British School, 19th century
Oil on board
10-1/4 x 8-1/8 inches (15-1/2 x 13-1/2 in frame)
The Manchester Terrier is named for the English city where the breed was developed. They are sleek, bright and sporty dogs with a terrier’s instincts.
Developed from the Black and Tan Terrier and the Whippet, the Manchester Terrier has been noted in writings from the early 16th century where a Manchester-Terrier type of dog was described. At the beginning of the 19th century, descriptions of what were called a Manchester Terrier were found in treatise on historical dog breeds.
The Black and Tan Terrier had an almost legendary status as a rat killer, an ability that was much prized in overcrowded and rat-infested cities such as 19th-century Manchester. The sport of rat baiting, in which a terrier was thrown into an enclosure filled with rats, and timed to see how long it took the dog to kill them all. In 1835 such games were outlawed though the breed was still used in rabbit coursing until the early 20th century.
In an effort to produce a dog that could excel at both sports, breeders decided to cross a Black and Tan Terrier with a Whippet. Similar dogs were bred in various other parts of England, but by 1860 Manchester had become the breed center for these new terriers, and so they became known as Manchester Terriers. Other breeds, including the Italian Greyhound and the Dachshund, may also have been introduced into the bloodline.
The Manchester Terrier gained the nickname of the Gentleman's Terrier in Victorian times, because of its dignified demeanor.