The Manchester Terrier is one of the eldest Terrier breed. According to the American Kennel Clubs it is represented by two varieties: the Toy and the Standard, officially differentiated only by the size. But in its native country the Manchester Terrier is one breed and the toy variety called the English Toy Terrier (black and tan) is another separate breed.
To make a long story short it is necessary to conclude that this breed is old enough to collect a bouquet of facts about itself.
The Manchester Terrier appeared at the turn of the XIX century in Manchester, Great Britain. This is the reason, why the name of the breed coincides with the name of this English city. That period the Manchester Terrier was also called «Rat Terrier», and there’s also something behind it.
Playing the role of the direct descendant of the old Black and Tan Terrier, the Manchester Terrier was a perfectly skilled hunting dog, used basically for killing rats, as well as rabbits and other not pleasant animals of urban Britain.
The credit of its development is imputed on a dog lover from Manchester named John Hulme. In 50s and 60s he implemented his idea of creating a nimble and tenacious breed that would be an expert in killing rats and other rodents. He also wanted a dog that would be an invincible champion in a ratting pit. This cruel «sport» was highly popular among the lower classes of English society and consisted in betting on how many rats each competing terrier could put down in a set space of time.
Initially Mr. Hulme used stocky Black and Tan Terriers and graceful light-footed Whippets in his breeding program. Subsequently he bred this cross back to the Black and Tan Terrier in order to stabilise the breed type. Through these repeated breeding experiments the present version of the Manchester Terrier was finally born.
Both, the Toy Manchester Terrier and the Standard Manchester Terrier were fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1886 and 1887 accordingly. Up until 20s of the XX century the breed was also known under other names, including the Gentleman’s Terrier and even the Black and Tan Terrier.
For most of the breed’s history it was a common practice to crop its ears short to stress its slender physique and fierce, resolute nature. As ratting trials went out of fashion and were eventually banned, the number of the Manchester Terrier also reduced very drastically. In 1898 ear-cropping also became illegal in Great Britain.
The natural look of the Manchester’s ears was so uninviting that it furthered its decline in popularity. The breed was almost non-existent by the end of World War II and was saved only by efforts of a small group of its faithful followers. Besides years of selective breeding required to develop the dog with properly set ears. Fortunately by 70s of the XX century the dog restored part of its former glory both in the Great Britain and the US.
Although the modern Manchester Terrier is also a professional ratter and a dangerous hunter, some people can’t help pampering this dog as if he was such a baby!
The Manchester Terrier has temperament of two kinds. Along with good qualities of its character such as devotion and liveliness, this breed can also possess some dark sides of its nature, namely cunning, shrewishness and aggression. This dog is a true friend to its family and feels unhappy, if let alone or sleeping on a dusty floor instead of comfortable sofa of its master. Breed members get along well with children, if they were introduced to them still being puppies and properly enough.
A dog of this breed is normally vigilant and makes a great watchdog, but its alertness and curiosity may lead to annoying barking and digging of your neighbour’s beloved flowerbeds. The Manchester Terrier is probably too outgoing and friendly to become a good guardian although it certainly will defend its favourite people at all costs if the situation calls for it.
The Manchester Terriers isn’t suspicious of strangers and can even treat people in a distant standoffish manner. On the other hand, such breed shouldn’t be trusted with small animals, especially non-canine ones, otherwise, the dog will be definitely yield to its hunting instinct. Being a true terrier, it’s commonly at odds with other canines and can put up a fight without any obvious reason. That’s why this breeds’ communication with strange dogs should be always monitored by its master.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· cutaneous asthenia
· eye problems
· progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
· Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
· pattern baldness (mainly females)
· Willebrand disease
The Manchester Terrier doesn’t need a special grooming. Its short, silky coat is easy to care for: occasional brushing and wiping-down with a slightly damped cloth is enough to keep it in shape. Bathing is particularly based on necessity.
The breed’s teeth need much attention though, since they need regular brushing. Besides, look carefully after the ears and from time to time show your pet to the veterinarian.
The Manchester Terrier is a very smart dog and learns everything fast. But there’s always a fly in the ointment. It is stubborn and needs a kind but consistent and firm master’s hand in each training.
Repetition and consistency are absolutely useful. Motivation is the key to the success. The handler of this breed has to be a leader, dictating limits, rules and boundaries for his pet. Socialization along with trainings must be started from the very cradle and last all life long.
The Manchester Terrier needs lots of exercising. Along with everyday walking it likes running and will be hardly tired. You can go cycling together with your pet, gradually speeding up. This dog also likes playing catch and agility exercises.
The great advantage of this breed is its adaptability as it will feel itself equally comfortable in a city apartment and large house. Nonetheless it’s worth to remember that without essential minimum of physical stimulation this dog will form several unpleasant behavioural habits, including chewing, continuous barking and unmotivated aggressiveness.