The Manchester Terrier breed, sometimes referred to as ‘Gentleman’s Terrier,’ is a small dog with a big bark. Even though they are true terriers with an active and playful nature, they are more sensitive and compact with moderate exercise requirements, making them suitable for people with limited space.
The Manchester Terrier dog breed resulted from crossbreeding the Whippet and the Black and Tan Terrier sometime in the early 1700s. Both these dogs were quite popular in England at that time; the Whippet being a champion racing dog. The Black and Tan Terriers were experts at hunting and eliminating rodents which were quite a menace around the barns and in the houses in England during this period.
The breed got its name from the city of Manchester because the credit of developing the Manchester Terrier dog breed goes to John Hulme from Manchester. The Black and Tan Terrier breed was refined by the association with the Whippet, and the resultant dog with graceful structure and carriage came to be known as the Manchester Terrier. Though they were assigned this new name in 1860, it reverted back to Black and Tan Terrier until the breed was reinstated in 1923.
These dogs became quite popular when introduced into the United States, and the American Kennel Club registered the breed in 1886. The standard and toy versions stayed distinct for some time, but now considered the same breed since they do not have many differences.
The Manchester Terrier breed has a slim, streamlined body like the Whippets, but they are prone to obesity. They typically measure 15 to 16 inches at the withers and weigh anything between 12 and 22 pounds, but the breed has a toy version to which belongs dogs under 12 pounds. The dogs of the toy version are usually between 10 and 12 inches tall.
The toy dogs have erect ears, but the larger breed has either erect or half folded ears; the latter sometimes cropped to stand erect where it is not illegal. The tail is thin, long and tapering to a point. The coat is typically black with tan to mahogany points and patches on the face, chest and feet.
Manchester Terriers have an affectionate nature and remain loyal to their owners. They do not like to be left alone for long. They get along with other dogs, but are reserved with strangers. Their alert nature makes them good watchdogs. Being a true terrier used to hunting rodents, it may not be safe to have them in households with smaller pets.
They are playful with children, but run the risk of getting hurt because of their small size, especially around younger children who cannot be trusted to be gentle with this highly sensitive breed. Early socialization and obedience training are necessary to get them used to people of all ages and to ensure they behave amiably in different situations.
These dogs are known for their cat-like temperament that includes an independent demeanor. They are fastidious about cleanliness and groom themselves like cats do.
Grooming and exercise
The short and smooth coat of the Manchester Terrier dog breed needs minimal grooming. It can be brushed lightly with a soft brush or damp cloth once in two weeks or so, to keep it clean and free of loose hair.
Like every other dog, the Manchester Terriers too need their quota of daily exercise to remain healthy and happy, but their exercise requirement can be easily met with a few laps of brisk walking in the park or a quick run in the yard. It would be ideal if these dogs can have the free run of a secure yard because there is nothing more interesting to them than exploring the surroundings.
These dogs enjoys some outdoor time, but should be living indoors with the family otherwise. The short coat offers very little protection from cold; but these dogs tolerate heat to some extent. However, too much exposure to sun may result in heat bumps on their back. They need a soft bed to rest and sleep on, as lying down frequently on hard surfaces can cause sores at pressure points.
Common health issues of Manchester Terrier dog breed
Being around for a long time, the Manchester Terrier dog breed is relatively free of serious health problems, but they do have a few breed-related problems such as Legg-Perthes resulting in skeletal degeneration and a clotting disorder called Von Willebrand’s disease.
Hypothyroidism, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, blindness resulting from progressive retinal atrophy, and deafness are a few of the other problems encountered in this breed. Manchester Terriers have an average life expectancy of 15 years but many healthy dogs live much longer.