Another breed profile on the blog this week! Let me introduce you to :
Chaos, an English Toy Terrier
An English Toy Terrier is also known as a Toy Manchester Terrier (in the USA) and a mini Black and Tan. They are descended from the Manchester Terrier which was primarily bred as a ratter; to catch vermin during the 19th Century. English Toy Terriers (ETTs) have an average lifespan of about 13 years, very loyal, enquisitive, and high prey drives! Training these dogs is vital, because even though they are small in stature, they can give you a run for your money!
I know Chaos very well. He came to my puppy beginner and intermediate group classes, and I fell in love pretty quickly! Full of sass, lots to say, loves to learn, and always came to class in a new outfit! His wonderful owners offered to answer some questions about Chaos, and let me tell you, he is one of a kind!
Why did you get an English Toy Terrier? Have you owned one before?
"No Chaos is our first pup! We wanted an apartment sized dog but didn’t want to go for the popular apartment breeds, which can come with underlying genetic health problems; disproportionate price tags; and we felt the market for them can promote unhealthy breeding practices (puppy farms). So we researched a few breeds and fell in love as soon as we saw those ears. The breed being of Manchester descent was a massive plus (originally bred for killing rats in Manchester pubs), as he’d already like the same music and football team as us.
They are a smart, loyal breed, generally really healthy (when bought from one of the excellent KC Registered breeders in the UK), energetic, brave and totally soft. Great with new people (though a tiny bit aloof until the treats come out). Temperament is playful and generally hilarious. As a puppy, very mischievous but why else would you get a puppy!
He's also a looker, a good mix of looking a little bit nails but with that puppyish toy breed adorableness (is that a word?)."
What was it like having an English Toy Terrier puppy?
"A challenge! The positive side is that he has added so much fun and energy into our lives, he keeps us on our toes and has fit in as a member of our family so so quickly. We really look forward to new adventures we've got planned with Chaos.
But not enough people talk about the difficult sides of puppy ownership. The thing that no books seemed to prep us for is the various natural setbacks in training and behaviour development – hormones, teething, fear periods, etc, where he just went back a step in training and behaviour seemingly overnight. Staying consistent through all of these was our biggest challenge, and not getting frustrated over things like a bad day of barking at something he’d been fine with the day before (the vacuum, skateboarders).
Puppy blues was a real killer for us – this breed can require a lot of energy and demand a lot of attention, so time to ourselves in the first few months was non-existent and some points we felt pretty down. That goes away though! Important to know it's very common and doesn't make you a bad owner or mean you've made a bad decision in getting a puppy. Like most kidney stones, it will pass.
I can’t recommend training enough – we were able to train commands at home but the group training classes taught him socialisation and really importantly impulse control, so we can control and reduce his excitement levels to a point where he still listens to us. You'd think he'd always be listening with those ears but occasionally they appear not to work.
Chaos is now 10 months old and is a real pleasure - still the odd thing we're working on but otherwise he's just such a funny lovable character and we can't imagine life without him!"
How was he to train?
"Hilarious, just made us laugh throughout. But loud with other dogs in the room (sorry Jennifer). He picked up or worked out what we were trying to achieve (read: how to get treats) quickly in each case. He’s food motivated but not obsessed, so whilst he’ll do what you want for a treat, he won’t bother to try and work out how to break into the treat cupboard at home. There was a lot of confidence building at Jennifer's training which was very good for Chaos. It has made him braver and more able to deal with new situations without resorting to barking straight away."
What is the best thing about having an English Toy Terrier?
"Apart from being one of the most handsome breeds we’ve ever seen (in our opinion!) he makes us laugh every day – such a big personality. He walks like a show pony too which other people seem to find amusing (we don’t tell him that as don’t want him to be self conscious).
The ETT community in the UK is brilliant too – we’re in contact on WhatsApp with other ETT owners and everyone will help anyone out with advice, walks etc. Wasn’t expecting that to be such a big thing for us but it has been amazing.
Chaos gets a crazy amount of attention whenever we're out with him. We get stopped at least once per walk with people wanting to fuss over him or take a photo of him. In pubs (remember those things?) he usually has a constant stream of people coming over, which he loves. I imagine it'd be great if you were a single guy. Please don't tell my missus I said that."
What is the hardest thing about having an English Toy Terrier?
"Some aspects of training are very hard – good lead walking; control of his barking; and separation anxiety took more effort with Chaos than with other more docile breeds I’ve seen. You really have to put in a shift to get him to develop into your lifestyle, but totally worth it.
They're pretty alert, and with those ears they can hear you opening a packet from a hundred yards. Expect a shadow following you in and out of every room which some people love, others not so much. He is getting more independent currently and will snub us in favour of a quiet chill in a sunnier part of the flat, which is adorable but you'll find yourself trying to work out what you've done to offend him."
Does Chaos have any quirks related to the breed? Any funny stories?
He tries to poop up walls - I think he wants to give us a challenge.
We had to cover every reflective surface in the flat with post-it notes for the first few months as he thought there was another pup stuck inside them.
He will go for pigeons but only if there’s 3 or less - any more and he’ll bottle it.
He currently loves spending time in a paddling pool or trying to kill the water demon in the garden hose - normally ETT’s hate water and will do anything to stay away from it. But again that’s the training – we worked to make him love it."
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of getting an English Toy Terrier?
"Do your research. An absolutely amazing, one of a kind breed but you need to have the right lifestyle initially to get them den trained, toilet trained, control of the barking as soon as possible, otherwise they will run riot.
You’ll spend a lot of time correcting people who think they’re a Miniature Pinscher or a Doberman puppy. You'll barely ever see another one, even in the busy East end of London, so he'll get tonnes of attention. They are classed as an endangered breed as there are not very many litters each year, which I always find crazy given how mint they are.
And get get get them into good puppy training (Bone Ball Bark, wink wink) as early as possible. He'd be way more difficult without some of the tips we learned."
If you were to sum up Chaos in a few words, what would those words be?
"Hilarious, brave, alert and just so frickin loveable. His brother won Crufts in the ETT category, so it’s lucky for Chaos he’s a comedian, otherwise he might develop a complex.
If you spot us out and about in London come say hello, and be sure to follow his (currently mainly flat-based) shenanigans on Instagram @real_names_clarence (that's his Sunday name). Don't worry, no recipes on it. Everyone's a baker nowadays, amIright?"