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Manchester Terrier

Nicole Cosgrove

Manchester Terriers

The Manchester Terrier is a small purebred from the United Kingdom and is also called the English Toy Terrier, the Black and Tan Manchester and the Black and Tan Terrier. There are actually two sizes of this breed, standard and toy size. Toys weigh less than 12 pounds. They were bred to be vermin hunters and small game terriers and were also popularly used in rabbit coursing. The Manchester name comes from the part of the UK they originated from. Today its agility and and speed makes it good at events like agility and flyball.

The Manchester Terrier at A Glance
Name Manchester Terrier
Other names English Toy Terrier, Black and Tan Terrier, Black and Tan Manchester
Nicknames Manchester, The Gentleman’s Terrier
Origin United Kingdom
Average size Small
Average weight 12 to 22 pounds
Average height 15 to 16 inches
Life span 14 to 16 years
Coat type Short, silky, thick , dense
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, blue, tan
Popularity Not that popular – ranked 133rd by the AKC
Intelligence Above average – understands new commands with 15 to 25 repetitions
Tolerance to heat Good – can handle very warm weather but nothing too hot or extreme
Tolerance to cold Low – not good in any kind of cold weather, will need extra care when it is cold
Shedding Low/high – not a lot of hair left around the home usually but do have blow outs during seasonal times
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobber or drool
Obesity High – prone to gaining weight so measure its food and treats, avoid feeding table scraps, and give enough exercise
Grooming/brushing Low maintenance – brush once a week
Barking Occasional to frequent – training to stop on command is likely to be needed
Exercise needs Quite active but being small this is still manageable
Trainability Moderate – experience will help a great deal
Friendliness Good – needs socialization
Good first dog Good but best with those with experience
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Moderate to good – socialization is needed, not the best dog for homes with children
Good with other dogs Moderate to good – despite its size it tends to challenge even larger dogs, socialization essential
Good with other pets Moderate to good – socialization needed, smaller animals are seen as prey to chase
Good with strangers Good with socialization
Good apartment dog Excellent if just looking at size bit its barking may be a problem
Handles alone time well Moderate to good – can be left for short periods
Health issues Somewhat healthy breed, issues can include heat bumps, Von Willebrands and eye problems
Medical expenses $435 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $75 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $195 a year for toys, license, miscellaneous items and basic training
Average annual expenses $705 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations Several including the American Manchester Terrier Rescue and the Canadian Manchester Terrier Club
Biting Statistics None reported

The Manchester Terrier’s Beginnings

The Manchester Terrier comes from a town called Manchester in England hence its name. It is believed to have been developed by crossing the black and tan terrier with Whippets and with other breeds that may include the Italian Greyhound. It was bred to be a rat hunter in the 1800s by John Hulme and it was the best vermin hunter of its time. It was also used in popular sports like rabbit coursing and rat killing. In one contest in Manchester a dog called Billy was recorded as killing in just a little over 6 minutes, 100 rats. The ears of the dogs were cropped to prevent the rats tearing the dog’s ears during the fights. At this time because of poor sanitation rats were a real problem. Even when the rat killing sport was banned they were still useful, inns would keep kennels of them.

There are two types, the Toy and the Standard. During Queen Victoria’s reign when toy dogs became very popular it was the toy variety that gain popularity around the whole country. It soon became a popular companion dog too. Some people mistakenly think this is just a small Doberman but in fact Louis Doberman, the breeder of Doberman actually used Manchesters to develop his breed. There is no connection between the Manchester Terrier and the Miniature Pinscher. The drive to make smaller dogs though had an impact on its popularity and not in a good way. Some breeders tried to cross them with Chihuahuas and this caused problems with the dog. While they remained popular in he Victorian era where small was prized above all else, entering into the 20th century its popularity waned.

New Lease on Life

The British Manchester Terrier Club was started in 1937 and it was their work that saved the dog after the second world war. They had come to the US in the late 19th century and were recognized by the AKC in 1886 for the Toy version and 1887 for the Standards. In 1923 the Manchester Terrier Club of America was started. It is ranked 133rd in popularity by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Manchester Terrier is a small dog weighing 12 to 22 pounds and standing 15 to 16 inches tall. It does resemble a Miniature Doberman or a big Miniature Pinscher. It is a little longer than it is tall and it slightly arched topline, an arched neck and an arched stomach. Its tail is thick at the base and then tapers to a point and it holds it in an upward curve that is slight but there. It is a sturdy dog but elegant looking, muscular and compact. Its coat is short, smooth, tight and dense and common colors are black with mahogany markings or black and tan.

