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Treeing Feist

Terrier Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dogs ability to perform its traditional work.


The word "feist" is an ancient one referring to a small, often noisy, dog. Like the Cur breeds, the Feist breeds were developed in the rural South by breeders who needed low-maintenance dogs to hunt small game and to eliminate vermin. Feists were often the result of crosses between hunting hounds and terriers. Todays Treeing Feist is the result of generations of breeding for performance and it is still primarily used to hunt squirrel, although they are also used to hunt raccoon, rabbits and flushing game birds.

The Treeing Feist was recognized by UKC on November 1, 1998.

General Appearance

The Treeing Feist is an agile, active, small tree dog. The body is slightly longer than tall. Regardless of the size of the individual dog, the legs must be long enough to allow the dog to move quickly and with agility in rough terrain. The head is blocky, with a broad skull, a moderate stop, and a strong muzzle. The tail is straight, set on as a natural extension of the topline, and may be natural or docked. The coat is short and smooth. The Treeing Feist should be evaluated as a working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dogs ability to work. Scars should neither be penalized nor regarded as proof of a dog's working abilities.


Treeing Feists are used most frequently to hunt squirrel, raccoon, and opossum. They hunt using both sight and scent and are extremely alert dogs. On track, they are virtually silent.


The head is proportionate to the size of the body. When viewed from the side, the muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull and joined by a definite stop. The planes of the skull and muzzle are parallel.


The skull is flat and broad, tapering slightly toward the muzzle. Cheeks are muscular, but not over-developed.


The muzzle is long and sufficiently broad and deep to balance the skull. Lips are tight. Lip pigment matches nose pigment and eye rims.


The Treeing Feist has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.


Nose color is black or self-colored.
Disqualification: pink nose


Eyes are brown, ranging from dark to amber. Eye rims match nose pigment.


Short to Medium length, wide at base, and set high. Erect, button, rose and cocked ears acceptable.
Disqualification: Pendulous (hound like) and drop ears.


The neck is clean, muscular, and of moderate length. The neck gradually widens from the nape and blends smoothly into the shoulders.


Shoulders are well laid back. The upper arm is long and forms an apparent 90-degree angle with the shoulder blade. The forelegs are strong, straight, and moderately well boned. The elbows are set close to the body, but able to move freely in action. The pasterns are short, powerful, slightly sloping, and flexible. "Bench legs" are acceptable but not preferred.


A properly proportioned Treeing Feist is slightly longer than tall. Chest is moderately wide and deep, with the brisket reaching to the elbow. Ribs are well sprung and extend well back. Back is of moderate length, and level, blending into a muscular, slightly arched loin with slight to moderate tuck-up.


The hindquarters are strong and muscular. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The stifles are well bent, and the hocks are well let down. When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground, and viewed from the rear, parallel to one another.


The feet are round, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed.


The tail is set on at the end of the croup. The natural tail is thick at the base and tapers toward the tip or it may be a natural bob. When the dog is alert, the tail is carried in an upward curve. When relaxed, the tail may be carried straight out behind the dog.


The coat is short, dense, and smooth.

Disqualification: Long or shaggy coat.


Any color or color pattern.

Disqualification: Albinism.

Height and Weight

Height, measured at the withers, must not be less than 12 inches nor greater than 18 inches.

Ideal working weight should not be under 12 pounds nor over 30 pounds, and is dependent on the dogs height.

The Treeing Feist should always be presented in hard, working condition. Dogs outside the approved height range shall be penalized only to the degree that their size affects their ability to work.

Eliminating Faults: Dogs under 12 inches or over 18 inches.


Treeing Feist gait is smooth and effortless, with good reach of forequarters. Rear quarters have strong driving power, with hocks fully extending. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward centerline of balance. This breed is capable of great bursts of speed when needed.

Eliminating Fault

(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a bench show/conformation event.)
Dogs under 12 inches or over 18 inches.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Long or shaggy coat.
Overshot bite.
Undershot bite.
Pink nose
Pendulous ears (hound-like)
Drop or any ear that lays flat against the head.
Any dog registered in another registry as anything other than a Feist breed is not eligible to be registered as a Treeing Feist.
Any dog registered prior to the September 1, 2022 changes is not to be penalized.

UKC Breed Standards: Treeing Feist

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised September 1, 2022

©Copyright 2000, United Kennel Club