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Manchester Toy Terrier: Breed Info, Pictures, Traits, & Care

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

two toy manchester terrier puppies

Manchester Toy Terrier: Breed Info, Pictures, Traits, & Care

The Manchester Terrier comes in two sizes: toy and standard. Both are exceptionally similar dogs except for their size. The toy variant weighs no more than 12 pounds, making them very small. Despite this, they’re very athletic. Their terrier heritage makes them feisty and can give them a very independent mind, making training a challenge.

However, these dogs are also very affectionate and loyal. It doesn’t take a lot to see why so many people love them.

Breed Overview


9–10 inches


Up to 12 pounds


12–14 years


Solid black and mahogany tan

Suitable for:

Active individuals and families with experience owning dogs


Playful, spirited, alert

Manchester Toy Terriers can be great companions for those who can deal with their energy. They’re very feisty and may be hard to train, so we recommend them to experienced dog owners only. Their behaviors can be a bit mischievous and may be hard for some owners to deal with.

They’re also very active, though their smaller size makes it easier to meet their activity needs. We do recommend them for more active families, though.

Manchester Toy Terriers Breed Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Manchester Toy Terrier Puppies

Manchester Toy Terrier
Image Credit: escada007, Shutterstock

These charming puppies are bundles of energy. While they may be small, they often have a seemingly endless void of energy. They’re also very curious and may be mischievous from an early age.

We recommend starting training right away, as these dogs can be difficult to train. They require plenty of patience and dedication, despite their higher intelligence. Early socialization is also important. Otherwise, they can be prone to chasing small animals and barking excessively.

While these breeds aren’t as common as some others, there are several reputable breeders throughout the United States. You will very likely need to go to a breeder, though, as these dogs aren’t common enough to end up in your average shelter or rescue.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Manchester Toy Terrier 🧠

Like most terriers, Manchester Toy Terriers are very energetic. They are very playful and love to cuddle. They also thrive on interaction and attention.

Plan to take regular walks and provide plenty of mental stimulation. These dogs will spend most of their waking moments playing and running around. They’re also very alert, making them great watchdogs. However, they can bark excessively if this barking isn’t managed in training. While you can’t expect them not to bark at all, you can manage the barking with a “quiet” command.

Manchester Terriers are surprisingly loyal and sensitive. They bond closely with their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement. However, loud noises, punishment, and sudden movements can startle them. It’s important to socialize them with young children and other dogs from an early age.

Toy Manchester Terriers are intelligent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trainable. They tend to focus their intelligence on problem-solving and “guarding” their homes. They’re very independent dogs, so they aren’t always the most obedient.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏠

Toy Manchester terriers work best in active families, as they are high-energy dogs. They need regular walks and playtime, so it often works best if you are already doing these things. If you’re looking for a dog that will sit around and cuddle, this terrier isn’t the best option!

They also do best with older children. Their small size makes them more easily injured by toddlers, and they can be fearful of erratic movements. It’s important that they’re treated gently and respectfully, which tends to happen best with older children.

Because these dogs require plenty of socialization and training, they work best for experienced dog owners. Otherwise, they can be overwhelming, especially from a training perspective.

Manchester Toy Terrier
Image Credit: thka, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Manchester Terriers generally do well with other dogs, especially when socialized properly. However, they can be fearful of larger dogs if they aren’t allowed to interact regularly with others from a young age.

Their energetic nature also means that they get along best with other active dogs. They can be a bit too pushy with more laid-back canines. Like most terriers, they tend to chase cats and other small animals. However, their smaller size does make this less of a risk. Of course, it is vital to consider the dog’s specific temperament, too. Some dogs just get along better with others!

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Things to Know When Owning a Manchester Toy Terrier:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Because they are so small, these terriers practically always need food designed for smaller dogs. Their mouths are too small to consume your average dog food, so they need food made with a smaller kibble size. Wet food also works, though smaller portions are needed—smaller cans often work best to prevent waste. Manchester Toy Terriers don’t have any special dietary needs, though. They do well on the same foods that other dogs do.

It’s important to feed them food designed for their life stage. Puppies need different nutrients than adults, while senior dogs may benefit from added nutrition. Therefore, it’s vital that you adjust your dog’s food as necessary as they get older.

While these dogs are small, they can also be very active. Therefore, they occasionally require food designed for more active dogs. Often, these recipes have more protein and calories, which are both necessary for very active canines.

Manchester Toy Terrier
Image Credit: escada007, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Manchester Toy Terriers are in a strange area when it comes to exercise. On the one hand, they are very active. They require consistent exercise daily, making them best for active families. However, they are also rather small. They don’t need as long of walks as other breeds, as they have to take more steps to cover the same distance.

Therefore, these dogs only need around an hour of exercise a day despite being very energetic. You can also accomplish some of this exercise indoors. Fetch down a hallway and tug-of-war sessions can meet some of their activity needs. We do recommend at least two brisk walks a day. Puppies and seniors may need less, though.

Provide some mental stimulation, as well. Otherwise, these dogs can be bored and may attempt to make their own fun, which typically involves digging and barking. These terriers excel in agility and rally trials, so consider implementing these activities into your exercise routine, even if you don’t plan on competing in them.

