Smooth Fox Terrier

"White Lightning"

Photo of Smooth Fox Terrier


An old English breed probably descending from smooth-coated black and tan terriers, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds, and Beagles, the Smooth Fox Terrier used to be considered one variety of Fox Terrier, along with the Wire Fox Terrier. Now, most breed historians agree these are totally separate breeds, but they weren't officially separated according to the American Kennel Club until 1984. Long before this, however — as early as the late 18th century — written records and paintings tell of smooth-coated white terriers. These little white dogs were highly prized for their ability to drive foxes out of their dens during fox hunts. Today, the Smooth Fox isn't as popular as his wirehaired brother. He ranks 102nd in popularity. The Wirehaired Fox Terrier ranks 78th.


The Smooth Fox Terrier loves to play, and he's always up for a good game of fetch (although he might not bring the ball back), tug-of-war (he doesn't like to lose), or just lots of running around, hiking, exploring, sniffing, and barking. A vocal dog, he'll tell you when anyone approaches, and he can get scrappy with other dogs; it's a terrier thing. Otherwise, he makes a good companion with opposite-sex dogs and even cats, if raised with them. Smooths think kids are the greatest, but kids must be taught to be nice because a Smooth could nip if pushed too far. That said, Smooths have stable, loving, and fun-loving temperaments. Life is an adventure with a Smooth Fox Terrier in the house, but keep them on leash or fenced-in outside -- they just won't be able to help chasing that squirrel.


A medium-sized terrier, the Smooth is about 15-1/2 inches, with females a little shorter. Males weigh about 18 pounds, females about 16 pounds, in good condition. Smooths have a long legs, dark eyes, V-shaped ears, and long, strong muzzle. The short, sleek coat should be hard and shiny, and comes in white, usually with a dark-colored head and a few other markings here and there, usually in black, tan, or both.


Eager to please but smart and easily bored, Smooths can seem stubborn and tough to train. Make training a game with lots of rewards and challenges. Smooths want to be active. Surprise them, change the order of practice, and keep it moving and you'll see results quickly, especially if you are working together and both having fun training for a sport like agility, flyball, or rally.

Grooming & Care

Smooths don't need much grooming. Brush the coat weekly to remove shed hairs, keep nails neatly trimmed, brush teeth, and clean ears. Most importantly, give your Smooth plenty of attention and exercise, and he'll calm down nicely in the house.

Health Concerns

The most common health problems in Smooth Fox Terriers are eye problems and hip and shoulder problems, although even these are rare. Smooths also sometimes get skin irritation from allergies. Ask your breeder if the parents of the litter have had their eyes, hips, and shoulders tested, and ask to see the results.

Famous Smooth Fox Terrier

The very first dog to win the first Westminster show, in 1907, was a Smooth Fox Terrier named Champion Warren Remedy.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 33
Home 44
Children 48
Experience 54
Quick Facts
Grooming 13
Exercise 60
Challenges Barks a lot, will chase small animals.
Height 14 to 16 inches
Weight 15 to 20 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone 84
With Kids 86
With Strangers 113
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.