If you want a dog who...
Is small, yet dynamic, sturdy, and tough -- not a delicate lapdog
Makes a keen watchdog
Doesn't shed too much (Wirehaired only)
A Wire or Smooth Fox Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
Shedding (Smooth coat)
Regular brushing and clipping (Wirehaired coat)
A Wire or Smooth Fox Terrier may not be right for you.
If I were considering a Fox Terrier...
major concerns would be:
The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense.
Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Fox Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things.
Terriers were never intended to be simply household pets. I strongly recommend that you get your Fox Terrier involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, in agility (an obstacle course for dogs), or in an earth dog club (terriers dig and tunnel after small critters who are secured in a sturdy cage so they can't be harmed).
**Animal aggression. Fox Terriers are a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
**Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
**Fence security. Many terriers are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
**Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, terriers are not the best choice for you. For the same reason, terriers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some terriers have high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.
**Mind of their own. Fox Terriers are not Golden Retrievers. Though they are more amenable to training than many other terriers, they must still be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your terrier to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Fox Terrier Training Page discusses the program you need.
Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. It may be because they were bred to become more fierce when their prey fought back, i.e. terriers are apt to "return pain" if they "receive pain." As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
I do NOT recommend terriers for small children. Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
Shedding. For such a shorthaired dog, Smooth Fox Terriers shed more than you might think. Their short hairs come off on your hands when you pet them, and stick tenaciously to your clothing, upholstery, and carpeting.
Grooming. To keep their wiry coat free of mats, Wire Fox Terriers require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months. But don't expect your pet Fox Terrier to look like the Fox Terrier show dogs you've seen in books or on TV. That particular look takes hours of work by experienced show groomers.
· 1 decade ago