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Group Terriers (KC)
History The Manchester terrier is a breed of toy dog native to England but also officially recognized in the Americas. It is widely considered the oldest type of terrier—references date back as early as 1600—although the modern-day Manchester terrier was developed in the early 1800s. It came at a time when rats were infesting England and rat-hunting was gaining popularity.
John Hulme, an English rat-hunting enthusiast, developed the breed by crossing a black-and-tan terrier with a Whippet, creating a strong, intelligent dog seemingly tailor-made for the sport. It was considered the finest vermin-hunting breed of its day and soon became known as the “Rat Terrier.”
Two types of Manchester terrier are recognized today: Standard and Toy. The standard variety came first and was more of a sport dog; the toy terrier came with the “miniaturization” craze or the Victorian era. The latter is more popular today, although some people still keep standard Manchester terriers for vermin hunting.
Appearance The breed is usually distinguished by its small, compact body and long, wedge-shaped head with the teeth forming a scissor bite. The eyes are small and almond-shaped, giving it an alert and curious expression. Standard Manchester terriers should weight between 12 and 22 pounds, while toy varieties should not exceed 12. Apart from the size and weight, the only difference between the two is the ear type: standard Manchester terriers may have erect, pricked, or naturally folded ears, while toy varieties can only have erect, V-shaped ones.
Colours Manchester terriers have a short, clean jet black coat with mahogany markings on the muzzle (the nose should be black), ears, legs, chest, and underbelly. Small mahogany spots should also be visible over each eye and on each cheek.
Temperament Manchester terriers have a short, clean jet black coat with mahogany markings on the muzzle (the nose should be black), ears, legs, chest, and underbelly. Small mahogany spots should also be visible over each eye and on each cheek.
Weight They are 38 - 41 cm in height and weigh 7 - 8 Kg.
Problems This breed is prone to blood problems such as glaucoma and the rare Von Willebrand disease. Glaucoma occurs when the eyeballs are strained or damaged by excessive fluid pressure. The condition is usually treatable, but must be detected early to prevent complications.
Von Willebrand disease is characterized by the body’s inability to form normal blood clots. Most cases aren’t considered emergencies; however, if your dog bleeds from the nose or gums or develops mystery bruises, bring him to your vet immediately for testing.
Manchester terriers also have sensitive skin and may develop heat bumps if left outdoors in hot weather. They are also prone to lens luxation, a condition wherein the eyeballs are displaced or nudged out of place.
Living Conditions This breed thrives best in homes with large outdoor areas where it can run around freely. However, they are also fairly active indoors and can get used to apartment living if adopted at an early age. Manchester terriers are great for families with children, as the dog needs constant attention and play. They also prefer warm climates, so keep them indoors during winter.
Requirements As a fairly active dog, the Manchester terrier needs plenty of exercise. Let it run around your yard or take it on long walks daily. If you don’t have time to walk or play with your dog, this may not be the breed for you.
Training Requirements Manchester terriers are prone to aggression and combativeness, so they should be given firm and patient training. Socialize them as early as possible, especially if you have children or other pets around the house. If untrained, dogs of this breed can be snappish and hot-tempered around strangers.
Life Expectancy Manchester terriers have a life expectancy of 15 years or longer.
Grooming Because of its short coat, this breed requires very little grooming, making it ideal for elderly or disabled owners. The toy variety is especially low-maintenance as it sheds little to no hair. However, make sure to keep the claws short and the ears clean—dirt can easily accumulate in these places and cause infections.
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More Manchester Terrier Information: Check out our Manchester Terrier Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.
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