Lakeland Terrier

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
max 37
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black and tan, blue and tan, red, wheaten, red grizzle, liver, blue or black
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great watch and guard dog
  • loves children
  • wonderful family companion
  • excellent hunter
  • independent-minded
  • needs a lot of exercise
  • chases small animals
  • can be aggressive with dogs

The Lakeland Terrier is a sturdy and playful dog native to England. The dog was invented to eradicate the foxes that attacked and killed sheep on the Northern England’s Lake. Despite its small size it has ferocious temper and can become a valuable companion for every hunter.

The Lakeland Terrier was created as early as XVIII century and it’s considered to be one of the oldest Terriers still living nowadays. It was originally developed in the tough and rugged territory of the Lake District in Cumberland County, Northern England. The breed got its official name after this English terrain. Nonetheless it used to have multiple names in the past and has been known as the Westmoreland Terrier, the Cumberland Terrier, the Colored Working Terrier, and more frequently as the Patterdale Terrier.

The Lakeland Terrier had appeared well before the time when official dog’s registration and kennel clubs became a common practice. So the exact breeds that contributed in the dog’s creation can’t be determined although it’s possible to make several highly probable guesses. It’s claimed that the Old English Black and Tan Terrier (now extinct), the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Bedlington Terrier, the Border Terrier, the Welsh Terrier, the Wire-Haired Fox Terrier, and the Fell Terrier participated in breeding program of the Lakeland Terrier. In its appearance the dog looks very similar to the Airedale Terrier, but in mini form.

Initially bred in England and Ireland the Lakeland Terrier performed the duty of a fearless and responsible guardian protecting farms and home from various kind of vermin. The dog was also a prized hunter’s assistant in hunting on fox, badger, and otter. These predators live in dens and the dog was trained to follow them into subterranean burrows, and to then terminate and retrieve these animals. The breed was designed to be incredibly tenacious and it’s able to repulse assaults of these dangerous creatures on its own.

In the 30s of the XX century the breeders initiated the joint efforts to make the Lakeland Terrier more popular among the public. They strived to produce dogs that would possess an appealing look to win on the exhibitions while preserving the hunting talents that were so treasured. Gradually the breed gained high appreciation in the show rings and won numerous awards in different types of competitions. It received the recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1934. However, compared to other more fancy breeds, the population of the Lakeland Terrier still remains insignificant.


The Lakeland Terrier has the temperament of a typical terrier. It’s courageous, hardy and relentless animal at work and well-behaved and affectionate in the home environment. There is one thing that the future owner must know about this breed. Though it doesn’t prone to start a fight initially it will not back down even if challenged by much bigger and more powerful adversary. The dog is also keen on digging and chasing everything that even remotely resembles a prey.

The Lakeland Terrier is capable to play tirelessly for long hours and prefers to do it with younger members of the family (but its boisterous temper may become too much for a toddler). Nevertheless the children should be taught the rules of proper behaviour with the dog.

This dog tolerates strangers but it tends to be wary and reserved with them. The Lakeland Terrier will not accept caress from unknown person and should be supervised around it. It continually keeps scanning the surroundings for the signs of possible threat to the master and his family so this vigilant dog will make a good guard dog. It has appropriate qualities of being an excellent watchdog and feels itself highly responsible for its subordinated territory.

The Lakeland Terrier is a very persistent and determined hunter and as such will become mortal enemy for every street cat and other small creatures. If the dog passes early socialization with a home cat or other pet (larger or equal to it in size) it will in most cases co-exist with them relatively well throughout its life. It has not been noticed in being excessively aggressive with other canines but still has a tendency not to «like» strange dogs and once in a fight it will resort to any means to be on top.

The Lakeland Terrier is really possessive about its toys and food and keen on barking. Moreover, it must always be kept on the leash, otherwise it can run away and it will cost a life to your neighbour’s cat. With that being said the Lakeland Terrier isn’t recommended for the novice dog owner and requires sufficient time invested in its training and socialisation.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• eye problems;
• von Willebrand’s disease;
• skin allergies;
• cryptorchidism;
• legg-calve-perthes disease.

The Lakeland Terrier has comparatively low grooming requirements. Its coat should be brushed a few times a week. The dog possesses ample hair growing around its mouth and they tend to attract food and debris. The owner should clean this beard after each meal so it won’t look messy.

The coat of this dog has a wiry texture and needs to be plucked twice a year. For the breed it is a painless procedure, which can easily be conducted by the master at home. You should also trim the hair in the ears and between the pads of the feet if they are too long.

The rest is a common practice. The Lakeland Terrier demands regular trimming of its nails as well as its ears, eyes and teeth should be checked and cleaned on the regular basis.

The Lakeland Terrier is known to be somewhat average when things concern training. It is a great problem solver, which is forced to make quick and independent decisions while hunting on its own. The dog easily understands what the trainer wants from it but it will judge for itself whether it’s the most suitable action in this situation.

A fair amount of patience and good humour is required in training this intelligent but wilful and independent-minded dog. The more interesting and challenging the lessons will be the better results you are going to get. The handler should be a confident and assertive leader who earns the obedience of the dog by applying the reward-based training techniques without unnecessary harshness.


The Lakeland Terrier was bred to be an unbelievingly tough hunter that is capable of traversing the harshest English terrains and it still preserves high demand for physical activity. It should be taken for an obligatory daily walk of an hour long.

The dog craves for outdoors activities and will become to you a thankful companion in walking, jogging, hiking and other kinds of sports. The Lakeland Terrier that doesn’t move enough will certainly develop the nasty habits of chewing stuff and unreasonable barking. Despite its small size this stout dog hardly gets used to urban living and does much better in the countryside.