"When is an English Toy Terrier not an English Toy Terrier?" is a question that can be answered quite simply by: "When it is an American Manchester Terrier that has been re-registered by the K.C. as an ETT, so it can then be shown and bred as an ETT. The K.C. and the American Kennel Club have a reciprocal arrangement that allows an interchange and re-registration of imported dogs of a similar breed into each other's Countries. So are the English Toy Terrier and the Manchester Terrier similar breeds? Well, to find the answer to that one we have to delve back into history – Henry Ford may have said that "History is bunk." but "If you don't know your breed's history you don't know your breed" – don't know who said that but very true it is.
Imports of Black & Tan Terriers (as they were called then) into North America from England began in the early 1800's although the first to be registered with the AKC, 'Lever', was in 1887. Fred McLean in Canada imported mostly Standards, the 1st in 1897, but also Toys, in setting up his renowned Willowdale Kennels. The breed was separated into two sizes by the American Kennel Club, never to be inter-bred, the smaller variety to be known as Toy Black & Tan Terrier and imports continued from England right up to and through the 1960's and they remained looking very much like our home bred variety. However, by then the 'Standard' size had declined very much in popularity, as had the 'Toy', and something needed to be done to save them from possible extinction. That 'something' was the courageous decision to take down the barriers of interbreeding and meld the two sizes into one breed with just one Breed Standard for both; and call it 'Manchester Terrier' and so, by a stroke, solve the problem! So that's it then: no matter what size they are, all puppies are registered as 'Manchester Terriers'. But what about showing? Some demarcation was needed as the 'Toy' breeders and owners naturally wanted to continue showing in the Toy Group. Simple solution: any dog up to 12 lbs would the 'Toy Variety' but solely as a description and for show purposes only; but it would continue to be a registered as 'Manchester Terrier' so that there was no hindrance to breeding large & small together if a breeder so desired. Although most breeders of the 'Toy' size do stick to their own variety it is not unknown for large-to-small breeding to be carried out, thus producing a bunch of mixed sizes with the smaller going into the toy ring as under 12 lbs (the maximum weight allowed for Toys) and the heavier eligible to be shown in the Terrier Group.
Now we come to importing a Manchester Terrier into the UK and its re-registration as an ETT. As they are all registered as M.T. in N.America without any indication of being 'Toy' variety or not, that brought a problem. The only evidence of one being so is on an American show dog's Champion Certificate where it states it to be of 'Toy Variety' . Thus the K.C. will only allow re-registration on production of the Champion Certificate, those without being denied. However, even with those care is needed by the person importing as, although the certificate states it to be a 'Toy', it could well be carrying a good proportion of 'Standard' genes in its background, and one does need to know the background and breeding of the dog before crossing it with an ETT. Also, it is possible to import one that does not have a 'Champion' title by the 'back door' of another Country where it has already been re-registered by the F.C.I.
As both breeds look very alike should the importation of American Manchester Terriers raise any problems anyway? After all, a black & tan terrier is a black & tan terrier isn't it? Of course MTs & ETTs have the same basic ancestry and so are compatible for breeding; but the Americans have developed different traits to the ETT and those who have an eye for a dog can spot differences that make them stand apart and see where they do not measure up against the British Standard. After all, as breeders with the future of the breed in our hands we do have a duty to breed to the K.C.Standard of Excellence; just as judges have a duty to know that Standard and to judge to it. ●