Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Temperament & Personality [Full Guide]

Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Temperament & Personality [Full Guide]
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Small and feisty, intelligent and loyal, the Manchester Terrier is a little ball of energy that will never fail to keep you entertained. Their spunky temperament can make them stubborn, and thorough training is necessary. Still, they are very loving and playful dogs!


Manchesters will always be ready to play with you, so don't forget to shower them with love and attention. Their small statures are also the perfect size for any home, and they even come in a miniature version known as the Toy Manchester!



Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Characteristics (Physical)

Originally bred to hunt small prey and rats, Manchester Terriers are incredibly agile and strong for their size. They have smooth, compact, muscular builds that allow them to run and jump with ease.


They also have cute V-shaped ears that stand up straight and fold over to the front. Sometimes the standard Manchester has cropped ears that are erect and pointed, but this cropping is illegal in Toy Manchesters.


Manchester Terriers have a relatively long lifespan for dogs at around 14-16 years. Smaller dog breeds tend to have longer lifespans because they age slower than larger breeds.



Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Size

The standard Manchester only stands about 15-16 inches tall, while the smaller Toy Manchester is a mere 10-12 inches at the shoulder. Standard Manchesters can weigh up to 22 pounds, while the Toy version only weighs about 12 pounds.


Manchester Terriers are small, compact dogs but also very graceful and athletic. While there is a noticeable difference between the two varieties, male and female Manchester Terriers are nearly identical in size.



manchester terrier small dog



Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Personality

Manchester Terriers are extremely smart dogs and are known to be one of the most well-mannered terrier breeds. They have very sharp instincts that match their small, muscular bodies. The only difference between the standard and Toy Manchesters is their size, as both have the same temperaments.


Manchesters have a naturally perky personality, but most will match their owner's energy level. They make great household dogs because they do not get into much mischief. They would prefer to be consistently active but would rather do what their owners are doing.


Don't let this breed's feisty and independent nature fool you - they love to be around people and are very devoted pets. If left alone for too long, they are prone to separation anxiety and destructive behaviors. Otherwise, the Manchester is a very well-balanced breed that is great for families.


Because they are so dedicated to their owners and family, Manchesters can be very protective and territorial. They are a very vocal breed and will bark if their loved ones are threatened, making them fantastic guard dogs. However, this behavior is not aggressive or fearful, and it can be managed with early training and socialization.



Manchester Terrier Dog Exercise

Manchester Terriers are energetic dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation. It is recommended to give them a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity every day. They don't need that much space to run around and be active, so most times, a dog walk in the park or few laps around the block will be sufficient.


Always try to engage with them as much as possible instead of letting them run around by themselves. Manchesters are great at dog sports, love playing fetch, and even short puzzle games. The more exercise and stimulation they get, the calmer they will be when they get home.



Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Training

Manchester Terriers can be relatively easy to train as they are a very intelligent breed that always aims to please. Owners must be consistent and give plenty of positive reinforcement and praise. Be sure to keep training sessions brief to accommodate their short attention spans.


Manchesters can be great competitors in dog sports, competitions, and even tracking events if trained adequately.


As a very independent, headstrong breed, Manchesters should start training as early as possible. Most puppies are allowed to be taken home at around eight weeks old and can start training right away. Owners can sign them up for obedience training or puppy kindergarten but can start socialization at home immediately.


All dogs should be socialized as puppies so they are comfortable around other people and pets. Early socialization ensures that they grow up to be calm, nurturing, and possibly even help take care of younger puppies when they get older. Getting used to the outside world can prevent a lot of unnecessary barking later on.


Related: How to Socialize a Dog No Matter the Age, Breed, or Aggression Level



Manchester Terrier Dog Breed History

Manchester Terriers are one of the oldest terrier breeds, originating in the early 1800s in England. Since sanitation and rodent infestations were common issues, people participated in rat killing as a sport. Manchesters were bred to be expert rat hunters during this era.


The earliest Manchesters were reportedly bred by a man named John Hulme from Manchester, England. He bred the Whippet dog with a black and tan Terrier, creating the modern Manchester Terrier. Even after the sport of rat killing was banned, many people continued to keep Manchesters in their homes to prevent rodents from invading.


The Manchester's skillfulness in catching rats complemented their feisty nature. They developed a reputation for their scrappiness, and many owners would crop their ears so that they did not rip their ears during fights with other dogs.


