Breed Standard of the Miniature Fox Terrier revised 2008

Breed Standard of the Miniature Fox Terrier revised 2008

The breed standard of the Miniature Fox Terrier was the first breed standard compiled for these dogs and has been in continuous use, with one revision, since 1986.

General Appearance

A small sized, smooth coated terrier - sleek, well balanced and of athletic appearance.


Distinctive physical characteristics include a predominantly white coat on the body and a well coloured head. The dog is alert, agile, inquisitive, intelligent and courageous - a swift natural hunter with the ability to spring.


Fearless and bold, confident and eager to learn, showing loyalty to owners. Adaptable to most domestic situations. Animated, entertaining and playful.

Head and Skull

Wedge shaped head, gently sculpted, small in size and in proportion to the body. Skull to be semi-flat, not rounded or apple headed, nor indented. Moderate stop. Cheeks never full. Strong upper and lower jaws. Muzzle to approximately equal the length of the skull, gradually tapering. Lips are black or very dark brown, narrow and tight fitting. Nose must be black.


Medium sized, oval in shape. Black, or very dark brown, in colour. The area under the eyes should be well filled. Eye rims must be black or very dark brown.


Inverted V shape with pointed tips. Not large; must be in proportion to the head. Carried erect and high on the skull when alert; can be carried back when gaiting at speed. Ear leather is of moderate thickness. Can be softly folded - if folded, the fold is to be above the skull and the tip of the ear must fall forward.


Strong jaws with a regular scissor bite, i.e. upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors and set square to the jaws. Full dentition.


Moderate length. Carried proudly, with confidence. Muscular and strong. Neck slopes elegantly and widens gradually, blending smoothly into the shoulders.


Shoulders are sloping and well laid back, fine at points, well defined at the withers and not heavily muscled. Forelegs from any angle must be straight, showing little or no appearance of an ankle at front. Bone in forelegs must be slender but strong. Elbows are midway between the foot and the withers, and are turned neither in nor out. Pasterns are fine and strong, almost vertical. Dewclaws, if present, must be kept trimmed.


Body tapers slightly from ribs to flank. Back must be straight and strong, with a level topline. Ribs are well sprung. Moderate chest, not protruding, not broad. Depth of chest extends to the level of the elbow. A moderate tuck up of the belly denotes grace and elegance.


Strong and muscular. Croup is gently rounded, not angular. Powerful thighs. Stifles are well bent. Hock joints are strong and angular, providing good support to the lower thighs. Rear pasterns are straight and parallel.


Compact semi-hare shaped foot - oval when viewed from above the foot, or when viewing the pads. Well padded. Feet turn neither in nor out. Toes are arched with the two middle toes extended and close together, completing the oval shape of the foot.


Smooth coated tail, gradually tapering. Tail is moderately set on the croup. Carried at an angle away from the body, not permanently curled or carried over the back. When relaxed, tail is not to extend below the hock. Bobtails can naturally occur and are acceptable. If docked, tail is to be docked between the 2nd and 3rd vertebrae.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles, fully descended into the scrotum when mature.


Movement is smooth and flowing with good reach and strong drive from the hindquarters. Trot: the topline should remain straight and head held erect while gaiting. Fore and hind legs are carried straight forward and parallel. Elbows move perpendicular to body, working free of the sides, stifles neither turning in nor out, and hocks not close. Hackney gait is not permitted. May exhibit a light springing series of leaps, especially over obstacles, in the chase or at play. Gallop: somewhat reminiscent of a greyhound, legs tend to converge at full pelt. Able to change directions quickly at full speed.


A single coat that is short, dense, glossy and of fine smooth texture. Coat can be slightly longer on ruff of neck. Coat is less dense on belly.


Colour on the body should be predominantly white, with black and/or tan markings. Tan should be a rich, warm shade of tan. No other colours are permitted. Any white colour on the head should not touch the ears or the eyes. Solid coloured markings should not extend beyond the elbow or the hock. Full coloured coats are not permitted. Brindling or merling of colours is not permitted. Overlay of colours is not preferred. Some ticking is permitted but should be minimal. Skin must be highly pigmented in black or tan colours only.


Height, upon maturity, to be between 24cm (9.5 inches) and 30.5cm (12 inches). Height of body is measured from the underside of the front feet to the top of shoulders. The height of the body should be equal to the length of the body. Length of body is measured between the highest midpoint of the shoulder blade (the withers) and the highest midpoint of the hip (the haunches). Bone must be substantive but not excessive, and in proportion to the size of the dog. Having a small skeletal frame, weight should be a healthy weight for the height of the dog and not exceed 5.5 kilograms (12 pounds).


