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English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

Other names: English toy terrier Black and Tan

English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)
English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

The English Toy Terrier is an energetic, smart breed, who is also very affectionate and loyal to its owners. They are understood to be the oldest, native, toy breed and are quite difficult to find. This good-natured breed are quite playful and love to please their owners. However, as with most terriers, they have a high prey drive and might not get along with other pets and small animals.


Key facts about the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

  • Life expectancy : Between 11 and 13 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful, Hunter
  • Size : Small
  • Type of coat : Very short, Short
  • Price : Between £515 and £930

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers


Section 4 : Toy Terriers

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

Adult size

Female dog Between 10 and 12 in
Male dog Between 10 and 12 in


Female dog Between 4 and 7 lb
Male dog Between 4 and 7 lb

Coat colour

The dog’s coat is always Black and Tan coloured. The tan shade being a rich chestnut brown and the black, a dark ebony shade. The colours must be clearly defined and not run into each other.

Type of coat


The English Toy Terrier sports a close-hair, glossy coat.

Eye colour

Dark to black eye colour.


It’s very easy to confuse the English Toy Terrier dog with the Miniature Pinscher, as they both have a very similar black and tan coat. Their body shape is also very alike, however the only noticeable difference is their size.

The English Toy Terrier has a narrow, long, and wedge-shaped head and a black nose. The eyes of the English Toy terrier are almond shaped, small and dark to black in colour. With ears having pointed tips and candle flame-shaped, yet very thin when touched. The dog’s front legs are strong, fine-boned and straight and he has a compact body shape. The back legs, likewise are very strong and muscly, ending in very small feet adorned with black toe-nails. The terrier’s tail is set low, tapered near to the tip but thicker at the root.



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On the whole, the English Toy terrier is a friendly little character, affectionate and totally devoted to his family. Many of the Toy breed dogs are bred as lap dogs or small companion dogs who love attention.


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These small terriers have a very playful side to their personality. Although sometimes quite cheeky and mischievous, they love to entertain when the mood takes them.


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As a member of the terrier breed, albeit the toy group, he has inherited some of the feisty, terrier temperament and isn’t often rested and calm.


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Certainly a very intelligent breed, always willing to please their owner. If they receive one-to-one attention during their training periods, which they love, they do very well at quickly picking up new tasks. However, this also means that they’re capable of picking up bad behaviours and habits too.


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As is the norm with terrier breeds with a high prey drive, they love to chase almost anything that runs in front of them.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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In some cases, the English Toy terrier can be quite aloof when unknown visitors are in his home. However, this can often be remedied with early socialisation from a young age.


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Very clever dogs, they are also fast learners. Incidentally, they do like to think for themselves and can also be quite stubborn and mischievous at times. This is often true among many of the terrier breeds.

Behaviour of the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

Tolerates solitude

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Although the English Toy terrier isn’t as active as some other small dog breeds, he isn’t happy when left on his own for long periods. These small, affectionate canines form strong bonds with their family, and love being around them and involved in the family activities.

Easy to train / obedience

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As these small terriers are such independent thinkers, it is important that they are trained and socialised early. As with many other sensitive breeds, he’s not too happy with harsh words or reprimands when training. You will probably discover that this high-energy, lively little dog will respond better to positive reinforcement methods, which will bring out the best in him.


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These small dogs tend to like hearing their own voices and barking is quite a common occurrence with the English Toy terrier.

Tendency to run away

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You will find that any terrier with an independent streak, think they know their own mind and will happily wander off. Add to this mix his inbuilt hunting instinct, and it just takes one sniff of a scent and he will be off without a backward glance at you.


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 If this dog is denied the attention he craves, he can be quite destructive around the home. As a loving, yet curious pup, he needs to be close to his family for the majority of the day. If left alone, without company, he can show quite destructive tendencies.

Greedy / Gluttony

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This small terrier dog is prone to greed and it’s very easy for him to put on extra weight. Care must be taken to offer a diet higher in fibre and lower in protein and that he isn’t overfed.

Guard dog

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The English Toy terrier is generally on the alert to what is going on around him. Because of this, they make great watchdogs, often barking at everything, not just because he likes the sound of his own voice. However, because of their small size, this terrier isn’t going to make a guard dog to defend you and your property.

First dog

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These people-orientated and amenable little dogs are a brilliant choice for first pets. They love nothing better than to entertain and please their owner.


English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) in a flat

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English Toy terriers are very adaptable dogs and assuming they receive plenty of mental stimulation on a daily basis, to stop them becoming bored, and sufficient exercise each day, they will be just as content living in a flat, as in a large house. Of course, they will be even happier if they have a small amount of outside space to run around and play.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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This small dog breed is less active than some other terrier breeds. His exercise needs are likely to be met with just one short walk each day, providing he receives playtime activities too. Ideally, between 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day will help to support an obedient, well-rounded dog.

