English Toy Terrier

English Toy Terrier
English Toy Terrier pictures
English Toy Terrier suitability

In my own words


I might be a little dog, but there is a lot more to me than meets the eye. You’ll hear my brave bark from miles away, and you can be assured that I’ll warn you if there’s trouble in the house. Although I do have to admit that my bark is far worse than my (non-existent) bite- I am rather small after all. I’m alert and quick and I excel at catching rats. In the past they used to make a game out of my hunting capabilities, but those days are long gone and now my prime role is as a loving companion. I don’t need a lot of space and will be just as happy in a city apartment as a sprawling country manor. That being said, I do still need some exercise whether it’s a short walk or an energetic ball game in the garden. I’m great with kids, but can’t handle too much rough and tumble so please make sure that they’re gentle with me. I’m very affectionate with my owner and am always ready for a cuddle on the couch. Just make sure that you give me the love and attention that I need or I can get very grumpy.


My ideal owner(s)





Families with older children


What they say about me







Is this English Toy Terrier for you?

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Information essential about the English Toy Terrier


Kennel Club Group:




Small: Weight Male 6 – 8 lb (3-4 kg) Female 6 – 8 lb (3-4 kg)

Height Male 10 – 12” (25-30 cm) Female 10 – 12”  (25-30 cm)





The UK Kennel Club has listed the English Toy Terrier as a vulnerable native breed. Great effort is being made to boost the popularity of the breed and develop a viable gene pool. It is hoped that if the public is educated about the charming qualities of the English Toy Terrier, it will steadily grow in popularity.



Breed History:


The plucky English Toy Terrier was developed from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier and is a close relative of the larger Manchester Terrier. Known as the Miniature Black & Tan Terrier up until the 1960’s, its roots can be traced back to the 16th century. Their small size meant that they were able to be carried in hunting coat pockets and sent to ground to flush out foxes and other game. English Toy Terriers were in particularly large demand in England during the 1800’s due to their skills at catching rats. The advancement of the industrial revolution brought on an ever-increasing rat population and set in place the role of the breed as ‘ratters.’ Contests arose in specially designed rat pits, where betting would take place on how long it would take the fast and agile English Toy Terriers to kill their quota of rats. Small dogs were highly regarded, with the ultimate ideal being to produce the smallest dog still capable of killing its quota of rats in as short a time as possible. Somewhat amazingly, in 1848 a black and tan terrier weighing just 5½lb (2.5 kg) named Tiny is recorded to have killed 300 rats in less than an hour.

This sport was outlawed in 1898, with the formation of the Kennel Club. As the terrier grew in popularity, and people wanted smaller dogs, a lot of interbreeding took place with the smallest of the litters being used for breeding. Despite the fashion for small dogs, the offspring from these litters suffered from a number of health problems. This caused the breed to decline in popularity and it almost disappeared altogether, until a group of breeders dedicated themselves to making the dog stronger and healthier. The modern English Toy Terrier is a sleek and healthy breed that makes for an excellent companion.




An extremely loyal breed, your English Toy Terrier will remain entirely devoted to you and your family. They love attention and feeling like they are part of the action, so it is best to ensure that they are as involved as possible. Whether it is curling up on the couch and watching a movie or hiking in the countryside, your English Toy Terrier will always make for an eager companion. Being a small dog, they don’t need an excessive amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. A short daily walk or particularly energetic ball game in the backyard should be enough to tire your little companion out. English Toy Terriers are comfortable in households with limited space provided that they are kept sufficiently entertained. When left alone this breed does have a tendency to become destructive and needs to be catered to accordingly. Your English Toy Terrier loves to be petted and is good with children as long as they aren’t too rough when playing. A very alert breed, they make fantastic watchdogs thanks to their keen hearing and courageous nature. Loving and highly adaptable to different environments, the English Toy Terrier makes a fine companion.