Any departure from the foregoing points shall be considered a fault. The seriousness of the fault shall be determined with due regard given to the recognition of the physical features of the breed, and with respect to the health and welfare of the dog.



FAQ: "What are the differences between the Miniature Fox Terrier and the Tenterfield Terrier?"

There are clear differences in the official Breed Standards of these two breeds and an individual dog cannot be matched to both of these breed standards.  Differences include the shape of the feet (which can affect the function of the dog), and in the colours that are allowed in each of these breeds, both in the coat markings and of the nose.   The head of the Miniature Fox Terrier is small in size;  the Tenterfield Terrier has a medium sized head.

The then Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia (TTCA) authorised the shape of the feet as "round" in shape in January 1999, in consultation with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and round shaped feet became a permanent feature of the Tenterfield Terrier. Terriers with round shaped feet are strong legged terriers which traditionally were required to dig, to flush animals out of earth and the feet and legs must be of strong bone for this purpose. Round shaped feet on well bred Jack Russell Terriers and Tenterfield Terriers are distinctly different to the narrow, oval shaped feet of the Miniature Fox Terrier.
The oval shaped foot (also known as a "semi-hare" foot) of the Miniature Fox Terrier is important and is directly related to the function of the dog. The foot and the pastern - the area immediately above the foot which is akin to a wrist in a human - is narrow, is highly articulate and flexible, and is linked to speed and function. The oval footed Miniature Fox Terriers are lightweight ratters that pounce on their prey with great speed and accuracy, can leap and turn delicately and accurately to seize their prey. Their narrow flexible pasterns allow them to groom their face and ears delicately, in a cat-like manner, and also to scratch vermin out of nooks and crevices, but not dig deeply into the earth.
Only three other breeds of terrier in the world appear to have the oval (semi-hare) shaped foot - the English Toy Terrier, the Manchester Terrier and the Toy Fox Terrier - and this feature needs to be preserved in the Miniature Fox Terrier.

The colours in the skin and hair of a dog can relate to the genetic inheritance of the dog. If non-standard colours are present this can be an indication that other breeds of dogs may have been used in the bloodlines of this dog.
Miniature Fox Terriers can be registered only in three (3) colour combinations: a) black/white, b) tan/white, c) black/tan/white.
The body of the dog should be predominantly white.

Tenterfield Terriers also have these colour combinations but in addition, liver coloured markings and brindle markings are allowed.
Brindle and liver coloured markings are not acceptable for registration with the Mini Foxie Club of Australia as they are known to be colours of other breeds.

Other colours such as blue or fawn are also not allowed.  The dog must be predominantly white on the body - a full coloured coat can also be an indication of other breeds in the background. If the colours of other breeds were to be allowed to creep into the gene pool of purebred Miniature Fox Terriers, there is a risk that other traits of those other breeds would also be introduced and hence only the three original colour combinations of black, white and tan, are allowed.

Miniature Fox Terriers can only have black coloured noses.
Tenterfield Terriers can have liver coloured noses on dogs with liver coloured markings. Liver coloured noses are not permitted in registered Miniature Fox Terriers for the following reasons: a) a black nose has full pigment and therefore has good protection from the UV rays of the sun; b) it is thought that black noses have specific use relative to a dog's sense of smell and that strong pigment is important, although what exactly the pigment does is not clear. There are no benefits to the gene pool of Miniature Fox Terriers for liver coloured noses to be allowed in this breed and there is a risk of weakening some of the features in little dogs that are, by instinct, small hunting terriers of hardy disposition.


Please be advised that the pedigree details of an MFCA registered dog or pup cannot legally be transferred to any other organisation, breed club or national breed council.

The information provided on MFCA registration certificates is, and remains, the intellectual property of the Mini Foxie Club of Australia Inc.

Copyright information is clearly shown on all MFCA certificates and Australian Copyright Law applies.

While it has been stated on an internet site that it is possible for you to register Mini Fox Terriers as another breed, this is not the case for MFCA registered dogs and pups and anyone so involved would be acting illegally.

If you have been given such information, please seek legal advice before proceeding as you could be implicated in a situation which involves theft of pedigree and breach of copyright.