Toy Fox Terrier Information
TheDogPlace.org Breeder Interviews Online©
THE WHITE, CHOCOLATE AND TAN TOY FOX TERRIER
by Anne Gendron
(Special Thank you to Dana L. Plonkey for the use of the pictures)
The AKC STANDARD OF PERFECTION includes the White, Chocolate and Tan coloring of the Toy Fox Terrier (TFT):
“Chocolate and Tan: Predominately chocolate head with sharply defined tan markings on cheeks, lips and eye dots. Body is over fifty percent white with or without chocolate body spots.”
“Eyes: clear, bright and dark, …with the exception of chocolates whose eye rims should be self-colored.”
This coloring has intrigued me for some time. So as a writer, I felt obligated to research the topic and share my findings with others. I want to thank the many breeders who were so very kind to assist me in my research.
In the recorded history of the Toy Fox Terrier, it is noted that our breed was bred down from the Fox Terrier (Smooth variety). Other breeds were also integrated into the breed; however, it was the Smooth Fox Terrier that was the dominant breed from which the TFT was developed.
Many years ago the, under the old UKC Standard, the White, Chocolate and Tan TFT was just considered a fault. There were those who would register the White, Chocolate and Tan TFT as White and Tan coloring, so the dog could be shown. Therefore, if a White, Chocolate and Tan dog was shown and was a better example of the breed that day and was registered as a White and Tan, that dog could eventually complete its championship. This may have put a championship on a dog; however, this practice was very confusing when one looks at pedigrees. The question is are the Tan and Whites shown on the pedigree really Tan and Whites or White, Chocolate and Tan. According to some of our older and distinguished breeders the Chocolate was introduced to the color gene pool through the Chihuahua influence in the breed, to keep the size down. This was a very controversial subject among breeders and UKC registry in those days. The Chocolate is normally found in breeds such as the Chihuahua and the Rat Terrier.
When the UKC Standard of perfection was updated, the White, Chocolate and Tan coloring was on the floor for discussion. It was resolved that this coloring was not a “true” color of the TFT because it is not a “true” color considered for the Smooth Fox Terrier. Therefore today in the UKC registry, the coloring of White, Chocolate and Tan TFT is a disqualification.
The AKC’s STANDARD OF PERFECTION determines the inclusion of the White, Chocolate and Tan TFT as stated above. It was often stated by breeders in my research that today this Chocolate gene is found in every line.
Although most breeders have shared that there are no particular health problems related to the Chocolate coloring, every one agreed that breeding White, Chocolate and Tan to the same combination MUST be avoided. This same breeding combination should NEVER be done because the colors come from a recessive gene that has been related to some risks that are involved. This can result in diluted coloring, (fading to lemon or fawn), skin problems and some eye problems. Therefore, there are obviously possible health problems when two White, Chocolate and Tan TFTs are bred together. The gene that produces Chocolates is a mutation of the black color found in a White, Black and Tan dog. “Subsequently,” states one breeder, “there is concern about loss of pigmentation in the nose and eye rims, if Chocolates are crossed bred to White, Black and Tans and White and Tans. I don't know for sure if these concerns are valid, but I do think that because the breeding of Chocolates has been very limited, we really do not know what the long term effects will be.”
Another breeder affirms: “I think it is an interesting color and I’m glad it is included in the AKC standard.” While another reports, “I, for one, will fight inclusion of chocolate into the UKC standard. This whole thing is a matter of economics and greed for the majority of people who breed for the color. Chocolate is rare and people will pay quite a price to acquire one. Breeding should be done with health & temperament foremost in mind and color is way down the line of importance in my priorities.”
So it seems to all come down to you, the breeder. Plan your work and work your plan. Know your dog’s background. Be aware of the risks involved and breed wisely and responsibly. Breeding good dogs is a science and more than just putting a male and female together.
The purpose of this article is to educate myself as well as others. To have an opportunity to learn from those successful breeders who have breed Toy Fox Terriers for several years. I hope now the White, Chocolate and Tan TFT is more than just a color combination. In this article wanted to show both sides of ideas so that you can breed respectfully for the betterment of the breed.