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Manchester Terrier Breed History & AKC Standard:



The Manchester Terrier is an old English breed and was originally called the black and tan terrier. The black and tan was originally believed to be a rough coated breed, which over the years was selectively bred into a rough coated and smooth coated varieties. The smooth coated line was developed into the Manchester. The Black and Tan Terrier originated in Lancashire some 300-400 years ago, and were considered the best ratters and coursers of small game in England. The Black and Tan was also known as the "Gentleman's Terrier" and were more prevalent in earlier times than they are today.

The Manchester's fame as a ratter grew when rat pit gambling was at its peak. Dogs were dropped into a pit of rats and bets placed based on the number of rats killed within a time limit. The record holder for having killed 100 rats in just over six minutes was a Manchester name Billy, whose ears were cropped to protect them from being bitten by the rats. The Manchester is still seen cropped within the US and Canada, while cropping has been banned elsewhere in the world.

Samuel Handley of Manchester in Lancashire, England was one 19th century fancier who promoted the breed and dedicated himself to developing the breed into the modern dog we see today; sleeker, finer and more elegant. Because of Handley's efforts, the breed was renamed the Manchester in the late 1800’s.

The breed was nearly lost after World War II when only nine specimens of the breed could be found in England following the war. A small group of fanciers carefully nursed the breed back into existence by selective breeding and importing several dogs from the US. Manchester Terriers continue to be bred in limited numbers in the United States, with less than 500 (Standards and Toys combined) registered with the AKC yearly.






General Appearance

A small, black, short-coated dog with distinctive rich mahogany markings and a taper style tail. In structure the Manchester presents a sleek, sturdy, yet elegant look, and has a wedge-shaped, long and clean head with a keen, bright, alert expression. The smooth, compact, muscular body expresses great power and agility, enabling the Manchester to kill vermin and course small game. Except for size and ear options, there are no differences between the Standard and Toy varieties of the Manchester Terrier. The Toy is a diminutive version of the Standard variety.

Size, Proportion, Substance
The Toy variety shall not exceed 12 pounds. It is suggested that clubs consider dividing the American-bred and Open classes by weight as follows: 7 pounds and under, over 7 pounds and not exceeding 12 pounds. The Standard variety shall be over 12 pounds and not exceeding 22 pounds. Dogs weighing over 22 pounds shall be disqualified. It is suggested that clubs consider dividing the American-bred and Open classes by weight as follows: over 12 pounds and not exceeding 16 pounds, over 16 pounds and not exceeding 22 pounds.

The Manchester Terrier, overall, is slightly longer than tall. The height, measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers, is slightly less than the length, measured horizontally from the point of the shoulders to the rear projection of the upper thigh. The bone and muscle of the Manchester Terrier is of sufficient mass to ensure agility and endurance.



The Manchester Terrier has a keen and alert expression. The nearly black, almond shaped eyes are small, bright, and sparkling. They are set moderately close together, slanting upwards on the outside. The eyes neither protrude nor sink in the skull. Pigmentation must be black. Correct ears for the Standard variety are either the naturally erect ear, the cropped ear, or the button ear. No preference is given to any of the ear types. The naturally erect ear, and the button ear, should be wider at the base tapering to pointed tips, and carried well up on the skull. Wide, flaring, blunt tipped, or "bell" ears are a serious fault. Cropped ears should be long, pointed and carried erect.

The only correct ear for the Toy variety is the naturally erect ear. They should be wider at the base tapering to pointed tips, and carried well up on the skull. Wide, flaring, blunt tipped, or "bell" ears are a serious fault. Cropped, or cut ears are a disqualification in the Toy variety.

The head is long, narrow, tight skinned, and almost flat with a slight indentation up the forehead. It resembles a blunted wedge in frontal and profile views. There is a visual effect of a slight stop as viewed in profile. The muzzle and skull are equal in length. The muzzle is well filled under the eyes with no visible cheek muscles. The underjaw is full and well defined and the nose is black. Tight black lips lie close to the jaw. The jaws should be full and powerful with full and proper dentition. The teeth are white and strongly developed with a true scissors bite. Level bite is acceptable.

Neck, Topline, Body

The slightly arched neck should be slim and graceful, and of moderate length. It gradually becomes larger as it approaches, and blends smoothly with the sloping shoulders. Throatiness is undesirable.

The topline shows a slight arch over the robust loins falling slightly to the tail set. A flat back or roached back is to be severely penalized.

The chest is narrow between the legs and deep in the brisket. The forechest is moderately defined. The ribs are well sprung, but flattened in the lower end to permit clearance of the forelegs.

The abdomen should be tucked up extending in an arched line from the deep brisket.

The taper style tail is moderately short reaching no further than the hock joint. It is set on at the end of the croup. Being thicker where it joins the body, the tail tapers to a point. The tail is carried in a slight upward curve, but never over the back.


The shoulder blades and the upper arm should be relatively the same length. The distance from the elbow to the withers should be approximately the same as the distance from the elbow to the ground. The elbows should lie close to the brisket. The shoulders are well laid back. The forelegs are straight, of proportionate length, and placed well under the brisket. The pasterns should be almost perpendicular. The front feet are compact and well arched. The two middle toes should be slightly longer than the others. The pads should be thick and the toenails should be jet black.


The thigh should be muscular with the length of the upper and lower thighs being approximately equal. The stifle is well turned. The well let down hocks should not turn in nor out as viewed from the rear. The hind legs are carried well back. The hind feet are shaped like those of a cat with thick pads and jet black nails.


The coat should be smooth, short, dense, tight, and glossy; not soft.


The coat color should be jet black and rich mahogany tan, which should not run or blend into each other, but abruptly form clear, well defined lines of color. There shall be a very small tan spot over each eye, and a very small tan spot on each cheek. On the head, the muzzle is tanned to the nose. The nose and nasal bone are jet black. The tan extends under the throat, ending in the shape of the letter V. The inside of the ears are partly tan. There shall be tan spots, called "rosettes," on each side of the chest above the front legs. These are more pronounced in puppies than in adults. There should be a black "thumbprint" patch on the front of each foreleg at the pastern. The remainder of the foreleg shall be tan to the carpus joint. There should be a distinct black "pencil mark" line running lengthwise on the top of each toe on all four feet. Tan on the hind leg should continue from the penciling on the toes up the inside of the legs to a little below the stifle joint. The outside of the hind legs should be black. There should be tan under the tail, and on the vent, but only of such size as to be covered by the tail. White on any part of the coat is a serious fault, and shall disqualify whenever the white shall form a patch or stripe measuring as much as one half inch at its longest dimension.

Any color other than black and tan shall be disqualified.

Color and/or markings should never take precedence over soundness and type.



The gait should be free and effortless with good reach of the forequarters, showing no indication of hackney gait. Rear quarters should have strong, driving power to match the front reach. Hocks should fully extend. Each rear leg should move in line with the foreleg of the same side, neither thrown in nor out. When moving at a trot, the legs tend to converge towards the center of gravity line beneath the dog.

The Manchester Terrier is neither aggressive nor shy. He is keenly observant, devoted, but discerning. Not being a sparring breed, the Manchester is generally friendly with other dogs. Excessive shyness or aggressiveness should be considered a serious fault.


Standard variety-Weight over 22 pounds.
Toy variety-Cropped or cut ears.
Both varieties--White on any part of the coat whenever the white shall form a patch or stripe measuring as much as one half inch at its longest dimension. Any color other than black and tan.

Approved June 10, 1991, Effective July 31, 1991




Breeding for Quality & Health

Calgary, Alberta, Canada  


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