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AKC Gazette breed column, Toy Fox Terriers

This talented little dog is a smart, adaptable companion.

The Toy Fox Terrier, or TFT, is a truly American breed of dog. We have heard so many stories from people of all ages who lovingly remember growing up with one of these devoted little clowns. Always willing to comfort you when you are sad or inspire you to go for a walk, they brighten up any day. In the early 1900s, circuses would travel the country featuring dog acts.

Toy Fox Terriers were popular performers, as they adapted well to circus life because of their high intelligence and trainability. Their endless energy and ability to do complicated jumping tricks can still be seen today in the agility ring at the AKC shows.

If you are looking for a fun and naturally talented agility dog, the TFT may be the dog for you!

Toy Fox-Miles with toyMost TFTs have a passion for hunting small rodents such as moles and mice. They will happily work all day if necessary to rid your yard or barn of unwanted vermin. Sometimes a quick bath is needed to return the sheen to their satin coat. Then it is time to sleep on your pillow or under the covers.

Squeaky toys are popular training tools for hunting. We have an 11-year-old male who knows his many toys by name and will bring you one upon request for fetching or tug-o-war. His favorite is a monkey who has survived for several years—and he has never shared this special toy with another dog. The TFT’s adaptable nature makes them the ultimate traveling companion. Tuck one into a dog carry-on or purse, and off you go. Now that we have clever products for the toy dog on vacation, a disposable pad takes the place of a walk in rainy weather.

Sweaters and raincoats help in their constant quest to be warm. It is not unusual to find a TFT curled up on the heater vent or lounging in the glow of the fireplace.

Eleanor Alford, age 94, with her constant companion, Toy Fox Terrier Skippy Lou, and Skippy's two puppies.

However, if you notice a Toy Fox displaying a shivering behavior at a dog show or agility trial, do not assume that he is nervous or chilly. This is a jolt of excitement coursing through his body in anticipation—Let’s do this!

If you have been considering adding a Toy Fox Terrier to your home, be sure to locate a reputable breeder or rescue group who will match you with the right dog for your lifestyle. An adult dog will possess prey-drive and hunting skill, which is a help if you are in need of gopher control for your garden. Some individuals have a more mellow attitude suitable for the less-active senior owner.

These dogs provide a valuable service to those who might otherwise miss the arrival of a guest or prowler. In recent years the Toy Fox Terrier has gained popularity in European countries as a show dog, hunter, and companion.

We are happy to share them with the world!

—Katherine La Rue,

Further information about Toy Fox Terriers can be found here and here.

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Top photo: Sporthorse Photography