Old English Terrier: The Ultimate Dog Guide


The Old English Terrier, a breed known for its distinct personality and robust nature, has a storied past that connects to many areas of British history. Before delving into the specifics of this charming breed, it’s essential to understand the joy and responsibility associated with owning one. Knowing the breed of your dog doesn’t just satisfy curiosity, it also assists in creating a healthy and happy environment for them. Each breed, including the Old English Terrier, has unique needs and tendencies which can affect their behavior, diet, and overall well-being.

Category Information
Origin England
Size Medium
Weight 30 to 40 pounds
Height 15 to 16 inches
Color Tan, Black, Grizzle
Life Expectancy 10 to 15 years
Temperament Energetic, Spirited, Playful
Diet A balanced diet formulated for their size and activity level
Exercise Needs Daily exercise including walks and playtime
Grooming Regular brushing and occasional professional grooming
Common Health Issues Hip dysplasia, Eye issues

History of the Old English Terrier

Origins and Ancestral Line

Tracing back the roots of the Old English Terrier leads us to England during the 18th century. Initially bred for pest control and hunting, this breed has come a long way and evolved over centuries to be the companion we know today.

The Breed’s Role in History

Despite their modest beginnings, Old English Terriers found a place in the hearts of many and slowly climbed up the ladder of canine hierarchy, eventually reaching the laps of the British elite.

Recognition by Kennel Clubs and Breed Standard

Due to their unique characteristics and history, the Old English Terrier was recognized by various kennel clubs around the world. Each club set a breed standard, which includes specifications for their size, appearance, and temperament.

Physical Characteristics of the Old English Terrier

Description of Appearance

Characterized by their dense, wiry coat and small, bright eyes, Old English Terriers are instantly recognizable. They have a muscular build and a lively expression that’s hard to ignore.

Size and Weight

Old English Terriers are medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 30 to 40 pounds. Their height ranges from 15 to 16 inches, which makes them compact enough for city living but sturdy enough for country life.

Colors and Coat

Their coat is typically tan, black, or grizzle, with a dense, wiry texture that’s as distinctive as it is functional, offering them protection against harsh weather.

Temperament and Personality Traits of the Old English Terrier

Typical Behavior

Known for their energetic and spirited nature, Old English Terriers are playful, love being around their human families, and are always up for an adventure.

Interaction with People, Children, and Other Pets

These dogs are generally good with children and other pets, but as with all breeds, early socialization is key to fostering friendly behavior.

Intelligence and Training Potential

Old English Terriers are intelligent and quick learners. However, their independent streak might require a patient and consistent approach to training.

Health and Lifespan of the Old English Terrier

Typical Health Issues in the Breed

While generally a healthy breed, some Old English Terriers can be prone to certain genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and eye issues. Regular health check-ups with a vet are essential.

Life Expectancy

With good care, the average lifespan of an Old English Terrier ranges from 10 to 15 years, sometimes even longer.

Caring for an Old English Terrier

Dietary Requirements

Old English Terriers do best on a balanced diet specifically formulated for their size and activity level. Always consult with a vet for dietary advice tailored to your dog’s individual needs.

Exercise Needs

Being an energetic breed, these terriers require daily exercise to keep them fit and prevent boredom. This can include walks, playtime in the yard, or even dog sports.

Grooming and Cleanliness

Their dense, wiry coat needs regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. Professional grooming may be needed a few times a year.

Training an Old English Terrier

Basic Obedience Training

Training should begin early and include the basics such as sit, stay, and recall. Positive reinforcement techniques work best with this breed.

Socialization Tips and Techniques

Introducing an Old English Terrier to various environments, people, and other animals at a young age helps them grow into well-rounded adults.

Finding and Adopting an Old English Terrier

Sourcing from a Reputable Breeder

Finding a reputable breeder is crucial when buying a puppy. Good breeders will provide evidence of health screenings and the opportunity to meet at least one parent dog.

Adopting Rescue Organizations

Rescue organizations and breed-specific rescues often have Old English Terriers in need of a forever home.

Living with an Old English Terrier

Suitable Home Environment

Old English Terriers can adapt to a variety of living conditions, whether it’s a city apartment or a home with a yard in the countryside.

Day-to-day Living and Activities

An ideal day for an Old English Terrier includes exercise, playtime, and plenty of interaction with their human family.

The Old English Terrier and Allergies

Allergies in the Breed
Like many breeds, the Old English Terrier can also suffer from allergies. These can be related to food, environmental factors, or even certain materials. Symptoms may include excessive scratching, redness of the skin, or gastrointestinal issues. It is essential to consult with a vet if you suspect your dog has allergies to ensure they get the right treatment and relief from any discomfort.

Hypoallergenic Qualities

Some people may wonder if Old English Terriers are hypoallergenic, especially those with pet allergies. While no dog is truly 100% hypoallergenic, breeds with wiry coats like the Old English Terrier often tend to be more suitable for people with mild allergies. However, it’s important to spend time with the breed before bringing one home to ensure no allergic reactions occur.

Toys and Activities for the Old English Terrier

Recommended Toys
Old English Terriers are playful and energetic, and having a variety of toys can help satisfy their need for stimulation. Puzzle toys, fetch toys, and durable chew toys are all excellent choices for this breed.

Suggested Activities

These dogs also enjoy engaging activities. Regular walks, playtime in the park, or participating in dog sports like agility or flyball can keep an Old English Terrier happy and healthy. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog, and with their high energy, these terriers will appreciate plenty of opportunities to expend their energy.


We’ve traversed the journey from the history of the breed to the basics of care and hopefully provided some insightful knowledge for potential owners or those simply interested in learning more about this dynamic breed. While the joy of owning an Old English Terrier is evident, it’s essential to remember the responsibilities that come with it. Understanding the breed will contribute significantly to providing the best possible care and environment for these wonderful dogs.

Sergey Uhanov

Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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