All You Need to Know About the English Toy Terrier

The English Toy Terrier is a fascinating breed of dog that has captured the hearts of many. With their unique look and personality, this breed is a great choice for anyone looking for a loyal and affectionate companion. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what makes the English Toy Terrier so special and why they make such great pets.

History of the English Toy Terrier

The English Toy Terrier has a rich history dating back several centuries. Originally bred in England as a hunting dog, this breed was also used for ratting and as a watchdog. Today, they are primarily kept as companion animals.

Origins of the breed

The origins of the English Toy Terrier can be traced back to the 16th century. It is believed that the breed was developed by crossing small terrier breeds, such as the Manchester Terrier and the English Black and Tan Terrier. Originally, they were bred as working dogs due to their small size and agility, which made them excellent for chasing small prey. However, as their popularity grew, they became sought-after as companion animals due to their loyal and affectionate nature. Despite their small size, they possess a tenacious spirit and are always eager to please their owners. The English Toy Terrier may be small in stature, but they make up for it with their big personalities.

Changes in the breed over time

Over time, the English Toy Terrier breed has undergone several changes to become the lovable companion that it is today. In the past, early breeders worked to develop a dog that was small but still fearless in hunting and ratting. This led to the breed being crossed with other terriers, such as the Whippet and Manchester Terrier, to create a dog that was more agile and quick on its feet. Today, the English Toy Terrier still maintains its hunting instincts but is primarily kept as a family pet. However, it is important to note that despite the breed's size and charming appearance, it still possesses the tenacity and intelligence of its terrier ancestors, making it an ideal companion for those who enjoy an active and playful lifestyle.

Appearance and Characteristics

The English Toy Terrier is a small dog that typically weighs between 6 and 8 pounds. They have a short, smooth coat that comes in black and tan or all black. Their ears are naturally erect and they have a long tail that is typically docked.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of the English Toy Terrier make them a perfect choice for anyone looking for a compact and portable companion. With a height of around 10 inches at the shoulder and a weight that typically ranges between 6 and 8 pounds, they are small enough to be carried around easily but sturdy enough to keep up with their owner's activities. Their compact size also makes them ideal for apartment living or for families who do not have a large yard for their pet to play in. Despite their small size, the English Toy Terrier is a breed that is full of energy and loves to play and explore their surroundings. They are also known for their intelligence and trainability, which means that they can learn new tricks and skills quickly and easily. Overall, the English Toy Terrier's size and weight make them an ideal pet for anyone who wants a loyal and loving companion that is both small enough to manage and full of energy and personality.

Coat and Color

One of the most distinctive features of the English Toy Terrier is its coat. This short and smooth covering comes in two striking color options - black and tan or all black. Their sleek and shiny coat makes these dogs truly stand out, while their small and compact size adds to their appeal. Despite their tiny stature, this breed has a bold temperament and an adventurous spirit that belies their size. The softness of their fur is a delight to touch, and their overall appearance is truly captivating. No matter where you go with an English Toy Terrier, they are sure to turn heads with their stunning coat and charming personality.

Ears and Tail

One of the most distinctive features of the English Toy Terrier is its naturally erect ears, which give them an attentive and alert appearance. They are small and triangular, sitting atop their sleek, refined heads. Yet it is their long, slender tails that truly set them apart, although it's worth mentioning that the practice of tail docking is becoming less common worldwide. Despite their diminutive size, these dogs have an almost cat-like grace in their movement, with a fluid and confident gait that perfectly complements their elegant appearance.

Temperament and Training

The English Toy Terrier is a highly intelligent and loyal breed that loves to please their owners. They are known for being affectionate and playful, but can also be aloof with strangers. Training this breed is important to ensure they are well-behaved and obedient.


The English Toy Terrier's intelligence is truly impressive. They have the ability to understand and utilize a diverse vocabulary, making communication with their owners a breeze. Their minds are quick and able to process complex commands, picking up on new tricks with ease. With proper training, they can learn a wide range of behaviors, from simple obedience to more advanced concepts such as agility or tracking. Their intelligence also means they crave mental stimulation, so it's important to provide them with puzzles or games to keep their minds active. Overall, the English Toy Terrier's intelligence and ability to learn quickly make them a wonderful pet for those who are patient and willing to invest the time into their training.

Loyalty and Affection

Loyalty and affection are two of the hallmarks of the English Toy Terrier. This breed is known for their unwavering devotion to their owners and a desire to be close to them at all times. They have a unique ability to understand their owner's moods and respond accordingly, making them an excellent choice for those who want a companion that is always there for them. Whether you are looking for a pet that will curl up next to you on the couch, or one that will accompany you on long walks, the English Toy Terrier is up for the challenge. Their loyalty and affectionate nature are just a few of the reasons why so many people have fallen in love with this breed.


One of the most endearing qualities of the English Toy Terrier is their playfulness. They have a boundless energy that is contagious, and they love to engage in a variety of activities. From playing fetch to running around the yard, these dogs are always on the go. They also enjoy learning new tricks and games, which can be a great way to bond with your furry friend. Whether it's a game of hide and seek or a stimulating puzzle toy, your English Toy Terrier will be up for the challenge. They are a breed that thrives on mental stimulation and interaction, so be sure to utilize a diverse vocabulary when teaching them new skills. With patience and consistency, you can channel their playfulness into productive and rewarding training sessions that will benefit both you and your furry companion.

Aloofness with Strangers

Despite their affectionate and playful nature, the English Toy Terrier can be aloof with strangers. This can make them appear stand-offish or disinterested in new people, but it is simply a result of their natural inclination to guard their loved ones and territory. To help mitigate this aloofness, it is important to socialize your terrier early and often. Introducing them to new people, experiences, and environments can help build their confidence and reduce their anxiety. Additionally, utilizing a diverse vocabulary when giving commands can help keep their attention and prevent them from becoming bored or distracted during training sessions. With patience and consistency, the English Toy Terrier can become a well-behaved and loyal companion for years to come.

Health and Care

Like all breeds of dog, the English Toy Terrier can be prone to certain health issues such as patellar luxation and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper care can help keep your pet healthy and happy.

Common Health Issues

As mentioned earlier, the English Toy Terrier may be susceptible to patellar luxation and progressive retinal atrophy, which are both conditions that may require medical intervention. Patellar luxation, also known as a dislocated kneecap, can cause discomfort and lameness if left untreated. Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative eye disease that can lead to irreversible blindness. Owners of this breed should be aware of the signs of these conditions and take their dogs to the vet regularly to catch potential issues early. Additionally, a balanced diet rich in nutrients and regular exercise can help maintain overall health and potentially prevent these issues from developing. With proper care, English Toy Terriers can live long and happy lives.

Preventative Care

Preventative care is crucial when it comes to maintaining the health of your English Toy Terrier, especially if they are prone to certain health issues. For patellar luxation, it's important to keep your dog at a healthy weight and avoid any activities that could exacerbate the condition. Additionally, consider providing them with joint supplements and regular exercise to strengthen their muscles. In regards to progressive retinal atrophy, regular eye exams with a veterinary ophthalmologist can catch potential issues early on. Proper nutrition, daily exercise, and keeping your dog away from environmental toxins can also help prevent the onset of this condition. Remember, early detection and intervention can make a huge difference in your dog's overall health and quality of life.

Exercise and Activity

Exercise and activity are crucial for maintaining the overall health and wellbeing of your English Toy Terrier. However, it is important to note that certain health conditions such as patellar luxation and progressive retinal atrophy may affect their ability to engage in certain types of physical activities. Therefore, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate level and type of exercise for your pet. Engage your dog in brisk walks, indoor games, and low-impact activities such as swimming to avoid putting too much strain on their joints. Additionally, mental stimulation through training and playtime is equally important for keeping your English Toy Terrier happy and healthy. By providing your furry friend with regular exercise and activity, you can ensure that they live a long and fulfilling life.


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