As a breed the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) must probably be Britain’s best kept secret.  It usually intrigues enquirers, when meeting it for the first time and asking “What sort of dog is it”? to discover that it is indeed credited with being our oldest identified breed of terrier and not an import of some rare or ‘newly discovered’ breed!  It is truly ‘English’ but we have to delve back through antiquarian books to uncover his antecedents and history, and also to make some fascinating discoveries along the way about the breed that has been known in turn just as Toy Terrier; Black and Tan Toy Terrier; Miniature Black and Tan Terrier; and as it is now by the officially approved Kennel Club name, designated since April 1960, as The English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan).

Until the first entries of Black and Tan Terriers in the stud books of the then newly formed Kennel Club in 1873, no centralised records were kept of the forerunners Of our breed, or of any other for that matter.  As long as dogs did the job they were bred for no one seemed to overly care about recording pedigrees.
The ETT is certainly not a commercial breed and in fact it is on the Kennel Club’s list of British Vulnerable Breeds that includes any breed that has less than 300 registrations per year.  This has always been the case with the ETT’s that have rarely recorded more than 100 in any twelve month period.  He has, and does, however enjoy a fanatical following from his devotees.  Why the breed should remain in relative obscurity is often questioned and perhaps the reason for its rarity lies deep in the Breeds history.
The first recorded dog show was held on 28th & 29th June 1859 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne although for only two breeds, pointers and setters.  The first all breeds show was held at Cheapside, Birmingham, December 3rd and 4th, 1860, judged by Mr. J.H. Walsh (Stonehenge) and the Black and Tan was the only breed to have classes to itself, divided according to weight: up to 5lb (2.2kg); 7lb (3.2kg); 9lb (4.1kg); and over 11lb (5kg).
The Shows proved to be popular, for instance at the London Ashburton Hall Show in 1863 there was an entry of 95 Black and Tan Terriers with classes in both sizes for uncut and cut ears.
From 1880 there is mention of Championship classes at certain shows and winning three first prizes entitled a dog to be entered in one of these classes.  To become a Champion a dog had to win four first prizes, one of which had to be gained in a Championship class.  Champion Dolly, owned by Mrs Balshaw, was the first Toy Black and Tan Terrier to be made up in 1884.


Extracts taken from a book entitled The English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) written by Roy Wilson - Amalek English Toy Terriers.  For an in-depth insight into this fascinating and versatile breed Mr Wilson’s book is a must read.





The Kennel club was founded in 1873 after Sewallis E Shirley became frustrated by trying to organise dog shows without a consistent set of rules to work with. Since the first dog show held in 1859, shows had become increasingly popular during the Victorian era. Shirley is listed as an exhibitor of Fox Terriers at the Birmingham Dog Show Society show in 1865. Together with a group of other gentlemen he organised the First Grand Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs held at Crystal Palace in June 1870. The show was not a financial success and the gentlemen of the committee had to make up the loss.

This seems to have been the trigger for Shirley calling a meeting with twelve others who had deep seated interests in judging and exhibiting pedigree dogs. The Meeting was held at 2 Albert Mansions, Victoria Street, London, a small flat with only three rooms. All business was conducted from there until a move to Pall Mall in May 1877.

It was decided they would be responsible for publishing a Stud Book and the first volume was published and ready to be distributed in December 1874. It listed pedigrees of dogs competing at shows from 1859 and also included a "Code of Rules for the guidance of Dog Shows and Field trials"

Shirley was appointed as chairman at the first annual general meeting of the KC on 1 December 1874.

The Kennel Club saw particular change under the chairmanship of John MacDougall during the period 1981 to 1996. Among the changes he helped introduce were the revamping of the Club’s constitution, the development of the Junior Organisation to encourage youth to participate in the sport of dog showing, and the creation of the library and the charitable trust. It was also under his stewardship that the registration system became computerised.

