Terrier Tidbits

 

Did You Know?  from the American Kennel Club

  • Although considered one breed for many years, interbreeding of Smooth Fox Terriers and Wire Fox Terriers ceased in the early 1900s. Except for coat, however, the two breeds are essentially identical.
  • Wire fox terrier is descended from the rough coated black and tan terrier and was used for hunting fox.
  • Though the Wire is the more recent of the two, paintings of the dogs confirm that both coat varieties have been around since the middle of the 18th century.
  • The Wire Fox Terrier is characterized by a hardy constitution and cocksure personality.
  • The Wire Fox Terrier was originally bred to "go to ground" to chase small game from their dens.
  • The Wire Fox Terrier's energy is boundless and his antics are endless.
  • The Smooth Fox Terrier was originally bred to go to ground; their innate sense to dig comes out unless taught otherwise.
  • Herbert Hoover had two Fox Terriers named Big Ben and Sonnie. Big Ben’s job was to harass a fox out of its hole. The dog would snap and growl and lunge at the hiding fox until it bolted.
  • The Smooth is thought to have come about from crosses of the Old English Terrier, smooth coated Black and Tan terriers of England, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds and Beagles.
  • They can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century when both smooth and broken coated were from the same origins and classed as one breed.
  • The breed Standard was drawn up in 1876 by Officers of The Fox Terrier Club and there are few differences with today's Standard. Now the weight for dogs is more clearly stated and docking, though customary, is optional.

Breed Standard - Wire

Fox Terrier (Wire)
Terrier Group
Breed Standard


General Appearance

The Terrier should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe of expectation at the slightest provocation. Character is imparted by the expression of the eyes and by the carriage of ears and tail. Bone and strength in a small compass are essential, but this must not be taken to mean that a Terrier should be "cloddy," or in any way coarse--speed and endurance being requisite as well as power. The Terrier must on no account be leggy, nor must he be too short on the leg. He should stand like a cleverly made, short-backed hunter, covering a lot of ground.
N.B. Old scars or injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice a Terrier's chance in the show ring, unless they interfere with its movement or with its utility for work or stud.

Size, Proportion, Substance

According to present-day requirements, a full-sized, well balanced dog should not exceed 15½ inches at the withers--the bitch being proportionately lower--nor should the length of back from withers to root of tail exceed 12 inches, while to maintain the relative proportions, the head-as mentioned below-should not exceed 7¼ inches or be less than 7 inches. A dog with these measurements should scale 18 pounds in show condition--a bitch weighing some two pounds less--with a margin of one pound either way.
The dog should be balanced and this may be defined as the correct proportions of a certain point or points, when considered in relation to a certain other point or points. It is the keystone of the Terrier's anatomy. The chief points for consideration are the relative proportions of skull and foreface; head and back; height at withers; and length of body from shoulder point to buttock--the ideal of proportion being reached when the last two measurements are the same. It should be added that, although the head measurements can be taken with absolute accuracy, the height at withers and length of back are approximate, and are inserted for the information of breeders and exhibitors rather than as a hard-and-fast rule.

