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Denmark Feist

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Denmark Feist is a medium sized dog, though technically it is not a breed but a type of Treeing Feist. It is also called the Denmark Treeing Feist or DenMark Treeing Feist and has a life span of 12 to 14 years. It is not from Denmark, it is actually an American dog. It was developed for hunting with, mostly smaller critters like raccoons and squirrels, but sometimes other game like bobcats and even wild boar. As long as it is kept active it can also be a good companion.
Denmark Feist at a Glance
Name Denmark Feist
Other names Denmark Treeing Feist or DenMark Treeing Feist
Nicknames DF, DTF
Origin US
Average size Medium
Average weight 25 to 35 pounds
Average height 15 to 18 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Short, rough
Hypoallergenic No
Color White, brown, golden, chocolate
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Very good
Tolerance to heat Very good
Tolerance to cold Good to very good
Shedding Low to moderate – some hair may be around the home
Drooling Low to moderate – not especially prone
Obesity Moderate – measure food and make sure it is exercised
Grooming/brushing Low to moderate – brush once or twice a week
Barking Frequent – a command to stop it is a good idea as part of its training
Exercise needs Active – needs active owners
Trainability Moderately easy with experience
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Good but better with experienced owners
Good family pet Good to very good with socialization
Good with children Good but needs socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good but needs socialization – its prey drive means it sees small non-canine animals as something to chase
Good with strangers Good but wary so socialization is important
Good apartment dog Moderate – size makes it okay but it needs a yard really
Handles alone time well Moderate – prefers not to be alone for long periods
Health issues Mostly healthy but a few issues can include Allergies, luxating patellas, dental problems and mange
Medical expenses $460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $140 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $215 a year for toys, basic training, miscellaneous items and license
Average annual expenses $815 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $400
Rescue organizations Feist Rescue, also check local rescues and shelters
Biting Statistics None reported “

The Denmark Feist’s Beginnings

Feist are small hunting dogs likely bred from terriers brought from England to the US by immigrants. It is believed that included in the crossings are the English White Terrier that is no longer in existence, the Manchester Terrier and the Smooth Fox Terrier. They are more common in the Southern states of the US and different crosses would have happened depending on the kind of speed or hunting ability they wanted from the dog. It is then not from Denmark, that name came about because of its two developers first names Dennis Willis and Mark Slade.

In 1917 the Slade family bought a Feist dog for the farm and developed another type of Feist dog. However all of its descendants lived on that farm and worked for them only until 1984. It was kept as a treeing dog and was developed to be able to follow a trail in silence, to be bold, protective, fearless and a loyal and dedicated companion. It was a great vermin hunter and uses sight, scent and sound. In 1984 was when Slade and Willis introduced it as a separate breed.

New Lease on Life

At first it was accepted at least by the UKC in 1998 as a separate breed, but later on they revised their decision and said the dog was more a strain of the a Treeing Feist. It is recognized though by the DRA but again not the AKC. Feist is recognized by the UKC but the various types all fall under that heading. Today it is a dog found still mostly in rural settings in the US and is not really known outside North America.

The Dog You See Today

The Denmark Feist is a medium sized dog weighing 25 to 35 pounds and standing 15 to 18 inches tall. As Feists are not show dogs but are working dogs there is no consistency between them in looks. In general though this one has a deep chest, and is little longer than it is tall. Its tail can be bobtail or natural or docked. The long tail thick at the base and then tapers to the end is held upwards with a curve when they are alert. It has a medium length neck that is tight and long legs with rounded and well arched feet. Its coat is rough and short and dense and common colors are solid, red or yellow or red with white spots, or brown and white, chocolate and golden. Its skull is broad and flat and its muzzle is shorter than the head and broad too with a black nose. Its eyes are dark and its ears can be button, erect or hang down and set high.

The Inner Denmark Feist


The Denmark Feist is an energetic and eager dog and is best with an owner who will use it for the purpose it was bred for. It is fearless, hard working, and quite intelligent and very dedicated and loyal to its owner. It needs experienced owners ideally who know how to channel that energy and how to socialize and train properly. It is alert and will bark to let you know of a stranger but that barking is frequent and it may not want to stop! Make sure you have it trained to stop on command.

It is wary around strangers so socialization and proper introductions are important. In the home it can be friendly, happy and devoted and prefers not to be left alone for long periods of time. It has a tenacious nature but is calm in the home when it has enough activity outside. likes to be close to them at all times.

Living with a Denmark Feist

What will training look like?

When owners have some experience the DF is moderately easy to train as it responds best to people who are confident and clear leaders. It is fairly intelligent but some can be more stubborn than others so patience is needed. Expect things to be a gradual process as long as you stay positive, reward and encourage and motivate. This along with socialization should be started as early as you can, when it is able to soak it up and is less likely to rebel or have bad habits that need broken. Be consistent and keep training and socialization interesting. Introduce it to a variety of people, places, sounds, animals and situations and such.