Extract from Wikipedia.org


Crufts was named after its founder, Charles Cruft who worked as general manager for a dog biscuit Manufacturer, James Spratt, travelling to dog shows both in the United Kingdom and internationally, which allowed him to establish contacts and understand the need for higher standards for dog shows. In 1886, Cruft's first dog show, billed as the "First Great Terrier Show", had 57 classes and 600 entries. The first show named "Crufts", "Cruft's Greatest Dog Show" was held at the The Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, in 1891. It was the first at which all breeds were invited to compete, with around 2,000 dogs and almost 2,500 entries.

September 2017

Following on from last month's question of why our ETT breed is in a 'vulnerable' state, in breed strength and also being low in numbers historically, a study of the K.C's Breed Records supplement which gives quarterly registrations of all breeds in the UK may give us some clues as to the current - and long term - reasons.

It is the bitches, of course, that provide us with the puppies so necessary if the breed is to continue in any strength, so let's take a look over the past seven years of records of births of the females with 2016 being the last complete one. I say seven years because that is the last year of a bitches age that the KC will register a litter unless there are special circumstances:


2010 – number born:  121 – bitches 52

2011 -    "        "           101      "        50

2012 -    "        "           110     "         54

2013      "        "            119    "         61

2014     "        "               89    "         37

2015     "        "               86     "        44

2016     "       "                93     "        49

                                     ___            ___      

                                    719               347


Of the total of 347 bitches born less than 50 have gone on to actually produce litters! There are of course the 93 of 2015/16 under 2 years of age (the generally accepted age for breeding) waiting in the wings but they will in turn only replace the 'oldies' who go out of the breeding pool.  The reason for this small percentage must be because so many of the potential breeding stock go to 'pet' homes whose owners, quite understandably, just want a companion dog. I was talking to a chap who rang up only this last week enquiring about the possibility of getting a bitch puppy who said he definitely had no interest in breeding as he didn't want the bother and couldn't face the trauma of it. I couldn't argue with that!


The English Toy Terrier has always only survived thanks to a dedicated small number of fanciers, probably no more than a couple of dozen; so we do need to encourage people, under the right circumstances, to go ahead and produce a litter or two. Whilst the endorsement 'R' (progeny not eligible for registration) are put on when a puppy is sold it can of course be lifted for a knowledgeable owner and for the right reasons. 

October 2017

 "When is an English Toy Terrier not an English Toy Terrier?" is a question that can be answered quite simply by: "When it is an American Manchester Terrier that has been re-registered  by the K.C. as an ETT, so it can then be shown and bred as an ETT.  The K.C. and the American Kennel Club have a reciprocal arrangement that allows an interchange and re-registration of imported dogs of a similar breed into each other's Countries.  So are the English Toy Terrier and the Manchester Terrier similar breeds? Well, to find the answer to that one we have to delve back into history – Henry Ford may have said that "History is bunk." but "If you don't know your breed's history you don't know your breed" – don't know who said that but very true it is.

Imports of Black & Tan Terriers (as they were called then) into North America from England began in the early 1800's although the first to be registered with the AKC, 'Lever', was in 1887. Fred McLean in Canada imported mostly Standards, the 1st in 1897, but also Toys, in setting up his renowned Willowdale Kennels. The breed was separated into two sizes by the American Kennel Club, never to be inter-bred, the smaller variety to be known as Toy Black & Tan Terrier and imports continued from England right up to and through the 1960's and they remained looking very much like our home bred variety. However, by then the 'Standard' size had declined very much in popularity, as had the 'Toy', and something needed to be done to save them from possible extinction. That 'something' was the courageous decision to take down the barriers of interbreeding and meld the two sizes into one breed with just one Breed Standard for both; and call it 'Manchester Terrier' and so, by a stroke, solve the problem! So that's it then: no matter what size they are, all puppies are registered as 'Manchester Terriers'. But what about showing? Some demarcation was needed as the 'Toy' breeders and owners naturally wanted to continue showing in the Toy Group. Simple solution: any dog up to 12 lbs would the 'Toy Variety' but solely as a description and for show purposes only; but it would continue to be a registered as 'Manchester Terrier' so that there was no hindrance to breeding large & small together if a breeder so desired. Although most breeders of the 'Toy' size do stick to their own variety it is not unknown for large-to-small breeding to be carried out, thus producing a bunch of mixed sizes with the smaller going into the toy ring as under 12 lbs (the maximum weight allowed for Toys) and the heavier eligible to be shown in the Terrier Group.

