Top Notch Toys June 2017


“ I like your Rat Terrier,” I hear as a woman walks by. I’m at a dog show, outside the show building pottying my dog. I reply, “Thank you, but she’s a Toy Fox Terrier.” The woman stops, turns around and states that I’m wrong. She knows Rat Terriers—had them grow- ing up. I state that Rat Terriers are generally bigger than Toy Foxes and she tells me I don’t know what I’m talk- ing about. Amazing that a person at a dog show thinks I don’t know what my own dog is—number one TFT bitch in the US at the time and num- ber two in the breed—and this person thinks I’m wrong what breed she is— while amusing, it certainly wasn’t a complete surprise. Although I didn’t expect the com- ment at a dog show, it highlighted some- thing TFT owners frequently run into when out and about with their dogs. When people come upon a Toy Fox Ter- rier and they inquire about the dog, it’s obvious that many people don’t know how to tell between the two breeds. The Toy Fox Terrier is not a tiny ver- sion of a Rat Terrier. The similarities are pretty obvious apparently, so what are the differences between the Rat Terri- ers and the Toy Fox Terriers? First and the most obvious is size. The Toy Fox Terrier height is between 8½" and 11½" with 9-11" being ideal. The minimum size for a Rat Terrier is 10", but with the height limit at 18", majority are- well above that. Although that gives an 1.5" where the two heights are parallel, the substance and bone in the Rat Ter- rier means a Rat Terrier the same height as a Toy Fox will weigh more. Another obvious difference is color and amount of color. For Rat Terriers, acceptable colors, with or without tan points, include black or chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan, lemon or white. Intense, dark shades of color with clearly defined and delineated col- oration is preferred. White on the body is preferred to be between 10% and

90%, but all patterns; spotted, patched or splashed with white in conjunction with (or without) any combination of white on the face, head or ears are acceptable without prejudice. On the other hand, the TFT doesn’t have that many choices. With predomi- nately solid heads and mostly white bodies, the Toy Fox stands out in a sea of colorful dogs. The colors are black with tan markings with white as the most common followed by tan and white. Less common are chocolate with tan markings and black, but in every case the Toy Fox body must be a minimum of 50% white on the body and most seen in the ring exceed that. It’s not uncom- mon to see mostly white Toy Foxes and mostly colored Rat Terriers. The head and expression of the two breeds are variant as well. The Toy Fox standard calls for eyes that are full, round and somewhat prominent and the Rat Terrier has an oval eye obliquely set wide apart which gives the two breeds a somewhat different expression. The ears are also a common differentiator. The erect ears are set high on the Toy Fox head and anyone who’s seen an alert Toy Fox never forgets those ears. After six months, the Toy Fox ears must be erect or they are disqualified. The ears on the Rat Terrier are set on the top outer edge of the skull and can be carried erect, semi-erect and tipped or button without preference. Proportionally, the Toy Fox is a square dog while the Rat Terrier stan- dard calls for slightly longer than tall. When looking at each silhouette, the TFT topline consists of a straight, level and muscular back and a croup level with the topline and well-rounded. The Rat Terrier topline has a level back and short loin with a slight muscular arch blending into the gently rounded croup. Finally and most importantly, the Toy Fox, while being a Terrier is also and always a Toy dog. While displaying the intelligence, courage and self-posses- sion of the Terrier, they are always to be

©Rat Terrier Club of America

Example of a Rat Terrier (left) vs. the Toy Fox Terrier (right)

diminutive, animated, entertaining and playful. Rat Terriers were developed for ratting and farm work. They are multi- purpose small to medium companions that are capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground and to course small game. The Rat Terrier stan- dard states honorable scars are not to be penalized and they are still used to kill vermin on farms. TFTs excel at Barn Hunt and would certainly kill rats and mice, but the average Toy Fox owner can’t imagine their little dog getting in a predicament where they would receive a scar. Some Toy Fox Terriers live on farms, but as Toys are happy living in the home and are found under the cov- ers or snuggled in their owners’ laps. So while both are Terriers, the Toy Fox Terrier is a Toy dog and the Rat Terrier was developed to be a Working farm dog and when looking at either breed there should be no confusion to the educated eye. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Susan Thibodeaux started showing dogs in 1978 and successfully bred and showed Vizslas and American and English Cockers in conformation and obedience. Thanks to her military husband and overseas deployments she has showed successfully interna- tionally. A few years ago she decided to segue to Toy Fox Terriers and her BISS, 2015 AKC National Champion BOB, GCHG Barbary’s Gold N Jewels RATN (“Sparkles”) turned her and her husband Steve into devoted TFT fans whose home now boasts more TFTs than Vizslas.

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