Manchester Terrier

FCI standard Nº 71

Great Britain
Group 3 Terriers
Section 1 Large and medium sized Terriers
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 15 October 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Last update
Monday 10 January 2011
En français, cette race se dit
Manchester Terrier
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Manchester Terrier
En español, esta raza se dice
Manchester Terrier
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Manchester Terrier



Brief historical summary

His name denotes his origin, and it is likely that there is some Whippet in his ancestry. Elegant and graceful, he was bred as a ratter and can still be relied upon to despatch vermin quickly and efficiently.
Rat killing reached its peak in the mid-1800s and what dog shows there were, at that time, were usually held in public houses. In Manchester, especially, these became a weekly feature and soon this terrier had classes of his own, eventually taking the name Manchester Terrier.

General appearance

Compact, elegant and sound with substance.

Behaviour / temperament

Keen, alert, gay and sporting; discerning and devoted.


Cranial region

Long, flat and narrow, level and wedge-shaped, without showing cheek muscles. 

Facial region

Jet black.
Well filled up under eyes, tapering.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws level, with perfect and regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Relatively small, dark and sparkling. Almond-shaped, not prominent.
Small and V-shaped, carried well above top line of head and hanging close to head above eyes.


Fairly long and tapering from shoulder to head and slightly arched at crest; free from throatiness.


Slightly arched over the loin.
Well sprung ribs.
Underline and belly
Cut up behind ribs.


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.



Front narrow and deep.
Clean and well-sloped.
Forelegs quite straight, set on well under dog; proportionate length to body.


Strong and muscular. Hindlegs neither cow-hocked nor with feet turned in.
Well bent.


Small, semi-harefooted and strong with well arched toes.

Gait and movement

Straight, free and balanced with good-reaching forequarters and driving power in hindquarters.


Close, smooth, short 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 tan V. Legs from knee downward tanned with exception of toes which shall be pencilled with black, a distinct black mark (thumbmark) immediately above feet. Inside hindlegs 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 outside hindlegs, commonly called breeching, is undesirable.
In all cases black should not run into tan or vice versa, but division between colours clearly defined.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Ideal Height at the withers : Males 41 cms. Females 38 cms.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

The Manchester Terrier is one of the rare British breeds to have had a chaotic fate, so much so that it almost completely disappeared a hundred years ago. And yet, this is an undoubtedly very old dog who, moreover, is a member of a canine family much appreciated across the Channel for centuries.

Burrows presented quite diverse aspects, but at the beginning of the 19th century no real selection had been made among them. Thus Thomas Bell, for example, in his History of British Quadrupeds, in 1837, distinguished only two kinds: one, a native of Scotland, was shaggy, with short legs, and showed in very varied colors; the other, Englishman, was distinctly more elegant with his long legs (though he was small) and his pointed snout, and he usually sported a black and fiery coat. In short, this second portrait announced quite exactly that of the current Manchester Terrier.

In truth, the situation was rather confused, and it is precisely this great heterogeneity which makes it possible to explain the appearance of all these different races of British Terriers, between the end of the last century and the twenties.

It is indisputable that there were English-speaking Black-and-Smoked Old-haired Old Terriers, some of whom were rather brown in color with lighter spots, that many were heavily built, with a rather round head and a marked stop, and therefore did not shine by their elegance and the symmetry of their lines. But these questions of appearance were only very secondary for a majority of their owners, that they were rural, hunting "stink" with dogs small enough to enter the burrows, or minors or even metalworkers from the great cities of central and northern England. It is also in the most modest urban areas that the breeding of the Manchester Terrier first developed, and the very name of this dog will not deny it.

In the industrial zones, the English Terrier had essentially a function of ratier, a function which suited him particularly. Such arrangements for chasing rats gave the idea to the workers to create a new sport, rat-killing matches or, more simply, "ratting."

The ardor, courage, speed and bite of the Manchester Terriers were put to work, giving rise to bets. Thus a subject named Billy acquired in this area a great reputation by managing to kill one hundred rats in 6 minutes 35 seconds, which record then improved by 22 seconds. As Stanley Dangerfield points out, "three and a half seconds per rat gives the dog little time to properly shake his catch, so he had to kill his rats with a toothache and drop them at once." This was the result of a patient training, no doubt.

The possibility of betting was also the first reason for being another sport, the rabbit-coursing. It is well known that the Fox Terriers were the preferred participants in these speed events, but many Manchester Terriers also live there. However, in the rabbit-coursing, the pursuit of the rabbit was abandoned and we moved towards a sprint behind a rag; From the day when the amateurs had the idea of crossing the Terriers with greyhounds, the Whippet strode forward and supplanted the Terriers.

At the same time, the Manchester Terrier entered the exhibitions. It was necessary to improve its aesthetics, so various crossings were practiced: one speaks of the Old White English Terrier, a dog which had an ephemeral existence (it disappeared at the beginning of this century) and which possessed quite elegant lines, besides an entirely white dress; there was also a slight influx of Greyhounds, Italian Greyhound or Whippet (currently being created), perhaps through rabbit-coursing competitors.

A John Hulme, established in Crumpsall, is known as one of the first serious breeders of the breed. We also quote Mr Hendler, from Lancaster, whose dog Saff is found in most pedigrees. Thus, the future of the Manchester Terrier was under the most favorable auspices.

