The Toy Manchester Terrier has got a playful, fun personality and its eyes always are brimming with intelligence and curiosity. This toy variety has got cunning, agility and speed on its side which served it well in its native England where they were known as champion ratters. While many Toy Manchester Terrier owners claim that their dogs are excellent pets and members of the family, there is still not a lot known about this breed. However, what facts are known are rather interesting and all play a part in the breed we all recognize today.
Did You Know?
The Toy Manchester Terrier came about after some surreptitious breeding of standard size Manchesters with Whippets. Other rumors had the breeding going on with Italian Greyhounds as well. The bottom line was that people who used their dogs as ratters in competitions against others and bet on the outcome wanted a smaller dog that could get into tight spaces and grab the rats that regular size Manchesters could not.
This ratting business occurred quite a bit in the Manchester England area in the 1800's and served as the primary income for many of the Manchester Terrier owners. The crossbreeding with other dogs was an attempt to make them as small as possible. Unfortunately, there were some mistakes and cross with other breeds like Chihuahuas produced sickly, bug-eyed dogs that were not good for much at all.
The quest for a smaller Toy Manchester Terrier resulted in a huge amount of mass inbreeding. Dogs from these litters were a frightening two to three pounds at the most. Today, the average weight of a Toy Manchester Terrier is 7 to 12 pounds! The results of this inbreeding were alarming and called a halt to virtually all breeding - both bad and good. However a few decent breeders kept close watch on the toy variety to ensure that their breed did not die out.
These Toy Manchester Terriers, in their early heyday in England, earned the nickname, "Groom's Pocket Piece." It seems that some of the smaller dogs were carried in a special pouch on a horse rider's belt during fox hunts. When the larger dogs pinned down the fox but could not get into a space because of its large size, these small Toy Manchester Terriers were released and they were able to pin down these foxes.
More Recent Odd Facts
Thanks to the diligence of reputable breeders in the 19th century, the standard size Manchester Terrier as well as the toy variety survived and thrived. These two dogs, so similar in every way except size, were counted as two separate breeds until 1959. However, at that time, they became known as one breed with two different varieties - the toy size and the standard size.
Besides the height and weight of the Manchester, both varieties are virtually the same except for one more detail - the ears. The Standard Manchester Terrier has slightly longer ears which could either be naturally erect or folded down to what is called a button style. The Toy Manchester Terrier's ears have always been naturally erect.