What is a Feist Dog Breed?

Looking for a pet dog can be extremely hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Different breeds and types have different personalities. If you want to take care of a dog properly, then their personality must match your personality.

Have you ever wondered why some dogs are more enthusiastic than others? Some dogs may want to stay home and are perfect for an occasional walk outside, while some may want an extended walk around the town. You might be an active person with a go-go type of personality who likes to walk around and even take their companions with them while hiking. Maybe you’ve wondered what type of dog is perfect for you?

I will now introduce in this article the feist, a dog bred from many different breeds, highly capable, intelligent, active and friendly. This dog is undoubtedly one of a kind.

Feist Dog Breed: An Energetic Hunting Dog

Feist dog, also known as Mountain Feist Dog, is a small to medium size dog that is 10 to 18 in (45 cm) tall, and weigh 15 to 30 lb. They have varying looks and have no consistency in appearance as they are bred mostly for hunting.

These dogs can hunt squirrels, opossums, raccoon, rats, rabbits and even game birds as they are natural hunters. If you ever take one for a walk, they might hunt small rodents for you as their instinct to chase is quite excellent.

Feist Dog History

There are two main historical points for feist dogs that affected the way they are right now in terms of breeding and purpose. These two points are when:

  • They were bred in Great Britain by farmers, miners and the likes who needed help in their works. Dogs owned by the workers need to be efficient and capable of doing works assigned to them to justify the cost and upkeep of having them. Feist dogs are perfect for this as they could hunt small games, control vermin, and even guard the home of their family, basically an all-purpose and quite a low maintenance dog.
  • In 1770, these dogs were bought over to the United States by English miners and immigrants where their main purpose changed from helping farmers to hunt and work as a tracking do, especially on the rural South. By cross-breeding them more with other breeds of dog, hunters were able to make a perfect companion suitable for hunting small games and even larger games like bears and lions with a pack of feist dog.

General Appearance

Feists vary in appearance, but they are mostly bred from crosses of Smooth Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and Russel Terriers. Some of them are crossed even more to other dog breeds like Greyhounds for speed and/or Beagles for improved hunting ability.

They are dogs with a short and smooth coat with long legs. They often come in a variety of colors, mostly tricolor with spots of red, black, black and tan, blue and white, brindle, red and white, and white.

Their body is small, compact and muscular and their heads are rounded with tapered muzzles, black nose, and an iconic pointed ear. One look at feist dogs and you can already see that they have a constant and permanent alert and outgoing look.


In general, a feist’s temprament is loyal, brave, watchful, tenacious agile, and calm. These contrasting personality makes the feist a remarkable working and/or family dog.

But if you take a feist dog as a family pet, then you are fortunate as feist dogs will be a good addition to your home with their pleasing personality. You might have read that they are used for hunting and labor, but it won’t undermine the fact that they are:

  • Intelligent – A feist dog is originally made to do work and hunt, they are inherently intelligent and can learn commands and tricks quickly. They only need a few repetitions to learn something. Smart, curious and obedient, a feist dog will definitely live up to your expectation of a good family pet.
  • Affectionate – born friendly, a feist can be friends with anyone quickly. It might take them longer to be friends with other dogs, but as for humans, and even cats, they are a good pet with a sense of responsibility to protect their master.

They are incredibly gentle and gets along with children very well. Their terrier genes make them extremely territorial. But with proper training, it only takes a matter of time before they become more approachable, company-loving, and well-natured.

  • Self-Awareness – their capacity to read situations and ability to control their energy make then a good pet for families with children. Flexible is what the feist are. From gentle to family-loving to focused, serious, and unwavering concentration in hunting situations, they are a valuable dog as a man’s pet.
  • Energetic – feists are perfect for people who have an active lifestyle. They like to be walked around and would hunt any squirrels and other varmints that they come across. They need to be exercised a lot to avoid problems whenever a feist lacks proper stimulation. But, given a suitable environment, they will become a faithful companion for you and your family.

The feist dog breed isn’t for people who like a quiet and peaceful home. Feists are noisy, hyperactive, and needs constant attention from their owner before they plop into boredom and gnaw some cushions out.

I feel like a feist wouldn’t suit my lifestyle. Not saying that a feist is a bad pet to have, but I’m not the type of person who goes out a lot. So, if ever you are that kind of person, the outdoorsy and active one, then the feist’s personality would be a good match for you.

Taking care of a Feist dog breed

Handling a feist is no easy job. They might be low maintenance, but they still need active care and supervision to be an outstanding and capable dog. These are the things you might want to follow when taking care of your feist:


As stated before, feist dogs are very intelligent and can learn quickly. You should have no difficulty training a feist due to their high intelligence. Their hunting instincts make them a little stubborn, but with proper procedure, they can be trained thoroughly and effectively. You need to become a firm and consistent trainer to be recognized as a leader of his pack.


Feist loves hunting and being outside. Their bodies require constant stimulation of being active. A minimum of 30-minute walk everyday would make your feist dog happy, but a number greater than that would make them happier. You could also do the following to keep them healthy:

  • Playing fetch with a ball
  • Long walks around the park/neighborhood
  • If you like to jog, make him your jogging partner
  • Constructive games that you can play together with your feist

Living Environment

Your feist will definitely enjoy living outdoors, so you should have a big backyard and take him there for regular walks. They can be relatively quiet inside a home if they get their daily fix of exercise and be taken good care of.

They are mostly friendly to any other pets you have and will focus on whatever they are doing. If they were trained to socialize when they were young, then you don’t need to be afraid of him fighting other dogs as he will be as friendly to them as to you, his family.


Since feists have brief coats, when it comes to grooming, they are not demanding. A bit of grooming now and then would be ideal for a feist, but you might want to wash them frequently to maintain them smooth because they like to play outdoors.

Possible Health Problems

Feist in general doesn’t have too much health concerns. They have the longest lifespan out of any bred dog which is 18 years. The most common health problems for a feist are Hip dysplasia and allergies.

Hip Dysplasia – is a disease characterized by the loss of function in the hip joint and is the most common skeletal disease in dogs. Symptoms include decreased activity, loss of muscle, joint looseness, etc.

The signs and conditions typically start when they are young, but luckily, there are effective treatments available.

Allergies – there are many things a dog can be allergic to; from foods to insecticidal shampoo, fabrics and many more. Be sure to keep an eye out for your dog to determine whether they are showing symptoms that include red skin, itchy eyes, ears, tails, vomiting, etc. You shoul act accordingly when you detect these symptoms.

Cost of keeping a Feist dog

If you’re now set on making the feist your dog due to its exceptional personality, then here’s what you can expect.

A feist can cost more or less on average about $200 – $500

Before buying, ask your breeder about its lineage and health. Due to its tendency of being bred in a variety of backgrounds, it can affect your dog’s health. Be sure to learn about Feist’s parents to learn more about.


A feist dog breed would be a perfect addition for any active family that wants a family-oriented, and loving dog. Even if you aren’t actively hunting, a feist dog could be your cuddle buddy on cold winter months.

They might not be the most well-known breed out there, but their loyalty is topnotch. A family dog perfect for anyone who is looking for high energy and active companion.

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