The Manchester Terriers are one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of all distinct terrier breeds. Some believe that the breed is the result of crossing the old Black and Tan Terrier with whippets, while others believe that the Manchester Terrier and the Black and Tan Terrier are one and the same. This breed initially became popular as a killer of rats, and was for many decades considered the best ratter of all dog breeds. There are at least two varieties of the Manchester Terrier, and possibly three. All agree that the Standard Manchester Terrier is a distinct variety, but experts disagree as to whether the Toy Manchester Terrier and the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) are the same or different breeds. There is also some debate as to whether the smaller Manchester Terriers are breeds or simply varieties. The Manchester Terrier is also known as the Black and Tan Terrier, Black and Tan Manchester and the Gentleman’s Terrier, while the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) is commonly known simply as the English Toy Terrier. Because the Standard Manchester Terrier is the original variety and there is substantial debate over the relationships of the smaller varieties, this article will first discuss the Manchester Terrier and then any differences possessed by the smaller dogs.
Terriers have a long history in the British Isles, from where these dogs undoubtedly originated. The word Terrier comes from the French and Latin terre and terrarius, both meaning earth or ground. Terrier roughly means, “one who goes to ground,” earned as these dogs were traditionally used to pursue small animals into their burrows. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first written appearance of the word terrier comes from 1440, so these dogs have been in existence since at least that time, and almost certainly long before. Many reports document that one of the primary exports of the Britain to the rest of the Roman Empire was dogs. Several sources have described them as small hunting dogs, which subsequent historians believe may have been terriers.
More concrete evidence has been discovered near the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Emperor Hadrian in 126 A.D. to defend Roman controlled-England and Wales from the Pictish barbarians in Scotland. Archaeological digs dating to around the time of Christ have also uncovered two distinct types of dog; a medium sized coursing breed likely similar to a modern Whippet and a long-bodied and short-legged breed which likely resembled a Dachshund or Skye Terrier. This indicates that not only were terriers present in Britain at this time but they were already used in the traditional fashion, where a larger hunting breed would drive quarry into a burrow and a terrier would go down into the ground to either dispatch it or flush it out.
Because accurate records of any kind from this era are extremely rare, and records of dog breeding are essentially non-existent, it is impossible to say how these first terriers were developed. It is; however, likely that they were developed from native breeds either by the Celtic tribes living in Britain prior to the Roman Conquest or the pre-Celtic peoples whom the Celts had displaced. It has been suggested that the Canis Segusius, a wiry-coated scent hound owned by the Gauls of France, may have been the ancestor of both terriers and griffons, but this is entirely speculative.
However they were originally developed, for many centuries terriers were the working dogs of the British peasantry. These dogs loyally served rural farmers by eradicating vermin from their lands. These feisty and tenacious dogs were tasked with dispatching essentially every small mammal found in the British Isles; foxes, badgers, rabbits, hares, mice, rats, voles, otters, weasels, mink, and several others. Many of these vermin threatened the livelihoods of farmers by consuming their crops or devouring their livestock. For hundreds (and likely thousands) of years, terriers were bred entirely for their working ability. Although distinctive types and landraces did develop across England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, few if any of these would be considered true breeds in the modern sense.
Two of the oldest distinct terrier varieties were the Skye Terrier, native to islands off the coast of Scotland, and the Black and Tan Terrier, which was native to England or Wales, depending on which fancier you believe. Although most writers consider the Black and Tan Terrier to have been the first distinct breed of terrier, it was probably still closer to a landrace than a breed; and in any case, records of the Skye Terrier are significantly older. The first record of the Black and Tan Terrier comes from 1570, when Dr. Caius included them in his “Encyclopedia of Dogs”. The first Black and Tan Terriers were probably very similar in temperament and ability to the modern Jack Russell Terrier, although more similar in appearance to either the Welsh Terrier or the Patterdale Terrier. While most experts believe that the Black and Tan Terrier was a rough-coated dog, it is possible that some may have been smooth-coated as well. Although many experts claim that this breed is now extinct, although a number of working Fell Terriers and Patterdale Terriers which are black and tan in coloration still exist in England and Wales.
