Toy Manchester Terrier

As its name implies, the toy Manchester terrier's ancestor is the Manchester terrier. In the nineteenth century, the Manchester terrier was reduced in size by selective breeding to create this breed, which easily adapts to living in an apartment with or without another dog.

The Manchester terrier has lived in England for centuries. The toy Manchester terrier, known in England as the English toy terrier, was created from this breed after small pet terriers became fashionable.


There is no final agreement about the official name of this breed. In 1926 the AKC recognized it. More recently they have styled it as the Manchester Terrier (Toy). The Canadian Kennel Club calls it the Toy Manchester Terrier. To confuse matters further, it is sometimes recorded as the Black and Tan Toy Terrier. It was developed as a smaller version of the Manchester Terrier for use as a pit-contest rat-killer.

This tiny breed has lost none of its fire and can still give a good account of itself against even the largest rat, although it must be admitted that today it is kept almost exclusively as a house pet or a show dog. It is clear, however, that in origin it was a working dog, despite its small size. In the 19th century, pit contests between terriers and rats provided a popular source of gambling. The full-sized Manchester Terrier was the champion of all rat-killers, hut then, as a new fashion developed, miniaturized versions of this breed were employed to make the outcome of contests more uncertain. Could a tiny runt of a terrier, weighing no more than 5 lb (2 kg), really despatch 300 rats in three hours? Surely it was too tiny to accomplish such a feat? Because it looked so puny, reckless gamblers were persuaded to wager large sums against its success. But they were wrong. In 1848, for example, a toy dog called Tiny the Wonder managed it in less than an hour. The gamblers had made the mistake of assuming that the little terrier was too feeble to complete the task, and therein lay the appeal of breeding minute dogs — they looked less likely winners and therefore won more money for their owners.

The result of this trend was that the English Toy Terriers became more and more reduced in size until, eventually, medical problems began to arise and the toy breed started to lose favour. By the end of the 19th century they were almost extinct, but a few enthusiasts took matters in hand and started to breed them in a more responsible way, eliminating the defects and strengthening the breed, so that today the Toy Manchester Terrier now has more and more supporters and its future as a show dog appears to he in safe hands.

The small size of this breed has been obtained in two ways — first, by selecting Manchester Terrier litter runts and mating runt to runt; and second, by crossing with diminutive breeds such as the Italian Greyhound. The result, for the ordinary pet-owner, is a delightfully lively little dog, intelligent and faithful, and ideally suited to the restricted spaces of urban living.


This dog has a short body of medium length; a slightly arched back; a narrow, deep chest; a narrow V-shaped head; prick ears with pointed tips; a level or scissor bite; and a whiplike tail that tapers toward the tip and is carried straight down. The coat color is black, with mahogany and tan markings. White is undesirable.


Intelligent, curious, active, and often aggressive toward other animals, the toy Manchester terrier also makes a good watchdog.

The breed is essentially a Toy, but with definite terrier characteristics. It makes a devoted pet, is totally faithful to its owner but only accepts strangers slowly. Its ratting instincts are still very much to the fore.


Usually fit and active, some Toy Manchester Terriers are greedy, while others are fussy eaters — none should be overfed. There are no particular hereditary diseases.

Special Care and Training

The Toy Manchester Terrier has a thin coat and so it needs plenty of warm bedding — it is definitely not a good kennel dog. Good nutrition is essential for a good coat. Thin covering of coat, scratching and dull colors in both the black and the tan can be caused by improper feeding. In general, however, the coat needs little maintenance and there is no definite shedding cycle. The teeth need weekly attention and the nails should be kept shortened. The breed likes a good walk daily but can manage without. A very biddable though independent dog, it loves to learn and will work neatly in Obedience or Agility.


The three to five puppies in a litter grow fast and mature in a year.

Gallery of Toy Manchester Terrier