The head is narrow, long and wedge shaped with tight skin. It has almond shaped black eyes and a black nose. The difference between the toy and the standard apart from it size is its ears. Standards have erect ears, button ears or cropped ears where that cropping is still allowed. Toys have naturally erect ears, they are not cropped. Natural ears are v-shaped.

The Inner Manchester Terrier


Manchester Terriers are very good watchdogs as they are alert and they do bark to let you know if someone is breaking in. It is not thought to be that protective though so may not act in yours or the homes defense. It is a somewhat sensitive breed and it is also loyal, independent, intelligent along with comical, curious and charming. It can be an occasional barker or it can be more frequent so a command to stop it is a good idea. With the right people in the right home it is well mannered, not as aggressive as a lot of terriers and suitable for new owners though still best with experienced ones.

The Manchester Terrier loves to be around people and it needs to be physically close to them. It is not happy being left outside and needs a certain amount of attention from its owner. It has a lot of energy and likes to play and is very devoted. It is also adaptable and observant and usually better behaved than many other terriers too. This is a dog who loves it comfort and will tunnel itself into blankets, under pillows and into your bed. It can be possessive of its things and should be socialized early. This will also stop it from being too headstrong. It does not like being left alone for long periods of time and become destructive and upset. If not given enough stimulation it can also be hyperactive, bored, vocal and even more destructive!

Living with a Manchester Terrier

What will training look like?

Manchester Terriers are not easy to train especially for those with no experience though they are not bad for a terrier! With some knowledge things will still be a gradual process but there will be progress. Use positive techniques, offer it praise, treats and rewards to encourage it. It can be a quick learner if the training is done right. Keep the sessions short, interesting and fun. Be prepared for that fact it will try to outwit you, and in fact will succeed on more than one occasion! Start the training as soon as you get it home when it has had less time to develop some of that stubbornness. Be firm, consistent and make it clear you are the pack leader at all times, and your rules are to be followed at all times.

Along with training you should also start socialization as soon as you have it home too. A well socialized Manchester Terrier is happier as an adult, more confident and calm, and more trustworthy. Expose it at a young age to different sounds, places, people, animals, other dogs and situations. Let it learn how to judge appropriately what is a threat and what is not, and teach it what responses are suitable. When your dog is happy and one you can trust, you are a happier owner.

How active is the Manchester Terrier?

This is a fairly active breed so will need daily walks at least twice a day with some time doing other things too like off leash somewhere safe to run, chances to play doggy games with you and chances to explore. It can adapt to apartment living, its size makes it quite suitable and with enough outside time it can live without a yard. However it does bark and that may be an issue, and a yard is a bonus place for it to play. Be prepared for lots of digging, it is a good idea to give it a spot where digging is allowed, and make sure if there is a yard or land that it is well fenced.

When taking the Manchester for a walk always keep it on a leash as it does like to chase small critters and will quickly get away from you. Socialization will be important to ensure it can get along with other dogs if you do use a dog park. It is best suited to owners who are at least partly active and it will need mental stimulation as well as physical activity. A dog acting out, being hyperactive, restless, bored, loud or destructive may not be getting enough stimulation or exercise. It is quite active indoors too and will want to play with you a lot inside or out. It can run alongside a bicycle as long as you give it a chance and build up the speed slowly.

Caring for the Manchester Terrier

Grooming needs

This is a low maintenance breed, it does not require a lot of effort or care to keep it in good shape. If you are looking for a dog that does not need a lot of effort and also does not shed a great deal this could be a good option. It does shed more heavily though during seasonal shedding times so daily brushing would be good then. It is one of the breeds that is naturally clean and does not have a strong dog odor. Just give it a weekly brush which will keep its coat in good shape using a mitt or natural bristled brush, and only bathe it when it really needs one. Bathing too often damages oils in its skin that it needs. This and using the wrong kind of shampoos can be a huge cause of skin problems in dogs. If you want to get that sheen really bright you can use a conditioner or polish on the coat.

