Manchester Terrier

Manchester Terrier

This sleek little dog comes in two sizes: little and even littler. They also come in two moods: laid-back and raring to go. Whether standard or toy sized, Manchester Terriers have a close black coat with deep mahogany markings. With their coloring, lean physique, and wedge-shaped head, Manchesters are often mistaken for Miniature Doberman Pinschers. Though they are high energy and prone to digging like most terriers, they aren't as non-stop and quarrelsome as many terrier breeds. Nevertheless, you should always walk your Manchester Terrier on a leash so he doesn't get feisty with four-legged strangers or run off after a squirrel.

Manchesters are devoted to their families and prefer sticking close by them—even when it's time for bed. They're so attached to their people that they are prone to developing anxiety when left alone too long. If you want a dog who can fend for himself, this breed isn't the optimal choice. And while Manchesters are catlike when it comes to their fastidious grooming, they are not catlike in their noise level. This dog barks—and often.

Other Names

Manchester Terriers are also called simply Manchesters.

Physical Description


Manchester Terriers have a smooth, glossy coat that is dense and tight to the body. It is not soft to the touch. The color is pitch black with clearly delineated, rich mahogany markings in specific areas. There should be a mahogany spot over each eye and a small spot on the cheeks. The mahogany color should extend along each side of the muzzle to the nose and under the throat in a V shape. There are two mahogany rosettes on the chest above the legs, and mahogany along the lower front of all four legs. The toes are primarily mahogany, with clear black lines.


Average Height: 15-16 inches


Standard: Not exceeding 22 pounds

Toy: Not exceeding 12 pounds

Breed Standard & History

Diminutive and dapper perfectly describes Manchester Terriers, with their striking black and mahogany coat and clean lines. They have a compact, lean, and muscular frame that gives them the agility and speed needed to catch rodents—an early occupation. The Manchester's head is long and wedge-shaped, with a bright and attentive facial expression. His neck is graceful and arched. The Toy Manchester is smaller than the Standard variety. The Toy should have a naturally erect ear, while the Standard may have an erect ear, a button ear, or a cropped ear, in keeping with the standard. Manchesters are observant and intelligent, and confident without being aggressive.

Manchester Terriers are named after the English city where they originated in the 1800s. They're a cross between Whippets, known for their speed, and Black and Tan Terriers, known for hunting rats. They were bred specifically to be adept at rat-baiting, a popular blood sport among the mill workers of Manchester's textile industry. When the inhumane sport fell out of favor in the early 20th century, Manchester Terriers became companion dogs. The Standard and Toy varieties were considered distinct breeds until 1959 when the Manchester was recognized as a single breed with two varieties. Though one breed, the Standard Manchester is categorized in the Terrier Group, while the Toy Manchester is categorized in the Toy Group.

AKC Breed Category

Standard variety: Terrier Group | Toy variety: Toy Group


General Temperament

Manchester Terriers are lively dogs with engaging personalities. They are loyal and loving with their family members, and want nothing more than to play with their pack. Be careful you don't let your Manchester appoint himself the leader of the pack because he will, if given the chance. Manchesters are easier going than most terriers, but they still have energy to spare and require plenty of exercise. Without enough activity and socialization, Manchester Terriers can develop problem behaviors.

Family Life

Are Manchester Terriers Good with Kids? Manchesters are playful and loving with kids of their pack, though they are more compatible with older children. Very young kids can accidentally injure this small breed during play, with the Toy variety at particular risk.

(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)

Are Manchester Terriers Good with Other Pets? If given the choice, Manchester Terriers would probably choose to be the center of attention in their house. However, they can live peacefully with cats and dogs they've been socialized alongside from an early age. They cannot live with small animals, however, because they will consider them prey.


Manchester Terriers are highly protective of their territory, and somewhat protective of their people.

Are Manchester Terriers Good Guard Dogs? Manchesters are exceptional watchdogs who will bark until assured their pack is alerted to new arrivals, but that's where their protective abilities end. They may resemble Doberman Pinschers, but they don't have the same guard dog abilities.

Energy Levels

While low on the energy scale compared to most terriers, Manchesters still have an abundance of zestfulness.

Specific Concerns:

  • Energetic
  • Challenging to housetrain
  • Require frequent exercise
  • Prone to nuisance barking
  • Require confident owners
  • Territorial
  • Stubborn



Manchester Terriers are devoted to their families and should reside indoors with them. They are light shedders and generally neat dogs who don't require excessive cleanup. They will bark when visitors come to the house, so train them to stop barking on command when they get the all clear from you.


Like most terriers, Manchesters need to spend a lot of time outside burning off excess energy and getting in their daily exercise. Because they dash after squirrels and birds, always walk your Manchester on leash and watch him in the yard. If you bring a Manchester Terrier home, make peace with the holes he'll inevitably dig in your yard.


A healthy, adult Manchester Terrier requires about one hour of physical activity and training each day. They excel in most dog sports and agility training, as well as in Earthdog trials.


Manchester Terriers have the stamina for several long play sessions and walks per day.

Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: A healthy, adult Manchester Terrier can run with you for two miles, three maximum, while wearing their favorite leash and collar. Though they have a runner's build, they are little and can't keep up with you over long distances.
  • Hiking Miles: If you can stop them from dragging you off trail after squirrels or chipmunks, your Manchester can keep you company on a three- to five-mile hike.


Manchester Terriers require about a ½ cup to 1 cup of good quality dog food each day, split between two feedings. The exact amount they should eat will vary significantly depending on their age and activity level. Talk to your veterinarian about the optimal diet and quantity of food for your Manchester.

Alone Time 

Manchester Terriers are amenable to spending a few hours alone, as long as you give them plenty of exercise and attention before you leave and after your return.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

15-17 years


Manchester Terriers are easy-care dogs. A weekly brushing and monthly bath will keep their coat clean and fresh smelling. Wash your Manchester's ears weekly with a gentle, dog-friendly cleanser to prevent dirt buildup that can cause infections. Brush his teeth several days a week, and trim his nails every month or so to prevent painful cracking.

Common Health Issues

Manchester Terriers may develop some breed-specific health conditions, including:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Patellar luxation
  • Von Willebrand's disease
  • Juvenile cardiomyopathy
  • Eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma
  • Heat bumps from the sun

You can minimize serious health concerns in your Manchester Terrier by purchasing your dog from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.



Manchester Terriers are eager to learn, but also a bit stubborn and distracted, so training takes patience. When training is fun and consistent, however, Manchesters learn basic commands in due course. Praise and dog treats also help.

Advanced Training

Manchester Terriers benefit from advanced obedience training and dog sports because these activities keep them mentally and physically challenged. These activities also help establish you as pack leader.

Sporting Dog Training

Manchester Terriers excel at Barn Hunt, a sport where dogs show off their skills uncovering rats in enclosed tubes hidden within tunnels made from straw or hay bales.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Manchester Terriers.

Explore Other Breeds

No. The Manchester Terrier's short coat sheds throughout the year and, as a result, leaves pet dander in your home. Pet dander is the primary cause of pet related allergies.

While Manchester Terriers are able to swim for very short distances, they tire easily and could potentially drown if not rescued. When on or around water, it is strongly advised to use a flotation device that fits your Manchester Terrier properly. Always watch your dog closely near water and never leave them unattended.