Originally, much of the land in England was communally owned, whereby everyone had access to the commons. Beginning in the 1500’s, the enclosure movement brought common lands under the ownership and control of the English nobility. Millions of English farmers were driven to either the cities or the colonies. The enclosure movement coupled with the nascent Industrial Revolution in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The result was a largely urbanized industrial society. These early cities had conditions that today’s world could only describe as deplorable. They were filthy and disease ridden, with little or no modern sanitation. In such an environment, rats were omnipresent. Farmers in England had brought their beloved terriers with them to the cities. These dogs were small enough that they could adapt to urban life and affordable enough for a poor factory worker to keep. Terriers provided their urban masters with the same service which they had provided on the farm, vermin eradication. While in the in the country, terriers had a variety of vermin to dispose of, in the city there were only rats and mice, albeit millions of them. Rats were particularly common in inns, restaurants, pubs, and boarding houses. For many decades, almost every such establishment kept a small kennel of terriers to help alleviate rodent infestations.
The ability of terriers to dispatch rat became legendary. This ability eventually was developed into a sport known as rat killing or the rat pit. Dozens and even hundreds of rats were placed into a pit. A terrier was then placed in the pit with the rats. Competitions were held to test the rat killing ability of the terrier. These competitions were of two similar types. In one type, a dog would be removed after a certain amount of time had passed and the rats that the dog had killed in that time would be counted. Whichever dog was able to kill the greatest number of rats in that time was the winner. In the other type, a dog would only be removed after it had killed all of the rats in the pit. The dog that killed the allotted number of rats in the shortest amount of time was the winner. This sport would seem brutal to most modern observers, but it was created at a time before modern pest control measures had been invented. Rat populations and the disease that they brought were a very real danger to English populations. Although found throughout England, rat killing was always most popular in Northern England. Northern England was also the epicenter of several other English dog sports. Even more popular than rat killing was dog racing. At the same time that rat killing was developing, Whippets were developed by crossing Greyhounds with Italian Greyhounds and long-legged terriers. This breed became the primary racing dog of the urban lower classes.
Of the many terrier varieties, the Black and Tan Terrier was seen as the best ratter, both in and outside of the rat pit. In the early 1800’s, John Hulme, a rat killing devotee, decided to cross an early Whippet with a cross-breed terrier to see if the Whippet’s speed and agility could be combined with the ferocity and killer-instinct of a terrier. The results were incredibly successful. Hulme and other breeders quickly began crossing Whippets with Black and Tan Terriers. The resulting dogs were smooth-coated and refined in appearance like a Whippet, but maintained the distinctive coloration and temperament of the Black and Tan Terrier. Within a few years, these dogs had earned a reputation for being the most highly skilled of all vermin eradication breeds.
These terriers were quickly seen as a distinct-type, though some dispute exists. Some claim that these dogs were still Black and Tan Terriers, but with the addition of Whippet blood. Others claim that they are an entirely distinct breed. J.A. Walsh devoted an entire chapter of his book, “The Dog in Health and Disease”, to the Black and Tan Terrier, but the dogs he described were clearly of the modern Manchester Terrier type. Because of the popularity of rat killing in Northern England, especially the city of Manchester, this breed became known as the Manchester Terrier. Samuel Handley of Manchester is given much of the credit for stabilizing the Manchester Terrier breed. Because this breed was distinctive and relatively pure-bred by the 1820’s, many sources claim that it is the oldest identifiable terrier breed. However, records of other distinct terriers, especially the Sky Terrier, are much older. It is fair to say that the Manchester Terrier is most likely the oldest distinct breed of English terrier.
Although originally bred to hunt rats, the Manchester Terrier proved more than capable of tackling other game as well. By 1827, the Manchester Terrier was accompanying English hunters while they patrolled the hedgerows. This tenacious breed proved itself capable of tackling prey which weighed more than twice as much as itself. Because the Manchester Terrier was considerably more refined in appearance than any other terrier of the time, the nobility saw it as a fitting companion for the English gentleman. At this time, the Manchester Terrier also became known as the Gentleman’s Terrier, and became one of the only British dog breeds to be equally popular with the upper and lower classes. It became fashionable for British huntsmen to carry small Manchester Terriers in special leather pouches around their belts. Because the delicate ears of the Manchester Terrier were regularly damaged in fights with rats or larger quarry, it became a common practice to crop them to reduce this risk. The dogs would accompany their masters on horseback and then be released when the hounds had cornered the prey. Upper-class British women, as well as some rat killing competitors, favored very small Manchester Terriers, which became known as Toys. The smallest Manchester Terriers were bred together to create ever smaller dogs. Toy-sized dogs were seen as distinct probably before 1850, although all sizes of Manchester Terriers were regular bred together. The popularity of this breed resulted in it being used to develop several other varieties of terrier, as well as the Lancashire Heeler.
