Although the Manchester terrier and miniature pinscher look somewhat similar, once you're familiar with the breeds it's not difficult to tell the difference between them. When trying to decide which breed is the best for you, evaluate your lifestyle and speak with reputable breeders. They can help make you make a decision about which of these little dogs should join your household.
With a Manchester terrier, you can choose between a toy and standard size, while the miniature pinscher comes in just one type. The toy Manchester terrier weighs between 7 and 12 pounds, while the standard weighs between 12 and 22 pounds. Their standards are based on weight, not height. Don't confuse the min pin with the Doberman -- they are two separate breeds and the former is not a small version of the latter. Min pins stand between 10 and 12.5 inches high at the shoulder. The min pin standard doesn't have a weight limit, but the dog's weight should be proportional. It's tail is docked in proportion to its size.
If you're not sure if a dog is a Manchester or a min pin, observe his movement. Min pins boast a distinctive, high-stepping gait, similar to the hackney horse or pony. The Manchester terrier standard specifically states that sort of "hackney" gait is not permitted in the breed. Instead, Manchester terriers should move freely and effortlessly, with good reach of the forequarters, according to the American Kennel Club standard.
The only color pattern allowed in the AKC standard for Manchester terriers is black with tan, the latter consisting of a spot over each eye and one on each cheek, with a tan muzzle but black nose. There is additional tan coloration on the legs and in the anal area. Permissible colors in the AKC miniature pinscher standard include solid red; stag red or some black hairs mixed within a red coat; black with rust markings on the legs, head and anal area, and chocolate with rust markings in the same areas.
Although every dog is an individual, the Manchester terrier and the miniature pinscher were bred for different activities, which is reflected in their behavior and temperament. Bred to hunt vermin, the Manchester is a true terrier. That means he enjoys digging, chasing after small animals and generally getting into mischief. The miniature pinscher can be quite territorial -- he thinks of himself as a big dog. That can get him into trouble if he tries to take on a larger canine. Min pins have a reputation for constant barking and a high-strung nature, which isn't true of Manchester terriers. Either dog needs good, consistent training. The Manchester terrier soaks up training like a sponge. The min pin is relatively easy to train, with one caveat: housebreaking can take some time.
By Jane Meggitt
Miniature Pinscher Club of America: Breed History
Miniature Pinscher Club of America: Miniature Pinscher Standard
American Manchester Terrier Club: The Manchester Terrier
American Kennel Club: Manchester Terrier Breed Standard
Vetstreet: Miniature Pinscher Temperament and Personality
Vetstreet: Manchester Terrier Temperament and Personality
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.