This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
The Mountain Feist is a dog breed, very similar to Jack Russell Terrier originating from the southern portion of North America. It’s a small to medium dog breed at about 12 to 18 inches, weighing between 15 to 30 pounds. The lifespan of the Mountain Feist is around 13 to 18 years.
In this article, let us get to know these squirrel-hunting dogs from the south and see if they match what you’ve been looking for in a canine.
Contents & Quick Navigation
What is a Mountain Feist?
Mountain Feists are bred to hunt small animals and pests (like squirrels and rats) that harm the local crops in the rural areas of Southern states in America. Mountain Feists’ bloodlines are from different types of terriers and greyhounds, mixed to create a perfect hunting companion.
Although not much has been written about the Mountain Feist’s origin, this does not mean this breed is not popular or loved. Former US Presidents held these dogs in good regard. In fact, Abraham Lincoln wrote about Feists’ hunting prowess in a poem, while former President George Washington wrote about them in his diary.
Due to these writings, we can tell that they have been around as early as the 17th century and that these dogs were endearing enough to be immortalized in writing.
Here is a video showing how adorable a Mountain Feist can be:
Is the breed recognized officially?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the Mountain Feist as a breed, but the United Kennel Club and National Kennel Club do.
The Mountain Feist’s popularity had gone down over the years mainly because of lifestyle changes, as not many people hunt these days.
Several organizations are trying to boost the Mountain Feist’s popularity again to inspire the younger generation to continue breeding and to continue the American tradition of squirrel hunting.
What does a Mountain Feist look like?
A Mountain Feist’s appearance is not distinct. Their genetic makeup is a mix from other terriers like the Jack Russell Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, and the extinct White English Terrier. Let’s take a closer look at the Mountain Feist’s physical characteristics.
Dark eyes and erect ears
A Mountain Feist has a slightly rounded skull with ears that can be erect or folded over. Its eyes are small and dark and it has a medium-length muzzle.
Strong, muscular body
Mountain Feists have chests that are fairly deep and well-ribbed and backs that are straight. Their forelegs are straight and strong while their hind legs are muscular, with hocks slightly bent. Their paws are suited for climbing trees.
Mountain Feists don’t shed a lot, thanks to their smooth, short coats. Their fur can be light brown, black, or white and may come in a solid color or with spots.
The coat of the Mountain Feist is not hypoallergenic, though, so they might not be best for owners with allergies to dander.
How big do Mountain Feists get?
As pointed out in the first paragraph a full-grown Mountain Feist can weigh 15 to 30 pounds (7.5 to 13.5 kg) and can stand 12 to 18 inches (31 to 45 cm) in height, so it’s a small to medium-sized dog. They do not take up much space and can live in an apartment.
What is the temperament of a Mountain Feist?
Their physical traits might not make them stand out, but their temperament and personality make Mountain Feists good family dogs.
A Mountain Feist loves being part of a family.
A Mountain Feist loves hunting, but he also likes spending time with his human pack and takes any opportunity to make his human family happy. Mountain Feists are calm when they are not hunting, making them ideal companions for children.
A Mountain Feist is an excellent outdoor companion.
This breed has high energy levels, so it’s always game to go for a run or to play fetch outside the house. They are very alert and aware of their surroundings and would protect you when they see a stranger as a threat.
They are very intelligent.
As we’ve said before, Mountain Feists are working dogs and are excellent hunters. They are capable of picking up commands and doing tasks that help their owners.
They can communicate well with their masters when hunting. The Mountain Feist knows how to appropriately use its voice to bark or growl so that its owners get an idea of what is happening during the hunt.
Aside from being excellent hunters, they can quickly adjust to their surroundings. They can go from being very ruthless hunters to being calm, friendly pets around children and family.
How long do Mountain Feist live?
As mentioned above the Mountain Feist’s lifespan is about 18 years, which is quite a long time in doggie years. Mountain Feists have no known health issues, aside from common conditions like hip dysplasia and ear infection.
Sufficient exercise for the Mountain Feist
A Mountain Feist is a highly energetic dog that requires at least 45 minutes of exercise each day. They like to jump and run and they can climb trees, so you need to trade your couch for some outdoor activities with this pooch.
