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Feist Dog Breed Information

If you’re looking to adopt a new dog, you must know a bit about the breed before you bring your new friend home. Will your dog be good with kids? Is the breed known for intelligence? What about shedding – what can you expect?

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In this guide, we’re going to look at one particular breed of dog you may not be familiar with: the Feist dog. While the Feist dog isn’t one of the most well-known breeds of dog, we think you’ll want to consider adopting one. Here’s everything you need to know before you bring one of these pups home.

Introduction to the Feist Dog Breed

Greyhounds, beagles, and whippets are most commonly bred with terriers to result in this small dog. However, we’re not entirely sure where Feist dogs originated. In fact, there have been several different spellings and mentions of the breed in the past. Even some of the most famous names in history like Washington, Lincoln, and Faulkner spelled the name slightly differently in reference to the Feist.

Whether you’re researching a Foist, Feist, Fyce, or Fice, there are a few things you’ll need to know. First, the Feist is a small dog breed that generally weighs between 15 to 30 pounds. Second, there’s only one Feist breed recognized by the AKC, and that’s the Treeing Feist.

Finally, when you choose a Feist dog, know that you’re choosing a partner with a long life. This makes the dog a perfect companion for your child; the dog will live well into your little one’s teen years as the dogs are known to average around a 13 to 18-year life span!

Are you ready to go more into detail and learn all about the Feist dog? Let’s first take a quick look at what this breed looks like, then move on to what to expect when you adopt a Feist.

Feist Pictures

As mentioned, your Feist dog will vary in appearance because the breed is a terrier mixed with any one of a number of other dog breeds. With that in mind, you’ll notice that the Feist is generally small to medium-sized and has defined characteristics. Note the soft, smooth coat as well as the long legs and short tail.

Your pup will be small to medium-sized and compact. The muscular dog appears sturdy and alert, and for good reason: they have extremely strong necks and shoulders, and their legs are ready to pounce at prey. You’ll notice these characteristics in the photos below.


What Is It Like Owning a Feist?

If you’re beginning to get serious about adopting one of these delightful dogs, you’ll want to know what it’s like owning a Feist dog. Of course, no two dogs are the same, and, like humans, each pup will have a different personality.

However, there are characteristics that Feist dogs hold in common. Let’s take a look at what those characteristics are.

  • Feist dogs are very energetic! This is another reason the breed makes a great companion for your child. As your little one runs around the yard in a whirlwind even you can’t keep up with, your Feist dog will take it in stride. They make great playmates.
  • Feist dogs are, well, feisty! The breed was created to survive and thrive in rural conditions. To put it another way, the Feist is small but mighty! Allow for a few extra barks and plan for some extra outdoor playtime.
  • Despite that feisty behavior, the breed is very gentle and trainable with those he is accustomed to. If you adopt a Feist, you’ll find that they are willing and eager to follow your instruction and are ready to please.
  • Feist dogs are hunting dogs. However, they were bred to tree animals, not retrieve them. That means you’ll have little trouble with your pup bringing home “presents” as a retriever might.
  • This breed of dog is great for rural homes, as they’re very effective in controlling the rodent population. Farm owners, for instance, are very happy with the hunting skill of the Feist.

Feist Breed Information

Now that you’ve become familiarized with the Feist dog breed, it’s time to get a bit more in-depth with details about this canine category. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the breed. Be sure to read these before you adopt your Feist!

How Much Does a Feist Cost?

Feist dogs can be expensive compared to other breeds. There are a few reasons for this. First, they can have health issues, which we’ll look at a bit later in this guide. Second, the Feist has a long lifespan, so the breed’s cumulative cost can be more than a pup with a shorter lifespan.

Adopting a Feist dog can be pricey, too. You can expect to pay anywhere between $300 to $3,000 for your dog. Of course, the price you pay will differ depending upon whether you adopt your dog from a shelter or buy her from a breeder.

Adoptions may cost on the lower end, while purchases will be higher. Please ensure you’re not buying your dog from a puppy mill – ask for references and check out the property before you buy.

The addition of any pet into your home is a big decision. Before you adopt or buy a Feist dog, be sure you’re going to be able to financially support your pup and care for the health of the animal for its entire life.

Are Feists Good Apartment Dogs?

The Feist dog is a small breed, so your pup won’t need a lot of space to run around. However, do remember that they’re hunting dogs. Your dog was bred to be outdoors in nature, hunting, and treeing to his heart’s content. Allow ample time for your pup to explore his world.

While the Feist dog can grow healthy and happy in an apartment, it’s a good idea to consider your own activity level before adopting the breed. If you’re a nature lover or a regular exerciser, that’s great! Be sure to bring your pup along with you on your outdoor adventures. If you’re more homebound and sedentary, your dog may not get the exercise and playtime she needs.

Plan to give your Feist around a half-hour of exercise each day. You can take a jog around the neighborhood, take your pup to the dog park, or just play fetch in the community yard. Whatever you choose, be sure your apartment dog is getting the activity she craves and deserves.

What Are Some Common Feist Health Issues?

When you adopt an animal, it’s important to know what common health issues may arise over your pet’s lifespan. There are a few common Feist health issues you should be aware of.

