I am I because my little dog knows me. – Gertrude Stein
One of the oldest of the terriers, the British Black and Tan Terrier, is believed to be the ancestor of today’s Manchester Terrier. This sleek, agile and powerful dog was originally bred to control vermin such as rats and rabbits on the farm. Subsequently, the Whippet was bred into the line to improve his speed. Although various parts of England were breeding the terriers, by 1860 Manchester had become the center for breeders. Therefore the new breed came to be known as the Manchester Terrier.
He was also used in the sport of rabbit coursing and blood sports that are now illegal. The most famous Manchester Terrier is “Billy” who apparently killed 100 rats in only 6 minutes and 13 seconds.
Looking much like a miniature Doberman Pinscher, this terrier can stand up to 16 inches (40.6 cm) at the shoulder and weighs between 12 and 22 pounds (5 to 10 kg). He is sleek and smooth coated with cropped (pointed) or naturally folded ears. The coat is shiny black with tan mahogany markings.
An easy-care dog whose grooming needs are minimal, today he is a beloved companion and good watchdog. In fact, a tendency to excessive barking should be curbed with early training.
Photos displayed courtesy of Sandy Cunniff, Moonshadows, Ontario
As a true terrier, the Manchester Terrier is lively, inquisitive, alert and curious. However, he is less aggressive than other terriers and should be amicable to both humans and other dogs. He’s still a terrier, though so he won’t back down from a fight. Manchester Terriers are very intelligent and enjoy obedience training, agility, and other activities.
Despite his small size, this dog has lots of energy and needs regular exercise. He can live in an apartment if he has daily walks.
He should be socialized to other animals and people from a young age. Like many smaller dogs, he may not be totally comfortable around very young children.