How active is the Denmark Feist?

This feisty Feist was bred to hunt and be active for much of the day so it will not be as happy and healthy if it does not get that. If you are not hunting with it or keeping it as a working dog make sure you see it gets lots of physical and mental activity each day. Owners need to be active and should take it out for a couple of long walks and have some physical play with it. It should be kept on a leash when walking as it loves to chase small critters. It is not an apartment dog even though it size suggests it could be, it needs to get out, it is too vocal and it needs a yard! Make sure it gets off leash time somewhere it can explore safely at least 3 times a week. It has a great deal of energy and stamina for a medium sized dog, it will surprise you with what it needs. It is also very agile.

Caring for the Denmark Feist

Grooming needs

The DF is not hard to look after when it comes to coat grooming and other care. Its short coat is easy to brush and give a rub down after a hunt. Brush it once or twice a week and that should be enough. It sheds a moderate amount so there may be some loose hair around the home to clean up. Denmark Feist should only be fully bathed and shampooed when it is dirty and smelly and actually needs it. Otherwise using the wrong products or giving it a shampoo too often can dry out its natural oils.

Be sure you have a look at the ears on a weekly basis, look for burs and such but also check for infections signs, a bad smell, more wax than usual and such. Wipe clean carefully not inserting anything down the ear. There are proper cleaning solutions for dog ears you can use, or you can use a warm damp cloth. The teeth and gums of your Denmark Feist should be cleaned at least three times a week with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Then there are its nails which unlike ours have blood vessels and nerves in them so care has to be taken when they get too long and need cutting. Just do not cut too far down or there will be pain and blood.

Feeding Time

Denmark Feists are an active breed so need a diet that suits their needs. Avoid foods that full of fillers and feed it between 1½ to 2 cups of a good or better quality dry dog food a day. This should be given to it in at least two meals to avoid problems with Bloat. The amount can change from one dog to another as things like its health, age, size, metabolism and activity level can affect it. Also it should have access to water that is changed fairly often.

How is the Denmark Feist with children and other animals?

The DF can get along fine with children with socialization and it does help to be raised with them. It can be possessive of its things though so does not like it when children messes with them. Some also do not like being handled too roughly. It is better with older children who can be more careful but make sure even young children are taught what is okay to do and what is not when playing and touching the DF. With socialization it can learn to get along with other pets but is probably going to have instincts to chase them. Most of the time with socialization it is good with other dogs though.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Denmark Feist has a life span of 12 to 14 years and is quite healthy but some issues may include joint dysplasia, allergies, mange, luxating patellas, dental problems and bloat.

Biting Statistics

Feists are not especially aggressive dogs towards other people, being a hunting dog does not mean it is more dangerous than other breeds for example. In reports of dogs attacking people in the last almost four decades the Denmark Feist is not named. All dogs though have some potential for there to be a trigger into a physical reaction. Be sure to train it, socialize properly and give it lots of physical exercise, play and mental stimulation. Also make sure it gets the company and attention it needs so that you can limit the possibility of an incident.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Denmark Feist puppy from a respected breeder will cost about $400 on average but could be more if you look for a top breeder. It is important to do your homework and know where you are buying from and who that breeder is. Try to avoid poor and even cruel ones like backyard breeders, puppy mills or pet stores. While you may not find a Denmark Feist in shelters and rescues there are plenty of dogs hoping for someone to come and take them home. Adoption tends to range from $50 to $400.

To prepare for your new dog coming home to you, there are some things to get for it that it will need, or you will want. A crate for example, a carrier, water and food bowls, bedding and so on. These items will somewhere around $210. Then when the dog is home you should get it to a vet pretty soon to have checks and tests done, as well as some initial medical needs taken care of. This includes things like deworming, blood tests, vaccinations, a physical exam, micro chipping and spaying or neutering depending on whether it is female or male. These will come to a cost of around $270.

Then there are the costs that are always there when you have a pet you are responsible for. Keeping it fed, its health care needs, licensing, training and so on. Healthcare basics like vaccinations, check ups, flea and tick prevention and then medical emergency savings or insurance will be an annual cost of about $460. A good quality dry dog food and its treats will be another cost of $140 yearly. Then other costs like basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items will be another $215 a year. This means a starting figure of $815 a year.


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The Denmark Feist is not a dog for urban dwellers or just any family. It is best with owners who intend to use it as a hunting dog as well as being a companion. It is not a dog that will be happy spending its days on a lap with just short walks, it needs plenty of activity, stimulation and interaction. It is best with active owners in a rural home and with good socialization it can be loyal and friendly.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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