Breed Type:  Terrier
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Size:  Small
Also known as:  Old English Terrier, Fell Terrier
Male and Female: Height 30-38 cm, Weight: 5-6 kg
Exercise Requirements: Medium
Care Requirements: Low
Lifespan: 11-13 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pet / Hunting Dog

The Patterdale Terrier is a large personality in a small body. Lively and fun loving, this dog needs his fair share of attention and will let you know when it wants to play.  Very healthy and low maintenance, this dog is a great companion.

The Patterdale Terrier is more widely accepted as a working dog than a show dog. For this reason, the breed standard is more flexible than with many other dogs. All sport a dense and coarse coat but their coat type is further classified as “Smooth”, “Broken” or “Rough”. The smooth Patterdale has a very short course coat. The rough coated Patterdales have longer hair everywhere, including their face and ears.  Patterdales with a broken coat may sport eyebrows, beard and moustache, much like his Terrier relative, the Schnauzer. Their coat color is most often brown, blue, tan, black, red, or liver.  Some Patterdales have additional white markings on their chest and feet.

The Patterdale has a strong, wedged shape head with wide set eyes and triangular ears. Eye colors vary by the coat color. The nose is black except in the liver-colored dogs, which have a red nose.

The Patterdale has a sturdy body with a level back and strong hindquarters. Their tails, sometimes docked, are set high but are not carried over their back.

Like most working terriers, the Patterdale is a high-energy pet with a strong desire to chase small animals and sound the alarm when necessary. They are dedicated workers and possess both sensitivity and intelligence. Due to their tough, determined, and fearless nature, make sure you set clear boundaries early on with your Patterdale puppy.  She may be overconfident and she needs to be taught her limits. Patterdales make good pets and they work steadily to win over their owners. They are both loving and affectionate and are loyal friends.  At their worst, when neglected, they may bark excessively, dig holes in your house and yard and leave you unwanted presents.

The earliest Patterdales can be traced back to the 1700’s where they lived and worked in the unforgiving climate of Northern England where the tall, bare and exquisite hills are known as Fells.  The fells were steep, rocky and loaded with foxes. Patterdales were first called Fell Terriers after this rocky terrain they worked on.

Used to hunt foxes that were a threat to the sheep that were raised there, the Patterdale was the perfect dog for the job. The Fells were so rough that horses could not be used and the Huntsman, his assistants, the hounds and Patterdales would cover many miles of mountainside in a day. They worked very long days and were expected to perform in harsh environmental conditions such a driving rain and freezing temperatures. Tireless, they became very respected working dogs.

The name Patterdale was chosen in honor of a village in Cumbria, where the dogs were common. The Patterdale was also used to hunt rats and rabbits and the dogs were carefully line bred for their working ability.Historians have many stories about the tireless work ethic of these early dogs.

In the early 1950’s, the Patterdale Terrier breed was further developed as the result of the selective breeding efforts of two breeders, Cyril Breay and Frank Buck. For quite a long time, Patterdales were only found in England.  In 1978, they were brought to the United States to hunt boar, woodchuck, badgers and raccoons.  The Patterdale Terrier Club of America was formed in 1993, and the breed was accepted into England’s United Kennel Club in 1995.

Care and Grooming
The Patterdale is low maintenance when it comes to grooming. He is a medium-shedder and will only need brushing and a bath occasionally. Due to extremely good health, the Patterdale will often have no special dietary needs.

With the Patterdale’s wide gene pool and varying looks, the Patterdale Terrier is an extremely healthy breed with no known common health issues.

Suitability as a Pet
The Patterdale is a tireless companion that works as hard at playing as he does trying to win your affection. If you have the time and energy to devote to playing and taking daily walks with your pet, a Patterdale may be a good choice for you.  Patterdales do well with other dogs but some have a tendency to be aggressive with cats and other smaller animals.  Socialize your dog early with all other family members including any other pets. Prone to jealousy, plan to spend as much time (or more) with your Patterdale, than with your other furry friends.

Moderately easy to train with positive reinforcement, your Patterdale will give you overwhelming affection for your efforts.  Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand – this dog’s attention span can be short.

Some of the Patterdales favorite activities include hiking, swimming, and going for walks.  As Patterdales are known to chase after small animals, it is important to keep them leashed at all times in urban settings. They can be difficult to call back as they are more concerned with stalking their prey.  Some of the happiest Patterdales live on farms where they can chase to their heart’s content.

Some breeders feel that the Patterdale is not the ideal dog for those with small children.  While it loves to play, it is easily excitable and does not appreciate the competition for attention that a small child brings to your life.

If you have neighbors that are sensitive to noise, you will need to train your Patterdale not to bark loudly. While they are not “yappy”, they are known for their vocal fortitude. For this reason and others, Patterdales are more successfully in homes and on farms (not apartments). If you are looking for a watchdog, the Patterdale is a good bet.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.