Description & History

The English Toy Terrier is one of the oldest English breeds, dating back to the fifteenth century.

They are descended from the smooth-coated variety of the Old English Black and Tan Terrier and are a smaller version of the Manchester Terrier. In Canada and the United States,the breed is known as the Toy Manchester Terrier.

Classified as a toy with terrier characteristics, they were essentially ratters and were used in rat pits in sporting contests. The main contests took place in London. In the latter part of the nineteenth century the sport also had a strong following in Paris and in the United States.

Small, compact and very robust, the ancestors of the breed had a reputation that was second to none in the north of England for controlling the rat population on farms and in homes. Many dogs were taken to Canada to help control rats in that country.

In the nineteenth century a deterioration of the breed was brought about by its popularity. Supply would not meet demand with the result that over-breeding took place. This generally weakened them and many poor specimens were whelped.

By the second half of the present century the breed had been re-established and in 1962 it was officially recognised by the British Kennel Club as the "English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan)".

Rosamund Walters.

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