Information about the Patterdale Terrier

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

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 recognized 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 the Border Collie.

There is no breed standard in the UK, most working dogs stand between 12 -15 inches the withers and weighs between 14 and 20 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, mini dogs are preferred and 30 cm (12 in) tall and 5.5 kg (12 lb) is the preferred size for groundhogs (aka woodchucks) these have been bred from runts of the litter from the UK. However, somewhat larger dogs can be used in the American West when ground barn hunting larger raccoons and badgers.

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, sometimes,slightly curled.

Colours include black, red, bronze, or chocolate, and occasionally blue. (Any of these colours with tan is also possible)

There are slight variations within these colours. White on the chest and toes/feet is permissible. In the case of the Chocolate, they will have a liver coloured nose, whereas the Blues, will have a slate coloured nose. Influx of Lakeland, Border, and Bedlington was not uncommon in the early forming of this breed, and may partially explain some of these colours.

Patterdale Terriers can live up to 15 years.

Patterdale puppies tend to be bold and confident beyond their capabilities, and responsible owners of working dogs will not over match 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 better known as 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. However, as with all breeds there is variation. Some Patterdales are more animal-friendly, befriending cats and other dogs alike. The key is good socialisation when a puppy. Patterdales are prone to the sulks if their owners pay attention to others.

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.

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.

The Patterdale which is not used as a working dog can still be content to be a house dog as long as they get plenty of exercise. A favourite place will soon be found on the sofa or in front of the fire.