Now we come to importing a Manchester Terrier into the UK and its re-registration as an ETT. As they are all registered as M.T. in N.America without any indication of being 'Toy' variety or not, that brought a problem. The only evidence of one being so is on an American show dog's Champion Certificate where it states it to be of 'Toy Variety' . Thus the K.C. will only allow re-registration on production of the Champion Certificate, those without being denied. However, even with those care is needed by the person importing as, although the certificate states it to be a 'Toy', it could well be carrying a good proportion of 'Standard' genes in its background, and one does need to know the background and breeding of the dog before crossing it with an ETT. Also, it is possible to import one that does not have a 'Champion' title by the 'back door' of another Country where it has already been re-registered by the F.C.I.

As both breeds look very alike should the importation of American Manchester Terriers raise any problems anyway?  After all, a black & tan terrier is a black & tan terrier isn't it?  Of course MTs & ETTs have the same basic ancestry and so are compatible for breeding; but the Americans have developed different traits to the ETT and those who have an eye for a dog can spot differences that make them stand apart and see where they do not measure up against the British Standard. After all, as breeders with the future of the breed in our hands we do have a duty to breed to the K.C.Standard of Excellence; just as judges have a duty to know that Standard and to judge to it.

November 2017

Last month's (October) item certainly raised some questions about what actual differences – and similarities – there are between the two related breeds of 'English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)' and 'Toy Manchester Terrier', so let's take a look at some of the points that distinguish them and first  look at their overall appearance.

The ETT 'Standard' calls for a dog that is: 'A Toy with Terrier characteristics, well balanced, elegant and compact, sleek and cleanly built'. Also: 'Alert, remembering that historically he could acquit himself satisfactorily in the rat pit. Never unduly nervous.'  In the forequarters 'Fine bone eminently desirable.' Size: 'Ideal weight 6-8 lbs. Ideal height 10"-12" at shoulder'. 'Body compact, head and legs proportionate thus producing correct balance.'

Now the Manchester Terrier: 'The Toy is a diminutive version of the Standard variety'. Is 'sleek, sturdy, yet elegant ' and 'the smooth, compact, muscular body expresses great power and agility, enabling the Manchester to kill vermin and course small game. The Toy Variety shall not to exceed 12 lbs'.  No ideal height is specified, but:  'The Manchester Terrier, overall is slightly longer than tall. The height measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers, is slightly less than the length measured horizontally from the point of the shoulders to the rear projection of the upper thigh. The bone and muscle of the Manchester Terrier is of sufficient mass to ensure agility and endurance.'  


These are obvious differences between the two and, even without seeing them in the flesh, from these descriptions I think an impression can be formed that the two animals are somewhat different in conformation: the object of the TMT with its emphasis on sturdiness and muscle & bone mass, although elegant, is expected, apparently, to be a working dog able to kill vermin. Our ETT, even though he is well capable of killing a rat or picking up a rabbit - as many owners can testify - is predominantly a Toy but retaining the characteristics of a terrier; lighter in weight and with fine bone highly desirable. The 'eminently desirable fine bone' of the ETT is contrasted by 'bone & muscle of sufficient mass to ensure agility and endurance.' With respect I would comment that we should be trying to breed true Toy Terriers and not cart horses. ●



Probably the most distinctive difference in physical features between the ETT and Toy Manchester Terrier is that of the ears. In both breeds they have to be held erect of course but the ETT Standard specifies ears to be "candle-flame in shape".  Not so with the American description:  "Should be wider at the base tapering to pointed tips" and that "wide flaring ears are a serious fault".  I think that most of our ETT breeders and owners would agree that the ears are the most striking feature of our lovely breed of terriers and one that we should safeguard against losing. It is these 'candle flame' ears, together with clearly defined tan markings, that distinguish our ETT from the run-of- the-mill black & tans.

