Toy Manchester Terrier

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Toy Manchester Terrier

The Toy Manchester Terrier is recognised as a breed in its own right by some, while others classify it as a variant of their ancestor, the Manchester Terrier. While very similar to the Manchester Terrier, they are smaller and must have erect ears. Their glossy coat is black and tan and must grow in a very distinctive pattern. No Toy Manchester Terrier may exceed 5.4kg.

A charming dog, the Toy Manchester Terrier is inquisitive and smart, though may be reserved when meeting new people. Quick to learn, they are known to outsmart some owners, and can become a real handful if not trained appropriately. Full of beans, the Toy Manchester Terrier needs plenty of exercise, particularly if kept in a small home with limited access to the outdoors.

About & History

In the 19th century, the Toy Manchester Terrier was created from its close relative the Manchester Terrier, a breed that is only a few centimetres taller. Small Manchester Terriers were bred with each other to reduce the height and weight of the population. The Manchester Terrier itself was developed from Whippets and the black and tan English Toy Terrier in the English city of Manchester.

The breed became officially named the Toy Manchester Terrier in America in the 1920s, and the Toy Manchester Terrier Club was formed a decade later. Sadly, the club was not to last for long, as less than 20 years later they disbanded due to declining breed numbers and lack of interest in the breed. It was a reaction to this that caused the breed to be re-classified alongside the Manchester Terrier by the AKC. Nowadays, the Toy Manchester Terrier is recognised as its own breed within the AKC’s Toy Group.

Interestingly, the black and tan English Toy Terrier is so closely related to the Toy Manchester Terrier that the United Kingdom Kennel Club officially allows some breed members to inter-breed, hoping that this will prevent the extinction of these rare dogs.

Not surprisingly, the ancestors of this little terrier were traditionally used as ratters. True vermin exterminators by nature, the Manchester Terrier (along with many other Terrier dogs) have always been recognised for their ability to keep homes and shops free of rats over the years. Not only was this essential for public hygiene, but the hunting of small rodents was a popular sport in its day. Today’s Toy Manchester Terrier retains many of the characteristics associated with this activity; they are high energy, full of zest and with a nose for prey. However, they are rarely seen as working dogs, instead being more popular as family pets and dog show contestants.


Toy Manchester Terrier Large Photo

The Toy Manchester Terrier is a smaller version of the more popular Manchester Terrier. They should have elegant yet sturdy bodies, designed for athleticism and speed. The main criteria for the Toy Manchester Terrier is that they do not exceed a weight of 5.4kg. They are not defined by their height, unlike most other breeds, though ordinarily reach heights of 25-30cm.

Their erect ears taper to a point and sit atop a wedge-shaped head. Their dark almond eyes and tight black lips give them an ever-alert expression. Their body is slightly longer than it is tall with a curved back and a chest that is both deep and narrow. Their slender tail has a moderate curve to it.

Their characteristic coat is a shiny black and mahogany colour and should be dense and smooth. Small mahogany patches on each cheek and above each eye are a breed requirement in the show ring, along with several other, strict colour patterns, such as black patches at their pasterns and a black line of fur on each toe. There must never be any other colour on their coat, other than black or brown.

Character & Temperament

One of the most attractive qualities of the Toy Manchester Terrier is their personality. While high-spirited and lots of fun, they are also poised and sociable. It is not in the breed to be overtly aggressive, and while they have been used for centuries to hunt small pests, they tend to get on very well with domestic animals that they have been raised with, particularly other dogs. The same cannot be said for smaller pets, such as gerbils and guinea pigs, who are likely to be viewed as vermin that need exterminating immediately.

Described by some as fearless, they are always ready to take on a challenge. Couple this with their observant nature, and you have a fine watchdog. As the Toy Manchester Terrier is often devoted to their family, they are known to offer them good protection, barking loudly at any perceived threat to the home. This trademark yap is, however, a bit of a double-edged sword, and can put many potential owners off the breed.

The Toy Manchester Terrier can have a tendency towards becoming spoiled and snappy, and many feel that it is not a good choice for a family with young children, particularly as their diminutive size makes them more prone to accidents, and they may identify rough play as a threat, reacting with hostility, and potentially snapping as a defence mechanism.

Probably more so than most other Terrier breeds, the Toy Manchester Terrier is commonly referred to as sensitive – a trait that needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to their treatment and training.


Photo of Toy Manchester Terrier puppy

While generally a well-balanced and good-natured dog, it is very important to socialise the Toy Manchester Terrier early on in its life, as they can be wary of strangers and may become defensive if they feel threatened.

The Toy Manchester Terrier is bright and self-assured, often needing a reminder that they are not, in fact, the leader of the family pack. Trainers must firmly assert their authority, ensuring the Toy Manchester Terrier is under no illusion that they are the boss. This will prevent them from forming a dominant personality that can be difficult to live with, particularly if the dog becomes possessive and demanding.

Generally very responsive to commands, this breed is one of the easier Terrier breeds to train. Many Toy Manchester Terrier owners find it useful to train their dog to stop barking by using a vocal command from an early age. Failing to implement this training tool will likely lead to regret in later life!


A long-lived dog breed, it is the norm for a Toy Manchester Terrier to live to 15 or 16 years old, which is quite the feat in the canine world. There is a concern that the Toy variant of the breed is more inbred than the original Manchester Terrier, and may be more prone to certain genetic ailments. Health conditions to be on the lookout for include:


This is a treatable condition of the endocrine system that can result in a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, lethargy and skin disease. Most animals are managed with daily tablets for life.

Legg-Calvés-Perthes Disease

An orthopaedic disorder that is most often seen in small Terrier breeds, Legg-Calvés-Perthes Disease is thought to be passed on genetically within the Manchester Terrier breed. The top of the femur bone degenerates, resulting in pain, muscle wastage and lameness.

Patellar Luxation

A small dog that hops on one of its back legs when trotting is quite possible suffering with a luxating patella, or a knee cap that pops in and out of place. If their quality of life is affected, a corrective surgery may be offered.

Ocular Conditions

Ocular conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, lens luxation and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are also something to look out for with the Toy Manchester Terrier. Those dogs bred in America should be checked by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) for ocular disorders that are passed on in the genes.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD) is a rare, clotting disorder that makes affected animals more susceptible to catastrophic bleeding after trauma or an operation. A screening test is currently available.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

A disorder of the heart muscle itself, dilated cardiomyopathy is an enlargement of the heart that dramatically affects its function, eventually leading to heart failure. Affected dogs are managed as outpatients with medication.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Despite their size, Toy Manchester Terriers need plenty of exercise. While it is true that they can adapt to living in small residences, this will only be a viable option if they are satisfied with the exercise and activities provided to them each day. They are incredibly athletic, with a powerful run, and they will take you up on any fun activity that may be on offer. Without an outlet for their abundant energy, they will inevitably become a nuisance pet that tears up the furniture and keeps the neighbours awake with their yapping.

They appreciate access to a large garden, which must be extremely secure as a Toy Manchester Terrier that gets the whiff of prey is going to try and do whatever it takes to escape their enclosure in order to get to it.


Luckily, grooming requirements for the Toy Manchester Terrier are minimal. A weekly brush and a rare bath are all that is needed to keep the sheen on their coat. They shed moderately and brushing their fur when outside can keep the shedding within the home to a minimum.

Famous Toy Manchester Terriers

Impressive to some, barbaric to others, a Toy Manchester Terrier called Tiny is said to hold the record for most rats killed in less than an hour. That number? 300!


It is commonplace for the Toy Manchester Terrier to be bred with the closely related black and tan English Toy Terrier.

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.