Manchester Terrier

A terrier of considerable antiquity, the elegantly built Manchester terrier was bred as a hare and vermin hunter. Its glossy smooth coat does not resemble that of a terrier.


One of the oldest of terriers, this dog's ancestry dates back to before the sixteenth century. The name comes from the city of Manchester, England, which established a breeding center to maintain this dog. This breed was developed specifically as an efficient ratter/rabbiter. It was sometimes referred to as the English Gentleman’s Terrier, or, more simply, as the Gentleman’s Terrier.

Appearing at first glance to be a miniature form of the Doberman Pinscher, this slender little terrier is in reality an improved version of the coarser, heavier Black and Tan Terrier of earlier days. Unlike most terrier breeds, which are dogs of the countryside, this one is descended from city dwellers.

The founding fathers of the modified breed were a small group of Manchester enthusiasts who, during the 1850s and 1860s, were attempting to create a dual-purpose ratter/rabbiter. At the beginning, their Manchester Terrier (first named as such in print in 1879) was immensely successful. Rat-pit contests were at the height of their popularity and everyone wanted to own the most efficient killer. But then the sport went into a decline and the terrier went with it.

A second blow was to follow, when the cropping of ears was forbidden in 1898 (thanks to the efforts of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII). The cropped, early Manchesters had displayed little pointed ears that suited their general body shape and aggressive demeanour. When cropping ceased, their ‘natural’ ears were floppy and ungainly. It took some years to breed them into a better shape and by this time the breed had lost ground and was becoming a rarity. Determined to save it, its supporters rallied round and formed the British Manchester Terrier Club. Its numbers began to increase again and by the 1970s it was once more a popular breed, but now largely for the show-ring.

Having originated as an urban dog, it is an ideal pet for city-dwellers and enjoys the company of children. Its lean body and very short, dark coat do not, however, do it any favours in the ‘cuddly’ stakes.


This breed comes in two size variations: the standard Manchester terrier from the terrier group and the toy Manchester terrier from the toy group. It has a back that is slightly arched at the loin; a long, narrow head without a stop; ears that are no longer cropped; and a whiplike tail of moderate length. The coat is thick, dense and glossy. The coat color is black and tan. The division between colors should be clearly defined, and white is not desirable. More than half of the body surface being white is cause for disqualification for a show.


This dog is cheerful, good-mannered, and clean. Warm hearted, sensitive to its master's moods, and brave, it makes a good guard dog and house pet. Though adaptable and friendly with people, it is unwilling to live with other pets.

Care and Exercise

The Manchester terrier likes to be kept clean and needs brushing at least three times a week. It should be bathed occasionally. A daily hour-long walk on a lead is advisable.

Puppies and Training

The two to four puppies per litter are born the same color they will be as adults. Their ears should not be cropped.

Gallery of Manchester Terrier