The little English Toy Terrier is a loyal and affectionate companion who thrives on the company of others. They have the typical terrier personality: courageous, vivacious and more than capable of catching their weight in rats or mice. English Toy Terriers are very curious by nature and as a result it is best to keep an eye on them, especially when outside of the house. They have a tendency to bark at approaching strangers, however this can be lessened with obedience training. It is important that English Toy Terriers are socialised with other dogs and pets from a young age. They are generally good with children but are quite fragile and not comfortable with rough play or clumsy handling. The English Toy Terrier is a lovable, friendly dog that is equally at home in city or country, apartment or farm, as long as their owner is in sight.



The English Toy Terrier is a petite, well-proportioned dog. They are small and smooth coated, with pointed erect ears placed high on the back of the head. They should have a long, wedge shaped head with a flat skull. The eyes should be small, almond shaped and dark in colour. The mouth should have a complete scissor bite and the neck ought to be long, elegant and slightly arched. The English Toy Terrier’s chest is narrow and deep, while the feet should be small, compact and well arched. The two middle toes of the front feet should be longer than the rest. The tail should be set low. The coat of this breed is short, dense and shiny. The colouring of the English Toy Terrier is very specific and should only be seen in black and tan. These colours should not run into each other but form clear, clean lines of separation. The front legs should be tan at the front to the knees and continue inside the back of the legs to just below the elbows. The back legs are tan at the front and inside. The muzzle should be tan with black along the top of the muzzle and a black


The only permitted colour of the English Toy Terrier is black with defined tan markings on the legs, chest and face



English Toy Terriers are naturally inquisitive by nature and can be quite independent. Training needs to be gentle and consistent in order to combat the dog’s tendency to wander off. They should be socialised with other household animals and children from an early age.




The English Toy Terrier has a short dense coat that requires little attention; a grooming mitt and a polishing cloth are all that is needed. It is important that bathing is done with a specially formulated shampoo in order to protect the natural oils in their skin, as they are prone to skin disorders. The English Toy Terrier is an undemanding dog to feed with no special dietary requirements and generally has a good appetite



The lifespan of a healthy individual is between 12 and 13 years, which is normal for a dog of this size. However, some live for as long as 15 years. The English Toy Terrier did suffer from a number of health problems when it was first introduced. Since the 1950’s, breeders have worked to combat any genetic issues and there has been much improvement. If you buy from a reputable, responsible breeder, health problems should not occur. However, if your English Toy Terrier does achieve a good old age, the normal complaints that we all suffer from, such as arthritis and failing eyesight may begin to develop. The most notable common concerns suffered by English Toy Terriers are relating to skin disorders, which are generally manageable with care. Other problems can include patella luxation, where the kneecap slips in and out of place and arthritis. However, if you are careful who you buy from, your English toy terrier should give you many years of good health, fun and loving companionship.


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Advice on choosing your breed »

Find an animal shelter or rescue home where a English Toy Terrier is waiting for a new home »


The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if an English Toy Terrier is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1= strongly disagree, and 5= strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that likes to walk, look down the list under Activities, and you will see that English Toy Terrier makes good walking companions, scoring 5. If you want a playful companion, look down the same list, and you will see that English Toy Terriers love to fetch and hunt, and score 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your final choice.


Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion3/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming2/5
Likes learning new tricks5/5
Likes to hunt4/5
Likes to fetch2/5
Good gundog/retriever2/5
Barks a lot4/5
Gets easily jealous1/5
Friendly with strangers3/5
Expensive to insure1/5
Expensive to feed1/5
Happy to sleep outside2/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment5/5
Prefers temperate climate5/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate3/5
Moults a lot1/5
Requires lots of grooming1/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly5/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children3/5
Good watch dog3/5
Good guard dog1/5
Good with other pets3/5
Good with other dogs5/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs1/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs2/5
Requires lots of exercise2/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners5/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall5/5
Easy to train5/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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