Let's talk English Toy Terriers

English Toy Terriers may be small—but don’t underestimate them. This compact little breed from the north of England (they are known as Manchester Toy Terriers in the United States while the bigger Manchester Terrier is a separate breed) was originally developed for ratting but now makes a lively and affable companion dog, a loyal and playful nature presented in a shiny black-and-tan package. Those outlandishly large ears give these dogs a look of alertness borne out by their personalities: As well as affectionate pets they also make naturally gifted guard dogs.

Official name: English Toy Terrier

Other names: Toy Manchester Terrier

Origins: United Kingdom

English Toy Terrier lying down looking at camera in black and white
 Drooling tendencies:

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level: Medium
Suited to apartment living?  Very high
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *: Low Family pet? *
 Compatibility with other pets: Medium
Can stay alone? * Low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

Spider chart of English Toy Terrier characteristics
Illustration of English Toy Terrier
25 - 30 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
2.75 - 3.6 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
25 - 30 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
2.75 - 3.6 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 10 months
 Adult age: 10 months to 8 years
 Mature age:  8 to 12 years
 Senior age:  From 12 years


Get to know the English Toy Terrier

All you need to know about the breed

Sometimes known as ‘the Gentleman’s Terrier’, glossy-coated English Toy Terriers certainly cut an elegant figure. Their dashing style is perhaps due to the presence of the Italian Greyhound among the breed’s ancestors, along with Manchester Terriers, which themselves are thought to be among the ancestors of the Doberman Pinscher: Those shared origins are apparent from the English Toy Terrier’s sleek mahogany-and-chestnut coats, pointed muzzle and pricked up ears.

However, this centuries-old breed has a charm that is all its own. Originally bred as ratters in the north of England, English Toy Terriers now content themselves with the much more laid-back pursuit of loyal human companion. They still have a strong prey drive though, which means any off-the-lead runs need to be in a safely enclosed space. Once trained, they get on well with children, but like any other breed, should not be left alone with them.

English Toy Terriers also make excellent guard dogs, with an enthusiastic (and pretty loud) bark. But don’t let that put you off—these intelligent and eager-to-please dogs should be straightforward to train, if you’re patient, consistent and start early.


2 facts about English Toy Terriers

1. Hamsters beware

English Toy Terriers are not known to be an aggressive breed, and they are amenable to training. However, old habits die hard: Their origins do lie in catching small animals, so they’re not the best choice for households with small pets such as hamsters or guinea pigs.

2. Extended trot

It’s not just their shiny coats and quizzical expressions that give these little canines their distinctively dapper air. Dainty little English Toy Terriers also have a distinctive and stylish gait—referred to by experts as an ‘extended trot’. That stylish movement even forms part of the specified standards of the breed.


History of the breed

English Toy Terriers, also known as Toy Manchester Terriers, go back a long way—so it’s understandable that the breed’s exact origins are not entirely clear. What is certain is that small smooth-haired terriers have been around for many centuries.

The English Toy Terrier breed as it is defined today was developed over time from larger breeds including the Italian Greyhound and Manchester Terrier and emerged in the north of England during the industrial revolution. They were first bred in Manchester, hence the alternative name for the breed. Back in the late 18th and early 19th century, English Toy Terriers were mainly prized for their vermin-catching abilities. Thankfully, they’ve left those origins far behind and these inquisitive and affectionate dogs now make lovely pets.

English Toy Terrier looking away from camera in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of English Toy Terriers

1. Ears

Long curved ears carried high, smooth black and tan coat.

2. Head

Delicate wedge-shaped head and pointed muzzle.

3. Body

Compact build with tail tapering to the base.

Side view of English Toy Terrier looking up


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your English Toy Terriers
Close-up of English Toy Terrier looking away from camera


Caring for your English Toy Terrier

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Grooming is simple for sleek little English Toy Terriers—just a weekly brush or wipe down with a damp cloth and the occasional bath will keep their coats gleaming. Nails need trimming, teeth need regular brushing, daily if possible, and their trademark ears should be checked for any signs of dirt building up or debris, and cleaned as needed. English Toy Terriers’ exercise needs are easy to meet too. These dogs need regular walks as well as play sessions — chasing a ball will always do—but with little legs, the distances covered won’t be too much of a challenge. English Toy Terriers respond well to positive training and seem to really want to please their humans—start early and training should be straightforward. Socialisation from puppyhood is important too.


All about English Toy Terriers

Once trained, English Toy Terriers do get on well with children (although like any other breed they should not be left alone with them). However, they might not be the best choice for families with very young children: They’re so small that toddlers will tower over them and they might be intimidated by even accidental clumsiness.

If the English Toy Terrier has a downside, it might be their tendency to bark a little too much. Of course, that can be a useful attribute for a guard dog, but if you want to ensure your dog can distinguish between everyday sounds and activities and things that warrant a warning bark, early and consistent training will be essential.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/