The Manchester Terrier is an old established English terrier breed, found in works dating back to the 1500`s. The earliest known written description comes from Dr Caius, once the physician to Queen Elizabeth I. He described, in detail, small black and tan coloured, terrier type dogs, working as ratters, which bear a remarkable resemblance to later documented examples of the type.
The black and tan terrier of the 1800`s was a working dog, used as a ratter, particularly in buildings, to control vermin. Being very efficient ratters, black and tan terriers were a widespread choice of dog for rat catchers during the 19th century. One of the most famous was Jack Black. He lived and worked in London around the 1850's, and was once the Royal Ratcatcher.
A well brought up and cared for Manchester should be affectionate in the family circle, outside of this they may be reserved with strangers, making friends reservedly. The Kennel Club Breed Standard uses the adjectives discerning and devoted in its description of the breed once accepted, friends are never forgotten. A well trained and thoroughly socialised Manchester Terrier should be no trouble with other dogs or humans. The Manchester Terrier can live peaceably with other animals if introduced at an early age.
They are an intelligent breed, who can be quick to learn, but sometimes slow to obey if confronted with something else they would rather do, such as chasing smaller animals. They are exceptionally loyal and responsive companions to those they consider as friends and family.
The Manchester is a true terrier and as such their spirit will not let an insult or threat go by unanswered. They may not be aggressive but they are brave and loyal, they are always ready and willing to take action if they perceive a threat to themselves, their home or family. In addition, they have an impressive bark and perceive themselves to be a big dog in a small dogs body.
In terms of lifespan those in the breed would tell you that over 12 years can be expected and over 15 is not uncommon.
Manchester Terriers are in general are a healthy breed of dog, little troubled by minor ailments. As with any breed of dog, the provision of adequate care will ensure most health problems are kept at bay.
Genetic disorders are thankfully few with Manchester Terriers. There is no evidence to suggest that, at present, there are any widespread problems in the UK. With regards to Von Willebrands disease (vWD) this is a genetically inherited bleeding disorder, similar to haemophilia in humans, and Manchesters may be susceptible to the mildest form. However, the British Manchester Terrier Club in conjunction with the Kennel Club have put in place a DNA testing scheme for all breeding stock and to date this has shown a large percentage of clear results, with the remainder being carriers. Only one dog was found to be affected.
With a careful breeding programme and this knowledge it should be possible to eradicate VWD totally from the breed within a few generations.