  • Dental Issues Tartar buildup and gum disease are rampant in small dogs’ mouths, so be sure you take your Feist to the dentist for a clean up regularly. Supplements and chew toys may also help.
  • Luxating Patellas This is common in the Feist dog breed. To put it in more simple terms, your Feist may be prone to dislocation of the kneecap. If you notice your pup limping, please see a vet as soon as possible.
  • Cryptorchidism – This, in short, is a retained testicle. If you regularly bring your pup to the vet, the doctor will identify the issue and suggest the next steps with you.
  • Allergies These are quite common with the Feist dog breed. If you notice allergy symptoms in your dog, such as itchy, red, or dry skin, frequent sneezing, hot spots, or changes in stool, see your vet for an allergy test.
  • Joint Dysplasia When your dog’s joints grow abnormally, it may cause her pain or arthritis. When discovered early, a simple surgery can make your dog more comfortable.

Are Feists Hard to Train?

Feist dogs are ultra-smart and super willing to please. Fortunately, that also makes the breed very easy to train. Your Feist was bred to hunt. In order to hunt, a dog must be intuitive, intelligent, and responsive.

Start early with your Feist dog and set some “ground rules” with the pup from the very beginning. While a training school isn’t necessary, it may be a good idea for you to research classes if you’re not familiar with dogs. Again, your Feist will want to please you; he’ll be eager for your praise and will be very susceptible to training.

It’s a good idea to discuss with your family your expectations for your new pet. Will he be allowed to sleep on the furniture? Where will “bathroom breaks” take place? Will you crate train your new dog? Any new addition to your family will require cooperation, and a Feist dog is no different.

What Colors Do Feist Dogs Come in?

Your Feist dog will look a lot like a Jack Russel Terrier in most cases. The dogs are mostly white, and that’s not by accident. Feists were bred to be of a certain color so that they would be visible to other hunters and not mistaken for prey.

With that in mind, know that your Feist dog can come in a variety of other colors. You can find tricolor Feists, red and white, black and tan, all black, blue and white, red brindle, all-white… you get the picture! Feist dogs are varied in color, and there’s no one combination that fits every dog.

You’ll notice that the hair structure of the Feist is similar across the breed. Your Feist’s hair will be short and smooth, easy to care for. Simply brush your Feist’s coat two or three times per week and avoid a majority of shedding.

How Big Do Feists Get?

Your Feist dog won’t grow to be a canine giant, which makes the breed a great option if you live in limited space. Measuring from 10 to 18 inches tall and between 15 and 30 pounds in weight, your Feist won’t grow to be too big to care for, no matter your age or ability.

In fact, seniors love the Feist dog and, as we have mentioned, parents with children. The fun-loving, sweet, and playful dogs are great companions. When left to their own devices, the Feist will find his own entertainment. Keep vigilant, though! The Feist can be as mischievous as he is frisky!

However small your Feist dog may be, remember that she’ll have a huge personality. Notice that, even from puppyhood, your dog will be alert, attentive, and ready to protect or play. If you’re not the type to enjoy giving your dog attention, a Feist may not be the right option for you.

Are Feists Good with Kids?

Yes! In short, the Feist dog is great with children. The breed is gentle, intuitive, and adaptable, so even the most rambunctious child will have a great time with his or her new playmate. Give your little one and your pup plenty of room to play, and they’ll both be perfectly content with their friendship.

Feist dogs are part terrier, so you may find that your pet is a bit territorial. Again, you must teach your new dog boundaries, so he or she knows what is and is not appropriate behavior. That said, your Feist is intelligent. He will know when to act frisky and when to calm down around children.

If you have a family, you’ll find that the Feist, although small, makes a great watchdog. Because the breed does have a territorial nature, her instinct is to alert you if someone new enters “her” space. Intruders are not welcome in your Feist’s home, so keep that in mind when you have guests over for dinner!

4 Fun Facts You Should Know about Feists

The Feist dog is one of the most alert, dependable, and loyal dogs you can adopt. They’re perfect for seniors who desire companionship and families who seek a low-maintenance family edition.

  • Many famous people throughout history have advocated for Feist dogs. These names include George Washington, who referred to the Feist as a “small feist-looking yellow cur.” Abe Lincoln called the breed a “fice” in his poem, “The Bear Hunt.” And William Faulkner’s collection, “Go Down, Moses,” mentions the “fyce,” though that particular dog meets an unfortunate end.
  • Vets don’t often recognize the Feist as a breed. If you live in the Southern United States, you’ll have a better chance of proper care for your Feist than in other parts of the country. The Feist was bred to be a hunting dog and is prevalent in the South.
  • No one has yet tracked down the origin of the Feist. Many think that the dog originated in the UK for hunting purposes, but that is unclear.
  • Feist dogs are frontier dogs. They were bred many years ago, not to be companions but farm and frontier hands. That toughness and fierce loyalty are still recognized in Feist dogs today.


If you’re looking for an attentive and easily trainable dog with a great personality, a Feist dog is a great option for you. Keep in mind that this is not the most well-known breed of dog; even your veterinarian may mislabel your buddy!

The Feist dog is a not so well known breed of animal, but we’re sure your adoptee will easily find its way into your heart and your home.

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