Smooth Fox Terrier

Table of Contents

The Smooth Fox Terrier is a breed that boasts a rich heritage as a vigorous hunting dog from England, notable for its sleek white coat with distinctive black or brown markings. A small to medium-sized breed, males typically stand around 15-16 inches tall, with females slightly shorter. These terriers are immediately recognizable by their sharp, v-shaped ears and intelligent, dark eyes that reflect their spirited personality.

Known for their boundless energy and fearless nature, Smooth Fox Terriers make enthusiastic companions. They thrive on interaction and physical activity, embodying a perfect balance of tenacity and affection. Despite their compact size, they have a big-dog attitude and are both alert and remarkably brave. This makes early training and socialization important to channel their energy positively. Their smooth coat is low-maintenance, requiring only regular brushing to keep it in good condition. With their history as fox hunters, these terriers still enjoy activities like digging and chasing, so they fit best with active families or individuals who can match their lively spirit.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Smooth Fox Terrier breed is best suited for active individuals or families who appreciate a high-energy companion that requires and enjoys regular exercise and play. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them great candidates for dog sports like agility, flyball, and obedience trials. The breed’s innate curiosity and boldness also make them excellent watchdogs.

However, they are not just for active lifestyles; they are also well-suited for those looking for a loyal and affectionate pet. Their size and adaptability allow them to fit comfortably into various living situations, from apartments to houses with large yards, as long as they get their daily dose of physical activity. Their friendly disposition means they can do well with children and other pets if socialized properly.

Given their hunting background, they are particularly well-matched with owners who can provide structured training to manage their chasing instincts. This breed is not the best choice for sedentary owners or those who cannot dedicate time to training, socialization, and exercise. Their joyful demeanor and companionship are best appreciated by those who understand and can cater to the breed’s physical and mental stimulation needs.

Smooth Fox Terrier Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Smooth Fox Terrier is a breed brimming with distinctive traits that make it a beloved companion and an excellent working dog. Here’s an overview of its key characteristics:


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Characteristics

The Smooth Fox Terrier is a lively and intelligent breed, compact in size with a striking white coat accented by black or tan. Known for their energetic and bold nature, these dogs are affectionate, agile, and require consistent training, making them ideal for active households.

1. Ears

Their V-shaped ears are small and fold forward close to the cheek.

2. Eyes
Dark, keen, and alert
3. Head
A distinctive feature is their long, narrow head with a flat skull, and their small, dark eyes exude intelligence and alertness.
4. Height
Males typically stand about 15-16 inches at the shoulder, with females being slightly shorter.
5. Coat
As their name implies, they have a smooth, dense coat that’s predominantly white with black, tan, or brown markings.
6. Coat Color
Predominantly white with black or tan markings
7. Tail
Often docked, carried high
8. Weight
They weigh between 15-18 pounds, presenting a sturdy and balanced physique.

Smooth Fox Terrier Temperament

The Smooth Fox Terrier is an alert and energetic breed, always ready for action and eager to engage in play or exercise. This intelligence makes them quick learners, but it can also lead to a bit of stubbornness, which calls for a patient and consistent training approach. Their bold and fearless nature belies their small stature; they are not ones to shy away from a challenge and will stand their ground confidently.

These terriers are affectionate and loyal, often forming an unbreakable bond with their family members. They are known for their playful demeanor, which, along with their mischievous streak, can provide endless entertainment for their owners. However, their independent thinking means they might not always obey without question, preferring to do things their own way at times.

Despite their inclination for independence, they are sociable creatures that can get along well with other dogs and people, especially when properly socialized from a young age. They are territorial as well, which, combined with their alertness, makes them excellent watchdogs, always ready to alert their family to the presence of strangers.

How to Care for a Smooth Fox Terrier

Caring for a Smooth Fox Terrier requires daily exercise, mental enrichment, and basic grooming. Provide ample physical activity like walks or play to manage their energy, and engage their minds with training and puzzles. Weekly brushing keeps their coat neat, and routine health care, including vet visits, nail trimming, and dental care, is essential for their well-being.

