About the Breed

English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

Health & Welfare

You can expect an English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) to live up to 15 years when properly cared for.

They are generally a healthy breed but are known to suffer from a few health issues which are 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, The Kennel Club and The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) breed club recommend testing for the following conditions prior to breeding.

  • Patellar Luxation is 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.
  • Hereditary Deafness BAER testing for hereditary deafness within certain breed lines.
  • Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy (an hereditary heart condition) a DNA screening test is available
  • Von Willebrand’s disease a bleeding disorder that causes poor clotting, and is similar to haemophilia, but can affect dogs of either sex a screening test is available.

The Patella Luxation Testing Form

The English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan)

As well as the four conditions mentioned above that can be identified in breed lines by means of testing, there are several other health issues that have a hereditary element to them that are also found within English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) breed lines. Currently, no tests are available to identify such conditions prior to their presenting themselves within the dog. These conditions include:

  • Demodetic mange a skin condition caused by the presence of a certain type of mites. This condition can easily be treated with veterinary assistance.
  • Heat Stress a tendency to feel the heat and be particularly sensitive to hot weather, which places the dog at risk of heat stroke and being unable to maintain a cool enough temperature.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease which causes degeneration of the head of the femur of the hip joint, leading to lameness and significant amounts of pain.
  • Eye Conditions various different conditions of the eye that can present themselves at different stages of life, including 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.

Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy FAQ's

This is a complicated question.  Cases of juvenile cardiomyopathy have been observed in English Toy Terriers, however all cases reported to this study have had pedigrees that include Toy Manchester Terriers. It is recommended that English Toy Terrier breeders with Toy Manchester Terrier behind their dog(s) test their breeding stock. It is also recommended that English Toy Terrier Clubs or individual breeders interested in determining whether the gene exists in the pure ETT population consider further investigation through testing.

We do not know if the mutation exists in the Standard Manchester Terrier population at this time. Standard Manchester breeders who decide to test should clearly mark their samples as Standard Manchester Terrier.

Until the fatal arrhythmia happens, affected dogs appear healthy (even during vet exams) and behave like normal puppies. As a result, the only way to know conclusively if a dog or puppy may be affected by JDCM is to perform a test to determine their genetic status.   

Affected dogs usually appear healthy with no signs of heart disease present before the sudden passing. The only external abnormality is that affected male puppies may have unilateral or bilateral cryptorchidism (undescended testicles on one or both sides). For a number of the puppies, their sudden passing occurred within a day of general anesthesia/surgery or exercise. 

Each beat of an animal's heart results from rhythmic contractions of the heart muscle.  Those contractions are regulated by electrical signals resulting from the controlled flow of ions into and out of heart muscle cells through channels in their membranes.  There are a number of different ions involved in this process (including sodium, calcium and potassium) and each one has a role to play in depolarizing or repolarizing the heart muscle cells so they contract regularly. 

Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Toy Manchesters is caused by a mutation in a gene governing one of the potassium channels involved in this process. Researchers theorize that the mutation interrupts the function of normal potassium channels, causing damage to heart tissue at the microscopic level.  Over time, normal heart tissue is replaced by scar tissue, interfering with the heart's ability to conduct the electrical current needed to make it beat. The eventual result is a fatal arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) leading to sudden death. 

Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Toy Manchester Terriers is characterized by the death of young animals (typically less than 12 months of age) as a result of a sudden and fatal arrhythmia. Genetic research has determined that the condition is caused by a mutation in a gene associated with potassium channel formation, which is an integral part of the process regulating electrical activity in the heart.