Breed Type:  Terrier
Country of Origin: Australia
Size:  Small
Also known as:  Minnie Foxie
Males: Height: 24-30.5 cm, Weight: 3.5-5.5 kg
Females:   Height: 24-30.5 cm, Weight: 3.5-5.5 kg
Exercise Requirements: Medium
Care Requirements: Low
Lifespan: 18-20 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pets / Farm Dogs

Known best to Australians as the “Mini Foxie”, the Miniature Fox Terrier is a small working dog breed that is closely related to the Toy Fox Terrier found in the United States.

The Miniature Fox Terrier is just that – mini! Despite their small size, they have sturdy muscular frames, and make great working dogs. They have rounded heads with sharply tapered muzzles, erect, pointed ears and dark eyes. Their necks are slightly arched; they have short backs and a usual oval shaped foot. While some owners dock their tails, others leave them in their natural longer state. The Mini Foxie’s coat is short and sleek, and usually is white with brown or black patches. Others have black and white coats or tan and white coats.

There are many types of fox terriers found around the world but the Miniature Fox Terrier is the only one native to Australia.  The popularity this breed has finally grown internationally, but they still mainly found in Australia. Australians are extremely proud and fond of their fox terrier and several national celebrities have recently acquired them as pets.  Anthony Field of The Wiggles is known to have two Mini Foxies and Ian Thorpe, the Australian Olympic swimmer owns one. Not all Mini Foxies are owned by the rich and famous, however, and they are popular pets in the general population and are still quite helpful on Australian farms.

The Miniature Fox Terrier’s ancestors, the British Fox Terriers, were most likely brought from England in the 19th Century.  While in Australia, they were crossed with Manchester Terriers, and, later, to other toy breeds such as the English Toy Terrier and the Whippet. In the late 1800’s the Mini Fox Terrier became a valuable resource on farms for catching vermin and snakes. They were used at Sydney’s North Head Quarantine Station as rat exterminators.

The popularity of the Mini Foxie spread into cities in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds and they became the poster dog for the urban Australian family.  Their popularity held and in 1986, the Miniature Fox Terrier Club of Australia was established. The founding members, along with members of the Canine Council of New South Wales, wrote a breed standard for the Miniature Fox Terrier.  The breed is not recognized by the ANKC. In 2005, the Mini Foxie was added to the list of dog breeds recognized under the NSW Companion Animals Act.

Mini Foxies are known to be loyal companions. They are an active, alert, high-energy breed ready to chase small animals on a seconds notice.  While they have the ability to rest quietly in their owners laps, do not expect them to stay long when there something afoot in their house. They make excellent watchdogs and will quickly sound the alarm when someone comes for a visit.

Sometimes unaware of their own size, the Mini Foxie has a large personality and is often overly confident around much larger dogs.  While they might fit into a handbag, this pampered pooch will not be content riding along in such a fashion. Natural athletes, they would much rather be a part of the action.

Care and Grooming
The Mini Foxie is an easy dog to care for. They need minimal grooming; only a weekly brushing is needed to keep them looking their best.

To help release their extra energy, it is best to take your Mini Foxie on a daily walk. They love to play and a daily romp in the yard or a game of fetch will also make for one happy dog. Most Mini Foxies are also great hikers and can be taken on longer walks and hikes.

Miniature Fox Terriers are generally healthy dogs with only a few known health problems. Some, but not many Mini Foxies have had problems with luxating pattels (dislocation of their kneecaps).  Allergies (hives, swelling, etc.) are also a fairly common complaint of Mini Foxie owners. Puppies are encouraged to have a high calcium diet.

For many years, the Mini Foxie Club of Australia (MFCA) system of classifying pups at the age of one year has assisted breeders to guard against health problems that can occur in small dog breeds. Make sure you obtain a health certificate from any breeder when purchasing your Mini Foxie puppy.

Suitability as a Pet
Miniature Fox Terriers can make great family pets. They are loyal companions and watchdogs and do well in many different environments. While they may do well in an apartment, their watchdog tendencies and loud barking might not be a good fit for all who live in a community type setting. The Mini Foxie thrives when they have a yard to romp around in and they appreciate daily exercise both for their active minds and active bodies. Despite their small size, the Mini Foxie is an unexpectedly sturdy and can withstand a fun romp with children without being hurt, unlike their more fragile cousin, the Rat Terrier.

The Miniature Fox Terrier can generally get along well with small children and other animals but, like most terriers, they need to be isolated from other small furry pets such as guinea pigs and rats. If you plan to take your Miniature Fox Terrier off leash, you need to be aware of a few things. First, your Mini Foxie is not often intimidated by larger dogs and will not hesitate to run up to greet them. Second, your Mini Foxie will show little restraint if there is something he would like to chase. Last, your Mini Foxie will follow her instinct to kill small animals, even snakes.

Because the Mini Foxie is a small dog with a big personality, you need to take care that your pet does not develop “little dog syndrome”. You need to establish their order in the pack when they are puppies so that they do not struggle with dominance issues.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.