High-spirited and intelligent, Smooth Fox Terriers have lively expressions, boundless energy, and eagerness to tackle any task. These outgoing dogs love spending time with their people and tend to get along well with children—making them ideal family companions.
Originally bred to hunt vermin and fox, the Smooth Fox Terrier got its start in 1860s-era England. And the breed's handsome appearance quickly made it the most popular member of the terrier family at the time.
In the United States, the Smooth Fox Terrier's numbers increased after the 1930s—only to drop again when people moved from rural to urban environments. Keeping Fox Terriers in cities was difficult because of the breed's strong instincts and temperament.
For almost 100 years, the American Kennel Club considered the Smooth Fox Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier the same breed. But in 1984, the two earned recognition as distinct breeds.
Smooth Fox Terriers are strong, solidly built, and move with style and grace.
The Smooth Fox Terrier's short coat is predominantly white with patches of either black, tan, or both black and tan. A solid white coat is also possible.
Besides the smooth coat, the distinguishing physical trait for this breed is a V-shaped head.
Smooth Fox Terriers are bright, agile, energetic, and watchful. Though they're usually good with people, they might not get along well with other dogs (like most terriers).
Because of their hunting background, Smooth Fox Terriers may chase wildlife, dig, bark, or display general tenacity when engaged in other activities. But early socialization can help temper this breed's prey drive and curb other undesirable behaviors.
Smooth Fox Terriers thrive on high-quality, age-appropriate (e.g., puppy, adult, senior) diets. To prevent weight-related health problems, monitor how much your Smooth Fox Terrier eats, and reduce portions if necessary. Also, remember that giving too many treats can contribute to obesity.
Weekly grooming with a thick brush or hound glove is usually enough to keep the Smooth Fox Terrier's short, dense coat looking sharp. And unless your dog gets into something messy, they should be able to go a month between baths.
Trimming nails, cleaning ears, and brushing teeth should also be part of your pup's grooming routine.
The Smooth Fox Terrier is a spirited, peppy dog that needs plenty of exercise. From neighborhood runs to games of hide-and-seek, there are several fun ways to keep your dog physically and mentally fit. To go the extra mile, consider engaging your pup canine sports—such as agility, flyball, tracking, and earthdog trials.
With a prey drive, the Smooth Fox Terrier tends to run and chase other animals. Because of this, your dog should always be on a leash or in a secure, fenced area when playing outside.
Smooth Fox Terriers seem to learn quickly—especially when you use reward-based training techniques. And that's good because there are many behaviors you'll probably want to discourage (such as digging).
The key is to start teaching your Smooth Fox Terrier how to obey in puppyhood. That way, they'll grow into a well-rounded, good-mannered dog.
Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Myokymia and/or Seizures (SAMS) is a disease of the nervous system characterized by uncoordinated movements and impaired balance. This particular form may present with muscle twitching and seizures.
Knowing if your Smooth Fox Terrier is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM