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Feist dog breed is a lively and spirited breed similar to Jack Russell Terrier in appearance. But, the two breeds are different in terms of behavior and temperament. These dogs are considered as the progenitors of the Rat Terriers.

These hunting dogs were developed in southern United States. The term Feist is was spelled as “Fyce” or “Fice” in earlier times. There are many Feist types dogs like Treeing Feist, Charlie Feist, Mountain Feist, Barger Stock Feist, Pencil Tail Feist and so on. Most of these Feist types are not recognized by the popular Kennel Clubs.

Physical Appearance

Feist dogs are highly active and agile dogs that are often smaller in size. Their compact bodies are slightly longer than tall. They have small eyes that can be dark brown or amber in color. The nose is usually black or self colored. The wedge shaped ears can be erect or semi erect but not pendulous. The tail is set high on the back and carried erectly. Feist tails can also be docked but this practice is not allowed in some countries.

Color: Feist dogs are available in a variety of colors and color patterns like solid red, red and white, red brindle, blue and white, black & tan and tri colors.
Height: 10 to 18 inches of height is considered normal for Feist breed dogs.
Weight: Both male as well as female Feists are generally 12 to 30 pounds in weight.

Health Problems

Feists can be purebred, crossbred or mixed breed dogs. Hence, these dogs generally do not have any specific genetic health issues. Still, they are susceptible to the general health problems faced by other dogs.

Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of Feist dogs is usually around 15 to 18 years.

Grooming Requirements

The short and smooth, Feist dog hair coat is quite easy to care of. These low maintenance dogs require effortless yet regular grooming to remove dead shin and loose hair. These dogs do not shed much. They should not be bathed unless necessary. Other grooming activities like eye cleaning, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, nail trimming etc should also be carried out from time to time.


Feist dogs are gentle, adaptable, intelligent, friendly, reliable, courageous, alert and highly energetic dogs. They are always eager to please their owners and hence easy to train because of their responsive nature. They are playful around children and other pets. Though, some might still prefer to stay with other pets.

These alert and agile dogs have excellent watchdog capabilities. Feist is a lovely as well as lovable dog that is neither very aggressive nor too timid in temperament but can exhibit streaks of territorial behavior. These dogs do not bark much, especially during tracking and hunting.

Key Points

As these dogs are characterized by high level of energy, they naturally require a good level of physical exercise. So, make sure you take your beloved Feist out for daily walks and indulge him in interactive play sessions for adequate physical as well as mental stimulation necessary for good health. Hunting rats and squirrels seems to be their favorite pastime because they were originally developed for hunting purposes.