Everything You Need to Know About the Patterdale Terrier Dog Breed

If you’re considering getting a new pet dog, you might want to learn more about the Patterdale Terrier breed. This small but highly energetic canine is known for its feisty personality and excellent hunting skills, but there’s much more to these dogs than meets the eye.

A Brief History of the Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier is a relatively new breed of dog, originating in the Lake District region of Northern England. While there is no definitive history of the breed, experts believe that the Patterdale Terrier was developed in the early 20th century by crossing different terrier breeds such as the Fell Terrier and the Welsh Terrier.

Origins of the Breed

The Lake District region of Northern England is known for its rugged terrain and harsh climate. Farmers in the area needed a dog that was tough, resilient, and able to work tirelessly in the challenging conditions. The Patterdale Terrier’s ancestors were bred to work on farms, hunting pests such as rats, foxes, and badgers. These dogs had to be fearless and tenacious in their pursuit of prey, working tirelessly and without hesitation to catch their quarry.

One of the key traits that sets the Patterdale Terrier apart from other terrier breeds is their incredible stamina. These dogs are able to work for hours on end without tiring, making them ideal for hunting in the harsh terrain of the Lake District.

The Patterdale Terrier’s Role in Hunting

Today, Patterdale Terriers are still highly prized for their hunting abilities. They have an excellent sense of smell and are able to navigate difficult terrain to track down their prey. While they are primarily used for hunting small animals, they can also be trained to track larger game such as deer.

One of the most impressive things about the Patterdale Terrier is their fearlessness. These dogs are not afraid to take on animals much larger than themselves, and will not back down in the face of danger. This trait makes them highly effective hunters, but also means that they require careful training and socialization to ensure that they do not become aggressive towards other dogs or humans.

Recognition and Popularity

Despite their long history, the Patterdale Terrier breed has only recently gained recognition from major kennel clubs. They are now recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and are becoming increasingly popular as companion pets due to their loyal and affectionate nature.

While the Patterdale Terrier is still primarily a working breed, many people are discovering that they make excellent pets. These dogs are fiercely loyal to their owners and are known for their playful and affectionate personalities. They are also highly intelligent and respond well to training, making them a great choice for families who are willing to put in the time and effort to properly socialize and train their dog.

Physical Characteristics of the Patterdale Terrier

While the Patterdale Terrier may be small in size, they make up for it with their muscular build and keen sense of alertness. Patterdale Terriers have been bred for their ability to hunt and work in the rough terrain of the Lake District in England. Their physical characteristics make them well-suited for this challenging work.

Size and Weight

On average, Patterdale Terriers stand between 10-13 inches tall and weigh between 11-13 pounds. Despite their small size, they are a sturdy breed with a muscular build that allows them to navigate difficult terrain with ease.

Coat Types and Colors

Patterdale Terriers can have a smooth or rough coat. Smooth-coated Patterdales have short, dense hair that lies close to their skin, while rough-coated Patterdales have longer, wiry hair with a distinct “broken” appearance. The coat colors of Patterdale Terriers can range from black, red, chocolate, or any combination of these colors.

Their coats are designed to protect them from the harsh weather conditions they may encounter while working in the field. Their thick fur keeps them warm in cold temperatures, while their wiry coat protects them from thorns and other hazards they may encounter while hunting.

Distinctive Features

Patterdale Terriers have a distinctive “otter-like” head and a sturdy, compact body. Their broad chest and short legs give them a low center of gravity, which makes them agile and able to change direction quickly. Their ears are small and folded over, which protects them from debris while working in the field. Their eyes are alert and lively, which helps them to spot prey and stay focused on the task at hand.

Overall, the Patterdale Terrier is a unique and fascinating breed with a rich history and an impressive set of physical characteristics. Their small size, muscular build, and keen sense of alertness make them well-suited for their original purpose as working dogs, and they continue to be popular pets today.

Patterdale Terrier Temperament and Personality

Despite their small size, Patterdale Terriers have a big personality. They are known for their loyalty, courage, and determination. Here are some traits that make up their temperament:

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

Patterdale Terriers are highly energetic dogs that require plenty of exercise. They have a lot of stamina and enjoy activities such as running, hiking, and playing fetch. In fact, they were originally bred as hunting dogs and have a natural instinct to chase and catch prey.

Owners of Patterdale Terriers should be prepared to provide them with daily exercise to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. A lack of exercise can lead to pent-up energy, which can manifest in destructive chewing, digging, or excessive barking.

Intelligence and Trainability

Patterdale Terriers are intelligent dogs that are eager to please their owners. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and can learn a variety of commands and tricks. However, they can also be stubborn and independent, which can make training a challenge.

Training should be consistent and frequent to establish good habits and prevent bad ones from developing. Patterdale Terriers thrive on routine and structure, so it’s important to establish rules and boundaries early on.

Socialization and Compatibility with Other Animals

Patterdale Terriers are generally friendly with people and other animals if they are socialized properly from a young age. They can be protective of their owners and may exhibit aggression towards strangers or unfamiliar animals.

They can become possessive of their food or toys and may need to be trained to share with other pets in the household. It’s important to supervise their interactions with other animals, especially small pets such as hamsters or birds, as they have a strong prey drive and may see them as potential prey.

Overall, Patterdale Terriers make excellent companions for active individuals or families who are willing to provide them with plenty of exercise and training. With proper socialization and training, they can be friendly and affectionate pets that will bring joy and entertainment to their owners.

Health Issues and Lifespan

Like all dog breeds, Patterdale Terriers are prone to certain health issues. However, with proper care and attention, you can help your furry friend live a long and healthy life. Here are some common conditions to watch out for:

Common Health Concerns

Patterdale Terriers may be prone to respiratory issues, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation (a condition where the kneecap dislocates). They may also be prone to allergies, especially to food or flea bites.

Respiratory issues can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and infections. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms in your Patterdale Terrier, it is important to seek veterinary care right away.

Hip dysplasia is a common condition in many dog breeds, including Patterdale Terriers. It occurs when the hip joint does not develop properly, leading to discomfort and mobility issues. While there is no cure for hip dysplasia, there are treatments available to help manage the condition and improve your dog’s quality of life.

Patellar luxation is another condition that can affect Patterdale Terriers. It occurs when the kneecap dislocates, causing pain and difficulty walking. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the issue.

Allergies are another common health concern in Patterdale Terriers. They may be allergic to certain foods or flea bites, leading to itching, rashes, and other uncomfortable symptoms. If you suspect your dog has allergies, it is important to work with your veterinarian to identify the cause and develop a treatment plan.

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventative care is key to maintaining the health of your Patterdale Terrier. Regular checkups with a veterinarian, as well as keeping up with vaccinations and flea/tick prevention, can help ward off potential health issues.

In addition to regular veterinary care, there are other steps you can take to keep your Patterdale Terrier healthy. Providing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation can all contribute to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Patterdale Terrier is 11-13 years, but they can live longer with proper care and attention to their health. By staying on top of your dog’s health and providing them with the care they need, you can help ensure they live a long and happy life by your side.


While the Patterdale Terrier may not be the most well-known breed of dog, their compact size, impressive hunting skills, and loyal personality make them a great choice for many households. Whether you’re an avid hunter or looking for a new companion pet, the Patterdale Terrier may just be the perfect fit for you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top