Known Health Issues

Though the English Toy Terrier is generally a very healthy breed there are a few health issues to be aware of. These are now quite rare thanks to careful health screening by responsible breeders.

Like all pedigree breeds, The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) can suffer from certain hereditary health problems, pre-breeding health tests and health screening is available for some of these. Veterinarians and The Kennel Club recommend testing for the following conditions prior to breeding.

The following health issues can be screened for:

Patella Luxation

A condition where the kneecap of the dog is not well secured, and has a tendency to dislocate.

Vet screening of breeding stock is available.
A score of 0 is desirable but a score of 1 is also acceptable when bred with a dog with a score of 0.

Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Sometimes referred to as JDCM. A serious hereditary heart condition that can cause arrhythmias, heart failure, and sudden death.
A DNA screening test is available.

Von Willebrand’s disease
Sometimes referred to as vWD. A bleeding disorder that causes poor clotting, and is similar to haemophilia, but can affect dogs of either sex.
A DNA screening test is available.
Hereditary Deafness
BAER testing is available.
A genetic disorder that results in excessive xanthine (a metabolic byproduct) in the urine. This increases the risk for formation of xanthine bladder or kidney stones and can cause significant kidney disease.
DNA screening is available.

There are a handful of other health issues that have a hereditary element to them that are also found within English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) breed lines.


Currently, the following health issues cannot be screened for:

Demodetic Mange
A skin condition caused by the presence of a certain type of mites. It can easily be treated with veterinary assistance.
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Causes degeneration of the head of the femur of the hip joint, leading to lameness and significant amounts of pain.
Heat Stress
A tendency to feel the heat and be particularly sensitive to hot weather. This can place the dog at risk of heat stroke and being unable to maintain a cool enough temperature.
Eye Conditions
Various different conditions of the eye that can present themselves at different stages of life. The include glaucoma and primary lens luxation. Cataracts are also found within the breed, but these usually do not become apparent until maturity.
While there is no way of testing to diagnose any of these conditions prior to their becoming apparent, finding out about the health of the parent dogs, and ideally the grandparents too can help you to select a puppy that is less likely to suffer from problems than those from breed lines known to be affected.

Health Testing

Responsible breeders health screen their dogs prior to mating. 

Contact us if you’re in need of guidance on health testing.


Articles on ETT Health

Submitted by experienced owners and breeders