Head

The length of the head of a full-grown well developed dog of correct size--measured with calipers--from the back of the occipital bone to the nostrils-should be from 7 to 7¼ inches, the bitch's head being proportionately shorter. Any measurement in excess of this usually indicates an oversized or long-backed specimen, although occasionally--so rarely as to partake of the nature of a freak--a Terrier of correct size may boast a head 7½ inches in length. In a well balanced head there should be little apparent difference in length between skull and foreface. If, however, the foreface is noticeably shorter, it amounts to a fault, the head looking weak and "unfinished." On the other hand, when the eyes are set too high up in the skull and too near the ears, it also amounts to a fault, the head being said to have a "foreign appearance." Keen of expression. Eyes should be dark in color, moderately small, rather deep-set, not prominent, and full of fire, life, and intelligence; as nearly as possible circular in shape, and not too far apart. Anything approaching a yellow eye is most objectionable. Ears should be small and V-shaped and of moderate thickness, the flaps neatly folded over and dropping forward close to the cheeks. The topline of the folded ear should be well above the level of the skull. A pendulous ear, hanging dead by the side of the head like a Hound's, is uncharacteristic of the Terrier, while an ear which is semierect is still more undesirable. Disqualifications Ears prick, tulip or rose.
The topline of the skull should be almost flat, sloping slightly and gradually decreasing in width toward the eyes, and should not exceed 3½ inches in diameter at the widest part--measuring with the calipers--in the full-grown dog of correct size, the bitch's skull being proportionately narrower. If this measurement is exceeded, the skull is termed "coarse," while a full-grown dog with a much narrower skull is termed "bitchy" in head.
Although the foreface should gradually taper from eye to muzzle and should dip slightly at its juncture with the forehead, it should not "dish" or fall away quickly below the eyes, where it should be full and well made up, but relieved from "wedginess" by a little delicate chiseling. While well developed jaw bones, armed with a set of strong, white teeth, impart that appearance of strength to the foreface which is so desirable, an excessive bony or muscular development of the jaws is both unnecessary and unsightly, as it is partly responsible for the full and rounded contour of the cheeks to which the term "cheeky" is applied.
Nose should be black. Disqualifications Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors. Mouth Both upper and lower jaws should be strong and muscular, the teeth as nearly as possible level and capable of closing together like a vise the lower canines locking in front of the upper and the points of the upper incisors slightly overlapping the lower.
Disqualifications Much undershot, or much overshot.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck should be clean, muscular, of fair length, free from throatiness and presenting a graceful curve when viewed from the side. The back should be short and level with no appearance of slackness--the loins muscular and very slightly arched. The term "slackness" is applied both to the portion of the back immediately behind the withers when it shows any tendency to dip, and also the flanks when there is too much space between the back ribs and hipbone. When there is little space between the ribs and hips, the dog is said to be "short in couplings," "short-coupled," or "well ribbed up." A Terrier can scarcely be too short in back, provided he has sufficient length of neck and liberty of movement. The bitch may be slightly longer in couplings than the dog.
Chest deep and not broad, a too narrow chest being almost as undesirable as a very broad one. Excessive depth of chest and brisket is an impediment to a Terrier when going to ground. The brisket should be deep, the front ribs moderately arched, and the back ribs deep and well sprung. Tail should be set on rather high and carried gaily but not curled. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length-a three-quarters dock is about right--since it affords the only safe grip when handling working Terriers. A very short tail is suitable neither for work nor show.

Forequarters

Shoulders when viewed from the front should slope steeply downwards from their juncture, with the neck towards the points, which should be fine. When viewed from the side they should be long, well laid back, and should slope obliquely backwards from points to withers, which should always be clean-cut. A shoulder well laid back gives the long forehand which, in combination with a short back, is so desirable in Terrier or Hunter. The elbows should hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the sides, carried straight through in traveling. Viewed from any direction the legs should be straight, the bone of the forelegs strong right down to the feet.
Feet should be round, compact, and not large--the pads tough and well cushioned, and the toes moderately arched and turned neither in nor out. A Terrier with good-shaped forelegs and feet will wear his nails down short by contact with the road surface, the weight of the body being evenly distributed between the toe pads and the heels.

Hindquarters

Should be strong and muscular, quite free from droop or crouch; the thighs long and powerful; the stifles well curved and turned neither in nor out; the hock joints well bent and near the ground; the hocks perfectly upright and parallel with each other when viewed from behind. The worst possible form of hindquarters consists of a short second thigh and a straight stifle, a combination which causes the hind legs to act as props rather than instruments of propulsion. The hind legs should be carried straight through in traveling. Feet as in front.

Coat

The best coats appear to be broken, the hairs having a tendency to twist, and are of dense, wiry texture--like coconut matting--the hairs growing so closely and strongly together that, when parted with the fingers, the skin cannot be seen. At the base of these stiff hairs is a shorter growth of finer and softer hair--termed the undercoat. The coat on the sides is never quite so hard as that on the back and quarters. Some of the hardest coats are "crinkly" or slightly waved, but a curly coat is very objectionable. The hair on the upper and lower jaws should be crisp and only sufficiently long to impart an appearance of strength to the foreface. The hair on the forelegs should also be dense and crisp. The coat should average in length from ¾ to one inch on shoulders and neck, lengthening to 1½ inches on withers, back, ribs, and quarters. These measurements are given rather as a guide to exhibitors than as an infallible rule, since the length of coat depends on the climate, seasons, and individual animal. The judge must form his own opinion as to what constitutes a "sufficient" coat on the day.

Color

White should predominate; brindle, red, liver or slaty blue are objectionable. Otherwise, color is of little or no importance.

Gait

The movement or action is the crucial test of conformation. The Terrier's legs should be carried straight forward while traveling, the forelegs hanging perpendicular and swinging parallel to the sides, like the pendulum of a clock. The principal propulsive power is furnished by the hind legs, perfection of action being found in the Terrier possessing long thighs and muscular second thighs well bent at the stifles, which admit of a strong forward thrust or "snatch" of the hocks. When approaching, the forelegs should form a continuation of the straight of the front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. When stationary it is often difficult to determine whether a dog is slightly out at shoulder but, directly he moves, the defect--if it exists--becomes more apparent, the forefeet having a tendency to cross, "weave," or "dish." When, on the contrary, the dog is tied at the shoulder, the tendency of the feet is to move wider apart, with a sort of paddling action. When the hocks are turned in-cow-hocks-the stifles and feet are turned outwards, resulting in a serious loss of propulsive power. When the hocks are turned outwards the tendency of the hind feet is to cross, resulting in an ungainly waddle.

Temperament

The Terrier should be alert, quick of movement, keen of expression, on the tip-toe of expectation at the slightest provocation.

Disqualifications

Ears prick, tulip or rose.
Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors.
Mouth much undershot, or much overshot.

Approved February 9, 1991
Effective March 27, 1991

Breed Standard - Smooth

Fox Terrier (Smooth)
Terrier Group
Breed Standard


General Appearance

The dog must present a generally gay, lively and active appearance; bone and strength in a small compass are essentials; but this must not be taken to mean that a Fox Terrier should be cloddy, or in any way coarse--speed and endurance must be looked to as well as power, and the symmetry of the Foxhound taken as a model. The Terrier, like the Hound, must on no account be leggy, nor must he be too short in the leg. He should stand like a cleverly made hunter, covering a lot of ground, yet with a short back, as stated below. He will then attain the highest degree of propelling power, together with the greatest length of stride that is compatible with the length of his body. Weight is not a certain criterion of a Terrier's fitness for his work-general shape, size and contour are the main points; and if a dog can gallop and stay, and follow his fox up a drain, it matters little what his weight is to a pound or so.
N.B. Old scars or injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice a Terrier's chance in the show ring, unless they interfere with its movement or with its utility for work or stud.

Size, Proportion, Substance

According to present-day requirements, a full-sized, well balanced dog should not exceed 15½ inches at the withers--the bitch being proportionately lower--nor should the length of back from withers to root of tail exceed 12 inches, while to maintain the relative proportions, the head should not exceed 7¼ inches or be less than 7 inches. A dog with these measurements should scale 18 pounds in show condition--a bitch weighing some two pounds less-with a margin of one pound either way.
Balance This may be defined as the correct proportions of a certain point, or points, when considered in relation to a certain other point or points. It is the keystone of the Terrier's anatomy. The chief points for consideration are the relative proportions of skull and foreface; head and back; height at withers and length of body from shoulder point to buttock-the ideal of proportion being reached when the last two measurements are the same. It should be added that, although the head measurements can be taken with absolute accuracy, the height at withers and length of back and coat are approximate, and are inserted for the information of breeders and exhibitors rather than as a hard-and-fast rule.

Head

Eyes and rims should be dark in color, moderately small and rather deep set, full of fire, life and intelligence and as nearly possible circular in shape. Anything approaching a yellow eye is most objectionable. Ears should be V-shaped and small, of moderate thickness, and dropping forward close to the cheek, not hanging by the side of the head like a Foxhound. The topline of the folded ear should be well above the level of the skull. Disqualifications Ears prick, tulip or rose.
The skull should be flat and moderately narrow, gradually decreasing in width to the eyes. Not much "stop" should be apparent, but there should be more dip in the profile between the forehead and the top jaw than is seen in the case of a Greyhound. It should be noticed that although the foreface should gradually taper from eye to muzzle and should tip slightly at its junction with the forehead, it should not "dish" or fall away quickly below the eyes, where it should be full and well made up, but relieved from "wedginess" by a little delicate chiseling. There should be apparent little difference in length between the skull and foreface of a well balanced head. Cheeks must not be full.
Jaws, upper and lower, should be strong and muscular and of fair punishing strength, but not so as in any way to resemble the Greyhound or modern English Terrier. There should not be much falling away below the eyes. This part of the head should, however, be moderately chiseled out, so as not to go down in a straight slope like a wedge. The nose, toward which the muzzle must gradually taper, should be black. Disqualifications Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors.
The teeth should be as nearly as possible together, i.e., the points of the upper (incisors) teeth on the outside of or slightly overlapping the lower teeth. Disqualifications-Much undershot, or much overshot.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck should be clean and muscular, without throatiness, of fair length, and gradually widening to the shoulders. Back should be short, straight (i.e., level), and strong, with no appearance of slackness. Chest deep and not broad. Brisket should be deep, yet not exaggerated. The foreribs should be moderately arched, the back ribs deep and well sprung, and the dog should be well ribbed up. Loin should be very powerful, muscular and very slightly arched. Stern should be set on rather high, and carried gaily, but not over the back or curled. It should be of good strength, anything approaching a "Pipestopper" tail being especially objectionable.

Forequarters

Shoulders should be long and sloping, well laid back, fine at the points, and clearly cut at the withers. The elbows should hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the sides. The forelegs viewed from any direction must be straight with bone strong right down to the feet, showing little or no appearance of ankle in front, and being short and straight in pastern. Both fore and hind legs should be carried straight forward in traveling.
Feet should be round, compact, and not large; the soles hard and tough; the toes moderately arched, and turned neither in nor out.

Hindquarters

Should be strong and muscular, quite free from droop or crouch; the thighs long and powerful, stifles well curved and turned neither in nor out; hocks well bent and near the ground should be perfectly upright and parallel each with the other when viewed from behind, the dog standing well up on them like a Foxhound, and not straight in the stifle. The worst possible form of hindquarters consists of a short second thigh and a straight stifle. Both fore and hind legs should be carried straight forward in traveling, the stifles not turning outward. Feet as in front.

Coat

Should be smooth, flat, but hard, dense and abundant. The belly and underside of the thighs should not be bare.

Color

White should predominate; brindle, red or liver markings are objectionable. Otherwise this point is of little or no importance.

Gait

Movement, or action, is the crucial test of conformation. The Terrier's legs should be carried straight forward while traveling, the forelegs hanging perpendicular and swinging parallel with the sides, like the pendulum of a clock. The principal propulsive power is furnished by the hind legs, perfection of action being found in the Terrier possessing long thighs and muscular second thighs well bent at the stifles, which admit of a strong forward thrust or "snatch" of the hocks. When approaching, the forelegs should form a continuation of the straight line of the front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows. When stationary it is often difficult to determine whether a dog is slightly out at shoulder, but, directly he moves, the defect--if it exists--becomes more apparent, the forefeet having a tendency to cross, "weave," or "dish." When, on the contrary, the dog is tied at the shoulder, the tendency of the feet is to move wider apart, with a sort of paddling action. When the hocks are turned in-cow-hocks-the stifles and feet are turned outwards, resulting in a serious loss of propulsive power. When the hocks are turned outward the tendency of the hind feet is to cross, resulting in an ungainly waddle.

Temperament

The dog must present a generally gay, lively and active appearance.

Disqualifications

Ears prick, tulip or rose.
Nose white, cherry or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors.
Mouth much undershot, or much overshot.

Approved February 9, 1991
Effective March 27, 1991