Toy Fox Terriers – Everything You Need To Know

An American-bred toy breed, the Toy Fox Terrier, also called the TFT, is a direct descendant of the Smooth Fox Terrier, created in the 1900s to help eliminate rats and other small vermin. Like all Terriers, TFT has an endless desire to bark, dig, and investigate. They frequently become nuisance barkers and can be aggressive toward other dogs, no matter their size. Unlike other toy breeds, TFT is generally easy to housetrain, mainly if provided with a litter box or housetraining pad. 

TFTs are well known for their bravery, agility, determination, athleticism, and willingness to learn. In addition, they can be friendly, playful, and great companions for elderly people and older children. These toy breeds excel at hunting squirrels and other small animals. With a defensive nature and tendency to bark, the TFTs also make an excellent watchdog.

Toy Fox Terrier Overview

Toy Fox Terriers are independent, hardworking, lively, and tenacious, with a phenomenal Terrier slant on life. TFTs are all-rounders blending upbeat, speed, agility, endurance, and capability to perform various tasks. They are devoted companions and protect their human family with extraordinary watchdog and guard dog abilities. 

TFTs are not snappy or aggressive but have limitations in handling them and can tolerate roughhousing. However, being true to their Terrier roots, TFTs are suspicious of strangers and bark at unfamiliar sounds. Proper training and early socialization can help them warm up to other animals and pets. They adore kids and are great playmates, mainly when raised with them. Also, the TFTs might be your ideal companion if you enjoy hand stripping, grooming, and entertaining an intelligent, sparky Terrier.

Toy Fox Terrier Pros and Cons

Fun-loving and playfulCan be vocal
Smart and easy to trainHigh prey drive
Loyal and affectionateNot a lap dog and requires lots of exercise and enrichment

Toy Fox Terrier Basic Information

  • Name: Toy Fox Terrier
  • Origin: United States
  • Group: Terrier Group
  • Size: Toy
  • Height: 8.5 – 11.5 inches
  • Weight: 4 – 9 pounds
  • Coat: Smooth, shiny, single coat
  • Color: Black/white/tan, white/chocolate/tan, white/tan, black/tan, white/chocolate
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Hiking, agility, companion dogs, conformity, obedience, herding, watchdog, and guard dog.
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Occasional
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 2 – 6 puppies
  • Other Names: American Toy Terrier, Amertoy, TFT
  • Original Pastime: Ratters
  • Life Span: 13 – 15 years

History of Toy Fox Terrier

In the 1930s, American fanciers crossed the Smooth Fox Terrier with Miniature Pinscher, Italian Greyhound, Manchester Terrier and Chihuahua dogs. The resulting Toy Fox Terrier initially served as a farmyard ratter. Later, they became a companion breed.

  • TFTs gained United Kennel Club recognition in 1936. 
  • The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2003.
  • The Toy Fox Terrier ranks 99th among the breeds registered by the AKC.

Toy Fox Terrier Highlights

  • With their thin skin, TFTs like their comfort. They’ll want a sweater to keep them warm when exposed to prolonged cold temperatures and a raincoat to protect their coat from rain.
  • A TFT’s worst traits are their love of barking and belief that they can take on canines many times his size. 
  • The breed bonds firmly to its family and loves being a lap dog and companion.
  • They don’t like getting wet.
  • TFTs are not an ideal companion for all children. While a sturdy little dogs, they cannot tolerate extreme rough handling, especially as they are prone to broken legs.
  • Terrier intuition may cause them to chase small animals, requiring close supervision if outdoors off-leash without a fence.

Here’s the link to purchase a sweater and raincoat for your TFT:

Jecikelon Pet Dog Sweater
Buy at Amazon

Queenmore Small Dog Pullover Sweater
Buy at Amazon

Cosibell Waterproof Puppy Dog Raincoats with Hood
Buy at Amazon

HDE Dog Raincoat Hooded
Buy at Amazon

Toy Fox Terrier Personality

TFTs are balanced and athletic dogs with lean and muscular bodies. They’re known for their proudly held heads kept on a well-set, slightly arched muscular neck, and laid-back shoulders. Also, they have inverted V-shaped ears that are erect, strong muzzles, and round dark eyes with strikingly smooth and intelligent expressions. They accommodate other pets and do not show aggression with unfamiliar canines. They’re brave, devoted, and excellent watchdogs. But this doesn’t indicate that TFTs are vicious dogs. Instead, they’re intelligent and know when to fight off an intruder.

