Temperament & Behaviour


These little dogs are very loyal and affectionate and love nothing more than to spend all of their time with family – and have a tendency to choose a ‘favourite’.

However, on the other hand, they can be cautious and aloof with strangers so it’s important to introduce puppies to as many different people as possible before the end of the all-important 16 week socialisation period.


They’re incredibly affectionate little characters and will happily cuddle with you for hours. They’ll follow you all around the house like little black and tan shadows. They’re a high energy breed but make perfect lap dogs if given enough exercise through the day.


They can also be stubborn so it’s important to take a firm stance and not give in to your strong willed ETT from the outset.


ETTS are loved for their funny characters and quirks. They like to bury themselves under blankets and sleep in some unusual positions!

ETTS and other pets

ETTs are happy to live alone or with other animals. They can live quite happily with cats, however it’s important to socialise slowly and discourage chasing behaviour from an early age. They were bred as rat catchers, so English Toy Terriers and rodents are not an ideal combination but could be socialised slowly to live harmoniously.

They’re high energy, incredibly playful and known for their ‘crazy half hours’ where they’ll zoom round and round the house, especially after a bath

A well known and loved quirk of the breed is they have a penchant for nibbling noses!


How much exercise do English Toy Terriers need?

English Toy Terriers are relatively easy going when compared with other terriers. Although they are a high energy breed, they are fairly low maintenance when it comes to exercise.

Don’t let this fool you into thinking they have no stamina. These small dogs are mighty – provided it’s dry weather!  

English Toy Terriers will happily embark on very long walks and hikes and won’t tire easily.

ETTs aren't keen on windy, hailstone conditions!

Lumen hitching a lift on the way back from her trip to the most remote beach in Scotland, Sandwood Bay.

Send us photos of your ETT adventures 

ETTs and Swimming


Swimming is fantastic exercise for your dog. Just 5 minutes swimming equate to a 5km run! But unfortunately, English Toy Terriers are well known for disliking water and will avoid even a small wet patch on the floor at all costs.

However, there is hope! There are a handful that do love to swim. Acclimatising ETTs to water from a young age and training can help with this.

What are they like to train?


With patience, they’re relatively easy to train. It’s important to start immediately from the moment you bring home your new puppy or older rescued dog and establish house rules because English Toy Terriers are cheeky and mischievous in nature and will push the boundaries – if they think they can get away with it!

They respond very well to reward based positive training methods, whether it be using food or toys.

They’re very loyal and eager to please so they love nothing more than spending time training with their owners when all of the attention is on them.

The most effective way to train an English Toy Terrier is little and often! You don’t have to dedicate huge chunks of time to it – 2 minute sessions a few times per day are the perfect starting point.

Toilet training is fairly straight forward, but can be challenging and frustrating during the colder months as ETTs hate cold, wet weather/


Training Schemes

Many of our member’s have taken part in the Kennel Club Good Citizen’s scheme with their English Toy Terriers. Through the scheme, you can find a local training centre, attend a course and take part in 4 awards: Puppy Foundation, Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

The scheme takes you from very basic training through to more advanced material and courses range from 4-7 weeks, it’s a great way to add some structure to your training and gets invaluable hands on advice from an experienced trainer. 

Find your nearest training centre here

Pets As Therapy Dogs

Pets As Therapy is a national charity founded in 1983 by Lesley Scott-Ordish.

Volunteers provide a visiting service with their P.A.T. dogs in hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues all across the UK, enhancing well being within their community.

It’s rewarding work that you can get involved with, with your ETT. 
Find out more here: https://petsastherapy.org

We’re very proud of our Pets As Therapy dogs and their owners within our breed.

Here’s Micky.

He’s 6 years old and has been a PAT dog for 3 1/2 years. He’s owned and loved by Julie Crowley.

Read more about him and his work here

Here’s Milo.

He’s owned and loved by Jonny Nagler.

Read more about him and his work here

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