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Patterdale Terrier

Black and tan Patterdale.
Country of origin England
The Patterdale Terrier is recognised by the American Rare Breed Association

The Patterdale Terrier is a breed of working dog that originated in the Lake District of Cumbria in Northwest England.[1] The name Patterdale refers to a small village a little south of Ullswater and a few miles east of Helvellyn.[2]

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 breed 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

3 year old smooth black Patterdale Terrier

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, often curly.

Colours include: Black, Red, or Chocolate. The black and tan coat colouration does not occur without significant introduction to another breed of terrier: this is generally a Lakeland terrier or a Jack Russell Terrier.

There may be some variations in the primary colours. For instance, blacks may have some lighter hairs in the undercoat and red may range from tan to deep red, chocolate may be a very dark or lighter brown, and black and tan may have more or less of these colours on each individual dog, but the only registerable colours are those listed above. Chocolate-coloured dogs will have a brown nose (officially called a "red" nose). Some white on chest and feet is acceptable.

Patterdale Terriers can live up to 15 years.


three-month-old smooth black Patterdale Terrier

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 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.


These dogs were carefully linebred. Nuttall blood lines are still considered to be of the highest quality. The modern Patterdale Terrier is to fell terriers, what the Jack Russell Terrier is to hunt terriers—the indisputable leader in numbers and performance as a breed.

The Patterdale was developed in the harsh environment in the north of England, an area unsuitable for arable farming and too hilly (in the main) for cattle. Sheep farming is the predominant farming activity on these hills. Since the fox is perceived by farmers as being predatory on sheep and small farm animals, terriers are used for predator control. Unlike the dirt dens found in the hunt country of the south, the rocky dens found in the north do not allow much digging. As a consequence, the terrier needs to be able to bolt the fox from the rock crevice or dispatch it where it is found. The use of "hard" dogs to hunt foxes in this way was made illegal in England and Wales by the Hunting Act 2004, as it runs counter to the code of practice[1] under the Act.

In the United States, The Patterdale Terrier was recognised by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995; yet it remains unrecognized by the American Kennel Club.

See also


  1. ^ Patterdale Terriers and Black Fell Terriers history and origin
  2. ^ mypets page on Patterdale Terriers

External links

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