Treeing Feist

12-30 lbs
United States/United Kingdom
Feist, Fyce, Fice, American Feist, American Treeing
The Treeing Feist is a small, agile dog that was bred over centuries to be, as their name implies, a top treeing breed, meaning it is trained to chase prey into a tree until the hunter arrives and calls it off or kills whatever game is being tracked. Because of their refined abilities, they are often referred to as the "ultimate squirrel dog" although they are also used for raccoon and opossum as well, and take only a second to prove it, taking off with great speed yet maintaining a silent approach and alerting their owners with loud, repetitive barking once they have successfully pinned their target in a tree. Out of almost any recognized breed, Feists likely have the loosest standards, as although there are set limits on height and weight, they come in just about every color and pattern imaginable thanks to their wide ancestral influence, which many believe to span everything from scent hounds to terriers from Europe to hounds native to the Americas. They are considered highly-adaptable dogs who generally do as well in smaller homes as they do larger ones as long as they have someone to exercise them regularly. They are an affectionate breed and form close bonds with their families, children included, but because of their size and excitability, usually need at least some training and socialization to keep from being too rambunctious around kids. Likely because of their terrier heritage, they are a bit territorial and although they do pretty well with other dogs for the most part, are usually wary of strangers and will issue a round of barking if they are uncomfortable. All in all, they are great companions and possibly even better hunters and watch dogs.
purpose Purpose
Hunting, Treeing, Companion
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Scent Hounds, Terriers

Treeing Feist Health

Average Size
Male Treeing Feist size stats
Height: 12-18 inches Weight: 12-30 lbs
Female Treeing Feist size stats
Height: 12-18 inches Weight: 12-30 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Allergies
Occasional Diagnoses
  • None Known
Occasional Tests
  • Physical Examination
  • Allergy Tests

Treeing Feist Breed History

Because of the wide span of genetic influence and lack of documentation, there is little evidence to show the exact timeline of the Treeing Feist. Throughout their history, they have been mentioned in various writings by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even William Faulkner, indicating their history is undoubtedly longstanding, but whether they originated in the United States or earlier in England where terriers were much more common remains to be proven in any significant fashion, but some accounts do indicate they may have been in existence as early as the 17th century. Regardless, whenever they did eventually surface in greater numbers, it happened to be in the American South where many farmers used them not only as a treeing breed but also as ratters to keep the vermin population low and their crop health and yield high. In the process, they became well-loved due to their great overall temperaments, work ethic, and general adaptability. Even Teddy Roosevelt had dogs that were influenced by Feist genetics and today, they still remain a relatively popular breed even if many seem to go unregistered.

Treeing Feist Breed Appearance

Feists are small dogs, standing only a foot to a foot and a half tall at the withers and weighing up to 30 pounds. Their coats are short, soft, and relatively dense but are hard to identify solely on the pattern or color as even their breed standard confirms that they can come in just about any combination of either. Their heads are long and relatively trim with the skull itself being slightly longer than the muzzle, both of which are parallel but separated by a well-defined stop. Their noses are usually black and if not, are otherwise self-colored and their eyes range from brown to amber but rarely appear as anything else. Their ears are high-set, somewhat triangular and are either erect or button. Their necks are clean, muscular and of medium length, seamlessly transitioning into their laid-back shoulders and even topline. Their forelegs are straight, strong, and surprisingly sturdy for their size and their elbows are close but still move without hindrance near the rest of the body. Their chests are relatively deep and wide compared to their overall body size, which is where they generate surprising barking power, and their bellies are only moderately tucked. Their hindquarters are considerably muscular especially in the thigh, giving them great push in any direction they choose to go. Their tails can be long and tapering or naturally bobbed.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Treeing Feist eyes
amber Treeing Feist eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Treeing Feist nose
brown Treeing Feist nose
Coat Color Possibilities
isabella Treeing Feist coat
cream Treeing Feist coat
red Treeing Feist coat
brown Treeing Feist coat
gray Treeing Feist coat
black Treeing Feist coat
brindle Treeing Feist coat
sable Treeing Feist coat
pied Treeing Feist coat
white Treeing Feist coat
silver Treeing Feist coat
fawn Treeing Feist coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Treeing Feist straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Treeing Feist Breed Maintenance

