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Brazilian Terrier

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Brazilian Terrier

The Brazilian Terrier is a small dog from Brazil and is rare outside of its home country, but if seen is often mistaken for the Jack Russell Terrier. It is commonly and mistakenly stated that it is one of only two Brazilian breeds, in fact there are several Brazilian breeds, it is just that only 2 have more than national recognition. It has a life span of 12 to 14 years and is a smart, active, playful and friendly little dog, making it a great companion for most homes and owners. Like most terriers though it can be willful so needs firm leadership! Other names it is known by are the Fox Paulistinha and Terrier Brasileiro.

The Brazilian Terrier at a Glance
Name Brazilian Terrier
Other names Fox Paulistinha, Terrier Brasileiro
Nicknames BT
Origin Brazil
Average size Small
Average weight 15 to 22 pounds
Average height 13 to 16 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Short, fine and sleek
Hypoallergenic No
Color Tri-color, combination of white and tan with black, blue or brown markings
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Above average
Tolerance to heat Excellent – even extreme heat
Tolerance to cold Moderate
Shedding Average – will be some hair around the home
Drooling Low – not especially prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Low – not prone to obesity but still measure its food and make sure it gets enough exercise
Grooming/brushing Average – brush twice a week
Barking Occasional – does bark so if living in an apartment a command to stop it may be worth while
Exercise needs Fairly active – will need daily outside time
Trainability Moderately easy to train
Friendliness Good to very good
Good first dog Good to very good
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate need socialization – due to high prey drive they tend to chase smaller animals
Good with strangers Good – if socialized
Good apartment dog Good due to size but it does bark and it needs lots of exercise outside
Handles alone time well Moderate – not long periods
Health issues Fairly health but some issues include Eye problems, orthopedic problems, ear infections and skin allergies
Medical expenses $435 a year for pet insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $75 a year for high quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $195 a year for basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $705 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations None breed specific – look to local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Brazilian Terrier's Beginnings

The exact origins of the Brazilian Terrier are not known, though it is understood its beginnings started in the 1800s some time. It is thought that sometime during this period Jack Russell Terriers were brought to Brazil and they were crossed with other dogs including the Miniature Pincher, large Chihuahuas and possibly the Fox Terrier. The result was a dog that look like a terrier but was larger than most of the European types. Their temperament was also different with less dog aggression meaning they could be kept in packs. It was developed to be able to hunt small game both on its own and in a pack of dogs. When hunting in a pack they would come in at it from all directions so it was surrounded and eventually become exhausted. It was able to handle working for long periods even in the hot temperatures of Brazil and it was resistant to some disease and parasites.

The dog came to be referred to in Brazil as 'the dog of the common people'. Plantation owners also discovered their value as vermin hunters helping to protect and increase crops, livestock and increase profits. While initially it was mostly a rural dog, it was also quickly taken on by urban people too because of its small size, its good rat hunting abilities and its loyal and affectionate nature. The Brazilian Terrier became common throughout much of Brazil.

New Lease on Life

While the Brazilian Terrier has been around for about 200 years it was actually not recognized. This is because while it was mostly kept purebred, pedigrees were inconsistent for much of the 1900s. Even in Brazil itself it did not get recognition. Then in the early 1960s some fanciers got together and published a standard and applied for it from the Brazilian Kennel Club, (Confederacio Brasilera de Cinofilia or CBKC). Because of the issue it has with the pedigrees the CBKC postponed recognition. In 1981 breeders that were dissatisfied with this formed the CFP, Clube do Fox Paulistinha, and created a stud book.

By 1985 the pedigree issue as far as they were concerned had been deal with and again formally applied for recognition. In 1991 the CBKC and the CFP finally started working together and numbers in Brazil rose. While popular in dog sporting events and shows in Brazil it is not well known outside of its home country. In 2007 it was recognized by the FCI which helped a little with bringing the dog to other countries. Germany and the US have the most outside of Brazil but those numbers are very low still. In Brazil a large proportion of the terriers are ratters/working dogs as well as companions.

The Dog You See Today

The Brazilian Terrier is a small dog weighing 15 to 22 pounds and standing 13 to 16 inches tall. It has a muscular and balanced build, a narrow tapered chest and looks similar to the Jack Russell but it is larger. Females are a bit smaller than males but it is not as noticeable as wither other breeds. It has long legs, and is slender but athletic. In Brazil its tail is docked due to it being a working dog but other countries where that practice is banned the tail is naturally thick, short and should not curl. Its coat is close lying, very short and tri-colored using the colors of tan, white and black though the patterns can vary. The hairs are fine and shorter around parts of the legs, the ears and the head, elsewhere it is thicker but not soft.

The small skull is triangular shaped and flat and it has a strong jaw and a muzzle that is a little shorter than the skull. Its ears are half pricked, triangular with pointed tips that fold down. That muzzle is not as broad as in other terriers and the nose has wide nostrils and is dark colored. Its eyes are round, somewhat prominent and can be various shades of blue, green, grey and brown.


The Inner Brazilian Terrier


Like all terriers the Brazilian Terrier is perky, alert, playful and spirited. Their willfulness and determination means they need their owner to be consistent and firm and a clear pack leader. It is an intelligent dog that can be obedient with the right raising, but it does like to dig holes, bounce around the home, perform, hide and is generally fairly active indoors like most terriers. It is very friendly though, it is loyal and affectionate and will be utterly devoted to its family.

