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"To err is human, to forgive, canine."

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Manchester Terrier

The Manchester Terrier is a breed of dog of the smooth-haired terrier type.

Varieties
In the United States the Manchester Terrier is divided into two varieties. The Toy Manchester Terrier is a diminutive version of the standard Manchester Terrier. The toy variety weighs less than 12 pounds and has naturally erect ears. The standard variety weighs 12 to 22 pounds and has 3 allowable ear types (naturally erect, button, or cropped). Other than size differences and ear type, the Manchester Terrier and the Toy Manchester Terrier should be identical.

In its native England, these two varieties are represented as separate breeds, the Manchester Terrier and the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan).

History
The following is a brief overview of the breed's history in both its native England and America:

In England
The early 1800s saw times of poor sanitation in England. Rats soon became a health menace and rat killing became a popular sport. John Hulme, enthusiastic devotee of the sport of rat killing and rabbit coursing, crossed a Whippet to a cross bred terrier to produce a tenacious, streamlined animal infinitely suited to the sport. (Perhaps the Whippet influence explains the unusual topline of the Manchester still required today). This cross proved so successful that it was repeated, resulting in the establishment of a definite type -- thus the Manchester Terrier was born.

By 1827 the breed's fighting spirit had made it equally handy along a hedge row as in a rat-pit. The Manchester could tackle, with silent determination, an opponent twice its size. Ears were cropped to save risk of being torn in frequent scraps. (This also enhanced the sharp appearance of the expression). When rat-killing became illegal in England rat-pits were supplanted by dining halls or public inns, all of which were infested by rats. To combat the rodent problem each inn kept kennels. When the taprooms closed, who do you think took command? The little Black and Tan rat killers who proved their worth one hundred-fold to the inn keeper.

 

Manchester Terrier
Country of origin: England


1860 saw the Manchester district of England as the breed center for these "Rat Terriers" and the name Manchester Terrier surfaced. Smaller specimens began to gain appeal. Unethical persons were known to introduce Chihuahuas in order to reduce size to as small as 2 1/2 pounds! This resulted in numerous problems, including apple heads, thinning coats, and poppy eyes. Inbreeding further diminished size yet the smaller versions, though delicate and sickly, remained popular for some time.

Smaller Manchesters were carried in specially designed leather pouches suspended from the rider's belt, (earning the title of "Groom's Pocket Piece"). With their smaller stature these dogs obviously could not keep up with the hounds, but when the hounds ran the fox into dense thickets they were not able to penetrate, the little Manchester Terrier was released. Nicknamed the "Gentleman's Terrier" this breed was never a "sissy." His dauntless spirit commanded respect.

In the United States
As in its native country the Manchester gained quick acceptance as a recognized breed. In 1886, just two years after the American Kennel Club was organized, the first Black and Tan Terrier was registered in the stud book. The following year "Lever" (AKC #7585) became the first AKC recognized Manchester Terrier.

The 20th century is dotted by the recognition of breed clubs devoted to preserving and promoting this breed:

In 1923 the "Manchester Terrier Club of America" was recognized and 1934 saw the Toy Black and Tan Terrier changed to Toy Manchester Terrier, and in 1938 the "American Toy Manchester Terrier Club" was recognized.

By 1952, however, the "Manchester Terrier Club of America" (Standards) was without organized breed representation. To the credit of the "American Toy Manchester Terrier Club", the two breeds were combined as one (with two varieties - Standard and Toy) with the formation of the "American Manchester Terrier Club" in 1958, an organization which still survives today.