Patterdale Terrier

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black, red, liver, grizzle, black & tan, bronze, either solid or with some white markings on chest and feet
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • very tender with its masters

  • intelligent and frisky

  • great watcher

  • excellent hunter

  • yappy

  • requires lots of strenuous exercise

  • stubborn and independent-minded


The Patterdale Terrier is a tough, courageous and tenacious working breed from Northwest England, particularly from the Lake District of Cumbria. It was invented specifically to exterminate foxes and the other predators that usually pester sheep farmers. The breed can make a nice family pet only if it’s provided with lots of both physical and mental stimulation.


The Patterdale Terrier is a relatively young breed that originally appeared in Patterdale, a small village south of Ullswater (England). Despite its modest age it remains unclear who actually developed this variety of a Terrier. Nonetheless according a general opinion it represents an immediate descendent of the dog invented by Joe Bowman, a breed of Border Terriers. In 1879 he became the owner of the Ullswater Foxhounds and began crossing black-blue Border Terriers with tan-and-black coated Lakeland Terriers. The result of his breeding work became eventually known as the Patterdale Terrier. This new Terrier quickly gained favour with English hunters for its stamina and ferocious nature.

This dog successfully hunts with its human companion in the north of England and South of Scotland, but its main hunting grounds are situated in the Lake District regions and Yorkshire. These lands are notoriously famous for rugged terrains as well as harsh climate. Larger hounds or hunters on horsebacks are useless in such conditions but hardy and agile Patterdale Terrier copes with its hunting duties with flying colour under any circumstances. Thanks to the dog’s narrow chest and capability to sprawl on the ground with the hind legs onward and front legs outward, it almost effortlessly penetrates in the tiny burrows of various rodents (foxes, rabbits and others) and fearlessly fights them.

In the 50s of the XX century the Terrier created by Joe Bowman was additionally perfected by Cyril Breay, a Border Terrier breeder of Kirkby Lonsdale, and Frank Buck of Leyburn, Yorkshire. These two breeders put in lots of work to attain recognition of the Patterdale Terrier as a unique breed. In 1960s Brian Nuttal bought several dogs from the Breay and Buck bloodlines and initiated his own breeding program. Today the breed’s pups from the Nuttal strain are in high demand because of their outstanding quality.

In 1978 the dog found its way to USA where it’s used to quarry wild boars, racoons, badgers and foxes. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognised the Patterdale Terrier on January 1, 1995.


The Patterdale Terrier is a true hard worker that loves spending its spare time with its human masters. This dog gets intensely attached to its family and displays unwavering loyalty to it. Its inexhaustible vigour makes it a superb playmate for courteous kids. However this breed is probably too boisterous to become a good four-legged buddy for a toddler. Start socialising your dog from the very first day in the house and afterwards it will behave itself adequately in any situation.

The Patterdale Terrier usually treats unknown people with suspiciousness although this breed is by no means vicious. If the dog gets used to the presence of lots of humans in its puppyhood it will always remain calm and reserved in pubic later on. With its strong territorial instinct and bold character it has all necessary prerequisites to become a great watcher. The breed member also won’t hesitate to show aggression if needed and fulfils guarding duties with invariable eagerness.

Other canines are commonly perceived by the Patterdale Terrier as potential rivals so the future master should be aware of such quarrelsome disposition of this breed. Nevertheless it’s accidentally used in pack hunting so the dog can get on relatively well with its congeners if it was timely socialised. This breed poses lethal threat for all non-canine animals as it views them as prey objects. That’s why families and individuals that already have cats and other pets should think twice before obtaining its specimen.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· conjunctivitis;

· cataracts.


The Patterdale Terrier can have one of three types of coat: smooth, broken or rough and each of them needs different amount of care.

Short-haired specimen of this breed should be brushed rather rarely but the dog with a broken coat may require brushing couple times a week. In addition to regular grooming the fur of the rough-coated Patterdale Terrier should be plucked by hands annually.

The rest is a conventional care that consists of monthly nail clipping, weekly teeth brushing and systematic ear cleaning. The breed sheds permanently but averagely.


It’s difficult to train the feisty and bull-headed Patterdale Terrier, which has typical Terrier’s disposition. It does want to make the master happy but it wants even more to do its own things. The most effective motivational factor for this dog is tasty treats so always support your training efforts with food rewards. Keep your lessons short and fun and avoid repetitive tasks and your pet will learn basic tricks fast and easy.

Of course, it’s rather unwise to demand unquestionable obedience from this breed and advanced obedience training may appear to be too complicated for it to master. Screaming and other forms of negative reinforcement are totally useless in the work with Patterdale Terrier since in this case it usually becomes openly aggressive and unruly.


The Patterdale Terrier was developed as a tireless and passionate hunter and therefore needs a great deal of physical stimulation on a daily basis. Long and active walks are essential for physical and mental well-being of this dog although it’s highly recommended to offer it some kind of exercises, which replicates its hunting duties.

Be aware that this breed is a skilful digger and can dig a tunnel to the other side of the fence in five minutes. That’s why release your pet off-leash only if you are sure that it has zero chances to escape. After an hour or two of playtime in the yard the Patterdale Terrier commonly stays calm and relaxed indoors. On the other hand, an under exercised dog will quickly levels to the ground your house and drives your neighbours mad with continuous barking.