The Smooth Fox Terrier loves life and is usually on the go and often into things. Active and inquisitive, their hunting instincts can get them in trouble. They are very smart dogs, they need a lot of attention, care and plenty of love and understanding. It helps to have a good sense of humor when living with a Smooth Fox Terrier. They are about 15in. to 18in. measured to the shoulder and approximately 15 to 23 pounds in weight. Although they are lap sized, in their hearts they are much larger. They are friendly and outgoing with almost everyone they meet. On the other side, they can and often are aggressive to other dogs – in fact with most other animals of any size. Individuals can vary quite a bit in temperament, due to heredity and upbringing. Very rarely is a Smooth Fox Terrier aggressive to people.
Smooth Fox Terriers can make wonderful family dogs. They usually like children, however, we only recommend them with children 7 years and older. They are active and strong enough to keep up with them. A Smooth should always be kept in a securely fenced yard or on a leash when being walked. No dog should ever be allowed to run loose. The Smooth’s fun-loving nature would most assuredly get him into trouble if left to his own devices.
They are an easy care dog and only need to be brushed and bathed. As with all dogs, toenails and ear cleaning should also be done on a regular basis. Be sure to see your vet if there is any sign of ear infection. The Smooth usually lives a long and healthy life. Many live to be 15 or more years old. They are generally very hearty and do not have any major heredity problems. They are strong and seldom get sick when you use sensible precautions. Annual veterinary check-ups are always recommended for every pet..
Smooth Fox Terriers were bred to be hunters of small game. Their instinct is to work alone without man’s guidance. They do not have a strong will to do man’s bidding. They love to be with us, but do not need our constant approval as many breeds do. They are very catlike in this manner. They can be trained and are quick to pick up new things. Training needs to be fun and positive. They do not respond to negative treatment.
All puppies are cute. They are so new and innocent. They are also a challenge to raise properly. Up until they are six months old they have puppy teeth that are very sharp and can cause some real damage. They also take some time to house train. They need lots of attention and should be in a home that has someone home most of the day. The adult dog is past all this. He may be already house trained, and used to walking on a leash. He will be more settled in. The Smooth is a Puppy until he is 2 years old. From 1 to 2 years consider him a teenager! There are advantages to both the puppy and the adult.
Take both into consideration when you start looking for a Smooth Fox Terrier. The Smooth is a smart, high energy dog. They are friendly and curious and tend to be into things. Like a bright child they are great fun, but also a challenge to live with. The Smooth requires a lot of attention from it’s people and needs to be a part of the family. They want to be with you wherever you are, whatever you are doing. They are great couch and bed dogs. The Smooth Fox Terrier is predominately white with either tan markings or black and tan markings. The markings on the black and tan are the same pattern as the Doberman or Rottweiler. Where color shows though, it will be in this pattern. The coat is from 1/4in. up to an inch long.
From an article that appeared in Dog Fancy Magazine
When you match wits with a Smooth Fox Terrier, don’t assume you’ll come out ahead.
It wasn’t the grilled cheese sandwich, necessarily. This Smooth Fox Terrier named Marquest Endeavor Foxfire, U-CD and appropriately nicknamed “The Fox,” was more interested in the problem: how to get the sandwich from his owner, expert show-dog exhibitor Mary Beam, of Dayton, Ohio.
Hmm. What could distract a human from a sandwich that delicious?
Ah, yes! The Fox sneaked into Beam’s office that evening and secured some pictures drawn by Beam’s grandson. Off he dashed through the family room, the drawings in his mouth. “My husband and I jumped out of our chairs when we saw he had my grandson’s drawings,” Beam said. Finding the drawings on the kitchen floor, Beam turned to put them away just as she heard her husband, Ralph, ask, “What’s that dog got now?” Oops, “I knew it was the grilled cheese sandwich,” Beam said. “I’d been tricked.”
This display of ingenuity is typical of the Smooth Fox Terrier. Tenacious to a fault, the breed is as challenging as it is charming, as clever as it is clownish. When you take on a Smooth, you’ll have your hands full – often finding the dog is the one in command. The free-spirited Smooth best suits people who can accept the breed for what it is.
