The Manchester Terrier is a small dog with a big personality. Originally bred as ratters in Victorian England, they’re as courageous, feisty, and big-hearted as any terrier you care to meet. They’re also little beauties, with athletic, graceful bodies and glossy black and mahogany coats. Like most terriers, they can be strong-willed and hot-headed, with the result that you’ll need to dedicate plenty of time and energy to their training. If you do, you’ll find them fiercely loyal, endlessly loving companions. If you want to learn more about this adorable breed, here are 10 things you might not know (but really should) about the Manchester Terrier.
1. They’re legendary ratters
Before they started living cushy lives as pets, Manchester Terriers had jobs to do… jobs they did exceptionally well. Back during the industrial revolution, people flocked from the countryside to the city, resulting in major overcrowding and before long, a major vermin problem. Ratters were needed, so breeders set out to create them. One breeder named John Hulme decided to cross a Black and Tan Terrier with a Whippet. The result was the Manchester Terrier, which proved such an effective ratter, it started being used for rat baiting too, a sport in which dogs would be thrown into a rat-infested pit and timed to see how long it took them to kill them all.
2. They nearly went extinct
Like a lot of breeds, the Manchester Terrier suffered a plummeting population during the first few decades of the 20th century. According to Wikipedia, by the end of the Second World War, there were only 11 Manchester Terriers registered with the Kennel Club. Fortunately, the British Manchester Terrier Club decided to intervene, and the breed was saved from extinction. It’s still rare, though, and is regarded as a ‘vulnerable native breed.’ with around 164 registered births per year.
3. They come in two varieties
As yourpurebredpuppy.com notes, the Manchester Terrier comes in two varieties – Standard and Toy. The varieties are identical in appearance apart from in size, with the Standard Manchester Terrier being the larger and sturdier of the two and the Toy Manchester Terrier being the more delicate. Until 1959, the two varieties were registered as separate breeds, but have since come to be regarded as one breed. The American Kennel Club continues to group them separately, however, classifying the Standard Manchester as part of the Terrier Group and the Toy Manchester as part of the Toy Group.
4. They make excellent watchdogs
The Manchester Terrier, like all terriers, is alert, inquisitive, and very courageous. They aren’t aggressive by nature, but if they think someone or something poses a threat to them, their family, or their home, they won’t hesitate to take action. Due to their absurdly good hearing and impressive bark, they make excellent watchdogs.
5. They have mahogany markings
Whether we’re talking the Toy variety or the Standard variety, the Manchester Terrier is a beauty. Their glossy coats are midnight black and burnished with deep mahogany markings. Their tails are short and tapered, their bodies are delicately boned and sleekly muscled, and their heads are long, with keen, alert expressions, black, almond-shaped eyes, and well-defined black noses. In terms of appearance, the only difference between a Standard Manchester and a Toy Manchester (other than their size) is their ears: while Standard’s ears can stand up, be cropped, or buttoned, the Toy’s ears inevitably stand erect.
6. They’ve got low maintenance needs
As wagwalking.com writes, the Manchester Terrier is remarkably easy to maintain when it comes to their coats. Its short, dense, rarely smells offensive, and generally requires no more than a quick brush occasionally to keep it in great shape. Manchester’s do, however, blow out their coats twice a year, at which point you’ll need to increase the frequency of their grooming sessions to remove any loose hair. Bathing isn’t necessary unless they decide to take a mud bath. If they don’t wear their nails down naturally, they’ll need to be clipped a couple of times a month. Their ears should be checked once a week for wax or signs of infection. Teeth should be cleaned a couple of times a week to keep their pearly whites sparkling.
7. They’re adaptable
Manchester Terriers, like most terriers, are little bundles of energy. Most will need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day – without it, they can get bored and prone to packing on the pounds. Providing their exercise needs are met, they’ll be just as happy living in an apartment in the middle of the city as in a family house in the suburbs. While they’re adaptable when it comes to living situations, they’re less tolerant of extreme temperatures and tend to prefer warmer climes to subarctic zones.
8. They’re not for novices
Manchester Terriers might be intelligent, but easy to train they are not. Unfortunately, they’re also not a breed where training is optional – if they don’t receive it, they can quickly turn into little Napoleons who’ll rule the roost with an iron fist. Because of their stubbornness, they’ll need an owner with patience and energy to spare. Ideally, that owner should also have some experience in training dogs already – if they haven’t, it won’t take long for the Manchester to wrap them around their little finger.
9. They’re prone to glaucoma
Manchester Terriers are generally healthy, robust little creatures who, providing all goes well, can be expected to live between 12 and 17 years. They are, however, prone to the occasional health niggle. Key issues to watch out for include secondary glaucoma (also known as lens luxation) and Von Willebrands Disease, a blood clotting disease that’s more commonly seen in the toy variety, but can affect the standard as well.
10. They need to be watched around cats
If they’re well socialized and trained from an early age in how to behave around other animals, a Manchester Terrier can live harmoniously enough with other pets, including cats. However, if they stumble on an unfamiliar cat on a walk, their prey drive can kick in and encourage them to give chase. Due to their stubbornness, they’ll carry on chasing, regardless of how much you call them to come back, until they either get bored or something more interesting comes along to distract them.