Being alert it will bark to let you know there is something that needs your attention and otherwise does bark occasionally. It wants to play a lot, needs lots of attention and prefers not to be left alone for long periods. This is quite an intense dog and it has a lot of curiosity wanting to explore and get into everywhere and everything. Make sure it is trained and has toys to rotate through and it is not bored or lonely or it can be destructive. It is great at rat hunting and in Brazil is usually kept for dual purposes, rat hunter and companion. It is tolerant of strangers coming to visit but will eventually warm to them.

Living with a Brazilian Terrier

What will training look like?

It is important to start training from an early age along with socialization. With consistency, firm handling and strong leadership this is a moderately easy dog to train. If you give in too easy and are not firm then things will certainly be a bit harder. Being willful and headstrong means if it does not get good leadership this dog can develop small dog syndrome and become hard to live with. Being firm does not mean scolding and physical punishments though, it means setting clear rules and sticking to them, taking no nonsense but being patient and using positive techniques like offering it praise and treats as motivation. As this dog is easily distracted sessions should be kept short and interesting, and do them more often. Introduce it to different situations, sounds, people, animals and so on so it learns to adjust to them and react in an acceptable way to them.

How active is the Brazilian Terrier ?

While its size makes it seem suitable for apartment living, ideally it would live in a space that has a yard, it is active inside and out and needs some room to be happy and active physically and mentally. If it does not get enough stimulation and activity outside it will become restless, hyperactive, destructive and unhappy. It needs at least one long walk a day, preferably two, 45 minutes each, along with physical play with you outside for another 30 minutes. Be prepared for hole digging when it is out in the yard though and make sure when off leash it is somewhere safe to do so. It does like to chase after things and explore so will not stay close to you.

Caring for the Brazilian Terrier

Grooming needs

Having a short coat means when it is time to groom the chore is easy to do. It does shed a moderate amount so there will be hair around the home, and a need for brushing at least a couple of times a week. It will not need professional grooming though and bathing should just be done when it really needs one. Over bathing can dry out its skin as can using any shampoo other than a dog one.


Check its ears once a week for infection signs like bad odor, redness, irritation and give them a wipe clean with a damp cloth, or use a dog ear cleanser solution. Just do not insert anything like a cotton bud into the ears as that can hurt them and cause permanent damage. Clip its nails when they get too long making sure you do not cut too far down where the nerves and blood vessels are, as that will hurt it and bleed. Also make sure you give its teeth a clean at least 3 times a week to keep the gums and teeth healthy and not too smelly!

Feeding Time

The Brazilian Terrier will eat about 1 to 2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. The amount varies because it is based on changing factors like level of activity, rate of metabolism, size, health and age. Always make sure it has access to water that is changed fairly frequently.

How is the Brazilian Terrier with children and other animals?

It is friendly and playful with children with socialization and can even be protective of them. It is important though that the children are taught how to play with and touch them appropriately as they do not like to be teased. For that reason small children should be supervised. They get on well with each other, having been kept in packs together to hunt with but care should be taken introducing new dogs, though again with socialization there should not be too many problems. With other pets there can be issues as they have a strong hunting drive and are used to going after small animals as prey. Socialization and being raised with them can help, but it can be stronger in some than others.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It has a life span of 12 to 14 years and is a somewhat healthy breed but can be prone to certain issues such as injuries in the field when hunting, ear infections, eye problems, allergies, patellar luxation, liver problems, epilepsy and dental problems.

Biting Statistics

In reports covering dogs attacking people and doing bodily harm to them in North America in the last 35 years there is no mention of the Brazilian Terrier being involved in any of them. It is not a people aggressive breed, but being rare outside of Brazil it is unlikely to come up in any such reports in other countries. That being said it is important people understand that even your friendly Lab has reports of such incidents. There are no dogs that can be guaranteed to be safe 100% of the time. Small dogs are not safer, just less likely to do serious damage. Make sure you train and socialize, exercise and feed it well and give it the kind of attention it needs and you can lessen the risks, but not wipe them away.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Brazilian Terrier puppy will cost about $800 from a decent breeder of pet quality dogs. For something from a top breeder, or if you are looking for show standards and experience you can expect to pay a lot more than that. Avoid using bad breeders who are ignorant and often cruel, places like puppy mills, pet stores and backyard breeders. Whether you can find a purebred Brazilian Terrier at a shelter is unlikely but you may find a great companion none the less so they are worth taking a look at. Some initial basic medical needs are taken care of and adoption fees are affordable ranging from $50 to $400.


There are also initial health costs if they are not dealt with by the breeder or shelter, things like shots, deworming, physical exam, spaying or neutering, micro chipping and blood tests. These will come to about $260. Then there are items you will need for your dog like a collar and leash, bedding, bowls, crate and carrier for another estimated $140.

In terms of costs that are ongoing while you have your dog you can expect an estimated $435 for basic medical care like vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, check ups and pet insurance. At least $75 for a dry dog food and dog treats. Then at least $195 for miscellaneous costs like license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items. This gives a starting figure annual cost of around $705.


Looking for a Brazilian Terrier Name? Let select one from our list!

The Brazilian Terrier is a rare breed outside of Brazil so if you live elsewhere and are set on this dog you will spend some money and time finding a decent breeder and being put on a waiting list. They are typical terriers in a lot of ways, feisty, lively, bold, and very active, but they are larger than most and are actually less snappy and aggressive than most too. It is still a great vermin hunter though and a dedicated and affectionate companion.

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