick facts

Smooth Fox Terrier AKC Group: Terrier
Height: Male: 14 - 16 inches
Female: 13 - 15 inches
Weight: Male: 14 - 20 pounds
Female: 13 - 18 pounds
Colors: all white, white with black and tan markings
AKC recognized in: 1885

Contrary to original thinking, the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier are not related breeds. While the Fox Terrier breed, recognized by the AKC in 1885, grouped both the Wire and Smooth together, almost one hundred years later (1984) the AKC separated the two into distinct breeds. The Smooth Fox Terrier is believed to have descended from the Smooth Black and Tan Terrier primarily, with a bit of Beagle and Bull Terrier thrown in for good measure. In contrast, the Wire Fox Terrier descended directly from the Rough Black and Tan Terrier.

Portrait of Pitch, Smoth Fox Terrier

In 1790, Colonel Thomas Thorton had a Smooth Fox Terrier named "Pitch". Famed artist Sawrey Gilpin created a portrait of that dog, which was later made into an engraving. This Gilpin painting is the oldest known documentation of the Smooth Fox Terrier breed.

The Smooth Fox Terrier was bred initially to be a "bolter". When hunting the fox, hunters would include a Smooth Fox Terrier with their group of fox hounds. Their job was to "bolt" in front of the hunting party, driving the fox out of his hiding place, and into the sight of the larger dogs and the hunters. White was the preferred color of these fox hounds, in order to distinguish between the fox and the dog.

The Smooth Fox Terrier is one of the oldest Terrier breeds, appearing first in the British Isles in the early 17th century. It was used by farmers to help rid the farms of foxes, rats, and other small vermin. The Smooth Fox Terrier would find the prey in the ground and set to digging, lunging and barking until the prey would leave the tunnel and expose itself to the farmer, who would then kill it.


Smooth Fox Terrier Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training five paws
Energy level five paws
Exercise Requirements five paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals three paws
Friendliness: Other Pets three paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance four paws
Playfulness five paws
Protection Ability two paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

While no longer used for her original purposes, the Smooth Fox Terrier still maintains an instinct to dig, in search of vermin. This urge can be controlled with proper training, though.

Self-confidence is one of the traits this dog is known for. This can be both good and bad. The Smooth Fox Terrier can get into a lot of mischief, including raiding people food from the table, or digging her way to freedom when left outside for any length of time. But their love of play can also be your way to keep her instincts in check. Give her as much exercise as possible, and she will tend to behave.

These terriers make great watch dogs, assuming they are not left alone so much they become bored. They will normally be quick to alert their family if something out of normal occurs.

While they are great with most children, they can be a bit too rough for smaller kids. Never leave any dog alone with small children, including the Smooth Fox Terrier. But, they love playing catch, so your kids can help you meet the exercise needs throughout the day.


The average lifespan of the Smooth Fox Terrier is 12 to 15 years.

While the Smooth Fox Terrier is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Cataracts - A cloudiness in the lens of the eye, with varying degrees of opacity. Symptoms vary depending on the degree of opacity.
  • Deafness - The inability to hear, either with one or both ears. Some dog breeds are more susceptible to this than others.
  • Distichiasis - An inherited disorder where there is uncommon growth in the eyelid area. Normally this can be ignored, unless it causes discomfort in your dog.
  • Legg-Perthes Disease - This disease involves the degeneration of the head of the femur bone due to interruption of the blood supply to the femur. This condition can lead to arthritis or inflammation of the hip joint. Because this is an inherited condition, if a dog is diagnosed with this disease, she should not be bred.
  • Lens Luxation - The dislocation of the lens of the eye from its normal location. Depending on where the lens dislocates to, this could result in glaucoma.
  • Patellar Luxation - Sometimes called a trick knee, this condition causes the kneecap to pop out of place. This can be caused by obesity, but is typically a congenital defect that can be inherited.


It is easy to care for a Smooth Fox Terrier, given her small size and nearly maintenance free double coat. This dog is great if you live in an apartment, but keep her occupied, because they can tend to be barkers if bored. A much preferred environment would be a house with a securely fenced yard.

A minimum 30 to 45 minute play session or vigorous walk is needed for her exercise needs, preferably divided into two sessions a day.

Brushing with a stiff bristle is occasionally needed to keep her coat looking well. Trimming her nails is recommended at any time you can hear the clicking on the floor.

Visitor Comments

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