Perhaps the oldest of Britain's native toy breeds, the English Toy Terrier is a descendent of the Old English Black and Tan Terrier and the larger Manchester Terrier. Traditionally a town dog in the 1800s, the English Toy Terrier was a frequenter in the rat-fighting pits and was commonly used to catch vermin within the Victorian home. From this period onwards, the English Toy Terrier has enjoyed great popularity as a domestic companion for its non-aggressive and affectionate nature.
Always black and tan in colour with a short coat, the breed possesses a variety of distinctive features, including high-set, candle flame ears, bright almond-shaped eyes and a narrow head structure. The dainty English Toy Terrier derives its name from its reduced size, earning it inclusion in the 'Toy' branch of canines, and from its Terrier characteristics and temperament. Traditionally bred to hunt, the English Toy Terrier is prone to chasing small animals, including rats, hamsters and guinea pigs. This breed will not usually display signs of being unduly nervous.
Whilst being discrepancies across gender, the average English Toy Terrier will weigh anywhere between 2.7-3.6 kg and has a life expectancy of approximately 12 years when shown appropriate care. Active-minded by nature, the English Toy Terrier will greatly benefit from open outdoor spaces in which to exercise and play, and has a general easy temperament, is companionable and loyal, prone to loud barking, intelligent and alert.
Due to the breed's characteristically short coat, it is unsuited to extremes in temperature and is susceptible to cold-related illness and heat stress. The English Toy Terrier is also vulnerable to weight-related disorders, gaining weight easily due to its small constitution, and feeding human foods is not encouraged for this reason. Besides this, there are documented cases of the breed experiencing eye disease, mange, lameness resulting from hip joint degeneration and von Willebrand's disease.
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