Manchester Terriers are energetic, intelligent, and alert. As with other dogs in the Terrier group, they are known for their hunting ability including keen sense of smell that allows them to participate in earthdog trials. They also enjoy dog sports such as lure coursing, agility, tracking, flyball, rally and standard obedience as sport that gives them physical and mental stimulation while helping them bond with their families. Manchester Terriers have also been used in animal-assisted therapy. Their small size makes the Manchester Terrier attractive to children; however, as with all dogs, extremely close supervision is needed to prevent accidental injury to the dog and its subsequently developing fear-based defensive aggression.
Manchester Terriers are considered to be one of the oldest identifiable terrier breeds, dating back to the sixteenth century. The breed was developed in Manchester, England as a rat hunter and rabbit chaser. During that time rats had become endemic and the country was in need of a solution. John Hulme crossed a Whippet bitch and a dark brown cross-bred terrier to produce and refine the breed. The Manchester Terrier became extremely popular amongst tavern owners who let the dogs roam after closing, to clear the establishment of rats. During a fox hunt, it was not uncommon to see a Manchester Terrier being carried by a rider and let loose if a fox went into a thicket too dense for the hounds to reach. They were so good that they became known as "Rat Terriers." The name Manchester Terrier didn't arise until the 1860's when Manchester became their breeding center. The breed was introduced to the United States in the late 1860's and the American Kennel Club first recognized the Manchester Terrier in 1887. In 1923, the name Manchester Terrier was adopted, replacing the former name of "Toy Black and Tan Terrier."