The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan): Everything You Need to Know

Are you searching for a fun-loving and affectionate dog breed to become your new four-legged friend? Look no further than the English Toy Terrier breed, commonly known as Black & Tan.

These delightful little dogs have a fascinating history and charming personalities and make loyal companions. Keep reading to learn more about the great English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan).

A Brief History of the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) breed has a heritage that can be traced back centuries. These dogs were originally bred in England to control the rat population in households and stables.

Origins and Ancestry

The breed was developed by breeding and miniaturization of Manchester Terriers with Italian Greyhounds, creating a smaller dog with a sleeker, more streamlined appearance.

The Manchester Terrier was originally bred in the Manchester area of England in the 19th century. They were used for ratting and rabbiting, as well as for hunting small game.

The Italian Greyhound, on the other hand, was bred in Italy as a companion dog for the aristocracy. The breed was known for its elegance and grace, as well as its affectionate nature.

Development of the Breed

The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) was recognized in England in the late 1700s and was immensely popular among the upper class. They were often kept as lapdogs and even became fashionable accessories during the Victorian era.

The breed was also used in the show ring, where its sleek appearance and playful nature made it a favorite among judges and spectators. However, its popularity declined in the early 1900s.

The breed was nearly extinct by the end of World War II, but a small group of dedicated breeders worked to revive the breed. Today, the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) remains a rare breed.

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1962. In the United States, the breed is known by a different name – the Toy Manchester Terrier.  

Physical Characteristics of the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

Size and Weight

The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) is a small and compact breed, weighing only around 6 to 8 pounds when fully grown. Breed members usually stand no more than 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder, 

Despite their diminutive size, they are sturdy and muscular, with a well-proportioned body. English Toy Terriers are perfect pets for people living in small apartments or homes without yards.

Coat and Color

As their name suggests, the English Toy Terrier has a black coat with tan markings on its legs, face, and chest. The black is glossy and lustrous, while the tan markings are rich and warm, creating a striking contrast.

The English Toy Terrier’s coat is short, smooth, and shiny, requiring minimal grooming to keep them looking smart. Weekly brushing is generally enough during non-shedding seasons.  

Distinctive Features

The most distinctive feature of the English Toy Terrier is their large, elegant ears, giving them a regal and sophisticated appearance. They are set high on the head and are carried erect, adding to the dog’s alert expression.

The eyes are bright and intelligent, reflecting the breed’s curious and playful nature. In the past, the tail was docked to a short length to ensure a neat and tidy appearance, but the practice is banned in modern times. 

Personality and Temperament

General Disposition

Despite their history as ratters, the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) is generally a calm and affectionate breed who thrives on human attention. They are loyal and devoted to their family, making them excellent companions for individuals and families alike.

English Toy Terriers are known for their playful and energetic nature. They love to play and run around, but they also enjoy cuddling up with their owners on the couch. They are a great fit for families with children, as they are patient and gentle with kids.

Intelligence and Trainability

The English Toy Terrier is highly intelligent and can be trained to perform a variety of tricks and obedience commands. Breed members are quick learners and enjoy the mental stimulation that training provides.

It is important to note that this breed can be sensitive to harsh training methods. Positive reinforcement is the best method of training for English Toy Terriers, as they respond well to praise and rewards. 

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

Early socialization is crucial for this breed, as English Toy Terriers can be reserved with strangers and may become aggressive towards other dogs if not socialized properly.

It is important to expose them to a variety of people, places, and animals from a young age to prevent any behavioral issues. Always supervise the breed’s interaction with smaller animals due to its history as ratters.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Like all dog breeds, the English Toy Terrier is prone to certain health issues, such as: 

  • Patella Luxation: An orthopedic problem in which the kneecap pops out from its normal place, causing severe pain and lameness 
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: A specific coagulopathy in which the dog’s blood cannot clot properly, resulting in an increased risk of bleeding 
  • Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Enlargement of the heart that impairs its ability to pump blood efficiently and occurs during puppyhood 
  • Hereditary Deafness: The breed is prone to congenital hearing problems and members are often born completely or partially deaf  

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

As with any pet, it is important to keep up with regular checkups and preventative care. This includes annual vet exams, regular vaccinations, and parasite prevention. Proper dental care and a healthy diet are also essential for the overall well-being of your English Toy Terrier.

Life Expectancy

English Toy Terriers (Black & Tan) have a relatively long lifespan of over 12 years when taken care of properly. Dogs with excellent genetic backgrounds are healthier and tend to live longer. 


The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) is an ideal companion for those seeking a loyal, affectionate, and easy-to-care-for dog. It is small in size but big in personality, bringing joy and affection to its owner.

By understanding the English Toy Terrer’s history and unique traits, you can provide the best care and attention to your new pet and build a lifelong bond with your furry friend.

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