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Miniature Fox Terrier

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Miniature Fox Terrier
Alternative names
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Mini Foxie
Classification and breed standards
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Miniature Fox Terrier is a small, fine, lightweight working terrier developed as a hunting dog and vermin router. It is known colloquially in its native Australia as the “Mini Foxie”.


This is a balanced, smoothly-muscled dog breed; 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 docked or 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 Fox Terrier registered by the Kennel Club in Britain, circa 1875-6. Other related breeds include the Jack Russell Terrier, the Rat Terrier, and the Tenterfield Terrier.


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 reptiles and fancy rats—and 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 among backyard bred dogs of this breed; breed clubs 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 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 toy breeds such as the English Toy Terrier and Whippet. Hunters were seeking a smaller, speedy Fox Terrier that could be used for hunting smaller pests such as rats and rabbits. 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 Sydney’s North Head Quarantine Station, the Riverstone Meat Works[1], and the Brisbane City Council as vermin exterminators.

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 lines.

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 breed club. 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 All-Breed 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 the NSW 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’ owned by Anthony Field of The Wiggles, are Mini Foxies, and Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimmer, has spoken fondly of Tiny, his Miniature Fox Terrier, in several interviews.

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. ISBN 0-9758380-0-8
  • 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.

External links

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