The Fox Terrier of Sao Paolo
Origins and History
The Brazilian Terrier is a product of cross-breeding between the Podengo Portugueso and fox hunting terriers; and its history dates back to as long ago as the 1500’s. At that time, mice and rats were a persistent problem among Portuguese explorers. Rodents that stowed away in their vessels could easily consume their food supply and spread disease. To eradicate their population, the seamen brought on board Podengos known for their ferocious hunting skills.
As a result of Portuguese voyages for discovery and exploration, the Podengos spread all over the world, including Brazil. These Portuguese dogs interbred with the Spitz-type kind kept by Brazil’s mostly Native American populace, resulting in the emergence of land-based varieties.
Then, in the early 20th century, privileged Brazilian students who got to study in England came home after finishing their studies. They brought with them fox hunting terriers, which they acquired as companion dogs. Their British wives brought along their Miniature Pinschers and large Chihuahuas. Because of limited availability of dogs of any one breed that arrived, these different groups heavily interbred. These fox hunting terriers were also crossed with what was probably the Podengo-Spitz cross type.
The resulting Brazilian Terriers were similar to other fox hunting terriers, but they were noticeably larger than most European terriers. It is said that this breed is rarely found outside of Brazil.
Character and Abilities
A Brazilian Terrier has the temperament of a Jack Russell Terrier, very intelligent and alert. He also loves to dig holes. His hunting instinct is stronger compared to other terriers and thus, can’t be left alone with your other smaller pets.
Brazilian Terriers are perky, spirited, playful, and affectionate around kids. They can even be protective of them. Be reminded though that children should be taught how to touch and play with them properly as they don’t like being teased. It is for this reason that small kids should be supervised.
They consider rodents mortal enemies and therefore, you may rest easy, knowing that your house will be rat-free.
Trainability and Intelligence
Obedience training is a necessity when it comes to terriers. Your Brazilian Terrier should learn what ‘Quiet!’ means.
If your terrier won’t stop barking for an uncomfortable few seconds, you may distract him with a “Sit!” or “Down!” command. You may also make your own loud noise, then praise him if he goes into silent mode, then reward his good behavior with a treat.
Brazilian Terriers are a fairly easy dog to train, especially if you start them at an early age. Be firm and headstrong with this breed else he’d doubt if indeed you are his master. Being firm here does not mean physical punishment. Consistent positive techniques such as giving praise and treats for good behavior is a much better way to train your terrier than to resort to punishment. Punishment is to be used only when absolutely necessary for bad behavior.
This dog is distracted easily so training sessions must be short but interesting, and conducted more often. Introduce him to people, sounds, other dogs and animals so he will learn to adjust and react appropriately.
A Brazilian Terrier needs physical and mental activities to keep it happy. If kept indoors for a long time, he will tend to be restless and destructive.
A long walk, a leisurely jog, or a challenging hike is an effective form of exercise to keep the Brazilian Terrier fit. These activities also reduce his barking tendencies, which can be brought on by boredom.
Living Conditions and Adaptability
Relatively small apartments are not suitable for the very active Brazilian Terrier. An average-sized yard is good enough for him to display his acrobatic skills and for playing fetch.
Brazilian Terriers are top-rated watchdogs. Every unusual sound won’t escape a Brazilian Terrier and he’ll alert you about it immediately.
The high prey drive in their DNA will get them digging and chasing small animals. So it would be a good idea to start socializing him early with your other pets.
Always keep your Brazilian Terrier busy. You wouldn’t want him bored. A bored Brazilian Terrier will do things you will not approve of – training, commands, and interaction will all help to build your bond and you and your Brazilian Terrier will have the opportunity for a lot of adventures together.
The lifespan of a Brazilian Terrier is 12-15 years.
Brazilian Terriers are prone to ear infections, skin allergies, eye problems, liver problems, epilepsy, dental problems, and patellar luxation (dislocation of the kneecap, especially when actively hunting in the field).
- Physical characteristics
Brazilian Terriers are generally similar to other smooth-coated terriers, particularly the Fox Terrier, Rat Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier, although Brazilian Terriers are noticeably larger in size. This breed has long and slender legs, finely curved body structure, and a chiseled face.
A Brazilian Terrier’s tail is always docked in Brazil. However, severance of the tail using scalpels or scissors and without the benefit of anesthesia is now banned in some countries. Left untouched, his tail is thick, short, and carried gaily.
His head is triangular and is small relative to his body size. Unlike most terriers, his muzzle connects smoothly with his head like that of a sighthound. The muzzle is shorter than the skull, is triangular, and ends with a dark nose with wide nostrils.
The lips of Brazilian Terriers are close fitting and dry. The prominent round eyes look forward and are bluish gray, blue, brown, or green. The triangular, moderately sized ears are folded down and point towards the outer corner of each eye.
The Brazilian Terrier sheds its coat and may produce dander, and is therefore not hypoallergenic.
Brazilian Terriers have short, fine, but rarely soft coat. The hair lies close to the skin. The hair is finer on the head, underneath the neck, inner and lower parts of the front legs, and back of the thighs. The entire body is covered with hair so thick that you can’t see skin.
The Brazilian Terrier comes in tricolor, which are any of these combinations:
- Black and white with tan markings
- Blue and white with tan markings
- Brown and white with tan markings
All members of this breed are greater than 50 percent white and have tan markings inside the edge of the ears, on either side of the muzzle, and above the eyes like brows. Markings may also be found in the frontal area of the head, and back (usually in the shape of a saddle.)
Brazilian Terriers are low maintenance. Their short coat needs little grooming. They don’t require professional grooming; and bathing may be done only when necessary. Frequent bathing may dry their skin. Use only shampoos intended for dogs.
Check their ears once a week for signs of infection: unpleasant smell, irritation, and redness. To keep their ears clean, dampen a piece of cloth with ear cleanser solution for wiping off dirt or wax buildup. Never use a cotton bud as they cause damage.
It is also necessary to brush their teeth at least three times a week to keep mouth, gums, and teeth healthy.
Nail-clipping has always been a challenge when it comes to dog grooming. There will always be that danger of cutting too low, causing your pets nail to bleed. If you can’t bear to see your dog limping on sore claws, there’s always a groomer or veterinarian you could run to.
- Size and Weight
The ideal height of a Brazilian Terrier measured at the withers (that ridge between the shoulder blades) is 14-16 inches (35-40 cm). The female is considered fit at 13-15 inches (33-38 cm).
A Brazilian Terrier’s weight should be at 15-20 pounds (7-9 kg).
Good with kids