Manchester Terrier: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

manchester terrier on the beach

 

Robbie Goodall / Getty Images

Named for the city in England, the athletic and intelligent Manchester Terrier comes in two size varieties—Standard (22 pounds and under) and Toy (12 pounds and under). No matter their size, Manchester Terriers are sleek, graceful dogs that blend the sharp instincts and courage of a terrier with the speed and agility of racing hounds.

Group: Toy/Terrier

Weight: Under 12 pounds (Toy); 12-22 pounds (Standard)

Height: 10-12 inches (Toy); 15-16 inches (Standard)

Coat: Short

Coat Colors: Black and tan, mahogany markings

Life Expectancy: 15 to 17 years

Characteristics of the Manchester Terrier

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Manchester Terrier

Before Manchester became associated with soccer, it was actually the epicenter of England’s textile trade. In the mid-1800s, local mill workers had two favorite pastimes—teaming up with small hounds to hunt rabbits, and rat killing, which involved sending a terrier into a rat pit and then betting on the results. As such, breeders of the time wanted to create a dog that would excel at both “sports” by crossing a "ratter" dog known as the Black and Tan Terrier with Whippets. That’s when the distinctive Manchester Terrier was born.

The Black and Tan Terrier was one of the most popular and accomplished terriers in England, and there are records of these dogs as far back as the 16th century. The breed was known to be a skilled dispatcher of rats. Industrialization brought about the advent of sport within the working class, and rat catching with Black and Tans and dog racing with Whippets were high on the list of popular activities. The crossing of the two breeds resulted in a refined terrier breed with a slightly arched back, and in 1860, the breed was formally called the Manchester Terrier. The new name didn't immediately catch on, but was revived in 1923.

It ended up that there were two Manchester breeds that developed over time—the Standard Manchester Terrier and Toy Manchester Terrier were registered as separate breeds until the end of 1950s. The development of the toy breed from the larger standard breed occurred first as a matter of chance, and then later as a result of selective breeding. Since that time, the two breeds have blended to form one breed known as the Manchester Terrier, although there are still considered to be two varieties (and the AKC has grouped them separately). The Standard Manchester is a member of the Terrier Group and the Toy Manchester is considered a Toy breed.

Despite their differences in size, all Manchesters share a similar spirited, energetic temperament as well as sleek, sturdy body type and exceptional athletic ability. They are also all recognized by their signature tight coat in mahogany tan and jet black. Besides their size, the only other difference between the two variations of the breed is their ear shape. In fact, frustrations over the shape of the Manchester’s ears actually caused many breeders to eventually cease breeding these dogs entirely, but there were a few breeders who were devoted to keeping the Manchester alive.

Manchester Terrier Care

The Manchester Terrier is considered a low-maintenance breed. These dogs will only require an occasional bath and possibly a weekly wipe down with a damp towel or glove to keep their short, tight coat clean and shiny. As with all breeds, regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing are also a necessity to keep the Manchester Terrier looking and feeling their best.

The Manchester Terrier is a moderately active and highly athletic breed, and will thus require a significant amount of daily exercise in the form of leashed walks as well as playtime in a fenced-in backyard. Potential Manchester owners should know that this is a "busy" breed, and they will always be looking around for games and entertainment. They also have a penchant for digging.

The Manchester Terrier has often been described as "catlike," because it's an impeccably clean breed that's independent and reserved with strangers, yet at the same time these dogs are sensitive and affectionate with their owners. The Manchester tends to be more responsive and cooperative than many terriers, and they make for playful and well-mannered pets that are devoted to their families. They should be properly socialized and ideally introduced to other family pets as puppies, as they are not only wary of strangers but also not always particularly friendly with other dogs.

This breed is considered to be highly intelligent, and they are believed to be able to think and plan their way through various situation. They are people-pleasers and love a challenge, and can thus be easily trained with the help of positive and reward-based techniques. The Manchester Terrier will not respond well to harsh corrections, and training sessions should be kept fun and full of praise. Not surprisingly, Manchesters perform well in an array of dog sports, including agility, obedience, tracking, flyball, and scent work.

Common Health Problems

The Manchester Terrier is generally a healthy dog, but one disease, juvenile cardiomyopathy, which is potentially fatal, has been known to impact this particular breed, and they’ve also been associated with patellar luxation, a condition that’s referred to as “loose knees.” Manchester owners should also be aware that these dogs can negatively react to anesthesia in the same way as their Greyhound ancestors.

Diet and Nutrition

The Manchester Terrier should perform well with a high-quality commercially or home-prepared (under veterinary supervision) dog food. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. As with all breeds, treats should be given in moderation and their diet should be controlled in order to avoid weight gain or obesity-related issues.

Pros
  • Clean and good with grooming

  • Great with families

Cons
  • Can be reserved with strangers

  • High-energy and needs ample exercise

Where to Adopt or Buy a Manchester Terrier

Be sure to check your local animal shelters and rescue groups for Manchester Terriers that are in need of a forever home. National rescue organizations such as the American Manchester Terrier Club can be a helpful source of information to help you find your new best friend.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Be sure to do your homework when choosing a dog breed. Talk to other Manchester Terrier owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more about this particular breed and their care. There's a variety of dog breeds, and with a little research, you can be sure you'll find the right dog to bring home.

If you’re interested in learning more about similar dogs, consider these other breeds: