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 © 2000-2018
The Manchester Terrier comes in Standard and Toy varieties. Both sizes have the same sleek coat and black-and-tan color pattern. Both sizes have a similar build – slender and elegant. But the Standard Manchester is larger and sturdier, while the Toy Manchester is more fragile-looking.
This lively, agile breed is best suited to active families, as he enjoys brisk walking every day and all-out running whenever he can get it. Keep him on-leash or in a securely fenced area, for he is very curious, has strong hunting instincts, and will chase anything.
Manchester Terriers love to play – with you, with another dog, or with a toy by themselves.
Devoted to his owner and wary with strangers, the Manchester Terrier is an excellent watchdog. In fact, he can be prone to excessive "watching" accompanied by excessive barking. Also, early socialization is imperative so that he doesn't become either sharp or skittish with strangers.
Unlike most other terriers, Manchesters are not given to fiery posturing with other dogs and are generally accepting. However, 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. This breed is exceedingly sensitive to physical corrections, so use a light hand on the leash and rely more on praise and food rewards. But food in moderation, please, as he tends to pack on pounds quickly!
Toy Manchesters, more than the Standard variety, are comfort-loving dogs who seek out soft beds and often tunnel under the covers.
If you want a dog who...
- Looks like a small Doberman
- Moves swiftly with light-footed grace
- Is lively 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
- Potential aggression toward other animals – chasing instincts
- Potential barking
A Standard or Toy Manchester Terrier may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Manchester Terriers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Manchester Terrier to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 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.
- Barking. All terrier breeds are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
- 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.
- Potential animal aggression. Manchester Terriers tend to be less scrappy toward other 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!
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Manchester Terriers are active go-getters. They need 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).
Outdoor activities with your Manchester Terrier should be done in a safe enclosed area. Like all terriers, the Manchester is prone to taking off after anything that runs. For their own safety, terriers should not be trusted off-leash.
- 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. 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. Read more about Manchester Terrier Training.
Note that I do not recommend terriers for homes with 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 stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.