Toy Fox Terrier

A Very Smart Small Dog with a Huge Personality and a Guard Dog Mentality to Match!

Also known as the American Toy Terrier or the Amertoy, the Toy Fox Terrier is specifically bred to be small, and only weighs between three and seven pounds in adulthood. However, it has all the spirit, passion, and heart of its normal-sized "sibling," the Fox Terrier. It has a milder disposition, however, because it was crossbred with "milder" personality breeds and has retained those characteristics.


The Toy Fox Terrier came about when some breeders crossed the smooth Fox Terrier with toy breeds such as Italian Greyhound puppies, Chihuahuas, Manchester Terriers, and Miniature Pinscher puppies in the 1930s. The result was a little dog that was as sturdy and robust as the Fox Terrier, but with a milder and sweeter disposition. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2003 and classified within the Toy Group.


Although small, the Toy Fox Terrier is a true athlete. It has a very balanced, sturdy appearance and a muscular build. While this tiny dog only weighs between three and seven pounds in adulthood and stands about 10 inches at the shoulder, you wouldn't know it simply by its personality. Robust and energetic, this dog’s expression is one of eager interest, alertness, and intelligence. With erect, pointed ears, it looks “at the ready” at all times – as indeed, it is.

Well-proportioned, strong, elegant, and lithe, the Toy Fox Terrier is truly an exquisite little dog. You'll notice that most Toy Fox Terrier puppies have "colored" heads and then largely white bodies, sometimes with colored patches or markings. Colors are generally tricolor (black-and-tan markings with a predominantly white coat); black with a mostly white body; tan and chocolate with a largely white body; and tan head with a predominantly white body.


The Toy Fox Terrier has no idea it's a little dog. Very agile and tough, it's also graceful, with lots of strength and stamina for its size. No shrinking violet this, the Toy Fox Terrier’s personality matches its physique. A very bright dog, it can be stubborn, obstinate and even defiant if it doesn't get proper leadership from its owner. This little pet can exhibit something called "Small Dog Syndrome," because it already is stubborn and very intelligent. Small Dog Syndrome occurs when owners begin to treat their little dogs like children instead of like pets. Suddenly, these dogs become very spoiled and can try to take charge, even become little terrors; therefore, it's imperative to have a firm hand with your puppy as soon as you bring it home.

That said, properly disciplined, the Toy Fox Terrier makes an excellent and very loving family dog. Your little pet is so intelligent that it is very trainable and, if given clear, consistent boundaries, will take delight in gaining your approval (and treats!), as its pack leader.

You will need to have the energy to keep up with your little companion, though! It's a Terrier through and through, and loves to hunt small "game" and mice. Although loyal and very affectionate, this dog is also very sensitive, meaning you must avoid harsh discipline – although discipline you must. Because your pet is so intelligent, it will also get bored easily and must be kept busy. As long as you stay firmly in control (and teach your children to be in control as needed, as well), your pet will be a true pleasure.

Properly socialized, the Toy Fox Terrier puppy’s personality is one of unabashed joy and puppy-like enthusiasm, a trait that will be present throughout its life – even into old age. These dogs also usually have milder personalities than their larger Terrier counterparts, thanks to interbreeding with other breeds that have contributed these pleasing characteristics. Although this dog is gentle, docile, and devoted, the Toy Fox Terrier is surprisingly quite an effective guard dog. Ironic as that seems considering this dog’s size, it is so alert that it will be a warning system for you rather than a true protector (even though it will carry itself as though it is indeed your protector).

Despite its boundless energy, your pet will also love to simply serve as your lapdog. There's nothing better for your pet than to cuddle up with you while you relax in front of the television or over a good book, a faithful companion at your side.

Proper Environment

This tiny dog lives very well in just about any environment, including apartments. It makes an excellent service dog because it is so intelligent. Although you must give your pet lots of activity, including a daily walk, what your dog really wants to do is play! Even if you are largely indoors, you can still fulfill your pet's exercise needs easily, meeting requirements with a daily walk and then lots of romping good fun in addition.

Although the Toy Fox Terrier is unusually robust for such a little dog, it's worth noting that even this sturdy little dog can’t bear a lot of rough play. Therefore, make sure you teach your children to be gentle with your little companion.

A final note on environment is that your pet does not tolerate cold weather particularly well. Use appropriate doggie clothing as necessary when you must go out in cold temperatures.

Function As Service Dogs

Toy Fox Terrier puppies are also excellent service dogs. They can retrieve small items and open doors if needed. They can also alert people with hearing deficiencies or deafness to the fact that the phone is ringing.


The Toy Fox Terrier has few health problems. Congenitally, however, it can be prone to Legg-Calve- Perthes disease, common to many small breeds. With this, the head of the femur essentially dies, promoting wear and tear and eventually causing arthritis. This can be corrected with surgery, as can the hip dysplasia that also sometimes appears in the breed, but it disqualifies the dog from competition. Oral health, including periodontal disease, can be a problem as well. Daily tooth brushings, and regular dental cleanings, as well as access to proper chew toys, will help keep your pet's oral health in good condition.

Von Willebrand's disease, an abnormal bleeding condition, can also sometimes show up in Toy Fox Terrier puppies. Congenital hypothyroidism with goiter is also a problem, although this will not be a problem if you have adopted a puppy older than three weeks. This condition usually results in early puppy death by that age.

Aside from these health concerns, the Toy Fox Terrier is a very robust dog and can live to be 12 to 14 years of age or even older.


Your pet's sleek, elegant coat is very easy to take care of. Simply combing or brushing regularly will suffice and will significantly cut down on shedding.

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