Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier is a dog breeds of working dog that originated in the Lake District of Cumbria in Northwest England. The name Patterdale refers to a small village a little south of Ullswater and a few miles east of Helvellyn.

The Patterdale is a type of Fell Terrier. The Patterdale terrier was "improved" and brought into the Kennel Club as the Welsh Terrier after a brief naming struggle in which the name "Old English Broken-coated Terrier" was attempted before being rejected by the Kennel Club hierarchy. The Patterdale Terrier is sometimes called the "Old English Terrier" or the "Fell Terrier".


The Patterdale Terrier is a small working dog. In the UK it is not a dog type that is recognised by the UK Kennel Cub as a pedigree. As such the Patterdale has been bred as a working dog, so the appearance can differ widely. This phenomenon is common in several types of working dog, including as the Border Collie.

According to dog breeds standards, this working terrier stands between 25.5 cm (10 in) and 12 inches at the withers and weighs between 10 and 13 pounds. The preferred size depends on the quarry. In the UK, all sizes are in use, depending on the terrain and quarry: in the UK, the most common quarry was the fox. In the eastern United States, smaller dogs are preferred and 30 cm (12 in) tall and 5.5 kg (12 lb) is the preferred size for groundhogs (aka woodchucks). However, somewhat larger dogs can be used in the American West when ground barn hunting larger raccoons and badgers.

Variations in Coat, Colour

The coat may be "Smooth", "Broken" or "Rough". All types should be dense and coarse.

Smooth: Generally smooth, may have a wiry stripe down the back. Short, dense hair.

Broken: Coarse, wavy hair on body except for head and ears which is smooth. May be some longer whiskering on muzzle, around base of neck, and chin.

Rough: Longer hair overall, including face, ears and muzzle. Very thick, sometimes,slightly curled.

Colours include: Black, Red, or Chocolate,and occasionally Blue.

There are slight variations within these colors.White on the chest and toes/feet is permissable.In the case of the Chocolate,they will have a liver colored nose,whereas the Blues,will have a slate colored nose.Influx of Lakeland,Border,and Bedlington was not uncommon in the early forming of this breed,and may partially explain some of these colors.

Patterdale Terriers can live up to 15 years.


Patterdale puppies tend to be bold and confident beyond their capabilities, and responsible owners of working dogs will not overmatch their dogs or introduce them to formidable quarry before they are around a year and a half of age. Even as a yearling, the dog will not be fully capable.

The Patterdale is a working terrier, and terrier work requires a high-energy dog with a strong prey drive and a loud voice. As a result, Patterdales are very energetic dogs, and can be quite vocal. It is not uncommon for a Patterdale to be cat-aggressive, and homes which have other small fur-bearing pets (such as hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs) would do well to think through the ramifications of bringing a working terrier into the house. However, as with all dog breeds there is variation. Some Patterdales are more animal-friendly, befriending (and cleaning) cats and other dogs alike. Patterdales are prone to the sulks if their owners pay attention to others. They do not enjoy travel by car, as it often upsets the dog to be confined for a prolonged period of time.

Patterdales display an intriguing crawl, similar to an act of prostration, used to gain attention and stalk quarry through long grass. This originates from their inbred ability to compress their lungs to fit into small spaces, in search of their prey.

Due to their compact size, friendly and inquisitive nature, and intelligence, Patterdales Terriers could be seen as an attractive breed of dogs for a family pet. Prospective buyers should be very aware that whilst these dogs may enjoy sitting in a lap, they are not "lap dogs" – they are dogs that require training and regular and consistent exercise to maintain their temperament and to fully occupy their minds. Even durable, consistent chew toys, or rope toys, generally are not enough to occupy them, as they chew right through them.

Patterdales which are not trained on a consistent basis, or are not exercised regularly, may quickly exhibit unmanageable behaviour, including excessive barking, escaping from the garden, or digging in unwanted places inside and outside the house. Prospective Patterdale terrier owners are advised to do their homework, and those seeking working dogs are advised to focus on size and to make sure they are acquiring their dogs from true working homes.

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