Meet the Breed: The Manchester Terrier



  • Height: Toy 10"- 12”, Standard 15"-16"
  • Weight: Toy 6-8 pounds, Standard 17-18 pounds
  • Historical function: Ratter
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Toy, Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Manchester Terrier comes in two varieties: the toy and the standard. Both are compact, smooth, and muscular in appearance. The head is narrow with a long muzzle. The skin is taut, and the coat is very short and shiny. It sheds very little. Coat colors are black and mahogany. If left natural, the ears of the standard Manchester Terrier fold over but the ears in the toy variety are often naturally erect.

History of the Breed:

The Manchester Terrier is the oldest identifiable Terrier breed, named after the Manchester district of England, where the breed originated from. Originally, the breed was known as the Black and Tan Terrier and can be traced back to the late 1570s. The Manchester Terrier was also known as the rat terrier for their fierce rodent extermination skills.  The Black and Tan Terrier was also cross bred to the Whippet to produce a breed that was not only a proficient rodent killer, but also a very capable game courser. The Manchester Terrier contributed to the foundation of other breeds including the Doberman Pinscher and the Airedale.


The Manchester Terrier is lively, loyal and extremely intelligent. They require a firm and loving handler to get the most out of this breed as they tend to push boundaries. This is a true terrier in all its brilliant glory and willfulness. Playful and friendly, this dog makes an excellent family companion. Should not be trusted with non-canine pets.

  • Best suited for: Active families who can channel this dog's energy and intelligence into jobs such as agility, obedience, go-to-ground trial, etc.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is suitable for urban or rural living. Prefers warm climates.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat requires minimal grooming. The standard version is an average shedder. The toy version is a light shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk and activities that exercise their minds.
  • Life expectancy: 15+ years.
  • Health concerns: Some lines have rare cases of glaucoma and Von Willebrand's disease.

Breed Club Links: The American Manchester Terrier Club Perfect Pairings: Doggie Agility Starter Kit for Smaller Dogs,and any of our treat puzzles!

Have any stories about a Manchester Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Roger Ahlbrand.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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