fox terrier, breed of long-legged terrier developed over several centuries in England. There are two varieties, the smooth and the wirehaired. The coat of the former is dense, short, and flat, while that of the latter is longer, harsh, and wiry. The color in both varieties is white with black or black-and-tan markings. The fox terrier stands about 15 in. (38.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 15 to 19 lb (6.8–8.6 kg). Although the wirehaired is the older variety—some authorities trace its ancestry to the mid-17th cent.—the smooth was the first to be exhibited in the show ring. Both were perfected in the 19th cent. Widely bred to hunt foxes, the fox terrier is a very popular family companion and pet. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.