English Toy Terrier Breed Information and Buying advice

English Toy Terrier

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a English Toy Terrier?

Quick English Toy Terrier Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Toy (5/8)
No (2/2)

Good things often come in small packages. England’s smallest toy breed, the English Toy Terrier, is a loyal and loving companion that’s well worth the effort of finding one as a puppy. They are sometimes referred to as the Toy Manchester Terrier or Black and Tan due to the colour of their coat. Many people mistake this breed for a smaller Dobermann Pinscher. While they do bear many similarities, they’re nothing alike in temperament nor are they related. This breed is currently listed as being vulnerable by the Kennel Club of Great Britain due to their dwindling numbers. On account of their excellent qualities and in order to preserve the breed, owning an English Toy Terrier puppy is something owners should feel proud of.  

Why English Toy Terriers are Great

Some highlights of English Toy Terriers:

  1. Adaptable: since this breed is so small, it can live comfortably in many different environments including urban flats.

  2. Loyal: this breed is an ideal companion pet that is loving and loyal to his owner.

  3. Grooming: English Toy Terriers are fairly easy to maintain in terms of grooming.

  4. Shedding: English Toy Terriers don’t shed very much hair at all.

  5. Watchdog: this breed is a good choice for a reliable watchdog.


Things to Consider when Looking at English Toy Terriers for Sale

Some downsides to the English Toy Terrier:

  1. Rarity: English Toy Terriers are listed as a vulnerable breed and may be difficult and/or costly to acquire.

  2. Barking: this breed tends to bark often and may bark compulsively if not properly trained.

  3. Prey drive: as a rat-catching breed, English Toy Terriers will chase anything that moves.

  4. Child-friendly: although they get along well with older children and adults, they may become too excited around young children and toddlers.


History of the English Toy Terrier

The ancestors of the English Toy Terrier date back to the 15th century, but it would not be until the Industrial Revolution in Britain that the modern breed would begin to take form. The small size of the English Toy Terrier was useful in the work conditions of Manchester for its superb ability to chase and catch rats in smaller, confined areas. Consequently, breeders sought to breed ever smaller terriers, perhaps mixing in some Italian Greyhound in order to breed the English Toy Terrier of today. This breed was widely used in rat pits in Victorian England, a sport in which English Toy Terriers were tasked with killing as many rats as possible. This breed was exceptional at this sport, but it was later outlawed and English Toy Terriers then became popular as companion pets in homes both in the UK as well as in America where they were exported in large numbers. The English Toy Terrier became a vulnerable breed in the second half the the 20th century and remains a rare breed in the UK to this day.  


English Toy Terriers resemble a miniature Dobermann Pinscher. Their coats of fur are quite similar and so too are their physique and disposition. In fact, they are often mistaken for smaller variations of the Dobermann Pinscher despite having no shared ancestry. This breed is compact and displays elegance in its horse-like trot. They are distinguished easily by their upward-pointing ears that resemble candle flames. The only coat colours that are permitted are black and tan. Their coats are short, thick, and glossy.  

How big is the English Toy Terrier?

English Toy Terriers are small-sized dogs. Males and females alike grow on average to 25-30 cm in height.  

How heavy is an English Toy Terrier?

Fully-grown adult male and female English Toy Terriers weigh between 3-4 kg on average.  

What colour is the English Toy Terrier?

This breed has the following commonly-accepted coat colours:

  • Black and Tan.

  Black is the predominant colour and should abruptly clash with tan markings on the legs, chest, and face.  


Although English Toy Terriers look small and resemble Dobermanns, they are still terriers at heart and exhibit many of the qualities of terriers. They never appear nervous and are always eager and alert, owing to their past use as dogs in rat pits. Prospective owners should be aware that this breed is highly intelligent and energetic. Breeds with a combination of these qualities tend to require plenty of mental and physical stimulation in order to keep healthy and to remain happy. As a spirited breed, English Toy Terriers love interacting with owners and families but will require some training and socialisation as puppies in order to grow into loyal, obedient companions.  

Do English Toy Terriers make good guard dogs?

This breed can perform watchdog abilities superbly thanks to its alert temperament and ability to bark to alert their owners of any suspicious activity. They are poor guard dogs, however.  

Do English Toy Terriers bark a lot?

English Toy Terriers are known to bark, often excessively if they aren’t receiving attention from owners and their families. Train them as puppies to bark only when they need to and to prevent compulsive barking.  

Are English Toy Terriers easy to train?

English Toy Terriers are intelligent and can be trained fairly easily, but they will require plenty of patience and persistence as puppies to ensure that they are socialised properly. Puppies that haven’t been properly trained obedience may become excessive barkers and may let their independent sides take over.  

Are English Toy Terriers playful?

This breed enjoys playing, particularly as puppies. Since they are so small as puppies, always supervise them whilst playing.  

Are English Toy Terriers good with children?

This breed is known to get along well with children, but younger children may pose some problems. English Toy Terriers can be excitable and sometimes mischievous, so keep an eye on them if they’re playing around young children or toddlers.  

Are English Toy Terriers good with other pets?

This breed tends to get along well with other dogs provided that he’s been socialised as a puppy. Smaller pets and cats may trigger their high prey drive however. Do not forget that this breed was designed to kill rats.  

Can I leave a English Toy Terrier alone?

English Toy Terriers are able to be left alone for moderate amounts of time. This doesn’t mean they should be neglected, so be prepared to spend plenty of time with them to avoid boredom and mischievous behaviour.  

Do English Toy Terriers like water?

Although they may be small, English Toy Terriers tend to enjoy swimming. As puppies, allow them to dip their paws in initially and to become comfortable around water before allowing them to swim.  


How long do English Toy Terriers live? 

Generally, English Toy Terriers are expected to live anywhere from 9-15 years.  

How much exercise does a English Toy Terrier need?

For such an excitable breed, English Toy Terriers don’t require much exercise at all. Approximately half an hour per day should be spent taking them outdoors for a walk or to play in the park or garden.  

What are an English Toy Terrier’s common health issues?

English Toy Terriers are known to suffer from a few common health issues, including:

  • Patellar luxation;

  • Von Willebrand’s disease;

  • Deafness;

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease;

  • Glaucoma;

  • Cataracts.



How much space do I need for an English Toy Terrier? 

English Toy Terriers are very adaptable and can live comfortably in flats and homes of all sizes. They are an ideal choice for owners living in small flats and in cities, but they’ll be just as happy in large homes in the country as well.  

What should I feed my English Toy Terrier?

A fully-grown English Toy Terrier should be fed ¼ to 1 cups of high-quality dog food every day, divided into two meals. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding.  

How much grooming do English Toy Terriers need?

This breed has low grooming requirements and requires infrequent maintenance due to his short, thick coat of fur. Brush them once a week to keep their fur healthy and clean.  

Do English Toy Terriers shed?

This breed doesn’t shed much hair at all and thus requires little routine cleaning to keep dander and hair under control.  

Average Costs

How much does it cost to keep a English Toy Terrier?

As a rough guide in pricing:  Cost to buy: roughly £800-900 for a well-bred English Toy Terrier puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £50-80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your English Toy Terrier puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder.  More specifically, here is some English Toy Terrier puppy buying advice:

  1. English Toy Terriers are a rare breed in the UK and are currently listed by the Kennel Club as a vulnerable breed due to their dwindling numbers. English Toy Terrier puppies may take a long time on waiting lists to acquire, so patience is necessary for any prospective owners.

  2. Although English Toy Terriers are an excellent breed for first-time owners and tend to be low maintenance in terms of grooming and training, the importance of proper training as a puppy should not be understated. Improper or infrequent training can lead to excessive barking or mischievous behaviour, such as chewing carpets and furniture around the home.


Other Reading, Adopting English Toy Terrier Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: The English Toy Terrier Club: https://www.english-toy-terrier-club.co.uk/breeders-and-puppies/breed-welfare-rescue/  English Toy Terrier Society: https://www.englishtoyterriersociety.co.uk/436058148  Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=6153 UK Dog Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet Federation Cynologique Internationale: https://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/013g03-en.pdf

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