Feist dogs are loyal, brave, and versatile little hunters with a rich history rooted in the American South. These intelligent and affectionate companions have captured the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. Are you curious to learn more about this fascinating breed? Join us as we explore the origins, physical characteristics, temperament, and care requirements of the unique Feist dog breed.

Short Summary

  • Feist dogs are small, loyal and intelligent hunting companions originating from the American South.
  • They require minimal grooming and regular exercise for optimal health, but have a strong prey drive that makes them unsuitable for households with small pets.
  • Adopt or purchase your Feist pup from reputable breeders or rescue organizations to ensure you get a healthy pet!
Exploring the Feist Dog Breed: Origins, Care

Feist Dog Origins and Varieties

Feist dogs are small hunting dogs that originated in the American South, displaying traits reminiscent of terriers. These dogs have a rich breeding history, and their various types, such as the Mountain Feist and the Treeing Feist, showcase their versatility and adaptability as true hunting dogs.

These dogs are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and agility, making them ideal for hunting small dogs.

The American South's Pride

Feist dogs hold a special place in the hearts of the people in the American South. Their loyalty and bravery have been celebrated in literature, films, and by prominent figures like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The Feist Dog breed has its roots in the Southeastern United States, where it descended from terriers brought over by British miners and other immigrants, playing a significant role in the region’s culture and history.

These tenacious hunters are known as “squirrel dogs” due to their exceptional hunting abilities, specifically when it comes to treeing small animals like squirrels. This skill, combined with their devotion to their families, has made them a symbol of pride in the American South.

Breeding History

Feist dogs have a fascinating breeding history dating back to the 17th century. They originated from a mix of Native American dogs and British terriers, including the Jack Russell Terrier. Feist dogs were initially bred to hunt small animals like squirrels or rodents on the ground, and they share some similarities with the Rat Terrier, another small hunting dog breed.

Over the centuries, Feist dogs have evolved into the loyal companions and helpers they are today. The various types of Feist dogs, such as the Bench Legged Feist and Barger Stock Feist Dogs, are a testament to their diverse lineage and adaptability as a breed.

Types of Feist Dogs

There are several types of Feist dogs, each with unique characteristics and qualities. Some of the most well-known variations include:

  • Mountain Feist
  • Treeing Feist
  • Barger Stock Feist
  • Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

The Mountain Feist and Treeing Feist are particularly known for their hunting skills and ability to tree squirrels. While similar, the Mountain Feist will try to corner its prey up a tree while barking almost constantly to alert its owner. These variations, along with other types like the Denmark Feist and Thornburg Feist, showcase the incredible versatility and adaptability of the Feist dog breed, making mountain feist dogs a popular choice for hunters.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Feist dogs are small to medium-sized, muscular dogs that come in a range of coat colors and patterns. They typically weigh between 10 and 30 pounds and stand 10 to 22 inches tall.

Their short, smooth coats are low maintenance, requiring only minimal grooming.

Size and Weight

Feist dogs generally weigh between 10 and 30 pounds, and they usually stand between 10 and 22 inches tall. There isn’t much difference in size between males and females, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a small to medium-sized dog.

Fi Dog Collar

Some variations, like the Mountain Feist, can range from 12 pounds to 30 pounds in weight and stand between 12 and 18 inches tall. The Treeing Feist, on the other hand, typically weighs between 10-35 lbs. Regardless of the type, Feist dogs are known for their agility and athleticism.

Coat Colors and Grooming

Feist dogs have the following characteristics:

  • Short, smooth coats
  • Variety of colors and patterns, including the unique pencil tail feist markings
  • Relatively low-maintenance
  • Feist dogs shed an average amount
  • Require only weekly brushing and occasional baths to keep their coats clean and healthy.

While grooming requirements may vary slightly depending on the specific type of Feist dog, regular brushing, nail trimming, ear checks, and teeth brushing will help ensure your Feist’s coat remains healthy and manageable.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Feist dogs, such as the Charlie Feist, are known for their affectionate and loyal nature. These characteristics make them excellent companions and a popular choice among the feist breed.

However, their strong prey drive can make them unsuitable for households with small pets, such as cats or rodents.

Affectionate and Loyal

The Feist dog breed is well-known for its characteristics.

  • Affectionate nature
  • Loving, loyal, and very friendly to their families
  • Great companions for a variety of households
  • Alert and protective, making them great watchdogs in addition to their role as loving family pets.

Feist dogs are incredibly devoted, watchful, and protective, making them excellent companions for families, seniors, and individuals seeking a loyal and loving pet. Their strong connections with their families ensure that they will always be there for you, providing unwavering love and support.

Feist Dog Breed

Prey Drive and Interaction with Small Animals

Feist dogs have a strong prey drive, which is rooted in their biology as hunting dogs. This instinctual desire to hunt, catch, and eat potential food sources can make them unsuitable for households with small pets, such as cats or rodents.

While some Feist dogs can get along with cats if introduced slowly and carefully, it’s essential to remember their strong prey drive when bringing a Feist dog around small animals. It’s best to steer clear of small animals like birds or rodents, and always supervise interactions between your Feist dog and other pets in the household.

Health and Lifespan

Feist dogs are generally healthy and have a long lifespan, with an average life expectancy of around 13 years. However, like any breed, they can be prone to certain health issues that potential owners should be aware of.

It is important to research the breed and speak to a vet to ensure that you are aware of the breed.

Common Health Issues

Some common health concerns for Feist dogs include:

  • Allergies
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Ear infections

Regular vet check-ups can help prevent and manage these issues, ensuring your Feist dog remains in optimal health throughout their life.

Early detection and treatment of these health issues can help ensure that your Feist dog remains happy and healthy. It’s important to be proactive and consult your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness or discomfort, such as redness, swelling, or discharge from the ear, itchy skin, or signs of pain or lameness.

