English Toy Terrier Temperament: Fun and Feisty Little Guys!

The English Toy Terrier Temperament can be described as fun-loving and feisty. Although they may be small, English Toy Terriers are packed with terrier tenacity.



These petite terriers make great pets for people who are looking for big dog personality in a small, portable package.

In this article, we will take a closer examination of the most common English Toy Terrier traits.

English Toy Terrier Behaviors and Traits:

Below you will find the most common components of the English Toy Terrier temperament. However it is important to remember that all dogs are unique, so there will be some variation within individual specimens of the breed.

Tenacious, Plucky, and Brave

The English Toy Terrier may be small, but he is fearless.

Like many terrier breeds, the English Toy Terrier was bred to hunt and kill vermin.

Therefore, these dogs have a strong desire to chase and track down prey. They are tenacious when it comes to going after vermin.

These bold terriers will not back down from a fight or a perceived threat—even when their adversaries are much larger than them.

Due to their fearless nature, the English Toy Terrier actually makes a superb watchdog.

They can be Vocal

English Toy Terriers have a tendency to bark when they notice any type of possible threat.

This makes them great watchdogs, but this behavior can be a nuisance in certain situations.

For example, if you live in an apartment and your neighbors are sensitive to noise; this breed may not be the most considerate choice for apartment dwelling.

There are some things that you can do to avoid excessive barking, such as plenty of exercises and mental stimulation. However, a certain amount of noise probably cannot be avoided.

If you are looking for a quiet pet, this probably is not the ideal breed for you.

They Enjoy Daily Exercise

English Toy Terriers have a lot of energy and stamina for their size.

If you are looking for a small companion that can still keep up on long walks, jogs or hikes, this breed would be a great choice for you!

English Toy Terriers love to go on adventures and they can keep up with fairly active individuals.

Even though they are the same size as many lap dogs, English Toy Terriers are much more energetic than most of the breeds in the Toy Group.

If you add one of these dogs to your family, make sure you can dedicate plenty of time for exercise and playtime with your English Toy Terrier.

English Toy Terrier exercise can take the form of walks, jogs, or playtime in the yard. They absolutely adore toys, so be sure to stock up on a variety of fun play things!

English Toy Terrier Temperament with Children

English Toy Terriers can get along with children, as long as the children are respectful and gentle.

Due to their small and delicate stature, English Toy Terriers may not be the best choice for homes with very young children.

However, as long as the kids are old enough to understand how to be gentle, English Toy Terriers can thrive in homes with kids.

It is important for adults to supervise all interactions between children and dogs—regardless of breed.

English Toy Terrier Temperament with Other Dogs

If you want your English Toy Terrier to get along with other dogs, try to socialize him with other dogs from a young age.

Like many terrier varieties, English Toy Terriers can be a bit feisty with other dogs. They like to be the boss and they do not always respond well when other dogs try to take their toys or food.

You will need to supervise your English Toy Terrier very closely when he interacts with other dogs. Be sure to praise and reward good behavior around other dogs.

If possible, sign your English Toy Terrier up for a puppy socialization class or playgroup at a Doggie Daycare to improve his canine social skills.

English Toy Terrier Temperament with Cats and Small Pets

Most terrier breeds have an innate desire to chase cats and other small pets.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some English Toy Terriers can coexist peacefully with cats, rabbits, ferrets, etc.

However, be extra cautious if you introduce an English Toy Terrier into a home with small pets.

Conduct the introductions slowly, and always supervise their interactions, even if they seem to get along.

Remember these dogs were bred to kill vermin such as rats and mice. You cannot expect them to differentiate between a rat that is a pest and a hamster that is a family pet.

Always place your English Toy Terrier in his crate or in a separate room when you have to leave him unsupervised.

English Toy Terrier History

It is widely believed that the English Toy Terrier descended from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier.

English Toy Terriers were developed in Victorian England to kill rats. These dogs were used to hunt vermin on farms, but also to participate in a (now illegal) sport called rat baiting.

In this sport, small terriers were placed in rings with rats. Spectators placed bets on which dog could kill the most rats in the shortest amount of time.

After the sport was outlawed, the number of English Toy Terriers dwindled.

Today the breed is in danger of extinction. The United Kennel Club is trying to boost their popularity. The UKC has even opened the stud book to allow the closely related Manchester Terrier to interbreed with the English Toy Terrier in the hopes of revitalizing the gene pool.

English Toy Terrier Size and Appearance

The English Toy Terrier bears a close resemblance to the Manchester Terrier.

The average English Toy Terrier weight is between 6 and 8 lbs.

The average English Toy Terrier height is between 10 and 12 inches.

