The Extinct English White Terrier: Everything You Need to Know

The English White Terrier is a now-extinct fox-working terrier with a unique look and pricked ears. The dog lived in Britain and was quite popular in the late 18th century.

In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about the English White Terrier, including its history, physical characteristics, personality, and extinction.

A Brief History of the English White Terrier

Origins and Development

The English White Terrier was developed in Britain, but the exact ancestry is unknown. Some believe it originated accidentally while breeding Manchester Terriers, and others say it was developed by crossing Fox Terriers with either Italian Greyhounds or Whippets. 

The initial purpose of the breed was to work as a hunting dog. However, people soon realized that the English White Terrier was not a skilled hunter and started to use breed members as show dogs in competition rings. 

The Breed’s Decline and Extinction

The English White Terrier faced numerous health problems as a result of careless breeding practices. It was also difficult to train the breed, and some dogs exhibited aggressive behaviors. The breed’s popularity decreased in the early 1900s, and they were no longer bred actively.

By the mid-1900s, the breed had become extinct due to a lack of breeding stock and poor health. By 1960, the English White Terrier was officially declared extinct by the Kennel Club.

Physical Characteristics of the English White Terrier

Size and Weight

The English White Terrier was a small to medium dog, with females being slightly smaller than males. Breed members weighed between 8 and 35 pounds and stood around 10 to 15 inches tall at the withers. 

Coat and Color

The English White Terrier had a short, smooth, and fine coat that required minimal grooming. The breed was usually pure white and had no markings or spots, which made it easy to identify. Its coat was soft to the touch and added to its overall charming appearance.

Distinctive Features

The English White Terrier had a wedge-shaped head with small, pricked ears giving it a unique appearance. The breed had a black nose and dark eyes that were small and piercing, which added to its alert and intelligent expression.

The dog’s legs were straight and muscular, and it had small, round feet that were perfect for running and jumping. The English White Terrier was a highly active breed that required regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Personality and Temperament

The English White Terrier was a highly energetic breed and was always up for a good adventure. Despite their high energy levels, they were also capable of being calm and gentle, making them great lap dogs and cuddle buddies. 

General Disposition

The English White Terrier was a playful and active breed that loved to be outdoors. They were very alert and made excellent watchdogs, always ready to sound the alarm if they sensed any danger.

Interaction with Children and Other Pets

The English White Terrier was a great family dog and got along well with children of all ages. They were very tolerant of their playfulness and energy and loved to join in on the fun. 

Trainability and Intelligence

The English White Terrier was a highly intelligent breed, but they could also be quite stubborn at times. However, with proper training, consistency, and positive reinforcement, the English White Terrier could learn obedience commands quickly.

Health Issues and Lifespan

Deafness was the most common health problem in the breed, and it was present in up to 80% of English White Terriers. There is not much information about the breed’s lifespan but many breed members did not reach an old age.


The English White Terrier was a charming and friendly breed of dog that was popular in the 19th century. However, due to poor breeding practices and health problems, the breed became extinct in the mid-1900s.

Despite its extinction, the English White Terrier remains an important part of dog breed history. The breed’s unique characteristics and contributions to the development of other breeds have left a lasting impact on the canine world. 

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