Grooming a Smooth Fox Terrier is relatively straightforward due to their short and smooth coat. However, there are some in-depth details that should be attended to regularly to maintain the breed’s neat appearance and overall health.

1. Coat Care:

  • Brushing: Use a firm bristle brush or a hound glove at least once a week to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils, which will keep the coat shiny and healthy.
  • Bathing: Bathe your Smooth Fox Terrier every three months or as needed. Overbathing can strip the coat of natural oils, so it’s important to use a gentle dog-specific shampoo.
  • Shedding: They are moderate shedders; regular brushing will help to minimize the amount of hair around your home.

2. Skin Care:

  • Inspection: Regularly check their skin for signs of irritation, rash, or infection, especially if your terrier has allergies.
  • Parasite Control: Apply flea and tick prevention as recommended by your vet to keep the skin free from parasitic infestations.

3. Nail Care:

  • Trimming: Nails should be trimmed every few weeks to prevent overgrowth, splitting, or cracking. A dog’s nails should not touch the ground when standing.
  • Dewclaws: If your terrier has dewclaws, they require special attention to prevent them from growing into the skin.

4. Ear Care:

  • Cleaning: Clean the ears with a vet-approved solution to prevent wax build-up and infections.
  • Hair Removal: Some terriers may grow hair in their ear canal, which needs to be plucked to prevent ear problems.

5. Eye Care:

  • Examination: Check the eyes regularly for redness or discharge. Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or discharge.
  • Tear Stains: White-coated terriers can develop tear stains; there are special solutions available to help remove these.

6. Oral Hygiene:

  • Teeth Brushing: Brush their teeth several times a week to prevent tartar build-up and gum disease.
  • Dental Checkups: Regular veterinary checkups will help maintain dental health.

7. Paw Care:

  • Pads: Check the paw pads for cracks or foreign objects. In winter, wash their feet after walks to remove salt and ice melt.
  • Hair Trimming: Trim the hair between the paw pads to prevent painful matting.

In addition to these grooming tasks, always be observant for any changes in your Smooth Fox Terrier’s appearance or behavior that might indicate a health issue and consult your vet as needed. Good grooming not only keeps your terrier looking their best but also serves as a check-up, as it can help spot early signs of health concerns.

Training a Smooth Fox Terrier takes patience and consistency, given their intelligent yet sometimes stubborn nature. Here’s an in-depth look at how to effectively train this breed:

1. Socialization:

  • Begin socialization early by exposing your puppy to various people, sights, sounds, and experiences. Positive socialization helps prevent behavioral issues later on.
  • Puppy classes are beneficial for social skills and basic obedience.

2. Basic Obedience:

  • Start with fundamental commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come,’ ‘down,’ and ‘heel.’
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play to reward desired behavior.
  • Keep training sessions short and fun. Smooth Fox Terriers can get bored with repetition, so mix in new tricks and commands.

3. Consistency:

  • Ensure everyone in the household follows the same rules and commands to avoid confusing the dog.
  • Stick to a routine to help your terrier understand what to expect and when.

4. House Training:

  • Crate training can be a useful tool in housebreaking, as dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping area.
  • Take your terrier out at regular intervals, especially after meals and naps, and praise them when they go outside.

5. Leash Training:

  • Acclimate your terrier to a collar and leash early. Initially let them wear the collar for short periods around the house, then introduce the leash.
  • Teach them to walk without pulling. If they start to pull, stop walking until they calm down, then continue.

6. Behavioral Training:

  • Address undesirable behaviors like digging or barking early. Redirect their attention to appropriate activities.
  • Terriers have a strong prey drive; train a reliable recall to manage their instinct to chase.

7. Advanced Training:

  • Smooth Fox Terriers excel in dog sports like agility, flyball, and obedience competitions. These activities provide mental and physical exercise.
  • Trick training can keep their active minds engaged and satisfied.

8. Challenges:

  • This breed can be headstrong, so it’s crucial to establish yourself as the pack leader. However, this doesn’t mean being harsh; it means being firm and gentle.
  • Avoid negative reinforcement, which can lead to fear and stubbornness.

