Fox terrier was developed when fox hunting became popular in England in the 18th century. Hunters needed a dog that could enter foxes’ dens and drive them out of their hiding place. The terrier of this period has short legs and skull that was broad across the top. The pace of the hunt became faster and the terriers were bred with longer legs with more speed towards the end of the 18th century. However, the increase in Fox Terrier’s size became too big for its purpose and its use in fox hunting began to decline.
The terrier dog types have two different breeds: The Smooth Fox Terrier and The Wire Fox Terrier. They are a result of selective breeding. The ancestors of most modern strains of Smooth Fox Terrier are the three dogs known as Trap, Old Jock and Tartar. Old Jock was bred from a black and tan terrier and contributed to Smooths’ development in the 19th century. The trap was from the strain out of Rev. John Russel’s dogs. Tartar is thought to have come from black and tan terrier stock. Well, known Smooths entered the show ring about 15-20 years before the Wire Fox Terrier and they were eventually classified as sports dogs.
The Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers are mostly white with black or brown colored markings and have similar facial characteristics. Both breeds have a relatively long, almost equine head with ears folded forward; a docked tail; and small compact feet. They are a medium-sized dog with flat skull narrowing to the eyes. The eyes and eye rims are dark in color. Both breeds are built like a well-balanced hunter with a strong, relatively short back and powerful hindquarters.
The Smooth Fox Terrier is brave, lovable, playful, enthusiastic and cheerful. Very devoted, affectionate and loyal with the family especially with children. It truly enjoys its company. It has strong hunting instincts and could possibly kill other none-K9 animals, such as rabbits and birds if given the chance. It can also be taught to perform tricks. Very high-energy, a relatively dominant dog that can become frustrated and stressed if not having the proper exercise, both physical and mental. If the dog has meek owners, they allow terriers to take over the home, developing Small Dog Syndrome. It will begin to display varying degrees of behavior issues that include dominance challenges, guarding objects or places or even its own food from the owner, excessive barking, separation anxiety, jealousy destructiveness, dog aggressiveness, biting, untrustworthiness with kids and sometimes adults. These are not fox terrier traits, but rather behaviors brought on, by the way, the dog is treated by the people around it. These behaviors can be corrected as soon as the dog’s instincts are met. There should be consistent, firm and stable rules to follow along with a daily long walk.
Cataract is an inheritable condition in the Smooth Fox Terrier, which is more prevalent than average in the breed. Another one is Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease inheritable through an autosomal recessive gene. Poor breeding practices can also increase the risk of other genetic health problems such as hip dysplasia. Both types of Fox Terrier could be susceptible to allergies.