Miniature Fox Terrier: Wikis

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Miniature Fox Terrier
Nicknames Mini Foxie
Country of origin Australia
Traits

The Miniature Fox Terrier is a small, fine, lightweight working terrier developed as a hunting dog and vermin router. It is known colloquially in its native Australia as the “Mini Foxie”.

Contents

Description

Appearance

A balanced, smoothly-muscled dog breed, the Miniature Fox Terrier has a distinctive head with erectile ears that can stand straight up or fold at the tips. Another distinguishing feature is its articulate, oval-shaped foot. The breed standard has always allowed for the dog's tail to be docked or undocked. Natural bobtails are known to occur. There are only three permitted colour combinations: black and white, tan and white, and tricolour (black, white, and tan). The coat of the Mini Foxie is always short and fine. Weight is 3.5 to 5.5 kilograms and height at the withers is 9.5 to 12.0 inches (24 cm to 30.5 cm).

Miniature Fox Terriers are closely related to the Toy Fox Terrier, a breed that developed along similar lines in the United States. Some Toy Fox Terrier owners can trace their dogs’ pedigrees to "Foiler", the first Fox Terrier registered by the Kennel Club in Britain, circa 1875-6. Other related breeds include the Jack Russell Terrier, the Rat Terrier, and the Tenterfield Terrier.

Temperament

Bred for hunting rodents (rats, mice, rabbits principally), these dogs are known for their speed and agility. With the ruthlessness of their attack on rodent pest species and their ability to squeeze into and out of tight spaces, they have made themselves an indispensable part of many Australian farms since the 19th Century. More recently, Miniature Fox Terriers have proved well-suited to being domestic pets in more urban environments (according to the breed club). Their diminutive size, short clean hair and loyal acceptance of their place in the social hierarchy make them good pets, particularly in households with small children. Unlike most other dogs their size they are sturdy enough to enjoy playing with children.

Miniature Fox Terriers generally get along well with other animals but, like most working terriers, cannot distinguish between small pets—such as reptiles and fancy rats—and vermin, and so must not be left alone with such animals. They are confident and will generally interact with dogs and other animals many times their size.

Health

Miniature Fox Terriers are generally healthy and hardy despite their size. They need little maintenance; lightweight individuals and those that do not run on hard surfaces will need regular nail clipping. Luxating patellae, a common ailment among small breeds, occurs frequently among backyard bred dogs of this breed; breed clubs insist upon health screening for breeding individuals to help eradicate it.

History

The breed was most likely developed from crosses between smaller Fox Terriers and Fox Terrier types and Toy Manchester Terriers, and, later, crosses to other toy breeds such as the English Toy Terrier and Whippet. Hunters were seeking a smaller, speedy Fox Terrier that could be used for hunting smaller pests such as rats and rabbits. Although the origins of the breed are English, the breed was developed in and is endemic to Australia. By the late 1800s, the breed type was clearly identifiable, where these small terriers proved its worth against rabbits, rats, and snakes on Australian farms. Mini Foxies demonstrated tenacity, endurance, and extreme loyalty to their owners; the dogs were routinely taken on the hunt, were sometimes used in search parties, and were used at Sydney’s North Head Quarantine Station, the Riverstone Meat Works[1], and the Brisbane City Council as vermin exterminators.

The dog’s vigilance, size, affectionate temperament, and ease of care soon resulted in its becoming a popular choice in urban centers as well, and by the 1920s the Miniature Fox Terrier was iconic. So well known and popular was the “Little Foxie” that very little thought was given to the need to preserve its lines.

History of the breed club

By the 1980s, the interest in dog fancy, the looming spectre of proposed breed-specific legislation, and increasing concerns about the need to protect purebred dogs led a group of enthusiasts to begin meeting informally to consider the future of these little dogs. In 1986 the Miniature Fox Terrier Club of Australia was formed. The founding members, in conjunction with members of the Canine Council of New South Wales, wrote a breed standard for their breed and laid out a Constitution for the Club. To comply with New South Wales government regulations for becoming an incorporated organization, the Miniature Fox Terrier Club became incorporated as the Mini Foxie Club of Australia, Inc. (1992).

In 1991, fanciers in South Australia also formed a breed club. For these members, official recognition of the dog by the Australian National Kennel Council was the most important of their goals. At that time, challenges to the name “Miniature Fox Terrier” were being mounted, and threatened to preclude recognition by an All-Breed club. These members joined with some owners in Western Australia and organized as the Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia (1993), a name which was first used by a television personality of that era.

The ensuing breed standard for the Tenterfield Terrier differs in substance from that of the Miniature Fox Terrier, and though the two dogs are sometimes confused, they have been developing along divergent lines for over twenty years and are now different breeds. A recent directive from the ANKC placed a moratorium on the registration of any MFCA-registered Miniature Fox Terrier as a Tenterfield Terrier

The breed is not recognized by the ANKC but ANKC judges may judge them.

In 2005, the Mini Foxie was added to the list of dog breeds recognized under the NSW Companion Animals Act.

The Miniature Fox Terrier today

Although still relatively unknown outside of Australia and New Zealand, the Little Foxie is renowned in its native land. Several parliamentarians made reference to the breed during recent legislative hearings on canine issues. ‘Pasqua’ and ‘Fergus’ owned by Anthony Field of The Wiggles, are Mini Foxies, and Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimmer, has spoken fondly of Tiny, his Miniature Fox Terrier, in several interviews. Sean Carlow, reigning Australian men's figure skating champion, owns a Miniature Fox Terrier, and recent television and print features on Toby Allen for his current (as of 2006) Dancing with the Stars (Australia) campaign spotlight his Mini Fox Terriers.

Today, the Miniature Fox Terrier is still very much a working terrier, and is in demand on farms across Australia. They remain popular as pets, and enjoy playing the pampered pooch. As long as their active minds are kept stimulated with games or toys and they receive at least moderate exercise, they make moderate urban and apartment dwellers.

The New Zealand Miniature Fox Terrier

The New Zealand Miniature Fox Terrier has been around for a long period of time. This breed is a lot different to its cousin the Miniature Fox Terrier (Mini Foxie) In Australia. The place of origin for the NZ Miniature Fox Terrier Is New Zealand. There currently is a Group for this canine that are actively supporting the NZ Miniature Fox Terrier. The New Zealand Miniature Fox Terrier is not yet Recognised by the NZKC. The NZ Miniature Fox terrier is known Nation wide with in New Zealand by its name (Miniature Fox Terrier).

See also

References

  • Curry, Aleta, et al. (2004). Steward, Julienne, Ill. The 20th Anniversary Show Book: Twenty Years of the Mini Foxie Club of Australia. ISBN 0-9758380-0-8
  • 1 Phillis, Rosemary (30 July, 2004). The Riverstone Meat Works. Printed by Hawkesbury City Council.
  • NSW State Parliament (17 March 2004 and 6 May 2004). Hansard.
  • Assorted (2003). "The All-Australian Dog: The Miniature Fox Terrier", one of a series of articles appearing in The Southern Village View Magazine, © 2003.

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