This breed reached the height of its popularity during the Victorian era. Although the Manchester Terrier had been largely supplanted as a nobleman’s hunting companion by the Fox Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier, it remained the most popular rat killing terrier. Two reported records were for a Manchester Terrier named Billy who supposedly killed 100 rats in 6 minutes 13 seconds and for a Toy Manchester Terrier named Tiny who allegedly killed 300 rats in 54 minutes and 50 seconds. The Toy variety also remained very popular with upper-class women, who bred dogs as small as two pounds.
The Manchester Terrier was also popular at early British dog shows. Conformation shows resulted in a more formal split between the larger and toy Manchester Terrier, as the breed began to be shown in two distinct weight classes. In the middle of the 1800’s, there was some interest in creating Manchester Terriers which of other colors than the traditional black and tan, but these experiments were quickly abandoned. By the turn of the century, the Manchester Terrier had begun to fall into disfavor. Likewise, rat killing competitions had also become somewhat less popular, especially as the earliest humane animal treatment movements began in the late 1800’s. Additionally, modern sanitation standards and pest control methods were making the use of rat killing dogs mostly obsolete. Finally, the breeding practices of the Toy Manchester Terrier which had led to absurdly small dogs had resulted in unhealthy and unstable animals.
The Manchester Terrier was exported to America throughout the 1800’s, where it may have factored into the development of the Boston Terrier and the Rat Terrier. Although never anywhere near as common in America as in England, both varieties of the Manchester Terrier were well-established by the time the American Kennel Club (AKC) was founded in 1884, and the Manchester Terrier was first recognized by that organization in 1886. A number of Manchester Terriers were also exported to Germany, where they became influential in the development of several German dog breeds, most notably the Doberman Pinscher and the German Hunting Terrier.
Until the 1920’s, both American and English kennel clubs treated both the large and small Manchester Terriers as two varieties of the same breed. However, that decade saw the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom divide the Manchester Terrier into two breeds, the larger Manchester Terrier and the smaller Black and Tan Terrier (Miniature). In 1962, the Black and Tan Terrier (Miniature) was renamed the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan).
The Manchester Terrier Club of America was founded in 1923. In 1934, the Toy Black and Tan Terrier was renamed the Toy Manchester Terrier. Four years later, the American Toy Manchester Terrier Club was founded, and the AKC recognized the Toy Manchester Terrier as a distinct breed. Partially as a result, the Manchester Terrier was then left without a national breed club by 1952. As time wore on, both varieties of Manchester Terrier continued to fall in popularity in America. In order to preserve both varieties of Manchester Terrier, the two breeds were reclassified as one with two size varieties in 1958. Graciously, the Toy Manchester Terrier Club of America agreed to accept responsibility for the larger Manchester Terrier as well that same year, and renamed itself the Manchester Terrier Club of America (MTCA).
The larger Manchester Terrier became known as the Standard Manchester Terrier and was shown in the Terrier group, while the Toy Manchester Terrier continued to be shown in the Toy Group. As both varieties of Manchester Terrier have long been primarily show and companion dogs in the United States, for many years there was little interest in registering this breed with the United Kennel Club (UKC), which primarily focuses on working dogs. However, the UKC granted formal recognition to both varieties in 1992. Interestingly, the Federacion Internationale Cynologique (FCI) and essentially all other major international kennel clubs do not recognize a toy variety of the Manchester Terrier, although most do recognize the English Toy Terrier.
Since being recognized as a distinct breed from the Manchester Terrier in the 1920’s, the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) has steadily declined in popularity. Breeds from other countries such as the Chihuahua and Miniature Pinscher, as well as other British breeds such as the Cairn Terrier have almost completed supplanted the position once held by the breed. This problem was faced not only by they English Toy Terrier, but also by the Manchester Terrier and several other breeds as well. Some of these breeds were in serious danger of quietly becoming extinct. In the early 2000’s, an article appeared in a popular British magazine with the Lakeland Terrier on the cover, entitled, “Who Will Save this Native Breed?” In response the Kennel Club decided to form the Vulnerable Native Breeds trust, which is dedicated to saving rare British and Irish breeds from extinction. The club has identified 29 British and Irish breeds which could become extinct without a serious effort being made to save them. Both the Manchester Terrier and the English Toy Terrier are on the list. Many of the breeds on the list are present or even numerous in other nations, and the Kennel Club is working with breed and kennel clubs around the world to stabilize populations and exchange breeding animals.