TFTs have smooth, shiny, satiny coats, primarily white with tan, black, black and tan, chocolate, or chocolate and tan patches. They need to exercise at regular intervals to stay healthy. TFTs are energetic and adept at various outdoor activities such as running, hiking, and playing games. They are adaptable to apartments, provided that they get enough exercise outdoors. Also, keeping these pets away from small children is better due to their skittish and biting tendency.

Friendliness Overview

Affection LevelMedium to high
Family-friendlyMedium to high
Dog-friendlyLow to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingHigh
Good for new ownersMedium 
Sensitivity LevelLow to medium
Tolerates being aloneLow to medium
Cold toleranceMedium
Heat toleranceMedium to high

Toy Fox Terrier Physical Features


  • Elegant, balanced, and expressive head
  • Clear, bright, and dark round eyes
  • Erect, pointed, inverted V-shaped ears
  • Slightly rounded and softly wedge-shaped skull. 
  • Flat and muscular cheeks
  • Black nose
  • Small, tightly fitted lips
  • A scissors bite is preferred

Neck, Topline, Body: 

  • Erect, well set on, slightly arched, clean, gracefully curved, muscular neck.
  • The topline is level when gaiting and standing.
  • The balanced body tapers slightly from the ribs to flank
  • Deep and muscular chest with well-sprung ribs
  • Straight, level, and muscular back
  • Short and strong loin 
  • The croup is well-rounded and level with topline.

Tail: The tail is set high and is carried gaily but not curled. 


  • Well angulated forequarters
  • Firmly set, sloping shoulders
  • Well-developed forechest
  • Small and oval feet
  • Strong, well-arched, and closely knit toes with deep pads.


  • Well-angulated, strong, and muscular hindquarters
  • Well-muscled thighs
  • Clearly defined and well-angulated stifles
  • The rear pasterns are straight.

Coat: Shiny, satiny, fine in texture, and smooth coat

Color: Black, white, and tan

Gait: Their gait is smooth, effortless, and agile, with a powerful drive from the rear and good reach in front.

Disqualifications (AKC Standards)

  • Any dog under 8½ inches or over 11½ inches
  • Floppy ears on any dog over six months of age.
  • Undershot, wry mouth, overshot more than ⅛ inch. 
  • A blaze extends into the eyes or ears.  
  • Dudley nose
  • Undershot, wry mouth, overshot more than ⅛ inch
  • Any dog whose head is more than fifty percent white
  • Any dog whose body is not more than fifty percent white
  • Any dog whose head and body spots are of different colors.

Toy Fox Terrier Temperament

Life with a TFT is exciting as they come in various dispositions, from live and spirited to couch potato. They are playful, good-natured, loving, and loyal toward their human family. When socialized in puppyhood, these breeds are also generally friendly around other pets and well-behaved kids. However, TFTs can be unpredictable with other canines, and they love to bark and dig.

TFT is a flawless blend of Terrier and Toy, merging Terrier exuberance and hunting ability with the small size and more compliant, lap-loving traits of Toy dogs. Housetraining a TFT is easy, which is only sometimes accurate with toy breeds. Mainly, females take well to using a litter box or house training pad. However, males have more difficulty hitting their mark, so they do better with a high-pitched pan.

You can get housebreaking pads for your pet from here:

Glad for Pets Black Charcoal Puppy Pads
Buy at Amazon

ScratchMe Super-Absorbent Waterproof Dog and Puppy Pet Training Pad
Buy at Amazon

Reusable 3-Layer Training Potty Pad with Tray
Buy at Amazon

Even though small in size, TFTs are real Terriers at heart, so they’ll need limits to keep them from showing less adorable qualities like separation anxiety, excessive barking, or suspicion toward outsiders or other pets. Instead, they represent fearlessness and are good watchdogs who adore their family. With a do-it-all attitude and a keen intelligence, TFTs discover and become adaptable, taking on any role you throw at them.

