Mountain Feist – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Mountain Feist is an energetic dog of commonly white and brown coat. Check this guide to learn more about this active breed. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs
10 to 22 inches
10 to 30 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 18 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Mountain Feist is an all-American breed. These dogs are often described by their owners as intelligent, active, and alert dogs who love spending time next to their favorite humans.

They come in a variety of colors, but they will come mostly in brown, white, and black. Their probably most recognizable body trait is their upright ears.

As very protective dogs they are very vocal.

Interestingly, they will always choose to communicate with bays, barks, or growls. Around their people, they will be highly protective, at least with people they are familiar with.

The Mountain Feist were mostly used as squirrel dogs, while they were also suited for hunting raccoons and tracking larger game. Today, they are mostly busy being full-time pets.

Are you interested in this small and muscular dog? Read on to see if this breed meets your needs and if two could be a good match.

Quick Facts

Real name: Mountain Feist
Other names: Tree Feists, American Treeing Feists, American Feists, Mountain Terriers
Origin: States
Breed type: Terrier Dogs
Weight: 10 to 30 pounds
Height: 10 to 22 inches
Lifespan: 10 to 18 years
Litter Size: 5 – 8 puppies
Color: Any color and color combination may appear
Coat: Short and smooth coat

Mountain Feist History

This small, but active dog is a breed developed in the mountains of the Southeastern United States. Originally, they were bred to hunt small game.

To create this sturdy dog, breeders decided to mix terriers and hounds. In no time, they have become known as the Treeing Feist, a common name for a fierce small dog.

They have a very unique hunting style, that is much respected among dog lovers. How unique their hunting style is?

During the hunt, they would run up into trees to show hunters which tree they should check for the hunt. As of the 20th century, the Mountain Treeing Feist became rare.

In fact, they have become so rare, that breeders have joined their forces to save the breed from being extinct. As a result of their efforts, the Mountain Feist Association was formed in 1984.

The year 1998 was important for this breed’s development as they were recognized as a breed by the United Kennel Club. In 2015, they were recognized as a separate breed.

Mountain Feist Physical Appearance

Mountain Feists are small to medium dogs, although they are commonly small size canines.

According to the breed’s standards, they are between 10 to 22 inches tall, and their weight can go between ten to thirty pounds. Overall, this dog is small in size, agile, and highly active.

After all, dogs who were bred for the hunt are fit and always ready to have a good run. They may be small, but their body is well-balanced making their legs short, but powerful.

Their legs are long enough to allow the dog to move quickly and easily even in the most challenging terrain. The head may seem bulky at first, but on a second look, you should see that is fairly proportioned to the rest of the body.

Skull is broad, while the muzzle is strong. The tail is straight and may be either docked or natural. The coat is always smooth and short.

Mountain Feist Personality

If you are searching for a breed that your family you should definitely consider getting the Mountain Feist.

Are you still worried that this breed comes with a terrier gene and you expect a dog prone to heavy digging? Fear not, because these small dogs aren’t like the rest of the terries.

They are less aggressive than others are, as they are incredibly friendly and loyal.

They are extremely loyal to their people, and nothing excites them as much as spending time with their humans, next to begin outdoors. They need plenty of exercise and outdoor time, next to mental stimulation. Dogs need to explore to keep their minds and bodies busy.

Make sure that you provide that space for them to grow. True to their terrier roots, they will try to outsmart, which is why an experienced owner is preferable, regardless of the dog’s size.

They also have a strong prey drive, which means that they may try to chase smaller animals. Make sure that our children know how to behave around dogs. On walks keep your Mountain Feist on a leash, unless you are inside the dog park where he can run freely.

Mountain Feist Training

Training a Mountain Feist is a must, like with any other dog breed.

Training and early socialization are what make a separation between a dog and a well-behaved dog. For your Mountain Feist to become a good canine citizen, training is the first step.

Make sure that you provide enough toys, that you plan first training sessions in advance, and that you have enough treats on hand reach. If you need extra support, think about puppy classes.

This way you will get professional support, tested tips, and you will get to bond with your Fido more. Use socialization period to:

  • Go through vaccination timeline as smoothly as possible
  • Let your Fido meet new people and explore new areas
  • Introduce him to your neighbours
  • Get him familiar with car rides

Mountain Feist Exercise Needs

Training your Mountain Feist and exercising him are two separate things. More specifically, these are two separate needs. by exercising your dog you are helping him stay fit, and keeping his joints strong.

Since they are terriers if you have a backyard, don’t be surprised if you see a hole here or there.

After all, terries are famous for their need to dig. Make sure that you address this need during the socialization period and training. They might be small, but they do run fast. This is why an on-leash walk is the safest way to walk your Mountain Feist.

Make sure that you provide a minimum of 30-minutes of activity per day.

If a dog park is nearby that is great, because running will burn off a lot of their energy. You know how they say – a tired dog is a happy dog.

Mountain Feist Grooming

Not a fan of time-consuming grooming practice? If s, you are in luck, because the Mountain Feist is easy to groom. The right grooming tools will keep your Mountain Feist’s coat clean and healthy.

A weekly brushing should be enough to keep your Fido happy and in brushing shape. The rest is basic care:

  • Clean ears when needed
  • Learn how to clean dog’s ears properly
  • Check gums and eyes weekly
  • Trim or grind nails when needed
  • Bathe only when needed

Dog owners should know that skin of their dogs isn’t like humans. That being said, bathing should be an option, when it’s really needed – like a yearly thing or when your dog jumps into something muddy.

They do shed, but much less than other breeds. You can expect heavier shedding during the shedding season, which falls in spring and autumn. It’s common for hunting breeds to be prone to fleas and ticks, so make sure that you check their skin on a weekly level.

Mountain Feist Health

Mountain Feistis a healthy breed.

At least they are healthy if you’re dealing with responsible breeders. They will provide the best puppies and always show you medical documentation on the breed.

If you are not given records or inputs on the dog’s possible health issues in the future, know that you are probably dealing with a puppy mills representative.

If so, this is a great moment for you to walk away and find a reputable breeder. If you manage to provide proper nutrition, regular veterinarian check-ups, and enough exercise to keep those joints active, you can expect for your Mountain Feist to live up to 18 years. This is why getting a dog is always a serious decision.

After all, it is a years-long commitment and investment. Before you get a dog of any breed make sure that you truly understand how time-wise and money-wise dog ownership tends to be.

Like humans, dogs can develop certain health issues over time. Various factors can lead to certain complications that in most cases can be treatable.

Some of the minor, but frequent conditions in this breed that you can expect are:

  • Ear infections
  • Allergic dermatitis

On the other hand, you might invest more of your time into researching the following condition. This condition is considered to be serious in dogs of any breed and size, and Mountain Feist is no exception.

This serious condition is known as hip and elbow dysplasia, and can appear in any dog.

It usually appears in adult or senior dogs, who have some sort of joint difficulties from an early age. This is why puppies shouldn’t be overworked-out when their bones are developing.

Dogs are prone to this condition and eventually, they all experience it, so doing whatever is in your power to postpone is a great decision.

The Bottom Line

Once you bring your Mountain Feist you are directly responsible for his weight. Obesity in dogs is more common now than ever, and it’s something that you want to keep your dog far from.

Keep treats at the minimum and use them only to reward good behavior.

If you are don’t sure how to know if your dog is obese or not, check it here. If you have any concerns regarding your dog’s weight and overall health, talk to your veterinarian.

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