Manchester Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Manchester Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The AKC Standard says, "The Manchester Terrier presents a sleek, sturdy, yet elegant look...with a keen, bright, alert expression."
Keenly observant and discerning, the Manchester Terrier is more devoted to his owner and better mannered than some other terriers.
Lively and agile, this breed is best suited to active families, as he enjoys brisk walking every day and all-out running whenever he can get it. However, he must be kept on-leash or in a securely fenced area at all times, for he is very curious, has strong hunting instincts, and will chase anything. Manchester Terriers love to play -- with you, with another dog, or by themselves (with or without a toy!).
With his acute senses and wariness of strangers, the Manchester Terrier makes an excellent watchdog, but early socialization is imperative so that he does not become sharp or timid.
Manchesters are not given to fiery posturing with other dogs and are generally accepting, but they will stand their ground and fight when challenged or when they feel their space has been invaded. Two adults of the same sex should not be kept together. Smaller creatures, including low-flying birds, will be pursued with determination.
The Manchester Terrier is smart and trainable if you are a confident, consistent leader who can smile at his antics, yet not allow him to outwit you. He is exceedingly sensitive to physical corrections, so use a light hand on the leash and rely more on praise and food rewards. (Food in moderation, please: He tends to pack on pounds quickly.)
Manchesters are comfort-loving dogs who seek out soft beds and often tunnel under the covers. They can be possessive of their food and toys and some like to bark.
If you want a dog who...
- Looks like a small Doberman, with a sleek black and tan coat, elegant build, and keen expression
- Moves swiftly with light-footed grace
- Is lively, playful, and athletic
- Makes a keen watchdog
- Is more responsive and better mannered than some terriers
- Lives a long time
A Standard or Toy Manchester Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
- Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
- Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Digging holes
A Standard or Toy Manchester Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Manchester Terrier
If I was considering a Manchester Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Manchester Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. I recommend obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, or agility classes (an obstacle course for dogs), or "earth dog" classes (where terriers dig and tunnel after small critters who are safely secured in a sturdy cage so they can't be harmed).
- Animal aggression. Manchester Terriers are less scrappy toward strange dogs than many other terrier breeds, but they are still a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
- Fence security. Many terriers are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
- Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, terriers are not the best choice for you. For the same reason, terriers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some terriers have high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.
- Mind of their own. Though more amenable to training than many other terriers, Manchester Terriers must still be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Manchester Terrier to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Manchester Terrier Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
I do NOT recommend terriers for small children. Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
To learn more about training Manchester Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Manchester Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Manchester Terrier. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Manchester Terrier might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Manchester Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Manchester Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Manchester Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Manchester Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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