The name "Slaughter & the Dogs" was created by singer Barrett in 1975 by combining the names of Diamond Dogs and Slaughter on 10th Avenue, two of his favourite albums. They were one of the first punk rock bands in North West England. They supported the Sex Pistols at their gig at Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on 20 July 1976. This concert, more than any other single event, spawned Manchester's punk scene, which was concentrated around the Electric Circus Club

The band befriended Rob Gretton, later to manage Joy Division, and with his financial help, became the first band to release a single on Manchester’s independent record label Rabid Records. In 2001, This debut single, "Cranked Up Really High", was released in June 1977, is considered a punk rock classic, appearing in Mojo’s list of the top 100 punk rock singles of all time. It was also included on Streets, which was cited as an "essential" compilation album of early UK punk bands from a variety of independent record labels.

The band were frequent visitors to London, and became one of the pioneering punk bands that played live in the first few months of the Roxy. They played their first concert in January of the same year, supported by the Adverts. They headlined twice in February and once in March of the same year, supported by Johnny Moped. In April, they were supported by

 was issued in May 1978Do It Dog Style, the band released the popular "Where Have All the Boot Boys Gone?" single in late 1977, followed by "Dame to Blame" and "Quick Joey Small". Their debut album,