In the beginning the Manchester Terrier was a rough coated, crooked legged, black and tan dog who went to earth. Although no historian has been able to pinpoint the date of the origin of this ancient prototype, Manchester devotees prefer to think of him as being as old as the British Isles to which he is indigenous. Mention of this early terrier is made by Dr. Caius in "De Banibus Britannicis", the first written documentation on dogs in the 1500ís. British art of the mid-1700ís depicts the "black and tan" or "rat terrier", as quite closely resembling the present day Manchester Terrier. By 1800 Sydenham Edwards published his, "Cynographia Britannica" illustrating a Manchester Terrier complete with all the fanciersí touches. Indeed, the Manchester has the singular and enviable distinction of being the oldest of all the Terrier breeds recognized today.
During the long reign of the sports of ratting in the pits and rabbit coursing the Manchester Terrier was much in the fore. He ranged in weight from about 10 to 40 lbs. His ears were cropped - not for style - but rather to keep the odd rat from hanging onto these appendages; the prehensile whip like tail was uncropped, serving as a balancing rod or a "fifth leg" for pivotal purposes. His sleek build is often attributed to a Mr. John Hulme of Manchester, who introduced Whippet, Greyhound or Italian Greyhound blood for adding swiftness of foot to the great power, stamina and courage of the Manchester Terrier. This infusion is also responsible for the Manchesterís grace of movement and beauty of form which are unsurpassed by any other breed.
The advent of the gentlemanly pastime of exhibiting dogs brought with it the need for standardizing breeds in order that they might be consistently bred to type. The present day Standard Manchester ranges in weight from 12 to 22 lbs. His ears may be erect, button, or cropped. He is more on the leg than a number of his Scottish counterparts, and thus is numbered among the "long legged terrier family", as are the Airedale, Bedlington, Bull, Border, Fox, Irish, Lakeland, Kerry Blue, Staffordshire and Welsh terriers. In stature and substance he is very much a gentlemanís dog, in demeanor and cleanliness he is a favorite of discriminating homemakers. The Toy Manchester Terrier is a product of selective breeding of the small offspring of Standard Manchester Terriers. While his weight range is 7 to 12 lbs., and under 7 lbs. (for show classification) and his ears may only be carried erect, he is a miniature of the Standard variety in every respect. The Toy commands special popularity in this modern age of urban living due to his compact size. He has inherited the loyal courage and hearty bark of his bigger brother, and he absolutely has no peer as a companionable guard dog for the small home or apartment.
The Manchester Terrier has the most distinctive color and markings of all the 140 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. He may only be black with the intricate set of rich mahogany tan markings described in the Standard of Perfection. The coat itself is sleek, shiny, smooth and a bit hard to the touch. His temperament is as distinctive as his good looks, for the usual terrier adjectives of "dour" and "unpredictable" do not apply to the Manchester. He is renowned for a warm and sparkling personality and an insatiable eagerness to learn. Once taught, he is responsive and obedient and takes immeasurable pride in his accomplishments. A trick or command mastered is never forgotten - and many a trick is learned before it is taught. Frolicsome and full of himself as a puppy, the mature Manchester is the most sedate and dignified of all terriers. Both varieties are solicitous toward children.
The pristine beauty, enormous adaptability and good humored charm of the Manchester Terrier have for many years made him a breed that ranks within or near the top third of AKC registrations. However, his faithful supporters prefer that he remain a "fanciers breed", not puppy milled and not mass produced. We of the American Manchester Terrier Club take utmost pride in planning litters that will be true to type. Our puppies are raised in the bosom of our family life and weaned on the milk of human kindness. American Manchester Terrier Club members would welcome inquiry from similarly interested and responsible persons as to where they might obtain a magnificent Manchester - the terrier with the heart of a lion and the soul of a lamb.