The Smooth Fox Terrier

The smart appearance, graceful conformation, and attractive coloring of the Fox Terrier has made him the most popular member of the Terrier family.

In tracing the origin of the breed, it is impossible to go far into the past, the late 60’s apparently being the starting point of the modern Fox Terrier. Just what he sprung from is also a sealed book. Possibly it was from the white English Terrier or the Black and-Tan Terrier crossed upon the Bull Terrier, or the Beagle, and more probably it was from still more ‘heterogeneous sources.

The modern Fox Terrier was originated by Foxhound Masters, who wanted a game little sportsman of uniform size and appearance to replace the nondescript Terriers which were used to bolt the fox that had gone to earth. Before this time any dog that was plucky and whose size would permit him to go to earth was known as a Fox Terrier, no matter what his coat, color, or his general appearance might be.

There are no Fox Terrier pedigrees which date before the 60’s, and there is much doubt and question connected with some since that time. In the history of the breed there are three dogs which stand out conspicuously, and from them the Fox Terrier as a breed takes descent: Old Jock, Trap, and Tartar. Of these Old Jock was undoubtedly the best. He was exhibited as late as 1870, and was said to have been a smart, well-balanced Terrier, somewhat leggy and wanting in jaw power. Tartar is said to have been much on the Bull Terrier type, while old Trap’s sire is said to have been a Blackand-Tan. It is unquestionable from these antecedents that breeders have produced the modern Fox Terrier, a most impressive testimonial to their genius.

The question arises whether the Fox Terrier of today is as useful and intelligent as his predecessors. If there is anything to his name Terrier, derived from terra, the earth, he should be able to go to ground. This is absolutely precluded by the size of some of the dogs that are shown on the benches, and one of the greatest dangers to the breed lies in the leaning of judges toward the large size, on the grounds of the oft-repeated aphorism that a good big one is always better than a good little one. The fact should never be lost sight of that a Terrier who cannot go to earth is not a Terrier.

In judging Fox Terriers both smooth and rough, the following standard is used:

HEAD.-The skull should be flat and moderately narrow, and 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 top jaw than is seen in the case of a Greyhound.

The cheeks must not be full.

The ears should be V-shaped and small, of moderate thickness and drooping forward close to the cheek, not hanging by the side of the head like a Foxhound.

The jaw, upper and lower, should be strong and muscular; should be of fair punishing strength, but not so 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.

The eyes and the rims should be dark in color, small, and rather deep set, full of fire, life, and intelligence; as nearly as possible circular-shape.

The teeth should be as nearly as possible together, i. e., the upper teeth on the outside of the lower teeth.

NECK.-Should be clean and muscular, without throatiness, of fair length, and gradually widening to the shoulders.

SHOULDERS.-Should be long and sloping, well laid back, fine at the points and clearly cut at the withers.

CHEST.-Deep and not broad.

BACK.-Should be short, straight, and strong, with no appearance of slackness.

LOIN.-Should be very powerful and very slightly arched. The fore ribs should be moderately arched, the back ribs deep, and the dog should be well ribbed up.

HINDQUARTERS.-Should be strong and muscular, quite free from droop or crouch; the thighs long and powerful; hocks near the ground, the dog standing well up on them like a Foxhound, and not straight in the stifle.

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 “pipe stopper” tail being especially objectionable.

LEGS.-Viewed in any direction must be straight, showing little or no appearance of ankle in front. They should be strong in bone throughout, short and straight in pastern. Both fore- and hindlegs should be carried straight forward in traveling, the stifles not turned outward. The elbows should hang perpendicularly to the body, working free of the sides.

FEET.-Should be round, compact, and not large; the soles hard and tough; the toes moderately arched and turned neither in nor out.

COAT.-Should be smooth, flat, but hard, dense, and abundant. The belly and under side 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.

SYMMETRY, SIZE, AND CHARACTER.-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 cloggy 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 before stated. 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. Though, roughly speaking, it may be said that he should not scale over twenty pounds in show condition.

VALUE OF POINTS.-Head and ears, 15; neck, 5; shoulders and chest, 15; back and loin, 10; hindquarters, 5; stern, 5; legs and feet, 20; coat, 10; symmetry and character, 15. Total, 100.

DISQUALIFYING POINTS.-Nose: White, cherry,or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colors. Ears: Prick, tulip, or rose. Mouth: Much undershot or much overshot.