This is the case with the Manchester Terrier, which has long resided in the United States, Canada, and Australia. However, this is not possible for the English Toy Terrier, which essentially does not exist outside of the United Kingdom. Regrettably, the English Toy Terrier also has one of the lowest populations of any dog registered with the Kennel Club, and is possibly in greater risk of imminent extinction than any other British Breed. In desperation, the Kennel Club was forced to make an almost unheard of move for a major kennel club. The Kennel Club has opened the studbooks of the English Toy Terrier, allowing some AKC registered Toy Manchester Terriers to be registered as English Toy Terriers, despite some differences between the breeds. This move was extremely controversial with many English Toy Terrier breeders, but with fewer than 150 puppies registered each year, the English Toy Terrier would rapidly become genetically untenable. However, this does call into question whether or not the English Toy Terrier is really a separate breed from the Manchester Terrier and not merely a variety. It is possible that the Kennel Club may have to follow an example set by the AKC almost sixty years earlier and reorganize the Manchester Terrier and the English Toy Terrier into one breed.
Although most fanciers claim that the Manchester Terrier retains its vermin eradication abilities, the dog has not been selectively bred for these for over a century, and few if any Manchester Terriers remain vermin-eradication dogs, in either North America or England. Although this breed occasionally makes appearances in agility and obedience trials and it has been suggested that the breed could compete in lure coursing events, these are all rare purposes. Instead, almost all Manchester Terriers are now companion animals or show dogs. The Manchester Terrier has become quite rare in the United States, ranking 121st out of all 167 breeds in terms of AKC registrations. That number appears somewhat inflated as it includes both varieties. Luckily, for the Manchester Terrier, a number of dedicated fanciers are determined to protect and promote the breed, and in recent years small population gains have been made, especially in Canada.
Upon first seeing a Manchester Terrier, most observers believe that they are either seeing a Miniature Pinscher or a Miniature Pinscher Mix. However, these are two very distinct breeds. Under AKC and UKC standards, the Toy Manchester Terrier and the Standard Manchester Terrier are identical in all aspects other than size and ears, while the English Toy Terrier has some very slight differences which would likely only be noticed by a show judge.
While all three Manchester Terriers are different sizes, only the Standard Manchester Terrier approaches being a medium-sized dog, and the Toy Manchester Terrier and English Toy Terrier are quite tiny. Unlike most breeds which are distinguished by height at the shoulders, Manchester Terriers are divided by weight. These dogs are compactly built, but well-proportioned. This breed should have a slightly arching back, which is quite noticeable in some dogs and almost non-existent in others. While not as slightly built as a sighthound, Manchester Terriers are quite thin, especially their very narrow legs. This breed also has a very long tail, which is incredibly thin, and typically held down.
The head and face of the Manchester Terrier are proportionate in size to the rest of the body. The head and muzzle are typical for a terrier, slightly long, but not exceedingly so. The muzzle is proportionally wider than that of most similar dogs, and only tapers slightly at the end. This breed has almond-shaped eyes which should be as black as possible. The overall expression of a Manchester Terrier is inquisitive and cheerful.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the Manchester Terrier’s appearance is its coat. All Manchester Terriers must have a very short, smooth coat. This coat should be glossy in appearance and dense. The coat should be primarily uniform in length over the entire body. There is only one acceptable color scheme for Manchester Terriers, black and tan. The black should be jet black, the darker the better. The tan should be a shade of rich mahogany. These two colors should be quite clearly and entirely distinct from each other, forming clear lines of division. Unlike some breeds, the Manchester Terrier must have markings in only a few distinct places. This breed has small tan patches over each eye and on each cheek. Most of the upper and lower lips should be tan, a patch which continues to the underside of the neck where it forms a v-shape. The inside of the ears is tan, as is underneath the tail and the vent. There are tan markings on the chest on each of the front legs known as, “rosettes.” These are more pronounced in some dogs than others and are usually more noticeable on puppies. The front legs are tan from the toes to the knee, although there are black “pencil lines” on every toe and two black “fingerprints” on between the pastern and the knee. The back legs are tan on the feet and then on the inside of the legs to a little below the stifle joint. The back toes also have the black “pencil lines.”
The Appearance of the Standard Manchester Terrier
The Standard Manchester Terrier weighs more than, but not including, twelve pounds, and should be no more, or including, than 22 pounds. The Standard Manchester Terrier can be found in three ear types: naturally erect, button-shaped, or cropped. Manchester Terriers with button-ears have forward-facing, slightly dropped ears. These ears are considerably smaller than those of most breeds. Manchester Terriers with naturally erect ears are similar in appearance to other erect eared terrier breeds such as the Rat Terrier. Manchester Terriers which have had their ears cropped have very narrow, very upright ears. Ear cropping has been outlawed in many European countries and is falling into disfavor in the United States, leading to a preference for button-eared or naturally erect eared dogs.
