LIFE WITH MANCHESTERS
L ike a lot of older breeds, histories di ff er on the ori- gin and evolution of the Manchester. It’s (prob- ably) safe for me to say that they are generally considered one of the foundation breeds behind many modern Terriers. We know they did originate in England. Th ey are rec- ognizable in paintings from the 1700s as a small, smooth-coated, black and tan terrier. It seems likely they were used in the develop- ment of Dobermans. Beyond that, opinions di ff er greatly and since I am not quite old enough to have witnessed any of the above, I will stop here. Like most Terriers, they started out as hunters of vermin. Probably first on farms, later in towns and, finally, in homes. Th ey are still great hunters and that prey drive allows them to do well in everything from EarthDog and Barn Hunts to Agility and Coursing. We even have some who have completed Tracking titles with no trouble. Obedience and Rally are also on the Man- chester menu of THINGS I CAN DO WELL. I am looking forward to seeing one do a Freestyle dance routine with his owner at our 2013 National Specialty in September. With the right partner they can pretty much do anything you want them to. Keeping laps and feet warm are other specialties. In America, the breed is divided into two varieties: Toys and Standards. Toys must be under twelve pounds, Standards between twelve and twenty-two pounds. Our written Standard calls for Toys to be a diminutive version of the Standard Manchester but they must have a natu- rally upright ear. Th e Standard dogs may have a naturally upright ear, a button ear or a cropped ear. In this country, most are cropped. I believe America is the only country where the two are not considered separate breeds. I was asked to mention why people would buy a Manchester and why I love having them. I had to stop and think about
By Jerri Hobbs
both these questions. Th e very first Man- chester I ever met (a Standard) impressed me with her beauty, fierce loyalty to her owner, her regal mien and her determina- tion to check on my infant son every time she heard him cry. I believe she would have taken him home to raise if she’d been able. I’d never met a dog like her before and I never forgot her. Th at was 1967 and I got my first Man- chester (a Toy) in 1982. During the inter- vening years, we had become involved in showing Saints in Obedience and Breed so I’d had some opportunity to see Manches- ters at shows. I was flabbergasted when I saw several at a local show and learned that a woman I knew slightly had decided to ‘get into’ the breed. She called me the first time she had a litter, we got our first bitch and have had them ever since. Skeeter got her name because my not over enthused hus- band insisted the pups were “smaller than the skeeters”. I loved that she marched into the house, looked around and immediately started arranging things to suit herself. My skep- tical husband was first on her list. It may have taken her half an hour to make him understand that his life had not been com- plete till she got there. I loved that she was not afraid of the Saints. Not stupid about it either – if she wasn’t up on a couch or a lap she was always close to hidey hole and we did our part by making sure there were no unsupervised visits ’til the Saints realized she was actually a dog. I loved the way she approached the cats – very, very respect- fully. I expect ours were not the first cats she had known. I loved that she was quick to learn the rules, easy to house train and didn’t hold
grudges. I loved that wiping her down with a damp towel, keeping her toenails back and her teeth clean was all the grooming needed to keep us both happy. Th irty some years later, I still love all those things about the breed. Nobody is perfect. Manchesters are Terriers. Maxwell Riddle described Terri- ers as being born with more Original Sin than other dogs. Th ey are quick to use all that intelligence to manipulate their own- ers. It can be very hard to convince new owners that the lovely, dewy eyed, tiny puppy asleep in their lap is dreaming of world domination but, believe me; it is never far from their mind. Owners must be every bit as smart and just as stubborn as their dog is or they end up living their own lives around what the dog wants – and wondering how it happened. Why would someone want to buy one? Th ey are striking animals. Th e combina- tion of size and elegance makes them eye catchers. Th eir size makes them attrac- tive to people living a modern lifestyle. It is nice to have a dog athletic enough to go running with you and small enough to pick up and carry as it grows up and can match your distance. Th ey are playful in and out of the house and will quickly learn your likes and dislikes. Th ey are gen- erally healthy and the puppy you buy for your kid when he starts to school is often around to see him o ff to college. Th en they will be there to comfort you. Manchesters are dogs that demand a lot of their owners in the way of attention and training but they give it all back in love, empathy and fun. After all these years of living with them, I find it hard to figure out why anyone wouldn’t want one.
I STILL LOVE ALL THOSE THINGS ABOUT THE BREED.” “Thirty some years later,
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