Information about the Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier is a dog breed, which takes its name from its home of origin, the Lake District in England. The dog is a small to mid-size member of the Terrier family. While independent in personality, it interacts well with owners and all family members, and is mostly hypo-allergenic (non shedding). The breed is not widely owned in the United States.

At 15-17 lb (7-8 kg), it is the smallest of the long legged, black and tan terriers. The Lakeland is similar in appearance to the slightly larger Welsh Terrier and is finer-boned. The largest of the threesome in this similar group of Terriers is the Airedale. The Lakeland is a sturdy dog, compact, free moving and able to cover ground with little effort and much quickness. The dog is relatively narrow in the chest and has a broad muzzle, yet slightly narrower than the Welsh Terrier, with small, V-shaped ears.

The Lakeland breed has a thick bushy wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. It comes in a variety of colors though the Kennel Club lists the following as ‘Acceptable colours for registration’: Black, Black and Tan, Blue and Tan, Dark Grizzle, Grizzle, Grizzle and Tan, Liver and Tan, Red, Red Grizzle, Wheaten. They have an upright tail which was previously customarily docked. Lakeland Terriers grow to between 33 and 38 cm (13 to 15 inches) in height measured to the withers.

The eyes are small and dark colored and of oval shape. The nose and pads of the feet are black except in liver colored dogs where the nose and pad coloring will be liver colored. Liver colored dogs will have a slightly lighter colored eye. The dog will not shed if properly groomed. It is suggested that “Regular stripping and trimming improves the texture and quality of the coat” and is “necessary to enhance the dog’s utilitarian purposes” as well as “enhancing him for the show ring”.

The dogs are friendly, bold, and confident. Shyness is very atypical, as is aggressiveness. Very intelligent and independent minded, they are quick to learn and easy to train though Lakelands often exhibit ‘selective deafness’ when their interest level is aroused. The Lakeland is quite receptive to crate training. As with most terriers, the Lakeland is energetic; daily exercise and playtimes are a must, lest this active dog seek out other outlets for their energy, with undesirable results for the owner.

As one of the earliest Terriers (Latin derivation of earth), dating from the 1700s, this “earth” dog is a descendant of the old English Black and Tan and Fell Terriers. The Lakeland’s original service was “going to ground” on the farm in hunt for vermin. Its size and energy make it popular as a hunter in hard to reach places. In 1925 the breed attained homogeneity following a cross-breeding with the Fox Terrier and the Airedale Terrier.

When the UK Kennel Club recognised the Lakeland Terrier isn’t clear. The UK Kennel Club claim to have recognised Lakeland Terriers in 1921, whereas the Lakeland Terrier Club suggests this was closer to 1928. The Lakeland Terrier Association (now defunct) was founded in 1921. The Lakeland Terrier Club was founded in 1932 and promoted the breed nationally through Kennel-Club sanctioned shows. In the Lake District of the UK, the mountainous, rocky terrain is unsuitable for hunting fox on horseback and foxes were hunted on foot. It has been suggested that the Lakeland Terrier’s great stamina derives from running all day with the hounds, unlike his close cousin, the fox terrier, who would have been carried in a saddle bag to be released only when the fox had gone to earth.

The working dog version of the Lakeland is often known as the Fell Terrier or Patterdale Terrier. Whereas most terrier breeds have only to bolt their quarry, or to mark it by baying, the Lakeland must be able to kill the foxes in their lair.