9. Patience and Understanding:

  • Understand that every terrier has its personality; some may learn quickly, while others need more time.
  • Be patient and never punish your dog for not understanding. Instead, take a step back and consider if the training method needs to be adjusted.

Regular training throughout the dog’s life helps maintain their manners and provides mental stimulation, keeping the Smooth Fox Terrier happy and well-balanced. Always end on a positive note to ensure your terrier looks forward to training sessions.

1. Balanced Diet:

  • A diet balanced in protein, fats, and carbohydrates is essential. High-quality commercial dog food that meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines is usually appropriate.
  • Protein is crucial for muscle development and repair, so look for foods with real meat as the first ingredient.
  • Fats are a source of energy and support a healthy coat and skin, but the amount should be monitored to prevent weight gain.
  • Carbohydrates provide energy and should come from digestible sources like whole grains and vegetables.

2. Portion Control:

  • Monitor portion sizes to prevent obesity, which can lead to health issues such as diabetes and joint problems.
  • Follow the feeding guide on the dog food packaging as a starting point, adjusting as necessary based on your terrier’s activity level, age, and metabolism.

3. Feeding Frequency:

  • Puppies typically require three to four small meals per day to support their growth and energy levels.
  • Adult Smooth Fox Terriers usually do well with two meals per day.

4. Hydration:

  • Ensure your terrier has access to fresh, clean water at all times, especially after exercise.

5. Treats and Snacks:

  • Use treats sparingly and ensure they are healthy. Overfeeding treats can lead to weight gain and unbalance the diet.
  • Consider vegetables like carrots or green beans as low-calorie snack options.

6. Special Dietary Needs:

  • Pay attention to any food allergies or sensitivities your terrier may have and choose a diet that avoids triggering ingredients.
  • Some Smooth Fox Terriers may require special diets due to health issues like kidney stones or digestive problems; consult your vet for recommendations.

7. Supplements:

  • Most dogs don’t need supplements if they’re eating a balanced diet, but some may benefit from additions like omega fatty acids for coat health.
  • Always talk to your vet before adding supplements to your dog’s diet.

8. Regular Check-ups:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor your dog’s weight and overall health, and your vet can provide dietary recommendations tailored to your terrier’s specific needs.

Remember, every dog is an individual, and their dietary needs can vary. It’s important to assess and adjust their diet over time as their lifestyle or health status changes.

Exercise is crucial for the well-being of a Smooth Fox Terrier, a breed known for its boundless energy and intelligence. Here is a guide to ensuring they get enough physical activity:

1. Daily Exercise:

  • Smooth Fox Terriers require at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. This can be broken down into two or more walks, combined with play sessions.
  • They enjoy vigorous activities and will often have bursts of energy, so free play in a secure area where they can run off-leash is ideal.

2. Mental Stimulation:

  • Mental exercise is just as important as physical. Puzzle toys, training sessions, and games like hide-and-seek can keep their minds engaged.
  • Due to their hunting origins, activities that simulate chasing, like playing with a flirt pole, can be particularly satisfying.

3. Social Activities:

  • Playdates with other dogs, trips to the dog park, or participating in dog sports can provide both physical exercise and social interaction.
  • Smooth Fox Terriers often excel in dog sports such as agility, which provides an excellent outlet for their energy.

4. Indoor Exercises:

  • On days when outdoor activity is limited, indoor games, obstacle courses, or trick training sessions can help burn off energy.
  • Treadmills designed for dogs can also be an option, but always supervise and train them to use the equipment safely.

5. Consistency:

  • Exercise should be consistent. Daily walks are not just for exercise but also for routine, which helps prevent behavioral issues.
  • Remember, a tired Smooth Fox Terrier is typically a well-behaved one, as exercise helps to dissipate excess energy that might otherwise be directed into less desirable behaviors.