In U.S.A./Canada it is only the feature of erect standing ears – a 'must' for the Toys as no other type is allowed, together with the weight limit (12 lbs), that separates the Toy from the Standard Manchester as they are expected to be identical in all other attributes.  Interestingly, the Standard variety is allowed to be shown with any of three different types of ears, i.e. button (dropped); fully erect; and cropped (cut). The practice of cropping ears is still very much alive in N. America and it is unusual to see a Standard Manchester in their show-rings who have not undergone the mutilation. The reason, I was told, is that they like to see their dogs looking 'keen' (I took that to mean fierce - surely quite the opposite view to that of ourselves), and also as a correct button ear was difficult to achieve, cutting the ears was a way of getting them to stand erect and not risk flopping. I did see a Standard in the ring with lovely erect ears, one of Charles and the late Wanda Walker's 'St. Lazar' breeding. It turned out that it was got by Am.Ch.Amalek Jolly Swagman' that we had sent out to Jim Burrows & Pat Mackesey (Burmack) - so it does show that strong erect ears could be bred in if the will to do so existed.

There was an attempt by the American Kennel Club at one time to put an end to this practice (I think it was in the 'sixties, but can't be sure) and a vote on it was taken. However, although the majority voting were in favour of banning it, it failed to make the required two-thirds needed to pass it and so it has remained; to their shame I would say - but not in their widely held view obviously.

In the UK of course, as we all know, ear cropping was abolished many years ago. A proposition that was put to the K.C's  AGM to alter rule 23 of that time that "No dog born after 31 March 1895 or Irish Terrier born after 31 December 1889, can, if cropped, win a prize at any show held under Kennel Club rules" was supported by all K.C. members. The earlier date for the Irish Terriers was because a decision had previously been made in that year by the Irish to ban it in their Country.  Mind you, to crop or not to crop was a hotly contested topic nationally, even being debated in Parliament.  On the down side there were ramifications for our breed as, following its abolition, many breeders who wanted to retain cropping threw in the towel - a situation the dogs would have been happy with themselves possibly - but the consequence was that breed numbers did drop considerably.




Our breed's unequalled record Challenge Certificate winner still stands with 'Champion Lancer of Leospride' who had an amazing show career that started in 1968 and he had already won 5 CCs by the age of 9 months with his JW at 11 months, then going on to a total of 35 CCs with his last awarded at Crufts (for a third time) in 1974. At Windsor Championship Show he won the Veteran Class in 1976 with his tally over the years also including10 RCCs.

He had been bred by Mrs Eunice Roberts whose 'Leospride' kennel name was used as a suffix, as was allowed in those days if the breeder wished, and was born out of her 'Lalagie of Leospride' and got by 'Champion All Gold' who had been bred by Mr Frank Palmer and sold to Mds. Mankin & Scovell who added their Lenster kennel name to him.  'All Gold' proved to be no mean stud dog himself and 9 of his progeny gained their Champion titles.  

'Lancer' was bought and campaigned by Mrs L Boud 'Mynahguid' (mine are good!} although she did not show him herself preferring to employ Mr & Mrs W Crew to do the job for her – most brilliantly as it turned out.


Mrs Boud said that she continued to show him for all those years as she had been urged by people to continue to do so because he was such a lovely example of an English Toy Terrier and a great ambassador for our breed: there is no arguing with that as photographs of him at the stand show him to be all of that; and although I would like to have seen a more lay-back of shoulder, but judging by his poise, balance, and elegance there is no reason to doubt that his movement was equally to be admired. 

