All about the Patterdale Terrier, an energetic and loyal companion

Patterdale Terriers are known for their boundless energy, intelligence, and unwavering loyalty to their families

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By Alex

patterdale terrier

The Patterdale Terrier is a small yet sturdy breed of dog, renowned for its great energy and indomitable spirit. Originating from Great Britain, specifically from the Lake District region in England, this breed was primarily developed for hunting predators such as foxes and rabbits in the harsh conditions of English hills and valleys.


This breed of dogs takes its name from the village of Patterdale, an area famous for hunting and breeding quality terriers. Breeders selected dogs for their tenacity, strength, and ability to work in difficult terrains, giving rise to a resilient and determined terrier.

Although not officially recognized by the Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club, the Patterdale has earned a loyal following thanks to its remarkable qualities.

Patterdale Terrier: Physical Characteristics

The Patterdale Terrier is a breed that embodies both strength and agility within its compact and muscular frame. Standing at a shoulder height ranging from approximately 10 to 15 inches (25-38 cm) and weighing between 11 to 15 pounds (5 to 7 kg), these dogs may be small, but they pack a powerful punch.

One of the most notable physical characteristics of the Patterdale Terrier is its coat. This breed can have a smooth, rough, or broken coat, with variations in texture and length. Their coats come in a range of colors, including black, chocolate, red, and gray, often with distinct markings or patterns.

The expression of the Patterdale Terrier is another defining feature. With their dark, alert eyes and typically V-shaped ears that may be folded or semi-erect, these dogs possess an unmistakable air of intelligence and curiosity. Their keen senses and attentive demeanor make them well-suited for various tasks and activities.

Despite their small stature, Patterdale Terriers are known for their robust build and muscular physique. Their bodies are designed for agility and endurance, allowing them to excel in a variety of roles, from hunting companions to beloved family pets.

patterdale terrier

Patterdale Terrier Temperament

The temperament of the Patterdale Terrier is characterized by its lively and spirited nature, coupled with remarkable intelligence and determination. These dogs are known for their boundless energy and enthusiasm, always eager to embark on new adventures and explore their surroundings.

Despite their small size, Patterdale Terriers possess a confident and bold demeanor. They are fearless and tenacious, traits that make them excellent hunters and working dogs. Their innate curiosity and sharp instincts drive them to excel in various activities, whether it’s chasing small prey or engaging in agility competitions.

Patterdale Terriers are also incredibly loyal and affectionate towards their families. They form strong bonds with their owners and thrive on companionship and attention. While they may have a playful and mischievous side, they are also quick to show their love and devotion, often seeking out cuddles and affectionate gestures.

In addition to their loyalty, Patterdale Terriers are known for their intelligence and problem-solving abilities. They are quick learners and enjoy mental stimulation, making them highly trainable with the right approach. However, their independent nature and strong-willed personality can sometimes present challenges, requiring consistent and patient training methods.

Overall, the temperament of the Patterdale Terrier is a unique blend of energy, intelligence, and affection.

Feeding: A Proper Diet

Like all dogs, the diet of the Patterdale Terrier should be balanced and tailored to its energy needs. Being an active breed, it needs high-quality food that provides all the necessary nutrients to support its dynamic lifestyle. Portions should be monitored to avoid overweight, which can lead to joint and health problems.


The coat of the Patterdale Terrier requires relatively low maintenance. A weekly brushing is sufficient for smooth fur, while broken fur may require professional grooming a couple of times a year to remove dead hair. Ear hygiene and nail care are other important grooming practices to keep the Patterdale in good health.

Care & Health Tips

It is generally healthy and robust, but like all breeds, it may be prone to certain genetic conditions. These include eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, and hip dysplasia. They may also be prone to certain conditions such as skin allergies and dental problems.

Routine veterinary check-ups are vital to monitor their health and address any potential issues early on. Stay up-to-date on vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental care to ensure their long-term well-being.

patterdale terrier

Q&As on Patterdale Terriers

Last, some frequently asked questions:

How long do Patterdale Terriers live?

We are talking about long-lived Terriers. They have a relatively long lifespan for a dog, with an average life expectancy of 12-15 years. With proper diet, regular exercise, and periodic veterinary visits, these dogs can enjoy a long and healthy life alongside their owners.

How to raise Patterdale Terrier Puppies?

Puppies are small balls of energy that require early socialization and consistent training. It is important to establish rules and routines from the beginning to encourage positive behaviors. It is also best to start basic training and obedience training early to harness their intelligence and desire to please.

Are Patterdale Terriers suitable for families?

Yes, Patterdale Terriers can be fantastic family pets, especially for active families who can meet their need for physical exercise and mental stimulation. But, since they may have a strong predatory instinct, they may not be suitable for families with other small animals.

Can Patterdale Terriers live in an apartment?

Although they prefer to have a yard to run in, Patterdale Terriers can adapt to apartment living provided they receive enough daily exercise. Without physical activity, they can become nervous or develop behavioral problems.

How much exercise does a Patterdale Terrier need?

They are very energetic dogs and require at least an hour of exercise a day: walks, games, and, if possible, free time in a secure area where they can run off-leash.

Do they shed a lot?

Shedding varies depending on the type of coat. Patterdales with smooth fur tend to shed less, while those with broken or rough fur may shed more, especially during seasonal changes. Regular brushing will help minimize shedding at home.

Are they easy to train?

They are intelligent and learn quickly, but their independence and stubbornness can pose a challenge. Training will require patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques. Being eager-to-please dogs, they respond well to rewards and praise.

Portrait of young Patterdale Terrier in a garden

Conclusions on Patterdale Terriers

They are loyal, courageous, and energetic companions who will thrive best with an active and committed owner. With proper care, nutrition, exercise, and love, the Patterdale Terrier will be a lively and affectionate member of your family for many years.

Here is also a summary table that highlights the most notable characteristics of this breed:

Characteristic Detail
Origin Great Britain (Lake District, England)
Shoulder Height from 10 to 15 inches / 25-38 cm
Weight from 11 to 15 pounds  / 5 to 7 kg
Coat Type Smooth, rough, or broken
Coat Colors Black, chocolate, red, gray
Character Energetic, courageous, intelligent, loyal
Feeding Balanced diet suitable for a highly active dog
Grooming Weekly brushing; professional grooming for rough or broken coats
Care Regular veterinary check-ups; attention to eyes and hip dysplasia
Life Expectancy 12-15 years
Suitable for Apartment Living Possible, but requires daily exercise
Suitable for Families Yes, but consideration needed with small pets
Exercise Amount At least one hour per day
Shedding Moderate; depends on coat type
Trainability Intelligent but can be stubborn; requires consistent training
Common Health Issues Skin allergies, dental problems, hip dysplasia, cataracts

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