Unfortunately, in 1895, the cutting of ears was banned in Britain (an idea that made its way a century later, in continental Europe). The Manchester Terrier breeders had the same shock that Dobermann fans now have: they "discovered" that the ears of their dogs were very large and heavy, to say that they took away a good part of the chic inherent in the race (in fact, to be able to be pruned more easily and to be more beautiful when cut, the ears must be big and thick).

The emerging popularity of the Manchester Terrier then fell sharply. The time required for the selection of small folded ears as in the Fox Terrier was used by fans of the Fox Terrier smooth hair to conquer a wide audience. The Manchester has never recovered from this bad move (we understand why the Dobermann supporters do not want to hear about the ban on pruning ears.) Note that it was never envisaged to ban the otectomy in the United States and that the Manchester was thus welcomed in its traditional aspect. From the beginning of the century, he crossed the Atlantic to settle in the United States and Canada. In 1923, the American Club of the race was created.

Thus hard hit, the Manchester Terrier knew no less of other difficulties. For a long time, there were among the English Old Terriers small subjects, weighing no more than 3 or 4 kilos. These small templates were sought after, because a modest size did not imply less ability to hunt rats; on the contrary, it allowed the dogs to slip into every nook and cranny. Breeders and the public soon became interested in these "mini Manchester", some of which, moreover, crossed with small Italian Greyhounds, did not reach 3 kilos.

But that was not enough for them. It was necessary to produce miniatures. Thus appeared specimens weighing 1 kilo, frail, glabrous on a part of the body, with an apple skull and globular eyes, in short, showing signs of dwarfism. These dogs were also assigned the name of Manchester Terrier, at first. However, they did not eliminate the Manchester Terrier of normal size, which itself was classified into two categories: small, weighing between 4 and 7.5 kilos, and large, weighing 7.5 to 10 kilos. The confusion was total, which, of course, did not arrange the affairs of the two races.

Some will notice that the descendants of the old ratiers have had little luck in any country. In France, no breed of ratier has been selected; in Germany, the Pinschers have never enjoyed a great popularity (the Pinscher Moyen was close to disappearing). Be that as it may, there is undoubtedly a more rational explanation for the lack of interest shown towards the Manchester Terrier, namely the extreme rigor of the requirements concerning his dress; the standard is about this of unusual length and precision.

It is prescribed, for example, that the fire-colored fingers are marked with black marks (called "pencil strokes") and that there is also a black pellet just above the fingers (called "thumb mark") ). It is still necessary that the demarcation between the wild beast and the black is always clear, although the neighborhoods of the truffle are black, that there is no trace of fawn on the thighs, that the fire escutcheon with the anus be as discreet as possible, but the fire spots above the eyes and on each side of the chest (called kiss marks) are perfectly visible, and finally, the fire spots in the throat form a distinct "V". This exceeds the measurement.

In fact, it is sufficient to examine a large number of representatives of any race usually having a well-defined black-and-fire dress to find that, although the arrangement of the colors is almost always the same, there is nevertheless inevitably slight variations from one subject to another. On the other hand, how can one demand at the same time that there be a clear demarcation between the colors and that the fire beaches be marked with black marks? The English standard seems to have imposed a real challenge that exists in no other race. In fact, it took many years for breeders to approach this ideal.

Today, the Manchester Terrier occupies a modest place, and no one would be surprised. In Great Britain, there are a little more than a thousand in all. In the United States, it is much rarer than the Manchester Toy (named in Europe English Toy Terrier), which is not itself very widespread. In other countries, in France in particular, it is confidential.

The Manchester Terrier deserves to be noticed because it is far from devoid of qualities. In addition to its color, its standard defines a dog that is compact, sturdy and very elegant. Her tall, long head is supported by a curved neckline, her short body has an arched kidney and a raised belly that gives her class. It's a burrow that does not cut anything, not even the tail, and does not need any special care. It has the same size as a fox with smooth hair, but a completely different silhouette, although devoid of any extravagance.

This dog has certainly kept working skills. J. Dhers found him "very active and very biting on the stinking, and still employed in the digging," and he added: "I even knew a crew on the continent used for hunting underground foxes and badgers. This opinion dates from thirty years ago. Currently, it seems, the breed is no longer used at work. On the other hand, the Manchester can render great services in the hunting of rodents. If he can dispose of a piece of meadow, the war he will deliver to moles and field mice will demonstrate that his atavism of "dying" is still present.

However, it is usually as a house dog that he gives his full measure. It is a very clean dog, not bulky but not tiny or fragile. Despite his small size, he has a lot of presence. His great vigilance also makes him an excellent guardian of the flat or the pavilion, a kind of Dobermann in reduction (the two races are related).

But Manchester is one hundred percent Terrier. It is therefore endowed with a lot of influx and ardor, without tendency to become hypernervous. He is receptive to education and can not bark at any point. He is confident and always happy, neither aggressive nor grumpy or sulky. Like the other members of the "tribe", he has a keen sense of injustice. Like them, too, under the guise of effrontery and independence, he hides a deep attachment to his masters. His connivance with children is recognized. He can adapt to many personalities: he knows to be the companion full of fantasy of a weighted person or to be a real sportsman, indefatigable. He is a city dweller or a countryman. This dog with short hair, of a size neither large nor very small, will certainly have to wait a little longer to claim a certain popularity. In return, its characteristics are real practical assets, its originality is discreet but not overrated.

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