Grooming your Mountain Feist
These dogs are low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Once-a-week brushing is enough to keep their coats looking good.
Bathe your Mountain Feist only when necessary, unless they smell or they get really dirty from hunting. Frequent baths may cause their skin to dry out and result in allergies.
Proper food and diet for the Mountain Feist
One to two cups of dry dog food divided into two meals daily should be enough for a Mountain Feist. We recommend that you check with your vet on what your pet’s nutritional needs are depending on their age, activity levels, and weight.
How do I train a Mountain Feist puppy?
You probably think that because a Mountain Feist is smart and eager to please, it should be easy to train. Well, think again, because this pooch is highly intelligent and can be independent-minded.
Properly training Mountain Feists requires consistency and diligence. Mountain Feists need to see you as the pack leader, so you have to be consistent and firm with commands. You have to always be the boss around these canines. They will follow your commands only if they respect you.
They can also be possessive and territorial, but early socialization will help prevent Mountain Feists puppies from getting aggressive.
Because of the challenging nature of training these dogs, they are not ideal for first-time dog owners.
How much does a Mountain Feist cost?
A Mountain Feist puppy can cost around $300 to $400. You may check out the following breeders to get your pup.
- Lost Mountain Kennels (Kentucky)
- Shadow Tail Kennels (Indiana)
- Goodtime Mountain Feist (Kentucky)
- Circle R Kennel (Kentucky)
You can also contact rescue shelters to see if they have a Mountain Feist for adoption.
Is the Mountain Feist the right breed for you?
Mountain Feists are excellent family dogs who love spending time with their human pack. If you’re someone who has the time and patience for proper training, then these smart, independent-minded hunting dogs are a good fit for you.
Have you ever owned a Mountain Feist? Tell us all about it in the comments.
9 replies on “Meet the Mountain Feist, a Dependable Hunter from the South”
Article tells it like it is. Just like my dog.
I have one she is awesome she likes to talk a lot
HI, MY NAME IS LANA AND MY MOUNTAIN FEIST IS 19 YEARS OLD !!
HER NAME IS BESSIE LOU AND I ADOPTED HER OR SHE ADOPTED ME, BEFORE SHE WAS A YEAR OLD. I NOW ALSO HAVE A YOUNG AKC BEAGLE, AND THEY APPEAR TO BE GREAT PACK MATES, AS BOTH ARE EXTREMELY SMART AND STRONG WILLED! MY DOGS TAKE LONG WALKS, PLAY A LOT IN FENCED YARD, AND GET ALONG WELL WITH OTHER DOGS AND PEOPLE! I LOVE THEM DEARLY, AND I AM A WIDOW.
I CANNOT STAND THE THOUGHT OF LOSING BESSIE LOU, BUT KNOW IT IS COMING.
I recently adopted a mountain feist puppy. Her coloring and general appearance looks almost exactly like a miniature German Shepard. My friends and I have tried to figure out just what breeds were “mixed” to come up with her particular breeding. Could a Shepard be part of her breeding? Any extra info that could be shared, I sure would appreciate it…anybody? Great article and great read. Thank you
We have an 8 year old Rocky Mountain Feist who gets really anxious about thunderstorms and fireworks. I have tried the ThunderVest, essential oil sprays, and stress drops, along with Hemp Dog Chews. Nothing seems to help. Any suggestions?
I lost my dog to cancer a few weeks ago, though broken hearted, the house is too empty without the putter pat of little feet. I think a feist would be perfect since I am a very energetic person and it will get lots of opportunity to chase squirrels! The problem I am having is finding a reputable breeder near SC, I found one that only sells to hunters. Can you help me find my next best friend
We have a 2 year old Mountain Feist. He is just great. Everyone inquires about what he is because he is so unique looking, cute and intelligent. We got him from a great breeder in Dallas, Tx called Westbrook Mountain Feist. Easy to search them up online. Great people – Joyce and Danny. They take huge care and pride in their dogs. We could be happier.
I meant to say “we COULDN’T be happier”
I rescued a Mountain Feist 12 years ago. Estimated she was two at the time. She’s the best dog I’ve ever had.