Toy Fox Terrier Information
Semantics of the Toy Fox Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier and Rat Terrier
A QUESTION OF SEMANTICS, TFT, SFT, RT?
In the history of the Toy Fox Terrier it is often stated that the origins of the breed were in America, were small fox terriers, crossed liberally with Toy Manchester Terriers and with Chihuahuas. I feel this is in error.
The error is in the definition of a small fox terrier.
When we consider where, how, and by whom the TFT was bred we can easily understand the confusion. It is mainly in the farm population of mostly the Midwest that the breed was born. On every farm in the Midwest, where I was born, there is a farm terrier, generically called a fox terrier. These are a far cry from what we show people call a smooth fox terrier.
I believe the Fox Terrier that really referred to was a generic farm terrier, which we now know as a rat terrier. Aside from size, this dog is virtually indisquingishable from the toy fox terrier (TFT) as we see it today. The up ears, the tail length, the general make and shape. Very different from the smooth fox terrier (SFT) shown above.
Now take a quick look at the TFT:
Can you see the similarities? There were not huge numbers of Fox Terriers as we know them today available in the midsection of the US that the owners could use for crossbreeding. Sure there were Fox Terriers in the US, but they were mainly on the East and West Coasts, in the hands of show breeders and dedicated fanciers.
Where did the tail length come from? It certainly isn’t the same dock that we see in the Fox Terrier. It is the same however as the Rat Terrier. The erect ear exists in the FT but not to the extent that it exists in the RT.
Therefore I feel the evidence is clear the Fox Terrier that the TFT breed historians are talking about is not the same FT that we think of as a smooth fox today, it really was what we now think of as a Rat Terrier. It was called a fox terrier by many owners because they didn't know the difference.
Perhaps the smooth fox terrier devolved into two charming breeds of today, the rat terrier, aptly named, and with a little judicious (and indiscriminate) outcrossing, a smaller version known as the toy fox terrier.