Travelling / easy to transport

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This Black and Tan Toy terrier is small enough to travel in the boot of a car, and likewise, on public transport. He is certainly the correct size to be carried and in fact enjoys nothing better than being in his master’s arms.


English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) and cats

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Providing the cat and the young English Toy terrier are cohabiting together from a young age, they will get along fine together. However, anything smaller than a cat and the terrier is going to presume its prey, and that it needs to be chased and hunted down.

English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) and dogs

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As with living with a feline, if socialised together from the puppy stage, this terrier will get along just fine with other canines.

English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) and children

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This affectionate and loyal dog breed just loves to play with children. It can be an excellent pet choice for an older child, but care must be taken with a younger toddler, who may handle the tiny puppy rather roughly. The English Toy terrier absolutely loves interactive games but make sure you supervise when dogs and kids are together, to ensure things don’t get too excitable.

English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) and the elderly

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This very companionable, loyal dog has an easy temperament and although he would love the friendship and care provided by an elderly owner, he much prefers to be busy and on the go. Because of this, he is more suited to people who spend more time outdoors.


The average price of a KC registered, English Toy terrier is around the £930 mark and £515 for a dog not registered at the KC.

In addition, when you take into account the feeding costs to provide a good quality, nutritious dog food, either wet or dry, this can mount up to between £20 and £30 each month. Then you need to factor in the cost of either spaying or neutering the pup when they are old enough, plus annual health checks, vaccinations and annual boosters, together with pet insurance cover and the average monthly cost is between £50 to £80.


The Black and Tan Toy terrier has a dense, short coat that doesn’t take a lot to groom and keep him looking well.  A quick brush of his coat, once a week, and then a polish over with a chamois leather cloth. will keep his hair in pristine condition. His ears also need an inspection on a regular basis, to make sure they are clean and without any wax build-up.


This canine breed shed their hair throughout the year, but as the hair is quite short, it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

Nutrition of the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

Feed a proprietary, nutritious canine food product, either wet or dry. It’s best to continue with the same food type that they begin to eat as a small puppy, to prevent any digestive upsets. Some older Toy terriers are known to be quite finicky or fussy eaters. It is certainly not a good idea to pander to their whims, or you could make things worse. The ideal situation is to find which diet suits them best.

Health of the English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

Life expectancy

When properly cared for and given a good quality, nutritious diet, the average life expectancy of this terrier breed is between 11 to 13 years.

Strong / robust

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As dogs that have been bred and used to chase and kill vermin, they need to be fearless, stubborn and alert.

Withstand heat

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As the English Toy terrier has a relatively short coat, he doesn’t cope too well in extreme temperatures. Be aware that he can suffer from heat stress during the hot, summer months. However, one great advantage is that this little dog loves to swim, and he will dive into the water to cool down whenever he is too warm.

Withstand cold

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With his naturally fine coat hair, he certainly feels the cold when the temperatures fall. You will possibly even discover that he doesn’t enjoy going outside for toilet duties in the chilly winter weather. A coat might be advisable to keep him warm.

Tendency to put on weight

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Many small terrier-size dogs can very easily gain weight if they are fed too often and don’t receive sufficient, active, daily exercise. Toy lap dogs also tend to receive too many dog treats, which doesn’t help with their weight control.

Common illnesses

  • Patella Luxation 
  • Congenital deafness 
  • Skin mange
  • Von Willebrand’s disease 
  • Juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Heat stress
  • Eye problems including Glaucoma, Cataracts and Lens luxation.

Good to know

The English Toy terrier, is currently recognised by the UK Kennel Club, as a vulnerable, native breed. Because of this, great emphasis is being placed on the breed to boost the dogs’ popularity. It is hoped that the more people learn and understand about the fabulous and appealing characteristics and personalities of the breed, then numbers will increase. If you wish to obtain one of these charming pups, you will have to register your interest with a breeder and be included on a waiting list.

Origins and history

This breed of toy dogs dates back to the 15th century, according to historic records. However, it gained in popularity around the 1800’s when they were used as ratters. The country was overrun with these vermin, and the little dogs did a fantastic job of keeping their numbers low. At this time, they were called Miniature Black and Tan terriers, until 1960, when the breed title was changed to the English Toy terrier.

In later years, breeders were known to interbreed dogs in an attempt to produce the smallest dog. This however, resulted in many congenital and hereditary health conditions and the reduction in terrier breed numbers.


Good names for an English Toy Terrier: Cappuccino, Jenna, Nori, Sia

Find out more dog name ideas here


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