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If you’re looking for an active treeing companion, or just a dog who’s always up for an adventure, then the Denmark Feist may be the perfect dog for you. These dogs are not technically a developed breed, but they are believed to be a mix of Smooth Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and potentially the now extinct English White Terrier.
12 – 18 inches
12 – 30 pounds
12 – 14 years
Light brown, dark brown, white, golden, red, yellow
Hunters, active singles or couples, sporting events
Loyal, fearless, enthusiastic, energetic, tenacious
Denmark Feists were created to function as treeing dogs, making them great for hunting squirrels and racoons. Some people have even used them as hog hunting dogs, although their small stature may make this an unsafe decision. These dogs are fearless and loyal, making them excellent companions and hunters. The Denmark Feist is not a dog for everyone, though. It may not be a good fit even in some active homes, so here are all the things you need to know about these dogs.
Denmark Feist Characteristics
Denmark Feist Puppies
Having a Denmark Feist puppy can be pretty affordable compared to other dog breeds. Since many people consider these dogs to be a mixed breed and not a developed breed, you may even find a Denmark Feist for free. There are multiple rescue organizations that take in Feists of all kinds, which is a great starting point for a rescue.
When you have your Denmark Feist, be ready to have your dog supplies ready. This includes puppy food, a bed or a crate, toys, and treats. Denmark Feists love to be around their owners and might suffer from separation anxiety if they’re left alone for too long. If you have enough time to commit to training your pup, playing with them, and showering them with love, then this might be a great dog for you!
Temperament & Intelligence of the Denmark Feist
Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪
With proper socialization, the Denmark Feist can be a good family dog. However, these dogs can develop shy or distrusting personalities without proper socialization. If exhibiting these personality traits, then the Denmark Feist is not a good family dog, especially with young children.
The activity level of the Denmark Feist is very high, but their level of intelligence means that a daily walk isn’t going to cut it for most of them. These dogs will thrive with sports, jobs, or brain entertaining activities on a daily basis to help them burn energy. They do best in homes with a yard and plenty of varied activity.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
The Denmark Feist can be a great addition to a home with other medium and larger dogs if they are properly socialized and given slow, safe introductions. Nervous or shy Denmark Feists aren’t a great fit for homes with other dogs. This is especially true if the Denmark Feist is already comfortable and established within the home and the other dog is new to the home.
A major thing to consider with the Denmark Feist is how high their prey drive is. These dogs are bred to chase and tree small animals, and they are tough enough to chase down hogs and bobcats. This means that homes with small animals, like cats, rodents, and reptiles, are not a good fit for the Denmark Feist. This type of home environment can lead to injury or death of the small animal or the dog.
Things to Know When Owning a Denmark Feist:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Like many terrier-type dogs, Denmark Feists are prone to becoming overweight and obese. This is due to a combination of a healthy appetite and accidental overfeeding. It’s important to ensure you are feeding your dog a high-quality food that provides nutrient dense nutrition. It’s also necessary to talk to your vet about how much you should be feeding your Denmark Feist and carefully measure meals out to ensure you are not overfeeding.
These dogs need moderate to high daily activity. This means that a short neighborhood walk is often not enough. They like to have a job or to participate in sports that suit their natural strengths, like agility and lure coursing. They also make great companions for activities like running, hiking, trail running, and bikejoring.
Without enough energy outlets, these dogs may bark a lot or become destructive. These behaviors are often misunderstood, and some people believe they are training related. Although there is a training aspect when it comes to reducing excessive barking and destructive behaviors, these behaviors are often rooted in excessive energy buildup.
The Denmark Feist is a highly intelligent dog, which means it is usually very trainable. This also means that your dog may not make training easy. They are usually considered to be moderately easy to train. Training your Denmark Feist will require patience, a strong relationship with your dog, and lots of positive reinforcement.
Coming up with active training activities and games to help reinforce desired behaviors can be effective training methods for the Denmark Feist. The more interesting you are able to keep training sessions, the more successful you will be with training your dog. It may be a good idea to exercise your dog for a short period of time before beginning training sessions. This will allow your dog to burn excessive energy and help them focus on you during the session. Don’t exercise your dog enough to wear them out before training, though. Otherwise your dog may be too tired to stay attentive during training.
Denmark Feists have few grooming needs outside of regular baths and brushing 1-2 times weekly. They are moderate shedders but have short hairs and do not put on a heavy undercoat in cold weather. If your Denmark Feist is joining you in outdoor activities like hunting or hiking, you will need to ensure your dog stays clean and free of things like ticks and burs. This means you may be sweeping up tiny hairs in your house regularly, but coat care for your dog shouldn’t be difficult.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Male vs Female
There are no known differences between male and female Denmark Feists. Both sexes are known for their loyalty and dedication. They both make great alert dogs and are happy to hunt during the day and hang out on the couch at night.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Denmark Feist
1. The Denmark Feist is an American Dog!
The name of this dog breed is deceptive because these dogs were developed in the United States. In 1984, two men announced they had created this “breed” of dog. Their names were Mark Slade and Dennis Willis, so they combined their names into DenMark. This is where the Denmark Feist got its name. The original dogs that became the Denmark Feist were bred within the Slade family sometime around 1917.
2. They Were Considered an Independent Breed at One Time
In 1998, the UKC accepted the Denmark Feist as its own developed breed. However, they later revised this decision, instead grouping them with a currently accepted breed, the Treeing Feist.
3. The Original Denmark Feist Was Very Affordable
The Slade family did not breed the original Denmark Feist ancestor. They purchased him and felt his hunting prowess was so advanced that they should create a breeding program. Some stories say that this dog was purchased for the low price of one large raccoon, three opossum pelts, and a single wagon wheel.
- Related read: Mountain Feist
The Denmark Feist is a high energy dog that is an excellent hunter and companion. They are loyal and can make great dogs for athletic singles, couples, or homes with older children. Early socialization is important to prevent trust issues and nervousness. The Denmark Feist loves to spend time with its people, which means they often do not like to be left alone for hours on end. This personality trait may lead to separation anxiety, excessive barking, and destructive tendencies.
With proper socialization, activity, and training, the Denmark Feist is a great dog. The breed is smart, attentive, and tenacious. They tend to live long lives and usually have few health problems. Just make sure to use heartworm, flea, and tick medications from your veterinarian, especially if you intend to hunt with your Denmark Feist. This dog will be your best friend for years with proper care and support.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels