The lively, spirited Manchester Terrier dog breed is a true terrier. Bred in Manchester, England for ratting and rabbit coursing, this dog has game and they love to show it. The Gentleman’s Terrier (as they’re known in Victorian England) is not a sparring dog but loves a good chase. This makes them a flyball and agility rock star.
Even though these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of shelters or rescue groups. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if you want to bring a dog home.
Though their looks may remind you of a miniature Doberman Pinscher or a large Miniature Pinscher, the Manchester Terrier is their own canine. A wee dog with a strong bark, they’ve got personality to burn: loyal, hearty, and a terrific watchdog who adores hanging out with their people. Among terriers, the Manchester is known to be one of the more well-mannered and responsive breeds and today spends their time as a terrific companion who can hold up their end of the conversation.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Health And Grooming Needs
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Terrier DogsHeight:15 to 16 inches tall at the shoulderWeight:12 to 22 poundsLife Span:14 to 16 years
More About This Breed
The Manchester Terrier is a high-spirited, very intelligent, and cunning dog who is eager to learn. He displays the true terrier nature — independent, faithful, lively, sporty, and alert. Discerning and devoted as well, a Manchester Terrier makes a loyal friend and a terrific watchdog.
In the United States and Canada, there are two varieties of the Manchester Terrier — the Toy and the Standard. In their native England, however, the two sizes are classified as different breeds: the English Toy Terrier and the Manchester Terrier.
Ears are the other big issue for those who care to be official about their Manchester. According to the American breed standard, Toys must have naturally erect ears; cropping is not allowed. Standards have a little more freedom: Naturally erect, cropped, or “button” ears are all acceptable.
Aside from the differences in size and ears, Toys and Standards are the same dog with the same striking personality. Manchester Terriers are extremely loyal to their people. They crave notice without being overly demanding — there will be no pawing or begging for attention.
Well, hardly any. Because they’re utterly devoted to companionship, Manchesters don’t do well if left alone for long periods of time. They can become bored and nervous in those situations, which could lead to destructive behavior, like digging holes. A vocal breed to begin with, they may also bark excessively if left to amuse themselves.
Exercise is your best prevention tool — the more they get, the less trouble they’ll be. Note: If you have issues with your pet bringing you dead and potentially un-whole small critters, you may want to consider another breed. Manchesters don’t have a cat’s philosophy, so these are not love gifts from an admirer — dead critters are the spoils of war and go to the warrior who brought them down.
Like many terriers, Manchesters have a lot of energy. They want to please and are quick learners. They are sensitive dogs, though, and can get snappy when they want to be left alone. This trait makes them unsuitable for families with small children unless the adults are willing to socialize and train their Manchester on a consistent basis.
Because of their short coats, they should not be left outdoors. When it is hot outside, their black coats could cause them to become overheated, and when it is cold outside, they can get very chilled. They do best when allowed to stay indoors with their families.
- Life expectancy can be up to 15 years.
- Manchesters can become obese if overfed and under-exercised.
- You can find them in two sizes: small and smaller.
- They excel at sports such as agility, obedience, and rally.
- They are great watchdogs and will bark enthusiastically if not trained to be quiet on command.
- Manchester Terriers can be stubborn and difficult to housebreak. Crate training is recommended.
- Manchesters are energetic dogs and like to go for walks. Be care in off-leash or unsecured areas; when their hunting instincts kick in, training is out the window. It’s all about the chase.
- They bark, dig, and kill vermin and small critters, including pocket pets.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
Many people think that Manchester Terriers are small versions of Dobermans. Au contraire! Louis Doberman used Manchesters to breed the larger Doberman, and Miniature Pinscher experts say their breed has no shared heritage.
Manchester Terriers are considered by many to be the oldest of all identifiable terrier breeds. They are mentioned in books dating back to the early 16th century.
Manchester Terriers served an important function in England. In the early 1800s, sanitation was poor and rats were a health menace. Rat killing was a popular sport, and an enthusiast named John Hulme reportedly crossed a Whippet with a Black and Tan Terrier to produce a dog that would excel at it.
Even after the sport was banned, the little Terriers had plenty of work to do in the country’s public inns, most of which were infested with rats. Inns often kept kennels of the terriers, and after closing for the night, workers would turn them loose in the dining halls to snatch the rats.
The breed developed a reputation for having great spirit and determination when facing a foe, even ones twice their size. Billy, a Manchester from the 1820s, is still remembered for having killed 100 rats in only 12 minutes. The practice of ear cropping began to eliminate the risk of ears being torn in fights.
The Manchester District of England was the center of breeding by the mid-1800s for these little Terriers, so the Manchester name was bestowed upon them. The public wanted dogs of even smaller stature, so some breeders crossed their dogs with Chihuahuas to further reduce their size. This caused numerous problems — most notably thin coats, apple heads, and bulging eyes.
The very small Manchesters, although delicate and unhealthy (and as small as two and a half pounds), were popular for many years during the Victorian era. Some owners had specially designed leather pouches made to suspend from their belts to take with them when they rode their horses, earning them the nickname “Groom’s Pocket Piece.” Even the smallest Manchester Terriers retained their fighting spirit, however.
In 1937, the British Manchester Terrier Club was formed. Its members were instrumental in saving the breed from extinction following World War II.
The Toy Manchester Terrier is less than 12 pounds, with the Standard weighing over 12 pounds and under 22 pounds. Overall, Manchesters are slightly longer than they are tall. Their smooth, compact, muscular bodies express great power and agility, which these little dogs needed for their original job of killing vermin and chasing down small game.