Training 🦮

Manchester Terriers are not easy dogs to train. They tend to be rather stubborn, and their energetic nature makes them hard to keep focused. With the right approach, though, it is possible to train them in all of the basic commands and reach some level of obedience.

These terriers do very well with positive reinforcement training. They get very attached to their humans, and they often want to make them happy. Praise goes a long way, though most will also appreciate treats!

Avoid harsh punishment, as this may only damage your bond with your dog. With these terriers, your main route to obedience is through your bond. If you can make the training session fun, your dog will pay even more attention. Implement training into playtime, such as sitting before you throw a ball.

Use clear commands and keep all training sessions short. Even with the inclusion of treats and praise, these dogs have a very short attention span. Frequent, short sessions are much more effective.

Start training as soon as your dog comes home. Socialization is important and will take up a lot of your time when your puppy is small. However, you should also consider teaching them the basic commands as early as possible. Be patient with smaller puppies, and keep in mind that you’re trying to teach them obedience in general on top of the specific commands.

Puppy training classes are a great option. These provide socialization that these puppies desperately need when they’re little. They can also help you kickstart your dog’s training and overcome hurdles faster with the help of the dog trainer.

Manchester Toy Terrier
Image Credit: Cavan-Images, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Due to their short, smooth coats, toy Manchester Terriers don’t require much grooming. We still recommend brushing them with a glove or rubber brush about once a week, mostly to keep them clean. Brushing can remove tons of dust and dirt, preventing you from needing to give them a bath. Brush in the direction of the fur and keep brushing sessions very short.

While puppies don’t need much grooming, it’s still important to start grooming right away. This process helps your puppy get used to grooming, which can make the sessions much easier later on. Frequent baths are not needed for this breed. They require bathing only when visibly dirty or smelly. Use a gentle shampoo and be sure to dry these dogs completely.

Like all dogs, you’ll need to trim their nails regularly. Otherwise, they may be prone to cracking and splitting. You can easily do this yourself at home. However, many owners also choose to have their vet or groomer do this task instead. These dogs don’t typically get ear infections. However, you should still keep an eye on their ears. Dirt and debris should be cleaned away using a damp cloth or cotton ball.

We also recommend brushing your dog’s teeth every few days. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste that is designed for dogs specifically.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Toy Manchester Terriers are a healthy breed. They can live up to 14 years and are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to healthcare costs. However, they can still develop a range of conditions, like any dog breed out there. If not properly exercised or fed, these dogs can develop obesity quickly. Because they are so small, even a pound can put them out of the recommended weight range.

Like many smaller dogs, they can develop luxating patella, which occurs when the kneecap slips out of its groove. Over time, this condition can damage the bone and joints, leading to arthritis-like symptoms. Surgery is even necessary in severe cases to fix the kneecap back into place.

Von Willebrand’s disease also occurs in this breed. This condition is genetic and leads to excessive bleeding. While it isn’t dangerous by itself, it can lead to dangerous side effects if your dog is injured or requires surgery. Purchasing from a quality breeder is necessary. Ask about health testing to help prevent your dog from inheriting this condition.

Manchester Terriers can also develop allergies to their food or environmental factors. Often, these problems cause itching and discomfort for your canine. These dogs can also develop hypothyroidism, causing weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. Sadly, this condition isn’t curable, but it can be managed with medication.

Minor Conditions
  • Luxating patella
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Hypothyroidism

Male vs. Female

There is no real size difference between males and females in this breed. Temperament differences are possible, but these typically only occur if your dog is not spayed or neutered. For instance, females will go into heat, which tends to cause temperament changes.

If your female or male dog is spayed or neutered, these reproduction-driven differences disappear, though.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Manchester Toy Terrier

1. They were originally bred to hunt rats.

Like many smaller terriers, the Manchester Terrier was bred to hunt rats, which was a huge problem in 19th-century England. Rats spread diseases and destroyed food stores. Their hunting prowess made them very valued by the working class and even nobles.

2. Despite their small size, they are very athletic.

Many people take one glance at these small, dainty dogs and assume they are lap dogs. However, this is not true. They’re extremely athletic and natural contenders in a range of canine sports, including obstacle courses and flyball.

Manchester Toy Terrier
Image Credit: WilleeCole Photography, Shutterstock

3. They also come larger.

There is also a “standard” Manchester Terrier that is larger than this toy variant. These dogs share the same temperament and chasing instincts, only in a larger package. They can reach up to 22 pounds, almost double the size of the toy variant.

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Final Thoughts

The Manchester Toy Terrier is an active breed, despite their smaller size. They tend to chase anything that moves and do best in an active household. Because they’re so small, we don’t recommend them for homes with younger children, though.

They will spend some time cuddling. However, they enjoy playing and going on brisk walks more. As puppies, these dogs hardly sit still, and their energy doesn’t taper off much when they reach adulthood, either.

If you’re looking for a small, active dog, you can’t get much better than this one.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: WilleeCole Photography, Shutterstock

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