Feists are considered extremely low maintenance dogs as they were bred to be. They are only moderate shedders and need brushing only once or twice a week to keep their coats clean and healthy. They don't generally need bathing unless they get into something particularly dirty or offensive smelling and otherwise do a good job with self-maintenance. Otherwise, their nails should be checked and trimmed as needed to prevent issues with cracking or breaking and their teeth should be brushed weekly to help them maintain good oral health. Doing so will avoid costly expense; many owners choose to have their dog's teeth cleaned by the veterinarian on an annual basis.
Brushes for Treeing Feist
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Treeing Feist requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Treeing Feist Temperament

Although they have high energy, prey, and activity drives while outside and around potential things to chase, Feists are relatively easy-going inside the home and are perfectly content to lounge with the family should that be the group activity. They are known to be affectionate and playful, some of the smaller dogs even taking on the role of lap dog if they are allowed. They generally do well with children inherently but should be thoroughly trained and socialized regardless to minimize any potential issues. Training itself isn't particularly difficult but does require firmness and consistency early on or the dog may take advantage and attempt to be the alpha or worse yet, develop Small Dog Syndrome. Because of their high energy drive, they do need to be exercised with regularity but because of their size, fall somewhere in the middle of most breeds in terms of need. However, if they are not given regular exercise, they have a high potential to become bored or frustrated and therefore destructive, so they should be given daily walks or runs, along with a bit of mental stimulation to keep them happy. They are relatively good with other dogs but are often wary of strangers and tend to make a lot of racket if they are spooked or feel as if there is a potential threat. For some, it may be a hassle but for others, this just makes them a good watch dog as well as a hunter or companion. If they are trained to react a specific way to strangers early on, they can usually adapt fairly easily. Because of their size and overall adaptability, they do just about equally well in any type of living situation or family environment as long as they receive a proper amount of attention and exercise.

Treeing Feist Activity Requirements

Treeing Feists are considered medium to high energy dogs and therefore need a good amount of daily exercise to keep them on their best behavior and in ideal health. Because of their size, they don't need quite as much exercise as a dog with the same drive in a larger size, but they still need around 60 minutes of activity a day, ideally between leashed walks and runs, frolics in the dog park or yard, and playing games that will stimulate them mentally as well. Their prey drives can become a hassle at times both on and off leash, so the earlier the training, the better.
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Treeing Feist Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.60 - $0.80
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$15.00 - $20.00
food bag monthly cost

Treeing Feist Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Treeing Feist size stats at six months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 15.5 lbs
Female Treeing Feist size stats at six months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 15.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Treeing Feist size stats at 12 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 18.5 lbs
Female Treeing Feist size stats at 12 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 18.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Treeing Feist size stats at 18 months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 21.0 lbs
Female Treeing Feist size stats at 18 months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 21.0 lbs

Treeing Feist Owner Experiences

15 Months
3 People
House & Yard
First time owner and love it. Great dog. Just keep a eye out for neighborhood critters cause they will go after them regardless of size
6 months, 4 weeks ago
4 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Very smart, high energy, very sociable with everyone, likes to nibble but has sharp baby teeth that hurt. Hopefully when they fall out it will be better. He is already sleeping through the night in a crate and is housebroken. He sits on command and likes playing ball. Working on other commands but he can be hard headed at times. He gets the “zoomies” around 7 pm. From what I’ve read he’ll outgrown that too. He’s a normal puppy right now but i’m sure he will be a great dog.
2 years, 9 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet

I have a small dog that was abandoned by his previous owners. He has been part of the family for around 2 years now. We are unsure of his age, exact breed, and would like ways to identify this information. We are also dealing with a major shedding issue and any advice would be so appreciated!!

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