Manchester Terrier Association

Tiny the Wonder 1848


Image description
Image description
Image description

Manchester Terrier History

The Manchester Terrier closely resembles the Black and Tan Terrier, the oldest known breed of terrier, from which it was developed. 

Writing in the early 16th century, John Caius describes a Manchester-terrier type of dog in De Banibus Britannicis, and at the beginning of the 19th century Sydenham Edwards described what he called a Manchester Terrier in his Cynographia Britannica.

The Black and Tan Terrier had an almost legendary status as a rat killer, an ability that was much prized in overcrowded and rat-infested cities such as 19th-century Manchester.

The sport of rat baiting, in which a terrier was thrown into an enclosure filled with rats, and timed to see how long it took the dog to kill them all, had become popular by the early 19th century along with rabbit coursing. In an effort to produce a dog that could excel at both sports, the breeder John Hulme decided to cross a Black and Tan Terrier with a Whippet. 

Similar dogs were bred in various other parts of England, but by 1860 Manchester had become the breed centre for these new terriers, and so they became known as Manchester Terriers. 

The Manchester Terrier gained the nickname of the Gentleman's Terrier in Victorian times, because of its dignified demeanour.


Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Manchester Terriers continued to be well known around the show rings of the UK. By the turn of the century they became more popular both in the show ring and for excelling at other disciplines such as agility and obedience. A Manchester Terrier was first awarded first place in the Terrier Group in 2003 at Bournemouth Championship Show.

The introduction of the pet passport led to more people taking advantage of the opportunity to travel abroad with their pets, enabling owners to participate in shows abroad. An English bred and owned Manchester Terrier won Best of Breed, World Winner in Sweden 2007. This was repeated in 2009 in Denmark and 2010 in Paris by her son.

A dedicated group of enthusiasts started competing in the European Happening annual event, which is held in different European countries each year.  They soon became adept at the games and agility, as dogs in Europe compete.

Popularity grew throughout the 2000’s and 2020’s, possibly due to increased promotion of the breed and enthusiasts attending activities such as Discover Dogs and Game Fairs, where the general public get chance to meet the breed and learn about then. The public also got the chance to see Manchester Terriers involved in sports other than showing. The Kennel Club supported the Vulnerable Breeds in some of the events with parades such ass at Discover Dogs.

Last decade saw Manchester Terriers competing at Crufts level with two teams in the KC Obreedience competitions. Crufts also saw a Manchester Terrier competing at the top level in Flyball, in fact in the winning championship team in 2019.

Manchester Terriers were more in the limelight around the shows too with dogs quite often winning places in the Terrier Group, more than they did previously. A further first place in the Terrier Group was won again, three times in 2016 and 2017 and millions of TV viewers saw that same Manchester Terrier win Terrier Group place 4 at Crufts in 2018. A third Manchester was awarded Terrier Group 1 in 2018. The group have also seen Manchester Terriers winning the annual competitions of Top Brood Bitch and Top Stud Dog, including Top Stud Dog over all breeds.

Manchester Terriers are now becoming popular for many people, town and country and their size, smooth coats and smart appearance making them an easy choice of dog. Owners are currently doing lots of activities and competitions with their dogs now, Agility, Flyball, Obedience, Rally, Heelwork to music, Obreedience, Hoopers, Canicross, Frisbee, Scentwork, Tricks, Tracking.

The breed has two clubs for owners, The British Manchester Terrier Club and the Manchester Terrier Association. Both clubs support owners and offer many activities and fun times, or just meet ups and mooches where like minded people can meet up with their dogs.