Energetic and confident breed with a terrier attitude


Smooth Fox Terrier Spotlight

  • Playful, intelligent and a little stubborn
  • Fairly healthy breed
  • Originally bred to be hunters
  • Low in popularity
  • Now recognized as distinct from the Wire Fox Terrier
  • Require confident, assertive owners
  • Affectionate and social
  • Very high energy and needs exercise


Much remains unknown about the Smooth Fox Terrier’s true origin. The first documentation of the breed is a portrait that dates back to the late 18th century, and the breed has been widely known in England since around that time. The breed was most famously depicted in a painting by Francis Barraud titled “His Master’s Voice.”

Smooth Fox Terriers have lost most of the popularity they once had and are not commonly seen outside of show rings and hunting competitions. However, they maintain a level of importance to this day as they are recognized as a breed from which a significant portion of today’s well-known terrier breeds most likely descended.

Fox Terriers received overall recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1885, but another century passed before the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier were officially recognized as being two separate dog breeds. They were originally bred for hunting purposes and were used alongside Fox Hounds.

The Smooth Fox Terrier would run alongside the Fox Hounds in chase of the fox and when the fox dove underground or into nooks and crannies it was the Smooth Fox Terrier’s job to pursue the fox until it was chased out into the open where the hunters and other dogs were able to see it. Their intelligence and love for doing tricks have also made them a chosen breed for performing in circuses and shows in the past.

Personality & Temperament

Smooth Fox Terriers may be small but the size of their personality is not to be underestimated. The breed has a high prey drive, which is mostly due to the original breeding purposes, and should therefore always be secured in a yard or on a leash in order to prevent them from chasing after and potentially killing smaller animals. As true hunting dogs, they have excellent eyesight and sense of smell.

They can easily develop small dog syndrome if their owner lacks assertiveness, which can lead to separation anxiety, food and resource aggression, biting and even aggression toward people and other dogs. That being said, first-time dog owners without previous training experience may want to consider other breeds before committing to a Smooth Fox Terrier or other small dog breed that is known to develop these behavioral characteristics when not properly trained.

In addition being social, they have a tendency to become excessive barkers and diggers so these habits should be trained out of them at an early age. Smooth Fox Terriers are known for being excellent family dogs and for being affectionate toward their owners. They are incredibly friendly and much less fragile than many other small dog breeds which make them excellent companions for children. They are also protective over their families, but this simply means they are great watchdogs yet not aggressive toward others if properly socialized.

Appearance & Grooming

Smooth Fox Terriers have small, circular eyes that are dark in color and v-shaped, forward falling ears and a long face. Their bodies are overall narrow and athletic with a deep chest and legs that are lean but not too tall. Their coats are predominantly white with the appearance of brown or black spots. They range from 13-16 inches in height and 13-20 pounds in weight when they reach adulthood.

Smooth Fox Terriers have a rather short coat and require far less grooming than many other breeds. They should be brushed on a weekly basis to remove any loose hair from the coat. They shed an average, but more frequent brushing can help to reduce the amount of hair they shed. Smooth Fox Terriers should only be bathed as needed, usually every six to eight weeks. Their teeth should be brushed regularly and their nails should be trimmed every few weeks.


  • Deafness is common in Smooth Fox Terriers, and it is especially common in those that are aging. Signs of complete deafness or developing deafness include a lack of responsiveness to sounds from toys, sounds around or outside of the home and even to its own name.
  • Patellar luxation happens when a dog’s kneecap is dislocated from its original position. The issue is quite common, especially in toy and miniature breeds. The exact moment the dislocation occurs is typically the only time the dog will feel pain or discomfort, and signs that a dog has a dislocated kneecap include skipping, lameness and irregular movement.

Exercise & Care

Smooth Fox Terriers may be small in size but their exercise needs are fairly high. They require both mental and physical stimulation on a regular basis in order to prevent them from becoming stressed and developing health and behavioral issues. Smooth Fox Terriers would be very happy with an enclosed backyard, but daily walks or jogs will suffice in they live in a home or apartment without a yard.

Dividing exercise time into multiple sessions throughout the day will also help to keep them mellow during relaxation time at home. Specific energy levels will vary with each dog, but the general recommendation is anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour of physical activity each day.

Aside from supervised time spent outside, Smooth Fox Terriers should live indoors with their owners. They are best suited for those who live an active lifestyle as they will match your energy level quite well and will always be ready for another adventure. Each individual dog within the breed will have specific nutritional needs, so working with both your breeder and your veterinarian is the best way to determine a type and quantity of food that works for your dog. Like any other pet, Smooth Fox Terriers should always have access to clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration.

Quick Resources

For more information on caring for your Smooth Fox Terrier, visit these websites:

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