“Smooth Fox Terriers see life as a challenge to be met and a problem to be worked out, said Pam Bishop, a former breeder and founder/president of the Fox Terrier Network. “If you lock them up, they think: ‘how interesting. Now how do I get out of here?” Bishop’s rescue Smooth Fox Terrier, Mickey, loved trash. After learning to open cupboards, Bishop installed child safety latches. So Mickey learned to open drawers and crawl inside the cabinetry. More latches.
Kilty, one of two Smooth Fox Terriers belonging to Bonnie Guzman of Denver mastered the refrigerator door. “Once, he opened the refrigerator, pulled out a birthday cake and ate it,” Guzman said. “He would get in there whenever he wanted a snack”.
The Smooth Fox Terrier’s challenging nature can be traced to its ancestry. An English breed, the Smooth appears to have descended from the now-extinct English White Terrier and other English Terriers. While many Terrier breeds descended from the short-tailed small dogs farmers were permitted to own for vermin control, the Fox Terrier was often a member of the nobility’s packs because it assisted on the foxhunt. Traditionally, Fox Terriers were charged with bringing prey out alive. In a dark burrow with a wild animal fighting for its life, the Fox Terrier had to be both tenacious and clever; obedience had nothing to do with it. “There is no natural instinct to tell the breed that what you say is worth anything at all,” Bishop said. Instead, Smooth Fox Terriers have learned to enjoy humans. That is, when humans behave. “They prefer pre-trained owners, but they’ll work with you,” Bishop said jokingly. “We’re really just the cheap help. That’s what humans are to them. They believe there is only one purpose in life, and that’s to have a good time.”
That spirit is part of the Smooth’s character, and trying to rein it in is futile. This could explain the Smooth Fox Terrier’s relatively low 1999 ranking of 87th most popular breed of the 147 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (the most recent statistics available), down from 86th place in 1998.
Still, the Smooth Fox Terrier can be obedience trained, but it takes skill. “Positive reinforcement is absolutely critical,” bishop said. “If you use any negative reinforcement (such as yelling or hitting) with a Smooth, you’ll get a fight – and one you won’t win. If you make if fun, they’ll go for it.”
The breed’s cleverness also requires the quick execution of commands. “You have to be very fast with you commands because if you give them a second to make their own decision, they’ll make their own decision,” Beam said.
If you’ve got an audience, forget about it. The Smooth Fox Terrier prefers to charm the crowd rather than perform the same old tricks. And don’t discount the breed’s ability to be the trainer. The Smooth is known for obedience training other dogs. “The Fox would actually get another dog’s leash if it stepped out of line, take it out the dog door and march the dog around the back yard,” Beam said.
The Smooth’s interest in people makes them good watchdogs ready to bark an alert. Smooths rarely become aggressive toward humans, but they can toward other dogs. “I call them size recognition challenged,” Bishop said of the breed. “When they see another dog, it’s like, ‘Hold me back, hold me back!’ They are so sure nothing can hurt them.
While they usually won’t initiate a brawl, they won’t back down from one either. Bishop’s Smooth, Dottie, once found herself in the jaws of an escaped 175-Neapolitan Mastiff at a dog event. “The Mastiff dropped his mouth over the top of her and pinned her to the ground,” Bishop recalled. “All that was sticking out was her nose on one end and her tail on the other.”
Luckily, the owner was there and commanded the Mastiff to drop Dottie. “Dottie was so mad that it was all I could do to hang on to her,” Bishop said.
“She was ready to rip him from one end to the other. I could just imagine her saying, ‘Why, if I ever see you around these parts again…”
Dogs aren’t the only victims of a Smooth’s indomitable spirit. Although they sometimes tolerate cats, Smooths typically do not coexist well with small pets. And their foes needn’t be living. “They love to kill those big green snakes we call garden hoses,” Bishop said. “And pop-up sprinklers? That’s just a little gopher sticking his head up and spitting at you.”
The Smooth Fox Terrier has many cousins and confusion surrounding its identity. Although often mistaken for one breed, the Smooth, Wire and Toy Fox Terriers are three distinct breeds. The Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers were separated in AKC registration in 1985 (the Smooth was shown in the United States 15 to 20 years before the Wire), and most experts agree the two breeds come from completely different sources.
The Rat Terrier bears a resemblance to the Smooth (the original RCA dog, Nipper, was a Rat Terrier mix, not a Smooth), and the popular Jack Russell Terrier was developed from the Smooth. In fact, the Jack Russell Terrier, Moose, of Frasier fame, was featured in the role of a Smooth in the recent motion picture “My Dog Skip”.
In the show ring, the Smooth’s wedge-shaped head, chiseled face, fiery eyes, neatly folded ears and energetically expectant stance captivate judges and spectators. “They are built like little cement blocks,” Beam said. “And they turn their striking heads with the arrogant look of an eagle. Something about the line and the movement, the construction, the coat appeals to me in a way I can only describe as being like art.”
The Smooth’s gregarious personality also strikes the judge’s fancy: The breed won the first four Westminster Bests in Show. “They are one of the few dogs that remain Terrier-like in the show ring,” Guzman said. “They are always on the tiptoe of expectation, always alert, keen, feisty, rambunctious and playful, kind of difficult to settle down, and a true Terrier judge has an appreciation of that.”
A hearty, long-lived breed, the Smooth Fox Terrier suffers from few health problems, although they can experience skin allergies, various eye abnormalities, heart disease, deafness and joint problems.
To groom the Smooth, simply brush to keep shedding to a minimum, trim the nails, clean the ears and brush its teeth.
The time you save on easy grooming and veterinary visits is made up for in keeping this breed physically and mentally challenged. “A Smooth Fox Terrier left to itself will get into trouble, Beam said. “They will strip wallpaper from walls, chew bath tissue and scatter it everywhere, split pillows open and happily strew the stuffing all over the house, use your clothing for tug toys, chew holes in anything, jump fences and gates and dig, dig, dig. It will seem like they leave footprints on your ceiling!”
Smooths need plenty of daily exercise, such as vigorous walks, jogs or play sessions in the back yard. “My husband, Rick, takes Simon on a five-mile run, and when they come back, Simon is ready to play ball,” said Guzman, who admits Simon’s activity level is far higher than she would have liked. “And he was the most passive puppy in the litter.”
Smooths require a fenced yard because they like to run away and play catch-me-if-you-can. (Hint: You can’t.) Most Smooths can out play most humans, Frazier, a Smooth placed by Bishop, loved retrieving a stick from the family swimming pool. “When we got bored and stopped throwing the stick, he finally grabbed it in exasperation and threw it in the pool to show us how it needed to be done,” Bishop said.
Smooth Fox Terriers also need mental challenges. “This is not a pet to leave alone while you work all day,” Guzman said. Bored Smooths will create their own challenges. The grilled-cheese- snatching Fox figured out how to roll the wheeled kitchen chairs to the counter so he could counter-surf. After mastering that, he learned to run toward the chair, leap on and ride the chair to his desired location.
Talented thieves, Smooths can ferret out and secure treats from any location. Kilty once opened a cupboard, removed a can of cashews, ate them and dropped a few in the heat vent. “Even years later, he would longingly eye those few he dropped.” Guzman said.
Rescued Smooths make excellent pet prospects, as they’re adaptable and love the ones they’re with. “They love you dearly, but I’ve had dogs dropped off who lived in a home for 10 years, and when their owners drive away, they get a look like, ‘Oh! I get it. So where’s the couch and my dinner?’ ” Bishop said.
Loving a Smooth means accepting a perpetual toddler, full of fervor and mischief and plenty of joy to make up for a lack of basic submission. The Smooth Fox Terrier takes its owner’s love for granted. Of course you will keep them safe. Of course you will love them to the ends of the earth. Of course your universe revolves around them.
Once they’ve won you over, you’ll find you don’t really mind being outfoxed.
Eve Adamson is a free-lance writer in Iowa City, Iowa