The Feist has a historical background dating back to the American Indians and the Early Colonial Period. The little dogs are used primarily for treeing climbing game. Some have been used in bear hunting, turtle hunting, turkey hunting, wild boar hunting, raccoon hunting, opossum hunting and as a flush dog for wing shooting, in addition to squirrel hunting. The Feist has also gained recognition in working cattle and hogs. They make excellent companions for all people, but especially for children and the elderly.
The Feist is a premier guard dog known for its courage and tenacity. Stories abound relating the willingness of the little dogs to fight to their deaths in protection of their masters. The bonding trait of the Feist gives them an overwhelming desire to please their masters.
One of the outstanding traits of the Feist is found in its excellence as a squirrel dog. They possess the ability to use the senses of sight, smell, and hearing in pursuit of squirrels. It is for this reason that the Feist is fast becoming one of the most sought-after squirrel dogs in the world.
The AFTA (American Treeing Feist Association) was organized in 1985 as a non-profit organization existing for the sole purpose of promoting and developing the Feist as a tree dog and for gaining recognition for the Feist as a separate breed. At all times ATFA upholds the ideals of honesty and integrity in all organizational affairs.
ATFA is governed by its own Constitution and headed by an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee consists of the President, Vice-President,Board of Directors and Secretary/Treasurer - Membership/Registration Secretary. The Board of Directors consisting of six elected members is the legislative branch of the Association.