February 2018

The closest any ETT has come to Lancer's record 35 CC wins was the highest ever winning ETT bitch: Champion Brynlythe Tannia. She was bred and shown by Ted & Shirley Ellis-Jones. Born in October 1987 she was sired by Petronelle & Ruth Kitson's Champion Quinoa Old Holborn, her dam being Champion Brittanya of Brynlythe who had been bought from her breeder, Mrs M Hunt, and had Lancer in her pedigree as G.G.Grandfather. Her first ticket was awarded at the Birmingham National in 1989 and Shirley took her on to win a total of 26 CCs with 19 BOB at General Championship Shows, including a Crufts win in 1989. She also took 10 RCCs, the final one coming at the end of her show career at Windsor in 1993 in which year she whelped a litter of one dog puppy only in September, her sole progeny, Brynlythe Percy.



Ch Brynlythe Tannia


March 2018

The ETTs third highest challenge Certificate winner, after Ch.Lancer of Leospride & Ch.BrynlytheTannia, with a total of 24 CCs won from 1998 until her retirement for maternal duties in 2001, was Champion Amalek You Has Jazz. What made her reign over the breed so notable was not just the total number of CC & BOB but the recognition she achieved in the Toy Group rings at Championship shows with her taking nineteen Group places comprising: one Group 1; eight Group 2; four Group 3 and 6 Group 4. She also went BIS at the ETT Club Championship shows '98 & '99 not shown 2000 and Crufts BOB three consecutive years 1999-2001.


Probably, her most stunning win was taking BIS at the UK Toy Dog Society Top Toy Competition for 1998. This was an event staged annually by the UKTDS show committee who each year invited Dog World newspaper Toy Group Points Winners of all the individual breeds to meet head-to-head at the Stafford showground with an overall 'Top Toy' for that particular year being decided by one of the Toy Group judges.  The winner received a very nice cut glass bowl in addition to the honour and publicity that went with that prestigious win. Regrettably the competition was later discontinued but for what reason I know not.


'Jazz' bred three litters comprising 9 puppies with one of them going to Doreen Dicker as a foundation bitch for her successful Neerodan ETT line and gaining her Champion title.

April 2018

For centuries dogs in Britain have been subject to arbitrary laws. In 1796 a tax of five shillings a year (25p in our decimalised currency but a good sum in those days) was imposed on every dog that did not work with the aim of raising additional funds for the Government. In the heyday of Queen Victoria dog licences were issued by the Inland Revenue with the aim of reducing the thousands of strays on the streets - but by the 1960's, of the Country's estimated four million dogs, half were unlicensed. In 1998 dog licences, then costing seven shillings & sixpence (about 37p), were abolished - to most dog owners relief - probably on the grounds that it was no longer economic to administer. However, just three years later the Dangerous Dogs Act was passed, which has proved to be flawed legislation leading to many unjust decisions; the latest proposal being, I hear, an attempt to add Staffies, this lovely and intrinsically gentle and friendly breed to the list of banned dogs. Of course unscrupulous criminal breeders can pervert the true nature of any breed for their own purposes but a blanket ban cannot in any way be justified.

Mentioning Staffies reminds me that many years ago we bred and owned a Toy Poodle, Emma, she loved puppies, her own and other people's and would even help out by acting as a 'wet nurse'. One day we had a phone call from friends a few miles away in N.Devon whose Staffie bitch had died shortly after giving birth to three pups. They were desperate to know what to do: any chance that Emma could take them on? Luckily, it just happened that she was still lactating after her own litter. They brought the puppies to her and without hesitation she took them on, rearing them to weaning time. Later we were invited to visit and see them, taking Emma with us. It was a lovely Summer afternoon, they were in the garden, she was pleased as Punch to see them and although they were then as big as her she proceeded to bowl them over in turn and wash them!