about the Manchester Terrier



about the Manchester
our dogs


Breed Standard

Portrait of the Manchester Terrier



The story of the Manchester Terrier goes back centuries. He was already depicted in a breviary called “The Hours of the Virgin” around AD 1500.

The first real description was given by  Dr. Caius in “De Canibus Brittannicus”, a study about English dogs in which he described 25 different breeds (ca 1570).
The dog he mentioned was rough-coated, had shorter legs and was a lot heavier than the modern Manchester.  In fact the Manchester is an atypical Terrier, he hunts above ground to chase rats and rabbits, while most of the other Terrier breeds hunt below the surface (the Latin word “terra” means earth).  

Presumably the Manchester Terrier’s forefathers are the rough-coated Old English Black and Tan Terrier and the died out English White Terrier.
Originally he was called Black and Tan Terrier, at the end of the 19th Century people started to use the name “Manchester Terrier” because he was very popular in and around this city.
The British  Kennel Club changed the name in 1924.

During the industrial revolution (end of the 18th  – early 19th Century ) big working class neighbourhoods emerged where the hygiene was poor to put it mildly.
This attracted lots of vermin like rats, mice, flees, lice and so on.
The Manchester Terrier was put at work in these conditions to hunt down and kill  especially rats. On Sunday the owner (most of the time a poor worker at the factories in and around Manchester) took his MT to chase rabbits, the only way to get some meat on the table.

Around  1850 John Hulme started to cross the Black and Tan Terrier with the so called “Snap Dog”, an early version of the Whippet, to create a dog that was faster and more agile.  This resulted in the version of the Manchester we know until today.
It is said that the Italian Windhound also was crossed with the Manchester Terrier.
By 1870 the Manchester Terrier was one of the most popular breeds in the UK.  People started to use him for rat killing in the rat pits, a game where the bets were very high.
Another sport the Manchester Terrier was used for was “coursing”, rabbits were chased in an enclosed domain.

When gambling at animal fights got prohibited as did cropping of the ears (1897), the breed took a downfall.
The First World War was a very hard time for dogs and their owners, the Manchester Terrier didn’t escape this ordeal.  Only the efforts of a few determent breeders (Mr. Hazelwood, Colonel Dean, …) kept the Manchester on the map.
In 1937 the British Manchester Terrier Club was founded to defend the interests of the breed, a work that is still going on.

 The Second World War nearly gave the fatal blow to the Manchester. In 1946 only 11 registered Manchesters survived the war, most of them too old to breed with.
Miss Schwabe mated her bitch “Julie of Dreams” with the 13 year old “Red Monarch”. 
The two pups out of this combination, “Pretty Kitten of Dreams” and “Red Robin of Dreams”, would play a major part in saving the breed. 
Also a few Manchesters were imported from the United States, “Branlys Scaramouche”, “Sir Oscar of Chatham Farms”and “Gwinney Willows Thunderstorm”  were the most significant.   Point of interest : the latter two had cropped ears and were excluded from dog shows, the owners used them nevertheless intensively  for breeding.  They would give the Manchester the much needed restart.
Under strict conditions, the British Kennel Club allowed a few combinations with the English  Toy Terrier.

 In 1955 the first post-war champion was crowned : "Oldlane Sensation”.

Today the Manchester Terrier is on the right track, although  in his homeland he is still considered as a “Vulnerable Breed”, this means that over the past 10 years there were less than 300 registered births a year (for the Manchester the figure floats around 100 new pups every year).

In Belgium we don’t have a breeders association for the Manchester because there are so few  (in 2007 only 5 pups were registered by the “Koninklijke Maatschappij Sint Hubertus”).
As an alternative, the “Belgian Terriër Club” represents all the different Terrier breeds.

 In the Netherlands the new “Manchester Terriër Club Nederland “ was erected on October the 23rd  2009 (acknowledged by the “Raad van Beheer” on October the 8th  oktober 2010). 
At present there are about 50 members, a few are Belgians.

Since 1990,  a European Manchester Terriër Happening is organized in a different country yearly.  It is an opportunity for owners and breeders to meet each other and have a good time during a weekend in summer.  The weekend includes a competition with games and a running contest on Saturday, on Sunday there is a dog show where a lot of  MT’s are judged by a connoisseur.  At the end the dogs are rated and the winner may take the trophy home for one year. 

It is a private initiative, so the results are not official, but it gives owners and breeders a good idea of the quality of the dogs in comparing them with the other ones.
Especially on the mainland the Happening is important because you don’t see many Manchesters making appearance at dog shows and hence there is little competition at the official shows.


Sources :

The British Manchester Club

Manchester Terriër Club Nederland

Manchester Terrier – Muriel P. Lee – Kennel Club Books  #232 – 2007

Manchester Terriër – Sandy Krijgsveld-Koster – 2008

Manchester Terriërs “van Hobeuchem” - Eindwerk Hondenfokker Syntra - Walter Van Bockhaven - 2010                  



Breed standard


Compact, elegant and sound with substance.

CHARACTERISTICS Keen, alert, gay and sporting.
TEMPERAMENT Discerning and devoted.
HEAD AND SKULL  Long skull, flat and narrow, level and wedge shaped without showing cheek muscles, well filled up under eyes, with tapering, tight lipped mouth.
EYES Relatively small, dark and sparkling. Almond shaped, not prominent.
EARS Small and 'V' shaped, carried well above top line of head and hanging close to head above eyes.
MOUTH  Jaws level with perfect scissor bite (i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to jaws).
NECK Fairly long and tapering from shoulder to head, slightly arched at crest, free from throatiness
FOREQUARTERS Shoulders clean and well sloped. Front narrow and deep. Forelegs quite straight, set on well under dog and of proportionate length to body.
BODY   Short with well sprung ribs, slightly arched over the loin and cut up behind ribs.
HINDQUARTERS      Strong and muscular, well bent at stifle. Hind legs neither cow hocked nor with feet turned in.
FEET       Small, semi-hare footed and strong with well arched toes.
TAIL Short and set on where arch of back ends, thick where it joins body, tapering to a point, carried not higher than      level of back.
GAIT / MOVEMENT Straight, free and balanced with good-reaching forequarters and driving power in hindquarters.
COAT Close, smooth and glossy, of firm texture.

Jet black and rich mahogany tan, distributed as follows:
on Head; Muzzle tanned to nose, nose and nasal bone jet black.
Small tan spot on each cheek and above each eye, under jaw and throat tanned with distinct tanned 'V'.
 Legs from knee downward tanned, with the exception of toes, which shall be pencilled with black, and a distinct mark (thumb mark) immediately abovefeet.
Inside hind legs tanned but divided with black at stifle joint. Under Tail tanned, vent tanned by marking as narrow as possible so that it is covered by tail.
A slight tan mark on each side of chest.
Tan on outside hind legs, commonly called breeching is undesirable.
In all cases black should not run into tan and vice versa, but division between colours clearly defined.

SIZE   Ideal height at shoulder: Dogs 41 cm (16 inches)
Bitches 38 cm (15 inches).
FAULTS Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
NOTE Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.




Portrait of the Manchester Terrier

Original Name Black  and Tan Terrier, at the end of the 19th Century, people started to call them Manchester Terrier because there were a lot of MT’s in the vicinity of Manchester.  In 1924 the British Kennel Club officially changed the name into “Manchester Terrier”.
Breed Group Group 3 Terriers
Section 1 Big and Middle sized Terriers
History The Manchester Terrier is probably the oldest of all terrier breeds. The suspected forefathers are the rough-coated Old English Black and Tan Terrier and the died out English White Terrier.
In the early 1800’s, John Hulme crossed the Manchester with a Snap Dog, an early version of the Whippet, to give the MT more speed and agility.
Around 1870 the Manchester was one of the most popular breeds in England. They were used for rat killing in ratpits  where people gambled for big money and for rabbit coursing.  After gambling at animal fights was banned and cropping of the ears forbidden in 1897, the breed knew a downfall and had to struggle to survive. 
Both World Wars almost destroyed the breed, in 1946, only 11 registered Manchester Terriers were left in the United Kingdom, most of them too old to breed with. 
The import of  Manchesters from the United States saved the breed., the Kennel Club also allowed a few combinations with Toy Terriers under strict conditions.
Today, the Manchester Terrier is slowly regaining his position, although the Kennel Club still considers the Manchester Terrier as a Vulnerable Breed with around 100 registered births every year.
Nowadays, the MT is a very liked companion in several families.
Original Task Killing vermin in barns and on ships.  He was also used for chasing rabbits, a way to get some meat on the table (most of the owners were poor workers in the dirty and unhealthy industrial towns).
General Compact, elegant dog with good bone. 
Is the least recognizable Terrier.
Average age 14 years
Size : dogs 41 cm (16 inches)
          bitches 38 cm (15 inches)
Colour  Jet black and mahogany tan which should not blend or run into each other with well defined colour lines. For more details : see breed standard.
Coat Smoot, short, dense, tight and glossy.  Not soft.
Grooming A Manchester Terrier doesn’t need a lot of work to keep the coat healthy.
A rubber curry brush or a hound glove  are ideal to keep the Manchester’s coat shiny and clean. A damp wash cloth does miracles to keep the coat clean.
Keep the nails short.
The ears can be cleaned with a soft cotton wipe and ear cleanser.
Medical Care In general, the Manchester Terrier is a healthy breed, for a very detailed description :
Dogs used for breeding will be tested for Von Willebrand’s Disease type I, a blood disorder.
Skin problems can occur, mostly infections and irritations.
A point of interest are the ears, Manchesters have thin ears and when the blood doesn’t circulate well, the tips can dry out, it is important to keep an eye on this problem and if necessary to massage them with a moisture ointment.
Characteritics The Manchester Terrier is a versatile, confident, alert and agile dog with a smart look and a sparkling personality. 
In short, he is a real “Gentlemen’s Terrier”.
He is very intelligent and sensible. He likes to please his “boss”. 
They are good watchdogs with the bark of a big dog.
They are not aggressive but will stand their ground and defend their family if necessary. They sure are not a lapdog!
They are very busy outside, but very calm inside the house or apartment when they get enough exercise.
Socialisation In general, Manchesters enjoy the company of children when they are treated with respect.
A Manchester can be dominant towards another dog, a firm but sensitive hand can be needed, especially the males can act very macho.
When there are other animals in the house (cats, ferrets,…) MT's should be educated at a very early stage to indulge them to avoid problems, remember they were originally bred for chasing and killing vermin!
Education The Manchester Terrier is a very smart dog and likes to please. Like all Terriers he can be stubborn when he doesn’t get what he wants.
He needs a consequent but soft hand, he needs to know you are in charge and that he can trust you. Shouting  or worse, slapping, are totally not done with a Manchester.
He loves to run and  play, so flyball, agility and frisbee are the things to do!
Obedience can be a challenge, when he doesn’t have his day (he remains a Terrier).
A Manchester needs a lot of exercise and running, when provided with this, he is a man’s best friend and loves to sleep near you on the couch.  
Particular During events where there was a big crowd, the very small Toy Terriers were hidden in pockets of jackets to snap at pickpockets when they tried to steal money, watches or other precious belongings.
The Dobermann Pinscher, the Jagdterrier, the Beauceron, the Lancashire Heeler and the Australian Cattle Dog all have Manchester blood in their veins.


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