A Gentleman’s Terrier: The Manchester Terrier Dog Breed

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black manchester terrier dog standing on grassAre you a fan of handsome dogs? If so, you’re in for a treat, because the Manchester Terrier is one of the smartest looking dogs this side of the Irwell River!

The sleek-coated Manchester Terrier is a super match for an active family. It loves to exercise and is an alert and lively breed that makes a loving companion. If you’re looking for a spunky terrier in your life, you may have met your match in this Terrier breed!

A Brief History of the Manchester Terrier Dog Breed

The Manchester Terrier originates from Great Britain, where unlike other terriers, it was bred as a city dog. This terrier is thought to be the oldest terrier breed recorded, so let’s go into its history a little.

The Manchester Terrier was initially bred in the 1500s in Manchester as a pest-killer. During those days, the city had a serious rodent infestation, with thousands of the creatures commonly habituating dilapidated city buildings and urban areas. Manchester Terriers were bred to hunt down these rats and rid the city of them.

Soon, Manchester Terriers became famous for their ability to hunt down rats, leading to the inhumane sport of pit-ratting. Lower classes used the breed in this ‘sport’, which involved placing a dog in a pit with many rats and placing bets on how many it would kill. It was especially popular in the Manchester area.

During the 1800’s, a breeder decided to breed the existing Manchester Terrier with a Whippet, to increase the agility of the dog. The breeder kept the signature black and tan markings of the terrier and crossed it with the lean athletic build and sleek coat of the Whippet. This led to the Manchester Terrier of today.

Initially, this dog was referred to as the Black-and-Tan terrier or the Gentleman’s Terrier. This was because many complained the name ‘Manchester Terrier’ was too specific. Eventually, the huge popularity of the dog in the Manchester area shifted to the name to ‘Manchester Terrier’ once and for all.

A Breed Near Extinction!

After the horrifying past time of pit-ratting was eventually banned. The Manchester Terrier underwent more breeding to further refine its good looks. Manchester Terriers commonly had surgically docked ears, however with no more pit-ratting, this was not necessary, so their natural ears were left intact.

The breed declined in popularity over time, and just before World War Two, it almost became extinct. At one point there were only 11 Manchester Terriers registered in England!

Luckily a devoted group of breeders formed the Manchester Terrier Club and kept the breed alive until today where it has been regaining popularity since the 1970s.

The Manchester Terrier dog was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1938.

three manchester terriers lying on the grass

The Appearance of the Gentleman’s Terrier

The Manchester Terrier is easy to spot from its smooth coat, found only in black and tan. The majority of the coat is black, with tan accents on the muzzle and the inner legs.

They are compact in size and have a body shape that clearly shows their Whippet lineage, but also strong hindquarters that show their power. They have bright, alert eyes, erect ears in a v-shape and teeth designed for hunting.

Does the Toy Manchester Terrier Exist?

Another variation of the Manchester Terrier breed is the gorgeous Toy Manchester Terrier! This dog was initially a separate breed from the regular Manchester Terrier, however, they are now classified as variations of the same breed in the United States and Canada.

In England, the smaller sized terrier is technically considered a separate breed. This breed is called the Toy English Terrier.

All you need to know is that the Toy Manchester Terrier is essentially just the handsome Manchester Terrier in a cute mini-package!

Average Size and Weight!

Standard Manchester Terriers stand at around 1 foot 3 inches tall. They are generally a little longer than they are wide. A healthy adult dog should weigh between 12-22 pounds.

Be sure to keep an eye on the weight of your doggo. These dogs have a tendency to become obese when overfed and underexercised!

An adult dog of the Toy Manchester Terrier is an adorable 10-12 inches high and anywhere up to 12 pounds in weight.

Their Doberman-Like Coat and Colors! 

At first glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Manchester Terrier for a Doberman mix!

Their black and tan marking are remarkably similar to the big dogs, however, they are not actually related. Manchester Terriers only have one true coat color – black and tan through to mahogany.

Terriers Through-and-Through: Their Temperament and Personality! 

Terrier breeds are often a little feisty, and this breed is no exception! Although bossy and active, the Manchester Terrier is actually one of the most compliant variations of terrier, making it easier to train than other varieties. This breed is devoted, alert and loving to its human family.

As with all terrier breeds, their instinct to chase and hunt is strong. Think twice before you bring it into a home with small pets such as rodents, guinea pigs and hamsters. Definitely no pet rats!

Terriers are barkers, so ensure you are aware that this a possibility if you bring a Manchester into your home.

cute toy manchester terrier puppies on a blanket

What About a Manchester Terrier Mix? 

There are some cute Manchester Terrier mixes about and one of the most adorable is the Manchester Terrier Chihuahua mix! This mix is even smaller than the Toy Manchester Terrier, which with its signature black and tan sleek coat makes it a purse-sized cutie pie.

The vivacious personalities of both these unique breeds sure make for a spunky mix that will keep you on your toes.

What is Their Lifespan?

So how long can you expect to spend with your hilarious Manchester Terrier? Healthy Manchester Terriers live a good long life and should have a life expectancy of 14-17 years.

5 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of!

Like most breeds, there are a few health issues specific to the Manchester Terrier breed that owners should be aware of.

  • Von Willebrand’s disease: This is an inherited bleeding disorder where blood fails to clot appropriately. It is possible to avoid this condition by using good breeding practices.
  • Hypothyroidism: Can cause skin disease, weight gain and inactivity and intolerance to cold weather.
  • Patellar Luxation: This is a knee problem in dogs where the kneecap does not sit in the correct place. This can lead to painful injuries down the line.
  • Eye problems: Manchester Terriers can experience cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: This mostly affects Toy Manchester Terriers and is nasty business. This disease causes the head of femur bones to degenerate causing hip degeneration in pups.

Manchester Terrier Puppies for Sale!

The Manchester Terrier dog is perfect as a puppy! So where can you get your hands on some Manchester Terrier puppies?

The American Manchester Terrier Club has an excellent resource on its page that allows you to search for breeders in your area. As always, we recommend doing your research into finding a reputable breeder so that you purchase a healthy puppy.

Be Sure to Get Your Puppy from a Reputable Breeder!

A good breeder is essential to the good health of your beautiful new puppy. When looking for your Manchester Terrier Puppy, do your research as well as ask around to find a breeder who is extremely reputable.

Breeders should be happy and willing to answer any questions at all that you have about the breed, they way they run things and questions about the particular puppy that you are interested in.

Any breeder that claims that Manchester Terriers do not have any health problems, keeps puppies isolated on their property or arranges to meet you at a random location should raise red flags.

It is important for the health and happiness of your new pup to buy from a reputable breeder. Do your homework before buying!

adorable manchester terrier puppy walking on grass

Adopt! Don’t Shop! Ask a Local Animal Shelter About Manchester Terrier Rescues! 

Another way to help out a dog in need, and get a wonderful new best friend at the same time, is to look at finding a Manchester to adopt! Rescue groups to adopt Manchester Terriers include the “Friends of Manchester Terriers”.

Other pet adoption websites such as Pet Finder and Adopt a Pet may also have listings for Manchester Terriers, so try searching there too.

Manchester Terriers have come a long way from their unpleasant past to become the loveable pets of today. With their sleek coats and versatile size, they are an excellent dog to have in your home. Their cheeky and active, yet affectionate temperament make them a wonderful companion for their owners!

Common Questions 

Is the Manchester Terrier extinct?

Will this breed help to keep rats out of my home?

Are there different coat colors in the breed?

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