History of the Manchester Terrier

"The Toy Manchester Terrier is one of the oldest and most distinctive of the many breeds of dogs that had their origin in England, and although it has had great influence in the formation of many of today's popular purebred breeds, this little fellow has never attained general popularity, but has throughout the ages, remained a true fancier's dog. As a consequence, there are still many people who do not know this fascinating little breed." So states Dixie Dempsey in her 1950 book The Complete Toy Manchester Terrier, published by Milo G. Deninger of Silver Spring, Maryland. Long out of print, this book is still considered the 'bible' of the breed and is worth the search to find a copy.


The Manchester Terrier is one breed with two varieties, Standard and Toy. The Toy variety can weigh up to 12 pounds and has naturally erect ears. The Standard variety weighs 12 to 22 pounds. The Standard may have three ear types, naturally erect, cropped or button (folded over). The only allowable colour, for both varieties, is black and tan. The Manchester's short, dense, glossy, black coat with rich mahogany tan markings accounts for the breed's original name—the Black and Tan Terrier.

The Canadian Kennel Club registered six Toy Manchester Terriers in the years 1888–1889. Until 1959, the Manchester Terrier and the Toy Manchester Terrier were considered separate breeds by the AKC, but after that, they were made a single breed with two varieties, the Standard and the Toy.

The Manchester Terrier and its small variety, Toy Manchester Terrier, were created through a careful combination of the original Black and Tan Terrier with Whippets and Italian Greyhounds to create a breed celebrated for its adeptness at both rabbit coursing and vermin elimination. The Manchester is an attractive and agile member of the Terrier group.


Developed from the Black and Tan Terrier, which dates back more than 400 years, this diminutive powerhouse was bred to root out vermin in the taverns of the day. Each night when the taverns closed, ratters were loosed in the premises to hunt rats and thus protect the business owner's consumables. Popular around 1870, they were also used for exterminating vermin in stables, warehouses, farms and in city homes.

The Black and Tan Terrier, and later the Manchester Terrier, were particularly suited to this task because their small size allowed them to go after the prey in small openings with a tenacity often only seen in much larger dogs. Although considered barbaric today, this little breed gave a good accounting of itself in the rat pits where observers waged bets. It is alleged that the owner of a Toy Manchester called Tiny the Wonder,who weighed in at five-and-a-half pounds, could kill 300 rats in three hours. The match was held at the Queen's Hotel Tavern in London in 1848. Tiny killed the lot in the record time of approximately 55 minutes!


Manchesters are game little dogs who make perfect companions. They possess all the attributes of an effective watch dog and are equally at home in the country or city, the Manchester's keen intelligence is admired along with the breed's cleanliness and versatility. Overall, the Manchester is a hardy breed, that is very adaptable and make an excellent companions for most people. This adaptability has prompted breed fanciers to conclude that "As a sagacious, intelligent house pet and companion, no breed is superior to the well-bred Manchester Terrier." (AKC Complete Dog Book)



CKC Standard of Perfection for the Toy Manchester Terrier – DOWNLOAD PDF
AKC Manchester Terrier Standard of Perfection
British Manchester Club history of the breed.