The Fox terriers are of two types – the Smooth fox terrier and the wire fox terrier. Both of them share many similar characteristics with respect to their genotype as well as phenotype. The main difference between both these breeds is the typical coat and wire markings present on the wire fox terrier’s coat which is not found on the smooth fox terrier.
The identity of these dogs was established way back in the 5th Century BC, wherein they were known to be used by the hunters and the poachers. They are now known for their fox hunting and their instinctive skills – and thus the name ‘the fox terrier’. You may still find them hunting in some parts of certain hunt countries (such as in north eastern parts of United States). They are known for their agility and self-assuredness. They can be excellent as guard and watch dogs as well.
The fox terriers have been known to be evolved from other terriers such as the Bull terriers, the Beagles and the greyhounds. They were formally recognized and registered by the American Kennel Club in the year 1985.
Fox terrier – At a glance
The following list of general and physical characteristics will help you get familiarized with your English Bull dog: –
• Breed type: Pure breed (registered and recognized by the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, FCI and others).
• Height: These are tall dogs and the males have an average height of 1 ft. 3 inches to 1 ft. 5 inches whereas the females have an average height of 1ft. to 1 ft. 3 inches.
• Weight: The males have an average weight of 15 to 20 pounds whereas the females have an average weight of 12 to 18 pounds.
• Life Span: These dogs have an average life span of 9 to 13 years. Some dogs can live even longer.
• Available coat colors: Most wire and smooth terriers are white in color. However, mix of black, tan and other solid colors like brindle, red, liver color with whites are available as well.
• Smooth terriers have smooth and dense coats and wiry terriers have a coat that looks like the matting on a coconut shell and the hairs are twisted and broken.
Temperament and Personality traits
Fox terriers are known to mingle with children very well. Some pet owners think that the fox terriers are children at heart themselves. They will love to play with kids and spend time with them. These dogs are highly energetic and active all day long. They can also be kept with other pets if they are raised together since childhood. However, train your children how to behave with these dogs and never leave your children totally unsupervised.
The fox terriers can bark unnecessarily. They will bark with a high pitched voice when they are playing and running and even at strangers when they are kept as watch dogs. They have the tendency to fight with unknown dogs, so make sure you are alert enough when you take him for a walk. Otherwise, they behave socially fine if they are trained correctly since puppy hood.
Feeding habits and Nutrition
Although these dogs are big in size, yet they eat normal amount of food. You can feed your fox terrier with 1 ½ to cups of premium quality canine dog food such as those from Acana, Dr. Tim, Purina and Taste of the wild adult dry dog food, divided into two equal meals every day. The amount of food to be given to these dogs shall depend upon the activity your dog does, his daily exercises, and age & disease conditions prevailing in your dog in the contemporary period. Reduce their food content if they are found to be overweight and increase their diet with healthy food stuffs if they are under weight. Make sure you take your dog for regular walks (at least 30 to 40 minutes) to avoid obesity and other health issues. Raw foods such as wet dog food and other home cooked foods are not recommended. Check that the food you are giving to your dog is AAFCO approved.
Health and Immunization
These dogs are known for their hardiness and are not much prone to diseases. However, some disease conditions can be acquired if proper consideration is not taken. Some diseases in these dogs include – the most common hip and elbow dysplasia leading to joint pains and arthritis, deafness, eye related problems such as cataract causing difficulty in vision, Patellar and Lens luxation, Legg perthes disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and others.
Fox terriers should be immunized at regular intervals so that they are protected from various diseases caused by dangerous viruses. Some mandatory vaccines for this breed includes: – Parvovirus, Rabies, Distemper, Coronavirus, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza and Parainfluenza vaccines. Inject annual booster shots from experienced vets.
Care and Grooming
There’s a difference between the grooming approaches for the smooth fox terriers to that of the wiry fox terriers. Since the smooth fox terriers have smooth hair, they are much easier to manage and will require brushings only once a week. They have much neater appearance than the wiry fox terriers and shed at a minimum or below average rate.
In contrast, the wiry fox terriers will require frequent brushings. You will require turning up to a professional groomer to get their coats in shape. Coats of the wire fox terriers need to be hand stripped instead of cutting using scissors or clippers. Bathe your smooth fox terriers at least once in two weeks and your wire fox terriers at least once a week. Bathe them with oatmeal shampoo to make the coat feel softer.
For both smooth and wire fox terriers, the nails should be trimmed at least once a month and their ears should be cleaned at least once a week using a cotton soaked pH neutral ear cleanser.
You can adopt or rescue a dog according to the set guidelines by various organizations that give them recognition. If you adopt from a local or private breeder or rescue group, make sure you pick up a pup that has been derived from healthy parents.