Toy Fox Terrier Training

Training a Toy Fox Terrier can be challenging, given their headstrong attitude and agile build. However, you can use their eagerness to please, intelligence, and charming nature to ease the training procedure. It is good to offer continuous training for your pet to harness its full potential. Likewise, their training sessions must include a blend to inspire their attention until the end. You can train them with complicated tricks and positively reinforce their learning with treats, praise, and special playtime. Here are some of the training workouts that you need to do with your Toy Fox Terrier:

Here are a few dog interactive toys and products that you can use while training:

ASOCEA Dog Extendable Teaser Wand
Buy at Amazon

Ultra Tug & Toss Dog Toy
Buy at Amazon

DOG Brand Canvas Dummies
Buy at Amazon

Dog Puzzle Toys
Buy at Amazon

Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
Buy at Amazon

Blue Buffalo Health Bars
Buy at Amazon

BAAPET 2/4/5/6 FT Dog Leash
Buy at Amazon

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainMedium
Prey driveHigh
Mouthiness tendenciesLow to medium
Barking and Howling tendenciesHigh 
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium to high

Toy Fox Terrier Exercise Needs

TFTs need a lot of space and time to spend on their high energy levels. So, pet owners don’t have to take them for a long walk or jog if they have a yard where they can run and play. However, if you do not have a backyard, you must invest your time in the dog’s park with a leash. They will thrive with a vigorous walk of at least 30 minutes of daily exercise combined with training lessons, play sessions, or activities like agility sports. These breeds can easily adapt to an apartment if their necessities are fulfilled.

Similarly, adequate exercise and early socialization can avoid unnecessary timidness and guarding instincts. Hence, it is necessary to encourage them to be occupied mentally and physically. You can meet your TFT’s daily exercise essentials by:

  • Teaching new tricks 
  • Walking 
  • Fetching 
  • Chasing 
  • Playing with puzzle toys 
  • Playing tug of war 
  • Schutzhund 
  • Frisbee 
  • Herding trials 
  • Flyball 
  • Agility training 
  • Hiking 
  • Dog park

Here are a few puzzles and dog toys to keep your pet engaged:

Nina Ottosson Interactive Treat Puzzle Game Dog Toys
Buy at Amazon

TOMAHAUK Snuffle Mat for Dogs
Buy at Amazon

TRIXIE Dog Treat Dispenser
Buy at Amazon

LOOBANI Dog Food Puzzle
Buy at Amazon

Benebone Wishbone Durable Dog Chews
Buy at Amazon

Pacific 18Piece Pups Toys
Buy at Amazon

rabbitgoo Dog Harness
Buy at Amazon

Kong Rubber Flyer Large
Buy at Amazon

JMMPOO Dog Agility Training Equipment
Buy at Amazon

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh

Toy Fox Terrier Grooming

TFTs are non-hypoallergenic, low-maintenance, low-shedding breeds that need little grooming and are jacketed with a smooth, short coat. TFT’s grooming needs are as follows: 

  • Brush their coat weekly to remove dead hair. 
  • Bathe whenever it is required.  
  • Trim their nails once or twice weekly using a grinder. 
  • Brush their teeth twice or thrice weekly.  
  • Clean their eyes and ears weekly.

Here are a few products and equipment to meet your Toy Fox Terrier grooming needs:

Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs
Buy at Amazon

Earth Rated Dog Wipes
Buy at Amazon

Vet’s Enzymatic Toothpaste Set
Buy at Amazon

Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit for Dogs
Buy at Amazon

Virbac EPIOTIC Advanced Ear Cleanser
Buy at Amazon

OPULA Dog Eye Wipes
Buy at Amazon

Dudi Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmers
Buy at Amazon

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow
Amount of sheddingLow

Toy Fox Terrier Health

TFTs are healthy breeds but are not free of genetic disorders. For that cause, ensure your pup’s parents have been screened for conditions with genetic tests. 

Health Overview

General healthHigh
Weight gain tendenciesMedium

Demodicosis: A condition caused by Demodex mites in the hair follicles. Dogs with weak immune systems are predisposed to the disease. The signs include scaly patches of red, skin with hair loss on the neck, forelegs, and head, or severe conditions all over the body.

Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Myokymia or Seizures (SAMS): SAMS is a nervous system disorder characterized by uncoordinated movements and impaired balance. This particular form may present with muscle twitching and seizures.

Legg-Calve Perthes Disorder: The blood supply of the femur is decreased, due to which the pelvis starts to disintegrate, and the hip becomes gradually weakened. Signs include limping and atrophy of the leg muscle. 

Cancer: This condition can be cured by surgically removing tumors and chemotherapy. But, it is essential not to ignore and diagnose the symptoms earlier.

Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter (CHG): Affected dogs do not move around as much as standard ones, and their heads may appear larger than their bodies. By two weeks, swelling underneath the neck can be felt, and it enlarges. Eventually, even with therapy, the goiter tightens the airway. Affected pups usually die or are euthanized by the age of 3 weeks. 

Dental Disease: It affects 80% of canines, generates tartar build-up, causes infection of the gums and roots, and in complex situations, causes teeth to lose and damage to the kidneys. 

Periodontal Disease: Bacteria that cause periodontitis can damage your dog’s mouth. Typically, this illness invades the mouth quietly, and you won’t notice any noticeable indications or symptoms until it has progressed. Gum disease, on the other hand, can cause persistent discomfort, gum erosion, and tooth and bone loss. 

Obesity: Toys are predisposed to obesity without proper diet and routine exercise. They may also get diabetes, which can be another reason for obesity. 

Von Willebrand’s Disease: The most dominant hereditary bleeding disorder in canines is Von Willebrand’s disease (VWD). It’s caused by a lack of a particular protein that helps platelets adhere together and form clots to close damaged blood arteries. 

Patellar Luxation: This painful disorder is the falling of the knee cap from its area in the canine’s legs. Signs include dogs feeling uncomfortable while hiking and kicking their legs to set the kneecap in its position.

Primary Lens Luxation (PLL): This illness usually starts to take place around middle age, and it is radical and can lead to subsequent blindness. It is triggered by the collapse of the fibers that keep the lens in place. There is a PPL test that is advised for breeders to have done on probable parents. 

Small dog syndrome: TFTs suffer from this syndrome, a collective behavior change exhibited by small dogs. They do all activities to overcome their small statures, such as excited manners, growling at people and other pets, and jumping up on pet parents, people, or other pets. 

Recommended Health Tests

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)

Toy Fox Terrier Diet and Nutrition

It is recommended to measure food of 1.5 cups that are high in quality to your TFTs twice a day rather than letting the food on the plate all day to eat. Since these breeds are potential weight gainers, it is better to supervise the amount of food you offer. However, make sure the diet you feed is measured and tailored to your puppy’s size, activity level, age, and weight. Likewise, limit the treats you give your dog, especially while training. Of course, you can always choose high-quality dog food, either homemade or commercially manufactured. Also, clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Here are the foods and supplements to meet your Toy Fox Terrier’s nutrition needs:

Purina ONE Natural Dry Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

Blue Buffalo Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

VetIQ Hip & Joint Supplement
Buy at Amazon

Milk-Bone Hip & Joint Dog Supplement
Buy at Amazon

Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
Buy at Amazon

Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs
Buy at Amazon

Wag Wet Dog Food Topper
Buy at Amazon

Purina ONE High Protein Wet Dog Food 
Buy at Amazon

Toy Fox Terrier Living Condition

TFTs are spunky, energetic little dogs who need regular exercise and physical and mental stimulation. They make great apartment dogs and are the most suitable companion pups who adapt well to their human families. They adore playing and love the company of older children. They are delighted when they are around their family. On the downside, they undergo separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.

Did You Know?

  • Due to their agility and small size, the TFT would perform one of the most exciting circus acts-walking on a tightrope.
  • TFTs are sometimes called “Amertoy,” a mash-up of “American” and “Toy.”
  • TFT was developed in the 1930s.
  • The TFT is the AKC’s 148th breed.
  • The TFT is an American breed resulting from a cross of Fox Terrier dogs with Toy breeds such as the Italian Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, and Chihuahua.

Toy Fox Terrier Club Recognition

  • AKC – American Kennel Club
  • ACR – American Canine Registry
  • ATFTC – The American Toy Fox Terrier Club
  • ACA – American Canine Association Inc.
  • APRI – American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • DRA – Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • NAPR – North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • NKC – National Kennel Club
  • NTFTA – National Toy Fox Terrier Association
  • UKC – United Kennel Club

Adding a Toy Fox Terrier to Your Family

Things to remember before adding a Toy Fox Terrier to your family

It is best to purchase a Toy Fox Terrier puppy from a reliable and reputed breeder who can provide you with health certificates and vaccination and gene testing certificates. 

Cost of a Toy Fox Terrier

A TFT puppy cost ranges from $600 to $1200, not including miscellaneous costs.

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