The English toy terrier is a small terrier breed in the Toy Dog Group. It is considered one of the oldest native toy breeds and is similar in appearance to the Dobermann. In the US and Canada, the English toy terrier is the same breed as the Manchester terrier, albeit a smaller version. However, in the UK, the English toy terrier is considered a separate breed. It weighs 6–8 pounds and stands 25–30 centimetres at the withers. The English toy terrier is lively, sporty, and highly energetic by nature. It is an extremely loyal breed especially to its family.
Do you want to care for an English toy terrier? Here is a complete background of this lively toy dog breed.
The English toy terrier has been around since the sixteenth century, formerly referred to as the miniature black and tan terrier. This dog is a favourite breed in the 1800s for its hunting skills as a ratter, at a time when rats were a real problem throughout England. Very soon, competitions arose in specially designed rat pits, a sport popular in the cities of Victorian England. In the rat pits, betting would take place on how fast the English toy terrier breed can kill its quota of rats. However, the sport was outlawed in 1898 upon the formation of the Kennel Club.
As the time passed, the dog breed moved effortlessly into the show ring. The dog show entries were divided by weight. The weight division continued until the 1920s until the breed was separated into two breeds, the large Manchester terrier and the miniature black and tan terrier. The latter was renamed as English toy terrier in 1962.
Appearance and Grooming
The English toy terrier is a sleek and healthy dog breed that makes for an excellent companion dog. It weighs 6–8 pounds and stands 25–30 centimetres at the withers. It looks like a miniature Dobermann because of its black and tan colouring and body shape. In fact, the only real difference is its size. The head is long and narrow with overemphasised cheek muscles (wedge-shaped) that are well filled up under the ears, and a slight stop. It has a black nose and black almond-shaped eyes. The sparkle in the English toy terrier’s eyes adds to its alert appearance. Its ears are shaped like a candle flame, straight, long, and curved with lightly pointed tips and usually set high on the back of the head.
The English toy terrier sports a thick and extremely glossy coat in its compact body, which means grooming is easy. All it needs is a weekly brush to keep its coat neat, and shiny. Despite its short coat, it sheds throughout the year and more during spring and autumn, which requires a frequent brushing. Aside from grooming its coat, it is necessary to check on its ears on a regular basis to prevent infection or too much wax build-up. Oral care and nail trimming are equally important to make sure that your English toy terrier is happy, healthy, and comfortable.
Temperament and Intelligence
This small dog breed is a loyal and loving companion who longs for the company of others. The English toy terrier has the typical personality of a terrier: brave, lively, and more than capable to hunt its share of rats or mice. It is inquisitive by nature and will follow its instincts to hunt especially when outside of the house.
It is wary of strangers and tends to bark at anyone approaching, but this can be lessened with obedience training and early socialisation. It is a lovable and sociable dog that is equally content in a city apartment or a farm as long as the owners are close in attendance and is given adequate physical and mental stimulation. If left alone for long periods, the English toy terrier may become bored and may develop bad habits.
The English toy terrier is great with children, but as a small breed, it is quite fragile and is not well-suited for rough play. This dog breed is not the best choice for families with younger kids that are not trained to handle small dogs. It gets on well with other dogs, but not with other smaller animals and pets. The hunting instinct of the English toy terrier will make it chase any small animals when an opportunity presents itself.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult English toy terrier is 1/4–1/2 cup of excellent-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. This diminutive dog breed may be small, but it will eat whatever you put in the bowl. Therefore, it is important to check with a veterinarian with regard to its specific feeding routine and nutritional requirements.
As a guide, the following are typical calorie needs of an adult English toy terrier per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 270 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 300 calories daily
- Physically active/working dog: up to 340 calories daily
As mentioned, the English toy terrier is not a picky eater and will eat whatever is in front of it. This means it is prone to become overweight. Excess weight on such a small breed can be detrimental to its health and will make it susceptible to some diseases. Make sure you avoid ‘free-feeding’ and always measure its intake.
Health and Exercise
When properly cared for, the average life expectancy of an English toy terrier can reach up to fifteen years. For the most part, this dog breed is healthy and tough. Like any dog breed, however, it is susceptible to health problems such as patellar luxation, canine deafness, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, skin problems, heat stress, and eye diseases such as glaucoma, lens luxation, and cataracts.
Regular exercise and adequate mental stimulation are required for this highly energetic and intelligent little dog. The English toy terrier will need at least thirty to sixty minutes of daily exercise. It enjoys the outdoors and must be given enough time to roam and run around a back garden that is well-fenced and secure.
Cost of Ownership
If you are considering raising an English Toy Terrier, you may need to spend between £800 and £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. It may cost more if it is from a reputable breeder. You would also need to go on a waiting list as this breed is rare in the UK. Other than the initial purchase, you also need to consider getting a pet insurance, which can cost anywhere from £20 for a basic cover up to £40 a month for a lifetime cover.
Food cost is another matter since you need to ensure that your dog stays healthy and well-fed at every stage of its life. To buy high-quality dog food, you will have to spend around £20–£30 a month. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be about £200 depending on the brand. Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £800-£1000 annually. On average, owning an English toy terrier will cost about £50–£80 a month, depending on the type of insurance.
English Toy Terrier Breed Highlights
- The English toy terrier looks like a miniature Dobermann with its black and tan colouring.
- It makes for a charming and loving family pet.
- It may not be the best choice for families with younger children due to its small size.
- The English toy terrier is easy to train because of its eager-to-please personality.
- It is a low-maintenance breed, but it sheds throughout the year and heavily twice a year.
- It is smart and highly energetic, so it requires adequate mental and physical stimulation.
Are you sure the English Toy Terrier is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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