Miniature Fox Terrier
|Miniature Fox Terrier
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Miniature Fox Terrier is a small, fine, lightweight working
developed as a
dog and vermin
router. It is known colloquially in its native
as the “Mini Foxie”.
This is a balanced, smoothly-muscled
its head is distinctive, with erect ears that can stand straight up or fold just
at the tips. Another distinguishing feature is its articulate, oval-shaped foot.
The breed standard has always allowed for the dog's tail to be
undocked. Natural bobtails are known to occur. There are only three permitted
colour combinations: black and white, tan and white, and tricolour (black,
white, and tan). The coat of the Mini Foxie is always short and fine.
It is akin to the
Toy Fox Terrier, a breed that developed along similar lines in the
United States. Some Toy Fox Terrier owners can trace their dogs’ pedigrees
to "Foiler", the first
Terrier registered by the
Club in Britain, circa 1875-6. Other related breeds include the
Jack Russell Terrier, the
Terrier, and the
Mini Foxies are known for being fiercely loyal to their owners and their
owners' property, a characteristic written into the breed standard. They must
have an inquisitve and bold nature. According to at least one breed club, they
make excellent family
pets. They get along well with other animals but, like most working
terriers, cannot distinguish between small pets—such as
vermin, and must not be left alone with such animals.
Miniature Fox Terriers are generally healthy and hardy despite their size.
They need little maintenance; lightweight individuals and those that do not run
on hard surfaces will need regular nail clipping.
Luxating patellae, a common ailment among small breeds, occurs frequently
backyard bred dogs of this breed;
usually insist upon health screening for breeding individuals to help eradicate
it. The breed lives on average 14 years, with much older dogs not uncommon.
A Tan and White Mini Foxie with folded ear tips
The breed was most likely developed when smaller puppies from litters of Fox
Terrier types were crossed with
Manchester Terriers, and, later, to other
such as the
English Toy Terrier and
Hunters were seeking a smaller, speedy Fox Terrier that could be used for
hunting smaller pests such as
Although the origins of the breed are English, the breed was developed in and is
endemic to Australia. By the late 1800s, the breed type was clearly
identifiable, where the Little Fox Terrier proved its worth against rabbits,
rats, and snakes
on Australian farms. Mini Foxies demonstrated tenacity, endurance, and extreme
loyalty to their owners; the dogs were routinely taken on the hunt, were
sometimes used in search parties, and were used at
North Head Quarantine Station, the Riverstone Meat Works,
Brisbane City Council as
The dog’s vigilance, size, affectionate temperament, and ease of care soon
resulted in its becoming a popular choice in urban centers as well, and by the
1920s the Miniature Fox Terrier was iconic. So well known and popular was the
“Little Foxie” that very little thought was given to the need to preserve its
History of the breed club
By the 1980s, the interest in dog fancy, the looming spectre of proposed
breed-specific legislation, and increasing concerns about the need to
protect purebred dogs led a group of enthusiasts to begin meeting informally to
consider the future of these little dogs. In 1986 the Miniature Fox Terrier Club
of Australia was formed. The founding members, in conjunction with members of
the Canine Council of
New South Wales, wrote a
breed standard for their breed and laid out a Constitution for the Club.
In 1991, fanciers in
South Australia also formed a
For these members, official recognition of the dog by the
Australian National Kennel Council was the most important of their goals. At
that time, challenges to the name “Miniature Fox Terrier” were being mounted,
and threatened to preclude recognition by an
club. These members joined with some owners in
Western Australia and organized as the Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia
(1993), a name which was first used by a television personality of that era. The
ensuing breed standard for the Tenterfield Terrier differs in substance from
that of the Miniature Fox Terrier, and though the two dogs are sometimes
confused, they have been developing along divergent lines for over twenty years
and are now different breeds. To comply with New South Wales government
regulations for becoming an incorporated organization, the Miniature Fox Terrier
Club became incorporated as the
Mini Foxie Club of Australia, Inc. (1992).
The breed is not recognized by the ANKC but ANKC judges may judge them.
In 2005, the Mini Foxie was added to the list of dog breeds recognized under
Companion Animals Act.
The Miniature Fox Terrier today
Although still relatively unknown outside of Australia, the Little Foxie is
renowned in its native land. Several parliamentarians made reference to the
breed during recent legislative hearings on canine issues. ‘Pasqua’ and ‘Fergus’
Anthony Field of
Wiggles, are Mini Foxies, and
the Australian swimmer, has spoken fondly of Tiny, his Miniature Fox Terrier, in
Today, the Miniature Fox Terrier is still very much a working terrier, and is
in demand on farms across Australia. They remain popular as pets, and enjoy
playing the pampered pooch. As long as their active minds are kept stimulated
with games or toys and they receive at least moderate exercise, they make
excellent urban and apartment dwellers.
- Curry, Aleta, et. al (2004). Steward, Julienne, Ill. The 20th
Anniversary Show Book: Twenty Years of the Mini Foxie Club of Australia.
- 1 Phillis,
Rosemary (30th July, 2004). The Riverstone Meat Works. Printed by
Hawkesbury City Council.
- NSW State Parliament (17th March 2004 and 6th May 2004). Hansard.
- Assorted (2003). "The All-Australian Dog: The Miniature Fox Terrier",
one of a series of articles appearing in The Southern Village View
Magazine, © 2003.
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