A Manchester Terrier adores his people and likes to be with them. A social creature, he is not well suited to being alone all day — he just wants to hang out with you.
Though not particularly aggressive, the Manchester is a terrier bred to kill small animals, meaning it’s not a good idea for him to live in the same house with rats and rabbits. While they are more amenable to training than some, Manchesters still have the terrier belief that they rule the world, and if you don’t alter that perception, you are likely to end up with a little four-legged Napoleon.
He can be headstrong, protective, and snappish if not raised properly, so these dogs should be thoroughly socialized when young to prevent potential problems. The Manchester needs thorough, firm training in order to protect him from the downside of his own nature.
However, the same “I got game” attitude that so deftly allows them to fillet small rodents can work against them in training. You have to prove — without fail — that you are the leader. Consistency is critical because Manchesters are stubborn and determined. They are also intelligent, keenly observant, and perceptive, so you have to watch your p’s and q’s around them. If not, they’ll take advantage of any inconsistency.
As a group, terriers are barky, lively, bossy, feisty, clever, and willful. The Manchester is no exception. He must have regular opportunities to exercise and think because you really don’t want to know what kind of trouble he can get into when he’s bored (think about the combination of clever and stubborn and let your imagination run wild).
He should attend obedience classes from an early age, both for the socialization and training, and he should continue going to whatever classes or competitions he enjoys the most to remain intellectually stimulated and physically spent.
As with any breed, temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who’s beating up his littermates or the one who’s hiding in the corner.
Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who’s available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you’re comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up. Of course, unless you have most of the litter to choose from, you may not be able to select a middle temperament.
Manchesters are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Manchesters will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Manchesters, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
- Glaucoma: This is a painful disease in which pressure in the eye becomes abnormally high. Eyes are constantly producing and draining a fluid called aqueous humor — if the fluid doesn’t drain correctly, the pressure inside the eye increases causing damage to the optic nerve and resulting in vision loss and blindness. There are two types. Primary glaucoma, which is hereditary, and secondary glaucoma which is a result of inflammation, a tumor, or injury. Glaucoma generally affects one eye first, which will be red, teary, squinty, and appear painful. A dilated pupil won’t react to light, and the front of the eye will have a whitish, almost blue cloudiness. Vision loss and eventually blindness will result, sometimes even with treatment (surgery or medication, depending on the case).
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: Found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and occasionally blood in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed between three and five years of age, and it can’t be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.
- Heat Bumps: These bumps may appear along his back if your Manchester stays out in the sun too long.
Your Manchester needs daily exercise and mental stimulation, a minimum of a half hour each day, including walks, runs, disc games, obedience, or agility. Hanging out alone in the back yard is not exercise; even if that’s what you intended, your Manchester will spend the time waiting at the door asking to be let back in.
Manchesters have a great need for human contact so they are always happier when you’re hanging out with them. When you’re not playing with your companion, puzzle toys such as Buster Cubes are a great way to keep that active mind occupied.
Puppies don’t need as much hard exercise as adults, and in fact, you shouldn’t let them run them on hard surfaces such as concrete or let them do a lot of jumping until they’re at least a year old. It could stress their still developing skeletal system and cause future joint problems.
Manchester Terriers are clean, virtually odorless, and wonderfully adaptable, making them finely suited to living in apartments or houses, but less so to living outdoors. Manchester Terriers are not annoyingly active indoors; rather, most match their activity level to their owners, meaning that if you’re a couch potato, your Manchester will likely lean that way too (of course, he’d prefer going for a run with you).
If you have a tiny pack of Manchesters, they’ll amuse each other and be a little more active indoors than if there were only one. In a single family dwelling, Manchesters should have a fenced yard.
Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 1 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.
Manchesters are not picky eaters and it’s been said that he will eat anything that doesn’t eat him first. Not surprisingly, he’s prone to obesity. Keep your Manchester in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you’re unsure whether he’s overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.
First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, he needs less food and more exercise.
For more on feeding your Manchester, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
Thanks to that short black and tan coat (the only colors seen in this breed), Manchester Terriers are pretty low maintenance. Brush the coat once a week with a rubber or bristle brush to get rid of dead hair and prevent matting. They shed, although not excessively, and regular brushing keeps this under control. They blow their coat twice a year, shedding heavily every spring and fall.
If you keep him brushed, your Manchester should need a bath only when he’s dirty. Use a shampoo made for dogs to avoid drying out his skin and coat.
Brush your Manchester’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you’re not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.
His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog’s ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don’t insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.
Begin accustoming your Manchester to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children And Other Pets
Typically, a Manchester is devoted to his family and likes children but his small size makes him vulnerable to youngsters who aren’t old enough to know it hurts when you yank his ears. Some breeders prefer homes without very young children. It helps to expose him to a lot of children, small and not so small, when he’s young.
Show your children how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should be left unsupervised with a child.
Manchesters and other pets depends on… the other pets. They are less scrappy than many terriers, but don’t lose sight of why they were bred: to kill vermin. They have a strong prey drive. So while they generally do well with other dogs, cats might be pretty nervous around them, and small critters like rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs would be in permanent danger around this terrier.
Manchesters are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Manchesters in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don’t see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Manchester rescue.
- American Manchester Terrier Rescue
- Canadian Manchester Terrier Club
- American Manchester Terrier Club