Manchester terrier hereditary health and genetic diversity

Manchester terrier hereditary health and genetic diversity

Health & Safety

The Manchester terrier is widely considered to be the oldest terrier breed that still exists in its original form, and dogs of this type are mentioned in works going as far back as the 16th century. A native British breed that is closely tied to the city of Manchester, the Manchester terrier falls within the Terrier Group for Kennel Club classification purposes, unlike its close relative, the English Toy Terrier (black and tan), which falls within the toy dog grouping.

Manchester terriers are relatively small dogs with a neat, compact build and working history as a ratting dog. They are agile, lithe and active dogs that enjoy playing, working and plenty of exercise, but within the home, are calm, well behaved and non-destructive.

They are non-aggressive dogs, which tend to bond strongly with their families and are very loving and affectionate. They tend to make for good watchdogs, soon barking to alert their families of the approach of a stranger. However, they are not considered to be good guard dogs, due to their small size and kind natures.

If you are wondering if a Manchester terrier is the right choice of dog for you and are considering buying or adopting a dog of the breed, it is of course important to do plenty of research before committing to a purchase. In this article, we will look at the hereditary health, genetic diversity and average longevity of the Manchester terrier breed as a whole. Read on to learn more.

Manchester terrier longevity

The average lifespan for the Manchester terrier is 12.8 years, which places them roundly in the middle of the rankings across the board for all breeds of a similar size and build. This indicates that the breed as a whole tends to be healthy and fairly robust, and is not prone to developing minor ills or faults that will affect their day to day health.

Genetic diversity within the breed

The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the Manchester terrier is 17.3%, which is considered to be a very high figure. The ideal figure for pedigree dog breeds is 6.25% or lower, and so the Manchester terrier breed is demonstrably subjected to a high amount of inbreeding in order to keep the breed viable in perpetuity. While this is a natural side effect of the fact that the breed is today not hugely common and not a great number of dogs of the breed exist, the coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the breed should be reduced by breeders wherever possible.

A figure as high as is possessed by the Manchester terrier places the breed at risk of hereditary health defects, and other issues such as small litter sizes and problems carrying a litter to term and delivering healthy pups.


The shape, size and build of the Manchester terrier is considered to be well balanced and generally fit for life, and does not pose any particular problems for the dogs. The coat of the breed too is very short and straight, making it low maintenance and not likely to cause problems with overheating.

Health testing for the Manchester terrier

The British Veterinary Association and The Kennel Club have identified a breed predisposition to a hereditary health condition called Von Willebrand’s factor, type one. The presence of this factor can lead to a health condition called Von Willebrand’s disease, which is a blood clotting disorder that can lead to insufficient clotting platelets, making the dog prone to bruising and bleeding heavily if injured.

A pre-breeding DNA test can identify or rule out the presence of Von Willebrand’s factor prior to making the decision to breed.

Other health issues

Despite the high degree of inbreeding that occurs across the breed as a whole, the Manchester terrier is a fairly robust and healthy dog, which is not widely identified as having a predisposition to a wide range of health problems. Parent dogs should be DNA tested for Von Willebrand’s factor prior to breeding, but aside from this condition, there are not a huge number of other hereditary conditions known to affect breed lines.

However, potential Manchester terrier buyers should make themselves aware of the following health conditions that may potentially affect some dogs of the breed:

  • Pattern baldness of the coat, which is more common within female dogs of the breed than in males.
  • A propensity to recurrent infections of the anal glands, and a tendency to developing impactions and other problems of this type.
  • A slight breed tendency to develop renal failure in maturity, but this problem rarely presents itself across the breed in dogs younger than seven years old.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a condition caused by the degeneration of the head of the femur bone of the hip joints. This condition can be very painful, and may lead to chronic lameness.


Pets for studWanted pets

Accessories & services

Knowledge hub


Support & safety portal
Pets for saleAll Pets for sale