Breed Information Centre

Fox Terrier (Smooth)


Illustration of Fox Terrier (Smooth)

The Smooth Fox Terrier was the first variety of the fox terriers to be recognised. From the early days of fox hunting, terriers have been kept by the hunts as earth dogs, to dig out when the fox went to ground. The terriers could run with the hounds or were carried in saddle panniers by huntsmen. The early dogs were often brown or black and tan – but there was a move to make the terriers more easily distinguished from the fox when working and this led to the introduction of the Old English White Terrier (now extinct), Bull Terrier and Beagle to produce terriers which were predominately white bodied with small patches of black and tan (hound marked).

The result was the Smooth Fox Terrier which in its evolution became the short backed, long headed dog we see today. The first class for Fox Terriers was seen at Islington London in 1862. In 1863 at Birmingham Dog Show three dogs who were to become influential in the breed competed – Old Jock, Old Tartar and Old Trap, 10 years later the Fox Terrier class at Birmingham drew 276 entries. By 1876 the first Fox Terrier Club of England had been formed and had drawn up the first breed standard. By the start of the 20th century the Fox Terrier was the most popular breed in England.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Small House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 12 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Terrier Breed Group

Dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin. 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word Terra, meaning earth. This hardy collection of dogs were selectively bred to be extremely brave and tough, and to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground. Dogs of terrier type have been known here since ancient times, and as early as the Middle Ages, these game breeds were portrayed by writers and painters.

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