The Manchester Terrier has a typical terrier temperament, although is generally softer tempered than most terriers. This is a dog that is incredibly loyal, and forms incredibly strong bonds with its masters. The Manchester Terrier is a generally affectionate breed, but not to the extent of some other small breeds. This breed is somewhat less snappy with people than most terriers, especially the Standard. This means that the Standard Manchester Terrier is probably better around children than most terrier breeds, but early socialization is very important. If you are looking for a breed that is good with children, there are definitely better options available. The Toy Manchester Terrier and English Toy Terrier should probably not be kept around children as they are quite delicate and may either be injured by a child’s well-intentioned play or frightened by it to the point where they feel they must defend themselves.
The Manchester Terrier is more polite with and less fearful of strangers than most terriers. However, socialization from a young age is very important to prevent problems from developing. Even the most well-socialized Manchester Terrier is unlikely to warmly greet a new person. The Manchester Terrier makes an excellent watchdog, but is neither powerful nor aggressive enough to make an effective guard dog. If you are looking for a dog that you can take to neighborhood barbeques and block parties, the Manchester Terrier may not be the right fit for you. However, if you are looking for a dog with a toned-down terrier temperament, the Manchester Terrier is one of the best options available.
The Manchester Terrier is considerably better around other dogs than is the case with most terriers. This breed is not given to standoffish displays or outright dog aggression. Unlike a breed such as a Jack Russell Terrier, a Manchester Terrier is probably not going to go out of its way to attack another dog. If you are looking for a terrier which can live in a home with other dogs without too much of a problem, many Manchester Terriers can do so. That being said, a Manchester Terrier will most likely not tolerate a strange dog invading its personal space or attempting to dominate it. This breed will stand its ground versus any opponent, which is likely to result in serious injury to one or both dogs. It would be most fair to describe this breed as tolerant of other dogs without necessarily being good with them.
This breed should be properly socialized from a young age. As is the case with all terriers, keeping a Manchester Terrier with another dog of the same sex often results in problems, especially if one or both dogs are intact males. Some Standard Manchester Terriers which have not been properly socialized may not see a tiny breed such as a Teacup Chihuahua or Yorkshire Terrier as dog. Rather they may mistake them for a rat or other prey with disastrous results. Perhaps the biggest issue that the Manchester Terrier must overcome with other dogs is the breed’s penchant for becoming possessive of its food and toys.
The breed was bred to be a tireless and fierce killer of rats. These dogs were at one point capable of dispatching hundreds of rats in a matter of minutes or successfully killing animals more than twice their size. While their temperament has softened somewhat since then, this breed still has one of the strongest prey drives of any terrier. It is extremely unwise to keep a Manchester Terrier in the presence of small animals such as hamsters, rabbits, and even birds. This breed was bred to attack and kill quickly, and any rodent a Manchester Terrier spies is likely to have a life expectancy of less than a minute. While training can help, it cannot eliminate the intense drive of this breed. This breed is somewhat better with cats, many of which are sizable. However, early socialization is absolutely crucial, and it is probably best to keep this breed away from felines. Remember that a Manchester Terrier that is quite accepting of a cat which it has known its whole life may still pursue and kill a cat with which it is unfamiliar.
Unlike most terriers, the Manchester Terrier is known for being quite responsive to its owner. Combined with the breed’s intelligence, this makes it among the fastest learners and most easily trainable terriers. This breed is capable of learning a number of complex tricks, and being a successful agility and obedience competitor. Unlike most terriers, most Manchester Terriers are actually eager to please. If you are accustomed to training other terrier breeds, the Manchester Terrier will probably be a delight to train. However, if you are accustomed to working with breeds such as Labrador Retrievers or Poodles, you will probably become frustrated. The Manchester Terrier will almost constantly test your leadership. This breed will only follow those whom it considers a true leader. You must be in firmly and calmly in control at all times around a Manchester Terrier, otherwise this breed will walk all over you. While not as crucial as is the case with some breeds, it is easiest to train a Manchester Terrier with numerous rewards and a great deal of positive reinforcements.