During this time in the 1800s Victorian Era, the rise of dog shows led to a fascination with dog breeding. Smaller dogs became very popular, and people started to breed Manchester Terriers with tinier breeds to create a miniature-size version. The obsession with small dogs eventually led to breeders crossing Manchesters and Chihuahuas, resulting in today's Toy Manchester Terrier.


In 1937, the British Manchester Terrier Club was created, the first breed organization for this dog. During World War II, Manchester Terriers almost became extinct, but the breed survived thanks to many dedicated members of this organization.



close up of canines face



Manchester Terrier Dog Breed Health Problems

Due to experimenting and cross-breeding during the 1800s, Manchester Terriers (especially Toy Manchesters) are prone to a few genetic health problems. Some of these issues include bulging eyes, thin coats, and enlarged heads. These issues became passed down as breeders attempted to perfect the mini-Manchester.


However, Manchesters today are a very healthy breed, as generations of responsible breeding reduced the risk of these diseases.



Glaucoma is an eye disease that is more common in the Toy Manchester Terrier but can also occur in the standard Manchester. This is a painful disease that happens when the eyes cannot drain fluids properly, causing a pressure buildup behind the eyes. If left untreated, this can lead to temporary vision loss and eventually blindness.


Glaucoma comes in two forms: primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is when the disease is inherited from prior generations but is far less common today due to responsible breeding. Secondary glaucoma is more common and is a result of inflammation, tumor, or injury.


Early Signs & Treatment

Some noticeable early signs of glaucoma are:


  • Constant rubbing of the eyes (eye pain)
  • Watery discharge or excessive tears
  • Eye swelling or bulging
  • Cloudy eyes


If you suspect your dog has glaucoma, take them to the veterinarian immediately, as glaucoma is a rapidly degenerative disease. The earlier they are treated, the better chances are of preventing irreversible vision loss.


Vets will prescribe medication that can help manage the pain and promote fluid drainage from the eyes. In more serious cases, surgery may be necessary. Glaucoma can be a long-term issue, depending on the severity of the condition, where consistent checkups are needed.


Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is a common condition among small dogs. Toy Manchester Terriers have an increased risk of this disease due to their breeding history. Many breeders experimented with creating mini versions of each breed, leading to many of these health conditions.


In Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, the femur bone head, located in the dog's hind legs, spontaneously begins to disintegrate. This issue most commonly affects dogs under 12 months of age. Researchers believe this disease is caused by a lack of blood supply to that specific part of the bone, causing the bone to die and crumble, but its exact origins are unknown. This condition is extremely painful for the dog and should be treated as soon as possible. Some early signs of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease are:


  • Lameness in the limbs
  • Noticeable pain when moving or walking
  • Loss of muscle in the legs


In most cases, surgery is required to remove the dead part of the femur bone. With intense physical therapy, the muscle and tissue can create a false joint and scar tissue to relieve your dog's pain. In more severe cases, the dog may need total hip replacement surgery.


Depending on your location, surgery can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000. However, it is a straightforward procedure and has a very high rate of success.


Like glaucoma, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is avoidable with responsible breeding. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) offers a great program that can evaluate dogs for any conditions and can be great for breeders to prevent passing diseases on to their offspring.


Patellar Luxation

Another common condition among smaller dog breeds is patellar luxation, also known as "loose knees." This condition occurs when the patella (kneecap) is misaligned, causing the knee to dislocate and pop out of its socket. Although it is primarily a hereditary condition, it can occur due to trauma or injury as well.


Sometimes the dog can thrust its leg out and attempt to pop the joint back into place, but if not, the vet can prescribe medication in mild cases. If significant lameness occurs, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap and protect the joint. After surgery, the dog may take medication and joint supplements and do physical therapy to prevent reoccurrence.



How to Care for a Manchester Terrier Dog Breed

Manchester Terriers are incredibly clean and don't smell, which makes them great even for apartment living. They are very much indoor dogs that love to sleep in warm, comfortable beds. They are not meant to be backyard dogs, as the lack of attention can drive them crazy.


Dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. The ears can trap dirt and moisture in them, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Check and clean their ears every so often with a cotton ball and a vet-approved ear cleaner. Remember not to use a swab as this can hurt them and damage their ears!


Even though Manchesters are low-maintenance dogs, owners should not neglect their basic care. Brush their teeth multiple times a week to prevent tartar and bacteria buildup. For healthiest results, brush daily to avoid gum disease and bad breath.