Life Expectancy

Feist dogs have a life expectancy of 15 to 18 years, and with proper care, they can live up to 20 years. Factors such as diet, exercise, and genetics all play a role in determining the life expectancy of Feist dogs.

To help your Feist dog live a long and healthy life, ensure they receive a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and regular vet visits. By providing them with the appropriate care and attention, you can maximize their chances of a long, happy life by your side.

Caring for a Feist Dog

Caring for a Feist dog involves providing adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and consistent training to ensure they remain happy, healthy, and obedient throughout their lives. By understanding their unique needs, you can provide your Feist dog with the best possible care.

Exercise is important for Feist dogs, as they are an active breed. They need them. They need them.

Exercise Requirements

Feist dogs require at least 30-60 minutes of daily exercise, including:

  • walks
  • jogs
  • hikes
  • agility challenges

This helps keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Their high energy levels and active nature make it essential to provide them with appropriate outlets for their energy, ensuring they remain happy and healthy.

In addition to regular exercise, Feist dogs also benefit from mental stimulation through activities such as obedience and agility training. Engaging their minds in addition to their bodies can help keep your Feist dog well-rounded, happy, and content.

Feist Dog Breed

Training Tips

Training a Feist dog requires patience, positive reinforcement, and early socialization to curb unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking or aggression towards small animals. These intelligent animals respond well to training, but their stubborn nature can sometimes make the process challenging. Start training your Feist pup as soon as possible, focusing on basic commands like “sit-stay” and “leave it.”

Consistent training and socialization will help ensure your Feist dog develops into a well-behaved and obedient companion. Remember, patience and positive reinforcement are key to successful training with this breed.

Feist Dogs and Family Life

Feist dogs can be great family pets, but it’s essential to consider their compatibility with children and other pets before bringing one into your home. With proper socialization and care, a Feist dog can be a loving and loyal addition to your family.

They are intelligent and active, so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Feist dogs are dangerous.

Children and Feist Dogs

Feist dogs are generally good with children, especially if raised with them. However, they may be possessive of toys and require gentle handling. It’s best if older children, who know how to handle these types of dogs, interact with them to ensure the safety and comfort of both the child and the dog.

While Feist dogs are known for their affectionate nature and strong bonds with their families, it’s essential to supervise play between children and Feist dogs. Make sure your child knows not to disturb a dog while they’re sleeping or eating, and never leave a child alone with any dog, no matter how friendly they are.

Compatibility with Other Pets

While Feist dogs can get along with other dogs, their strong prey drive may make them unsuitable for homes with small pets, such as cats or rodents. It’s important to consider this aspect of their temperament when deciding if a Feist dog is the right fit for your household.

If you do have other pets in your home, be sure to introduce your Feist dog slowly and carefully to ensure a smooth transition. This will help minimize any potential conflicts and allow your Feist dog to become a harmonious member of your family.

Adopting or Purchasing a Feist Dog

When looking to adopt or purchase a Feist dog, it’s important to find a reputable breeder or rescue organization. This will ensure that you’re bringing a healthy, well-adjusted dog into your home, setting the stage for a successful and happy life together.

It’s important to do your research and ask questions to make sure the breeder or rescue organization is correct.

Fi Dog Collar

Finding a Reputable Breeder

To find a reputable breeder, consult resources such as the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) or the United Kennel Club. Always ask about the dog’s lineage and health before purchasing to ensure that you’re bringing home a healthy and well-bred pup.

Some reputable breeders include:

  • Mullins Feist
  • Buckley Farm Kennels
  • Shadowtail Kennels
  • Copper Creek Kennels

By choosing a reputable breeder, you can be confident that your new dog will be a healthy and happy addition to your family.

Rescue Organizations

Feist dog rescues may be rare, but local shelters or general dog rescues may have them available for adoption. Check online resources, such as DogTime’s adoption page, for the availability of Feist dogs in need of loving homes.

Adopt-a-Pet and Mercy Fund Animal Rescue, Inc. are two reputable rescue organizations that may have Feist dogs available for adoption. By adopting a Feist dog from a rescue organization, you’re providing a loving home for a dog in need and giving them a second chance at happiness.


Feist dogs are loyal, affectionate, and versatile companions with a rich history and unique qualities. From their diverse origins and types to their physical characteristics, temperament, and care requirements, this fascinating breed offers a wealth of rewards for those willing to embrace them. If you’re considering adding a Feist dog to your family, remember to find a reputable breeder or rescue organization, and prepare to welcome a loving and loyal friend into your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do Feist dogs bark a lot?
    • Yes, Feist dogs bark a lot, especially treeing Feists, which will try to trap their prey up a tree while barking almost non-stop to alert its owner. They are more active and less combative than Jack Russells, but demonstrate more barking.
  • Can Feist dogs be left alone?
    • Feist dogs can be destructive when left alone and don’t mix well with other animals, so you should carefully consider their temperament and whether they fit into your lifestyle before deciding to bring one home. It is important to remember that these dogs require a lot of attention and exercise, and they can be difficult to train. They also need plenty of space to run and play. If you are not prepared to provide these things, then a Feist dog may not be the right pet.
  • Are Feist dogs hard to train?
    • The Feist is an active dog with Terrier roots that makes it easy to train, though early socialization will help curb any territorial instincts.
  • Is fiest a real dog breed?
    • Yes, Feist is a real dog breed developed in the US and originating from German and Irish immigrants.
  • Are Mountain Feist dogs hypoallergenic?
    • Mountain Feist dogs are not hypoallergenic, so people with allergies may still have issues when in contact with this breed. The Feist is known for its hunting ability and friendly temperament, but it may take them a little time to open up to strangers.