Although more trainable than most terrier breeds, the Manchester Terrier should not be allowed off-leash when not in a secure area. This breed has very strong hunting instincts and will take off after whatever it sees, frogs, squirrels, rabbits, and even birds or fish. The Manchester Terrier usually wants to respond but may be unable or unwilling to control its prey drive when on the attack. Any enclosure which holds a Manchester Terrier must be quite secure. This breed is athletic and intelligent enough to escape most fences, or a skilled enough digger to go underneath them.
The Manchester Terrier is definitely an active breed. You will have to provide them with a significant amount of daily exercise and stimulation. If you are looking for a low-exercise toy breed, the Manchester Terrier is definitely not for you. Even the smallest Manchester Terriers need long, rigorous walks at the very least, and prefer time to run around off-leash in a secure enclosure. This is not a good breed for couch-potato owners. If kept on a leash, a Manchester Terrier would probably make a good hiking companion. Manchester Terriers that do not get the exercise that they need can become utter terrors, barking, aggressive, nervous, overly excitable, and very destructive. That being said, the Manchester Terrier is somewhat less active than the most energetic terriers and will relax once it get the exercise that it needs. This breed will calmly watch television on the sofa, just after a long run. Unlike most dogs with this level of activity, the Manchester Terrier is definitely at home in the city, and can adapt very well to life in an apartment.
As is the case with many small breeds, the Manchester Terrier, particularly the Toy Manchester Terrier and English Toy Terrier, is prone to developing Small Dog Syndrome. Small Dog Syndrome is caused when owners do not discipline a small dog in the same way that they would a large dog, because the negative behavior is cute, funny, or seemingly non-threatening. Everyone has seen the dogs that suffer from this condition. They are the tiny dogs which pull at the ends of their leash to bark at or attack every passerby, human or canine. Such dogs are a danger to themselves and others. Always remember to treat a dog like a dog, no matter how small.
There are a few other aspects of the Manchester Terrier’s temperament that owners must be aware of. One is that like most terriers, the Manchester Terrier is prone to defensive reactions. These dogs will defend themselves, often violently, if they feel the need. As a result, harsh training methods such as yelling and hitting should be avoided and children and other dogs that play with a Manchester Terrier must be gentle. Another is that the Manchester Terrier does not have the personality of a peaceable urban companion dog. This is a very, “doggy,” dog. Manchester Terriers love to run around outside and get into mischief. They like to run amok and get a little dirty. This breed is known for digging, a task it both enjoys and is surprisingly capable of. Manchester Terriers have completely destroyed more than a few well-manicured gardens. If you are looking for a dog to carry around in a purse in a shopping mall, the Manchester Terrier will probably not be willing to oblige you. While the Toy Manchester Terrier and English Toy Terrier are somewhat more similar to other companion dogs than the Standard Manchester Terrier, neither has the temperament of Pekingese or a Chihuahua.
Unlike most terriers, the Manchester Terrier requires very little grooming. This breed should never require professional grooming, and only needs an occasional brushing. The Standard Manchester Terrier is considered an average shedder and will leave hairs on your furniture, carpet, and clothing. However, you will not need to vacuum every day to keep a high standard of cleanliness. The Toy Manchester Terrier and the English Toy Terrier are both light shedders, and some shed almost no hair. However, neither breed is considered hypoallergenic, and should not be acquired based on that assumption.
The Manchester Terrier is a very healthy breed, and has one of the longest life expectancies of any dog. All varieties of Manchester Terrier have a life expectancy of at least 15 years when properly cared for, and have been known to regularly reach ages of 17. This is an incredibly long life. Although now rare, at one point Manchester Terriers were very numerous and the breed has a relatively large gene pool. Additionally, this dog has not been the victim of poor breeding practices designed to supply dogs for mass demand. However, this breed is not immune to genetic defects and some are present in the breed. Additionally, there is a fear that the very small genetic pool of the English Toy Terrier may result in the breed developing some problems as a result of inbreeding.
Some lines of Manchester Terrier are susceptible to glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when there is increased pressure in the eyes. Glaucoma can be quite painful when most severe, and is almost always uncomfortable. Unfortunately, Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in dogs. There are several different types of glaucoma, and detection and treatment options vary depending on which type of glaucoma it is. Veterinarians will be best able to determine if your dog has glaucoma, what type of glaucoma it is, and what your dog’s treatment options are.
It is always advisable to get your pets tested by either the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and/or the Canine Eye Registration Foundation, particularly if you intend to breed. The OFA and CERF test for various genetically inherited disorders such as blindness and hip dysplasia that may impact either your dog or its descendants.
The few health problems that the Manchester Terrier is known to suffer from include: