Smooth Fox Terrier


Smooth Fox Terrier dog breed
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Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level:




Coat Color:

White And Black; White And Tan; WhiteBlack And Tan
Blue Ribbon

Best For

Smooth Fox Terriers are best for active pet parents who'll provide them with plenty of exercise. They need a home with a large yard giving them ample space to run around, play and burn off some of their abundant energy. With early socializing, they can be good with kids, babies and other dogs but sharing their home with cats and smaller pets is a no-no.

Smooth Fox Terrier Traits

Smooth Fox Terrier Temperament

Active, intelligent, gregarious and inquisitive—that’s the Smooth Fox Terrier. There’s a lot of energy packed into that little body, and it often expresses itself in comical and entertaining ways, like burying underneath a pile of cushions with nothing but a cute, waggy tail sticking out. They adore people and would do anything to please you—but with a strong prey drive, they’ll quickly abandon you to give chase if a critter scurries by.

Some of these qualities can get the Fox Terrier in trouble, especially in a multi-pet home. With their energetic personality and strong hunting instincts, they’re likely to chase your cat or other small pets, so they’ll do best in a home without them. They also don’t get along particularly well with other dogs. If you’re adopting an older Smooth Fox Terrier, it might be too late to temper these tendencies. If you’re bringing a Fox Terrier puppy into the household, the expression of these traits can be kept in check through early socialization (exposure to new people, pets and experiences) and training.

Thankfully, though, this feisty attitude towards other animals doesn’t apply to humans. With people, they’re usually lively, engaged and eager to please. They won’t typically bite a person unless they’re cornered and feel like they’re in danger. A Smooth Fox Terrier puppy starts out quite vocal when it comes to barking and, unlike some other breeds, they won’t grow out of it. To keep this from becoming a nuisance, consider training to help curb the barking from a young age.

Training is typically easy for a Smooth Fox Terrier thanks to their intelligence, so this is likely to be a great bonding and rewarding experience for both of you.

How to Care for a Smooth Fox Terrier

Raising a Smooth Fox Terrier dog is rewarding, but it won’t always be easy. With their sharp intellect and abundant energy, they can turn to troublesome digging or stealing food from the dinner table if healthy outlets for these traits aren’t provided. To stimulate their minds and bodies, daily exercise and consistent training are an absolute must. On the other paw, their grooming needs are pretty low—just schedule in a weekly brush to keep their coats clear of dead hairs.

Smooth Fox Terrier Health

The Smooth Fox Terrier lifespan typically ranges from 12 to 15 years, though some have been known to live even longer when well cared for. Overall, they’re a very healthy and hardy breed, though there are a few potential health problems to look out for. Thanks to good breeding practices, many of these issues are less common, but there’s still a chance your dog could inherit one of the below:

  • Patella Subluxation: A patella subluxation is the partial dislocation of the kneecap, which can be common in active dogs. If you notice your pet lifting one of their hind legs while running or kicking their leg out to the side, this could indicate a dislocated kneecap. Mild cases, which usually resolve themselves, are typically treated with pain medication to help with inflammation, but surgery may be needed if the condition worsens.
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Hip and elbow dysplasia are inherited diseases that affect the joints and typically result in arthritis. These conditions can be treated through both surgical and non-surgical methods. Non-surgical treatments may include medication, supplements or physical therapy. Reputable breeders will screen their stock for this disorder before breeding to reduce the likelihood of passing it on.
  • Heart Valve Disease: Another inherited condition that breeders often screen for is heart valve disease. With this condition, the heart valves in older Smooth Fox Terrier dogs start to weaken and deform, which strains the heart. If caught early enough, your veterinarian can prescribe medications to help prolong your pet’s life.
  • Eye Problems: Smooth Fox Terriers, especially older dogs, may be at risk for developing eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and primary lens luxation. These conditions could lead to blindness unless treated with eye drops or surgery. Have your veterinarian check your pup’s eyes at least once a year to diagnose eye issues before they become serious.
  • Ear Infections: Like any dog with folded or floppy ears, Smooth Fox Terriers may struggle with recurring ear infections. Signs of an ear infection include scratching, head shaking, brown or yellow wax buildup and a yeasty smell. Weekly ear cleanings can help prevent ear infections. Persistent ear infections can be treated with medicated drops, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Smooth Fox Terrier History

The Smooth Fox Terrier breed can trace their origin back to 18th century England where they were bred for fox hunting. Likely a mix between the now-extinct Smooth Black and Tan Terriers, Bull Terriers, Beagles and Greyhounds, these dogs were prized by hunters for their speed, intelligence and tracking abilities. Their unique V-shaped head also helped during the hunt; it was perfectly shaped to enter a fox den.

Breed standards for Fox Terriers have been in place for more than a hundred years. These guidelines describe ideal Fox Terrier characteristics including height, weight and color in addition to ear, eye, tail and head shape. The standards were first set by England’s Fox Terrier Club upon its inception in 1876.

It didn’t take long for the Fox Terrier dog breed to make their way to the United States; they were in the country by 1879, and the American Fox Terrier Club was founded soon after in 1885. The Fox Terrier was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the same year and is part of the Terrier group. In fact, this club was the first specialty breed club to become a member of the AKC.

For many years, Smooth Fox Terriers and Wire Fox Terriers were treated as variations of the same breed. Though they’re similar in name, stature and ability, we now know that they developed independently from one another. In 1985, the AKC formally recognized this fact and declared them to be two separate dog breeds. The breed standards for both Smooth Fox Terriers and Wire Fox Terriers are maintained by the American Fox Terrier Club to this day.

While the breed enjoyed considerable popularity in the UK, they remain relatively unknown in the US; the Smooth Fox Terrier currently ranks 123rd out of the AKC’s 197 recognized dog breeds. Despite this lack of appreciation, these charming dogs make wonderful family members. The cost of a Smooth Fox Terrier puppy usually runs between $1,500 and $2,000. For this price you’re getting a dog who’s been screened for health and behavioral issues and may even come with papers. You can find reputable breeders through the AKC website. You could always consider adopting a Smooth Fox Terrier and reach out to a rescue organizations, or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.


Do Smooth Fox Terriers shed?

Yes, Smooth Fox Terriers do shed throughout the year, but their hair is short, making it less noticeable than the fur of many other breeds.

Are Smooth Fox Terriers aggressive?

Smooth Fox Terriers are known to be friendly, good-natured dogs who are rarely aggressive with people. They do have a tendency to guard resources, however, so children should be taught to give the dog some space whenever they have food or toys.

Are Smooth Fox Terriers good pets?

Yes, Smooth Fox Terriers make wonderful pets. With their inquisitive nature, cheerful disposition and energetic enthusiasm, they make excellent additions to your home. But if you already have other dogs or cats in the home, you should only get a Smooth Fox Terrier puppy; older dogs might not easily integrate into a multi-pet household.

What are the most common Fox Terrier mixes?

  • Fox Terrier-Chihuahua mix
  • Fox Terrier-Jack Russell mix
  • Fox Terrier-Poodle mix
  • Fox Terrier-Beagle mix
  • Fox Terrier-Blue Heeler mix

Top Takeaways

Smooth Fox Terriers are intelligent, friendly, fun-loving dogs who make great family pets. They’ve got a lot of energy coursing through that little body, so daily exercise is a must. Consistent training is also necessary to work out that big brain of theirs and help keep them out of trouble—and your garden beds!

Expert input provided by: veterinarians Dr. Anthony Hall and Dr. Dimple Hall, certified dog trainers Matt Schimsky and Allison Lamminen, Smooth Fox Terrier Breeder Mardel Robeson, and AKC licensed judge Anne Beckwith.

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Top Smooth Fox Terrier Names

These are the top Smooth Fox Terrier names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!

Female Names

  • Bella
  • Pepper
  • Luna
  • Daisy
  • Layla
  • Ruby
  • Oreo
  • Maggie
  • Lilly
  • Lola

Male Names

  • Buster
  • Cooper
  • Hurricane Howell
  • Milo
  • Max
  • Tucker
  • Diego
  • Snoopy
  • Benji
  • Buddy