yourpurebredpuppy logo

Toy Fox Terriers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Toy Fox Terrier temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Toy Fox Terrier dog breed

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...

  • High energy level -- providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
  • Suspiciousness toward strangers and strange dogs
  • Stubbornness
  • Barking
  • Housebreaking difficulties

A Toy Fox Terrier may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

More traits and characteristics of the Toy Fox Terrier

If I was considering a Toy Fox Terrier, I would be most concerned about...

  1. The dynamic terrier temperament. The Toy Fox is a unique combination of terrier breed and toy breed. This means you're likely to see traits such as being quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, stubborn, persistent, and impulsive.

    I don't recommend Toy Fox Terriers for homes with young children. 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.

  2. Providing enough mental stimulation. Toy Fox Terriers are active go-getters. More than most other toy breeds, they need regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. I recommend that you get your Toy Fox Terrier involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, or in agility (an obstacle course for dogs).
  3. 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 difficult to live with.
  4. Barking. Like most terrier breeds and toy breeds, Toy Fox Terriers have keen senses, which makes them quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them, or a very bad habit will develop.
  5. Mind of their own. Toy Fox Terriers are very bright, and many individuals excel in obedience and agility competition. But because of their terrier ancestry, they also have an independent mind of their own. They can be willful or manipulative and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show your Toy Fox Terrier, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    In other words, you must teach your Toy Fox Terrier to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Read more about Toy Fox Terrier Training.

  6. 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.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

Related posts you might enjoy