Manchester Terriers are one of the oldest terrier breeds. Ancestors of this dog pre-date the 1500's. These terriers were used mainly to hunt and were called the Black and Tan terrier. They were also credited with being the foundation stock for many breeds of this coloration today, such as the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler. Much coarser and larger than today's Manchester and Toy Manchester, they were famous for their ability to kill rodents and other ground dwelling creatures which threatened the livelihood of many farmers of the day. Over the years, crosses to sight hounds, usually the whippet, produced a smoother sleeker coat and more streamlined appearance which allowed the dogs to course hare and rabbit more efficiently.
During the Victorian era, toy dogs were the fashion statement of the day and the "Black & Tan", already a well-known breed, did not escape the eye of the fanciers and the Toy Manchester Terrier was born. Perhaps the most famous Toy Manchester Terrier was "Tiny", a 5 pound Toy who was renowned for his rat-killing ability. However, within a short time the Toy Manchester Terrier was nearly bred into extinction as the breed quickly became too small to properly reproduce. During this period it was not uncommon to find Toy Manchester Terriers as small as 2 1/2 pounds!
Finally, a man in Manchester helped revive this feisty little terrier and now it has a more sturdy body and is bred without much difficulty. The breed soon took on the name of the town where they once more began to flourish. In Britain the Toy version is known as the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan), but in North America it is known as the Toy Manchester Terrier. Our North American Toy Manchester Terrier is also slightly larger and more terrier-like than the smaller British version.
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