Toy Fox Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2014
Bold and determined for his size, the spunky Toy Fox Terrier can be intensely focused and impulsive, but is more biddable and amenable than his larger cousin, the Smooth Fox Terrier.
Both terrier and toy traits influence his personality and character. As a terrier, he is alert, proud, and spunky. As a toy, he is of quieter demeanor and loves to be held.
Many Toy Fox Terriers dearly love to play ball and do a fine job of exercising themselves indoors, but they are well balanced in rest and play time.
The Toy Fox Terrier is comical and entertaining and remains so throughout his long life. With his curiosity, quickness, and chasing instincts, he must always be leashed or fenced outdoors. Securely fenced, because he likes to explore -- and that means the other side of the fence, whether he has to climb over, dig under, or squeeze through the cracks.
With his keen eyesight and acute hearing, the Toy Fox Terrier is quick to announce strangers with his sharp, suspicious bark.
This breed is described as "not easily intimidated by other animals," which means that not only will he not back down if challenged, but also that he may do much of the challenging himself! However, he does tend to get along well with other pets within the family.
Toy Fox Terriers have an independent mind and a mischievous sense of humor and prefer learning tricks to formal obedience exercises. But they are quite trainable when praise and treats are the primary motivators.
Housebreaking, though, can be difficult, especially in cold or rainy weather.
If you want a dog who...
- Is small, easy to carry, and doesn't take up much space
- Is quick-moving, agile, and light on his feet
- Has a sleek satiny easy-care coat
- Combines terrier traits (sturdy, spunky, energetic, impulsive) with toy breed traits (likes to cuddle, is more responsive and more trainable than most terriers)
- Is comical and playful and especially loves to play ball
- Is extremely alert and makes a keen watchdog
- Is quite hardy and lives a long time
A Toy Fox Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- The fragility of toy breeds (see below)
- High energy level -- providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
- Suspiciousness toward strangers and strange dogs
- Housebreaking difficulties
A Toy Fox Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Toy Fox Terrier
If I was considering a Toy Fox Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- Fragility. Too many people acquire a toy breed puppy without understanding how incredibly fragile it is. You can seriously injure or kill a Toy Fox Terrier puppy by stepping on him or by sitting on him when he's curled under a blanket or pillow, where he frequently likes to sleep. And Toy Fox Terrier puppies can seriously injure or kill THEMSELVES by leaping from your arms or off the back of your sofa. A larger dog can grab a Toy Fox Terrier and break his neck with one quick shake. Owning a toy breed means constant supervision and surveillance of what's going on around your tiny dog. Toy Fox Terriers must always be kept indoors, in a safely fenced yard, or on-leash -- they are just too easy to injure when not under your complete control.
Toy Fox Terrier puppies are NOT suited to small children, no matter how well-meaning the child. Children cannot help being clumsy, and that a child meant well is little solace to a Toy Fox Terrier puppy who has been accidentally stepped on, sat on, rolled on, squeezed, or dropped onto the patio. Even Toy Fox Terrier adults may feel overwhelmed by the loud voices and quick movements that children can't help making -- and stress and shyness (even defensive biting) may be the result. Finally, some Toy Fox Terriers do not tolerate any nonsense and are quick to react to teasing or rough handling, whether deliberate or accidental.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Toy Fox Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. I recommend that you take your Toy Fox Terrier out frequently and get him involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, or in agility (an obstacle course for dogs).
- Suspiciousness. Standoffish by nature, Toy Fox Terriers need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become suspiciousness, which is very difficult to live with and can lead to biting.
- Mind of their own. Toy Fox Terriers are very bright -- many excel in obedience and agility competition -- but they also have an independent mind of their own and can be manipulative. Some Toy Fox Terriers are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Toy Fox to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Toy Fox Terrier Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Barking. Toy Fox Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
- Housebreaking. Toy breeds are almost always difficult to housebreak. It is so easy for them to sneak behind a chair or under a small table, and it takes only a few seconds for the deed to be done. The results can be hard to see. When you don't see it, you don't correct it -- and so the bad habit becomes established. If you hope to housebreak a toy breed, consistent crate training is mandatory. Toy Fox Terriers should not be loosed in the house for many months, until their small internal organs become strong enough for reliable control.
To learn more about training Toy Fox Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Toy Fox Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Toy Fox Terrier. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Toy Fox Terrier might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Toy Fox Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Toy Fox Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Toy Fox Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Toy Fox Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2014 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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