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These keen and intelligent dogs came on the scene in Manchester, England. During the 16th century, the country was besieged with a rat epidemic. Cue the Manchester Terrier, the scourge of rats (and rabbits) everywhere.
They were hugely popular with tavern owners, who let them loose after closing to clear their establishments of rodents. They were so good, in fact, they became known as ‘Rat Terriers’. The name ‘Manchester Terrier’ didn’t come about until the 1860s, when Manchester became their main breeding center. A certain John Hulme is credited with crossing a Whippet and a dark brown cross-bred terrier to create the breed we know – and completely adore – today.
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