The only accepted English Toy Terrier colors are black and tan. All other colors will be disqualified from the show ring. Even small white patches are undesirable.

The ears are erect and the tail is long (not docked).

English Toy Terrier Training

Some owners describe this breed as “stubborn,” so you will need patience and a sense of humor when you train your English Toy Terrier.

Start training as soon as you bring your new dog home.

If you acquire your English Toy Terrier as a puppy, sign up for a puppy kindergarten class. This is a great opportunity to socialize your dog with other puppies and people.

If you acquire your dog as an adult, you can still sign up for a basic obedience class with a local trainer.

Be sure you find a force-free positive-reinforcement trainer. Do not use any type of physical punishment or painful training tools (such as pinch collars or shock collars) with these delicate dogs.

Training is a fun way to develop a closer bond with your dog.

Once you have gone through the basics, you can sign up for more advanced activities such as Agility, Barn Hunt, Lure Coursing, Nosework, or Therapy work.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your English Toy Terrier dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

English Toy Terrier Grooming

Grooming your English Toy Terrier is a fairly simple task.

Their short, glossy coats are easy to maintain with occasional brushing and bathing.

They also need their ears and teeth cleaned from time to time. It is also important to keep their nails trimmed.

English Toy Terrier Shedding

Shedding is minimal in this breed.

However, the English Toy Terrier is not considered hypoallergenic.

Staying Healthy: English Toy Terrier Health Issues

Like all purebred dogs, this breed can be prone to certain health conditions. Be sure to research these health issues and discuss them with a veterinarian before you bring a new dog home:

If you get your dog from a breeder, ask about genetic screening for these diseases.

Like all dogs, your English Toy Terrier should visit a veterinarian once per year for an annual checkup and vaccinations.

Your pet should also be on flea, tick and heartworm preventative at all times.

Spaying and neutering is highly encouraged for health, behavior and to prevent the further overpopulation of dogs in this country.

With good care, the average English Toy Terrier lifespan can be 14 to 15 years.

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English Toy Terrier Rescue and Adoption

If you decide that this is the right breed for your lifestyle, one option for acquiring your new pet is to adopt an English Toy Terrier through a rescue group or an adoption center.

If you would like to find an English Toy Terrier for adoption, you can contact the rescue coordinator for the English Toy Terrier Club. He or she can direct you to English Toy Terriers looking for new homes.

You can also search online using Google, Facebook, Petfinder, or Adoptapet.

Happily, English Toy Terriers are fairly rare in American animal shelters. However, it is still worth visiting your local shelter and humane societies. Let the staff know that you are looking for an English Toy Terrier or an English Toy Terrier mix.

Ask to leave an application on file. The staff might contact you about dogs with similar characteristics such as Manchester Terrier mixes or Min Pin mixes, and you might find that one of these dogs is the perfect dog for you!

Finding an English Toy Terrier For Sale from a Reputable Breeder

If you decide to purchase an English Toy Terrier puppy from a breeder, you will need to invest some time and effort into locating high-quality English Toy Terrier breeders.

Never purchase English Toy Terrier puppies over the internet or from a pet store. You might accidentally get a puppy from a puppy mill. It is worth the extra time and expense to visit the breeder in person and make sure your puppy comes from an ethical source.

A good way to start your search is to contact the national English Toy Terrier club and ask for a list of breeders in your region.

Remember, this is a rare breed in this country, so you may not have any options in your state. You may have to travel to meet the breeder in person.

Meet the Breeder

Once you identify a promising English Toy Terrier breeder, make an appointment to visit the breeder in person.

Ask to take a tour of the premises and meet the breeding dogs in person. Make sure the environment is clean and not overcrowded. Make sure the breeding dogs are well-treated and appear to be healthy and friendly.

Ask to view medical records and the results of any genetic testing.

Do not be surprised if there are no puppies available right away. You might have to be placed on a waiting list for an available puppy.

The breeder will likely have a list of questions to ask you as well. Responsible breeders want to make sure that their puppies are going to excellent homes.

Your breeder will probably ask you to sign a spay/neuter agreement. They will probably also ask you to return the dog to them if the placement does not work out for any reason.

When you purchase a puppy from a quality breeder, the English Toy Terrier price is generally between $800 and $1000, but can be higher.

If you choose to adopt through a rescue organization, the price will be considerably lower.

Conclusion: Why the English Toy Terrier

The spirited English Toy Terrier temperament makes this breed a lovable and entertaining companion.

English Toy Terriers are perfect pets for families that are looking for lively, energetic companions in a small and manageable size.

Even though they are small, English Toy Terriers still need a lot of exercise and attention. Before you add this dog to your family, be sure to do your research about the breed to make sure you can provide an English Toy Terrier with everything it needs for its whole life.