Trim their nails every few months or whenever you hear clicking on the floor when they walk. Listen for the clicking sound when they walk to know when they are due for a trim. Be careful not to cut their nails too short as dogs have blood vessels in their nails and could get hurt.


Start grooming early in your dog's life so they can get accustomed to the routine.



group of manchesters standing in a row



Nutrition and Feeding for Manchester Terrier Dog Breed

As a smaller dog, Manchester Terriers generally do not need more than 1 or 2 cups of dog food per day. Of course, this varies among dogs, depending on their activity level and diet. Always feed your dog high-quality dog food, preferably with natural proteins, to ensure they are the healthiest they can be.


Manchesters are not picky eaters, so it is important to watch their weight and not feed them too much junk or people food. They can be prone to obesity, so measure out their food and portion accordingly.


Related: Organic Dog Food Vs Non Organic [In-Depth Comparison]



Coat Color And Grooming

Manchester Terriers are a very low-maintenance breed that makes them a great pet for first-time owners. They have short coats that are always a mix of mahogany, tan, and deep jet black. Try to brush them at least once a week to prevent dead hair from getting around the house.


Manchesters don't need to wash often - a bath every 3-4 months is enough unless they get dirty. Always use dog-safe shampoo and conditioner so that their skin is not dry after washing.


Although Manchesters do not shed regularly, they are a double-coated breed and will blow their coats every spring and fall. Blowing their coats means that they shed their winter and summer coats for the upcoming seasons. Shedding excessive amounts during these periods is entirely normal.


You can tell when a dog is about to blow its coat if large clumps of fur begin to fall out or if its coat looks patchy and uneven. Owners can prepare for this by buying special brushes or combs that can remove the dead undercoat. Larger dogs can fill up full trash bags of dead hair, but since Manchesters are smaller, they are easier to manage.


Never shave a dog that is in the process of shedding. Blowing their coats is necessary for new hair growth and protection from the cold or heat.



Children And Other Pets

Manchester Terriers are great pets because they are very devoted to their families. However, their small sizes make them vulnerable to unsuspecting toddlers, who may pull their tails or yank their ears. It is important to socialize your dog with other people and socialize your kids with your dog.


On the other hand, owners should be wary of their Manchesters around other smaller pets. Their internal instinct for hunting small prey may kick in around small animals like hamsters or guinea pigs. However, they are great with other dogs and even cats at times.



Rescue Groups

Rescue groups are very important because they can help connect prospective owners with dogs who need rescuing or fostering. These groups also take in abandoned or homeless dogs and attempt to find them a forever home.


The Rescue Shelter Network is a great place to find regional and local rescues across the country. The site has a directory with the contact information for each of these rescues. It even has links to international organizations located in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and many other European countries.


Although they do not physically foster any dogs, the American Manchester Terrier Club also has a rescue program. They provide grants and cover expenses for rescued Manchester Terriers. They also have a separate fund dedicated to assisting Manchester rescues across the country.



Breed Organizations

The American Manchester Terrier Club (AMTC) is a nationally recognized organization under the American Kennel Club. The AMTC is a great resource to find upcoming dog shows, a reputable breeder directory, referral programs, or general information. The club dedicates itself to the advancement of the standard and Toy Manchester Terrier breeds.


The original British Manchester Terrier Club (BMTC) is also still very active today. They offer many similar resources to the AMTC and have a rich history dating back to its inception in 1937.


You can find Manchester Terriers at adoption centers, which is a far cheaper option than buying them from breeders. The average cost for adopting a Manchester can be around $300, including all the expenses for their shots and care before taking them home. Contact your local rescues for adoption opportunities or use Adopt-a-Pet to find a Manchester or similar dog breed near you.


Purchasing a Manchester from a breeder can cost anywhere from $800-2500. Always check that you are purchasing from a reputable breeder to ensure that the dog does not have a history of hereditary conditions. Breeders should always have documentation ensuring that an expert screened their dogs for potential health issues.


A great place to browse reputable breeders is the American Kennel Club Marketplace, where their Breeders of Merit program ensures proper breeding standards. If possible, try to meet the breeder in person or video-chat to determine for yourself that they bred the puppies in a good environment and ask any questions you have.



More About This Dog Breed

You'll have tons of fun with your Manchester Terrier. They are great for any family and will always try to match your energy. Whether you decide to own a standard or the Toy Manchester, they will amaze you with their incredible devotion and ability to bring you lots of laughter with their liveliness and spunk.

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