Other needs are the same as any other dog. You will need to check its ears once a week for infection signs. Swelling, redness, discharge, wax build up or irritation for example. You should then if they are clear, give them a clean. Never insert anything into its ears, that could do some serious damage and hurt a great deal. Just wipe the parts you can see using either a dog ear cleanser solution with a cotton ball, or even just a warm damp cloth. Its teeth need to be brushed at least two to three times a week to keep its mouth in good health, if you can get it to let you do it daily that is even better. Ask your vet about toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs. Then there are its nails, which if it does not wear them down naturally with activity will need clipping when they get too long. There are proper dog nail clippers to use and make sure you do not cut too low into the quick of the nail. There are blood vessels and nerves there, cutting them would hurt the dog and cause bleeding. If you are unsure have the vet or a professional groomer do it for you.

Feeding Time

A dog of this size will need around ¼ to 1 cup of a good or better quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. How much exactly can vary as it does depend on its size, health, age, metabolism, and level of activity. The Manchester Terrier is not a picky eater, in fact it will eat anything and is prone to obesity. Avoid giving it too many treats or letting it eat table food and make sure you measure out the food twice a day rather than leaving it out all the time.

How is the Manchester Terrier with children and other animals?

The Manchester Terrier is not automatically great with children so socialization early on is important. It would do better if it has been raised with them and certainly does a lot better with older children rather than younger as its small size means it can get hurt by younger children being clumsy. Ideally though it should be homed in places that are child free if possible. Make sure you teach children how to approach dogs carefully and how to touch them in a kind way. Supervise when toddlers are around.

With other dogs socialization and training is important too as it can be impulsive around them. It might not posture with them but if it feels it is being challenged it will not back down. It also does not like to feel likes its space is being invaded and it is possessive of its things. It will have more problems with other dogs of the same sex. With other pets it will want to chase smaller animals and birds that flow low enough! It is best not in a home with rabbits or cats. It can learn to accept them with socialization and when raised with them but will still want to chase strange ones that it sees when outside.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The life span of this dog is 14 to 16 years and it is a somewhat healthy dog otherwise. A few issues to know of include von Willebrand’s disease, patellar luxation, eye problems, hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and heat bumps.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks against people that did bodily harm in the US and Canada over the last 35 years, there is no mention of the Manchester Terrier. It is not a common dog there though so the chances of it being involved are not that high. This is not a breed to be overly concerned about though, while it can be aggressive towards other dogs and other small animals it is not a dog prone to attacking people. That being said any breed and any dog no matter its size can have a bad day, over react to something, or be provoked into aggression. To lessen the risks all responsible dog owners should make sure their dog is socialized, trained, well looked after, given enough attention and gets enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Manchester Terrier puppy will likely cost around $800 from a decent breeder of pet quality dogs, and then maybe even double that from a top breeder of show dogs. Finding this breed at a rescue or shelter is less likely being as they are uncommon but it is still worth considering visiting them. Perhaps there will be a dog that has Manchester Terrier in its mix, or perhaps there will be a dog that you really fall for there. Even though it may seem the easier route do not use a puppy mill source or back yard breeder.

Initial costs are going to be around $380 for both medical needs and items your dog will need. Medical concerns include having it vaccinated, having a physical exam, deworming, micro-chipping, spaying or neutering and blood tests will come to around $260. Items you need for your dog include a collar and leash, crate, carrier, bowls and such. These will cost around $120.

Ongoing costs will be a factor in your decision. Feeding the Manchester Terrier will cost about $75 to cover a good quality dry dog food and dog treats. Basic health care like flea and tick prevention, vaccinations, and check ups along with pet insurance come to about $435 a year. Miscellaneous items, license, toys and basic training will cost about $195 a year. This gives a starting figure each year of $705.


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The Manchester Terrier is an energetic, funny, spirited dog with a lot of character and a lot of loyalty and love to give. You do need to be prepared for some things, it does gain weight easily so do not let those begging eyes trick you. It also can bark a lot and does need daily exercise and play, as well as some mental stimulation. It does best in homes without children or other pets, though it can live with older children who are more careful when they play with it and touch it.

Featured Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.