6. Avoid Overexertion:

  • While they are energetic, it’s essential to avoid overexertion, especially in hot weather, as dogs can overheat. Always provide water and breaks.
  • Puppies and senior dogs have different exercise needs. Puppies should not be over-exercised, especially on hard surfaces, as their joints are still developing. Senior dogs may require shorter, more gentle walks.

7. Tailoring Exercise:

  • Adjust the type and amount of exercise to your terrier’s age, health, and individual needs. Some may require more activities to satisfy their high energy levels, while others may need less.
  • Always watch for signs of fatigue or discomfort, and consult with a vet if you’re unsure about the appropriate level of exercise for your dog.

A well-exercised Smooth Fox Terrier is typically healthier, happier, and more manageable. Make sure to combine their exercise routine with plenty of love and attention to keep your four-legged friend in top shape.

The ideal environment for a Smooth Fox Terrier takes into account their active nature and need for mental stimulation. Here are the components of a setting that would suit this breed well:

1. Space for Activity:

  • A home with a securely fenced yard is ideal for a Smooth Fox Terrier to safely run and play off-leash. The fence should be high enough to prevent them from jumping over and secure enough to stop them from digging under.
  • Apartment living can be suitable for this breed, provided they are given ample daily exercise to expend their energy.

2. Engaging Surroundings:

  • They thrive in an environment that offers plenty of stimulation; this can include access to different types of terrain for walks, like parks, forests, and urban landscapes.
  • A variety of toys and playthings should be available to keep them entertained indoors.

3. Family Interaction:

  • Smooth Fox Terriers are sociable and do well in a home where they can interact regularly with their human family members. They’re known to form strong bonds and often want to be involved in family activities.
  • They are not suited to environments where they will be left alone for long periods, as they can become bored and destructive.

4. Training Opportunities:

  • An environment that allows for ongoing training is beneficial, as it helps with socialization and obedience, harnessing their intelligence in a positive way.
  • Access to training classes or dog sports provides not only exercise but also mental engagement and socialization.

5. Climate Consideration:

  • While they can adapt to various climates, Smooth Fox Terriers do best in moderate temperatures. Their short coats don’t provide much insulation against extreme cold, and they can be prone to overheating in very hot weather.
  • Homes with climate control can help in regions with more extreme temperatures.

6. Safety Measures:

  • Since they can be diggers and chasers, it’s important to have a home environment that is safe and secure to prevent escape attempts.
  • They should also be protected from hazards they might be inclined to chase, such as cars or wildlife.

7. Companionship:

  • They can do well with other pets, especially if raised with them, but their high prey drive means the household will need to manage interactions with smaller animals carefully.

An ideal environment for a Smooth Fox Terrier is one that balances their physical needs with their social and mental requirements, providing a happy and fulfilling home life.

Smooth Fox Terrier Health

Smooth Fox Terriers are known for their vivacity and resilience, but they do have a set of health concerns that potential owners should be aware of. They can be predisposed to certain hereditary conditions such as deafness, which breeders often screen for using BAER testing. Patellar luxation, a condition where the kneecap dislocates, is another concern and can range from mild, which might only require monitoring, to severe cases that may need surgical intervention. The breed can also be affected by Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease, which impacts the hip joints and can lead to arthritis or lameness if untreated. Eye health is another point of concern; lens luxation, where the lens of the eye becomes displaced, can occur, and if not promptly addressed, can progress to glaucoma.

Despite these breed-specific issues, maintaining a Smooth Fox Terrier’s health is possible with vigilant care. Regular veterinary visits for check-ups can detect problems early on. Dental hygiene plays a significant role in their overall health, so routine dental care is a must. A balanced diet and consistent exercise regimen not only keep these terriers in top physical shape but also help mitigate the risk of obesity, which can exacerbate joint issues. Controlling parasites and keeping vaccinations up to date are essential preventive measures. Furthermore, spaying or neutering provides health benefits, including a decreased risk of certain types of cancer. With attentive care, the Smooth Fox Terrier typically enjoys a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, often filled with good health and high spirits.

Smooth Fox Terrier Breed Comparison and Consideration

The Smooth Fox Terrier, with its sharp intellect and dynamic energy, is a standout choice for those who lead an active lifestyle. When contemplating the addition of a Smooth Fox Terrier to your family, it’s insightful to contrast their characteristics with similar breeds. This ensures that the breed’s vivacious spirit and exercise requirements are in harmony with your daily routine and home environment. Let’s explore how the Smooth Fox Terrier measures up against other breeds to help you determine if this breed’s independent nature and zest for life are the perfect fit for you.

Smooth Fox Terrier vs. Other Breeds:

  1. Smooth Fox Terrier vs. Jack Russell Terrier:

    • Appearance: Smooth Fox Terriers are slightly larger with a more refined head shape, while Jack Russells are stockier.
    • Temperament: Both are energetic and bold, but Smooth Fox Terriers may be less aggressive and more sociable.
    • Maintenance: Similar grooming needs due to their short coats, but Smooth Fox Terriers might shed less.
  2. Smooth Fox Terrier vs. Border Terrier:

    • Appearance: Border Terriers have a wiry coat and a broader face, while Smooth Fox Terriers are sleeker.
    • Temperament: Both are active and friendly, but Borders may have a calmer demeanor.
    • Size: Both breeds are similar in size, fitting the small to medium category.
  3. Smooth Fox Terrier vs. Beagle:

    • Appearance: Beagles have a stouter build and shorter coat, while Smooth Fox Terriers are leaner with a flat, smooth coat.
    • Temperament: Beagles are known for their even temper and curiosity, whereas Smooth Fox Terriers can be more independent.
    • Maintenance: Smooth Fox Terriers require less grooming due to their short coat.

Considerations Before Choosing a Smooth Fox Terrier:

  1. Lifestyle Fit: They are best for active families or individuals who can match their high energy levels.
  2. Exercise Requirements: Adequate daily exercise is a must to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  3. Space Needs: They adapt well to different living spaces but do best with room to roam and play.
  4. Health Checks: Regular veterinary visits are essential to monitor for breed-specific health issues.
  5. Budgeting for Care: Account for the costs of high-quality food, grooming tools, and potential health care.
  6. Commitment to Training: Early socialization and consistent training are crucial for a well-behaved pet.
  7. Longevity: Be prepared for a long-term commitment, as they can live 12-15 years.

While the Smooth Fox Terrier has distinct qualities, it’s important to consider how the breed’s characteristics align with your living situation and lifestyle to ensure a good match.


Expect a bundle of energy, intelligence, and playfulness. Smooth Fox Terriers are known for their lively spirit and keen alertness, making them excellent companions for active individuals or families.

They can be good with children, especially when raised with them. However, due to their strong prey drive, they may not always be suitable for homes with other small pets.

Like all breeds, they may be prone to certain conditions such as allergies, eye problems, and joint issues. Regular vet check-ups are important for early detection and management.

They can adapt to apartment living as long as their exercise needs are met. However, they prefer having access to a yard where they can explore and play.

Their high energy and independent nature might be challenging for first-time owners; they do best with those who can provide firm, consistent training and boundaries.

Be vigilant for signs of allergies, eye conditions, and joint issues, and maintain regular veterinary check-ups.

Top Takeaways

The Smooth Fox Terrier is an energetic and engaging breed, perfect for active individuals or families. These dogs bring a combination of high energy, intelligence, and playful spirit. They are also independent, which can sometimes translate into a stubborn demeanor, requiring patient and consistent training. Their smooth, low-shedding coat makes them a convenient choice for those who prefer minimal grooming. They serve as vigilant watchdogs, ever-alert and ready to sound the alarm. While they enjoy company, their innate prey drive means they must be socialized early, especially around smaller animals. Health-wise, it’s important to monitor for common breed-specific issues such as allergies and joint problems, ensuring they receive regular veterinary care. Above all, with the right mix of exercise, discipline, and affection, Smooth Fox Terriers make incredibly loyal and loving additions to any home.

Top Smooth Fox Terrier Names

These are the top Smooth Fox Terrier names as chosen by Pawstray pet parents!

Female Names











Male Names











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