Posts Tagged ‘toy English white terrier’

little white dog

The little white dog in the photo from yesterday was a toy bull terrier. It was very similar to the English white terrier, which is one of its ancestors.

I actually have hard time telling these extinct dogs apart. The only reason why this dog isn’t an English white terrier is that the English white terrier apparently was  either very rare at this time or already extinct (the last record of the breed was in 1894). This particular dog comes from a book by W.E. Mason called Dogs of All Nations. Mason has no photographs of either toy or standard English whites, and only claims that the both breeds are very similar to the Manchester (English black and tan) terrier, which is an accurate description. Both were the result of breeding whippets or Italian greyhounds to terriers.

Here’s an English white terrier from around 1890:

English white terrier, circa 1890.

They were popular house pets and occasionally used for ratting. However, the English white dogs became almost universally deaf. The white color that they have is associated with deafness, and in that breed’s standard, no colored markings were allowed.  Eventually, the public stopped buying them and breeding them. The Manchesters still exist in much more limited form today, although I’ve seen several rat terriers that very obviously show their Manchester terrier ancestry. I knew of one that looked exactly like a toy Manchester, and she was a working squirrel dog.

Still, I must admit that I have a hard time  telling photos of toy bull terriers and English white terriers apart. They are close relatives. The big bull terrier was derived from crossing a bull terrier with a bulldog, and this smaller dog looks like a cross between the English toy white terrier, which weighed less than 6 pounds, with the smaller versions of the bull terrier breed.

The toy bull terrier also went extinct. I should note here that the miniature bull terrier is not the same breed as this dog. The miniature bull terrier is simply a smaller version of the modern bull terrier. It looks like a 20-35  bull terrier.


Now I’m going to show you something interesting.

What would you call these dogs?

Toy Bull terriers

How many of you said “Chihuahua”?

Well, these dogs were not Chihuahuas.

They were also toy bull terriers.

This photo comes from Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia 1910-1912.

Now, the fact that these dogs look a lot like Chihuahuas probably isn’t a coincidence.

I have a hard time believing that the Meso-American dogs were originally as small as the modern dog we call a Chihuahua.

The apple heads and moleras that so define the Chihuahua breed most likely come from cross-breeding with toy bull terrier and toy English white terriers. Considering how common these terriers were in the late nineteenth century in the fancy, it would make sense that Chihuahua breeders would have crossed them with their dogs to “improve them.” The toy English white terrier was as small as the modern Chihuahua, weighing less than 6 pounds, and it would have been a useful outcross to reduce size.



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