The Manchester Terrier is a high-energy mix of intelligence and slyness all bundled into about 15 inches. They are good matches for owners who can spend the time to fill their curiosity and satiate their need for exercise and stimulation. Before you go out to buy a Manchester, here is what you should know about the breed and how you should prepare yourself for owning one.
- Physical Characteristics. There are two types of Manchester Terriers-Toy and Standard. Both are compact pooches with v-shaped ears. Their ears may be cropped, but are not always. Their coat is sleek and dark just like their eyes. The black nose is reminiscent of a Whippet (a breed that is in their gene pool), and their short tapered tail completes the compact body. Manchesters can come in tan and black, but can always be described as a stealthy dark color.
- Disposition. The Manchester Terrier, as noted before, is highly energetic. These dogs need attention and stimulation so as to enjoy life. They are sporty, alert, and observant creatures that, if not socialized properly, can be aggressive and protective. Harnessing the dog's vigilance is the key to having a well-behaved best friend. Manchester Terriers, though small, do have a quick snap if provoked. They are probably not the best breed for small children, although, if socialized properly, they will prove to be no problem. Manchesters do bark, so be prepared for a little noise when guests enter the house or when you are playing with Fido in the yard.
- Physical Needs: Exercise. The Manchester loves exercise. They need daily walks and time to run and play. They are fast sprinters, so make sure your dog park has a fence! If you are training for a race, they are great pacers. Known for chasing, these dogs can follow a bicycle (going at a reasonable speed) for miles. Remember too, that Manchesters may be apt to chase other people, animals, or cars-a leash is a must with this breed.
- Physical Needs: Space. An apartment is a fine place for the Manchester Terrier. Provided he gets proper outdoor exercise, he should be able to entertain his curiosity in a small space (with the proper toys!).
- Physical Needs: Food. Consult your vet for advice on the best food for your pooch. Dog foods can vary in quality so be sure to scrutinize the diet you will be feeding him. Buy food that is specially made for smaller dogs. Starting your puppy on a specially formulated puppy chow (instead of adult food) is recommended as well. Make sure you always have plenty of water easily available.
- Physical Needs: Grooming. The short shiny black and tan coat is simple to maintain. There is practically no grooming needed for this breed. The Standard Manchester does shed, but the Toy Manchester does not.
- Physical Needs: Sleeping Quarters. Manchester Terriers, even though they have the rugged nickname "rat terriers," are not meant to be left outside. Make sure you have a crate or bed (even if it is yours) for your dog.
- Health Considerations. Manchester Terriers are prone to a blood problem called glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disorder associated with increased pressure around the eyeball. Dogs (and people) with glaucoma experience a rise in intraocular pressure that can result in optic nerve damage and loss of sight.
- Life Expectancy. Manchester Terriers have a long life span of 15 years or more. If you are looking for a short-term pet, a Manchester is certainly not a good choice!
The Manchester Terrier has come a long way since the early twentieth century when they were used to hunt rats. Known for their speed and tenacity during a killing, the Manchester now is known for its curiosity and persistence in play. The Manchester may not be a top choice for a young family, but for an individual, a couple, or a family with older kids, a Manchester may be the perfect match.