The Patterdale Terrier is known by the people who love it as a courageous, loyal, and sturdy breed. Not a commonly recognized terrier, Patterdales often provoke confused stares in public.
Though they share the body type of a Jack Russell, Patterdale Terriers don’t don the familiar patterned coat which can leave people scratching their heads and trying to identify the breed.
Guesses include everything from lab puppy to Chihuahua. Therefore, owners frequently spend their time, when they are out and about, educating curious bystanders about the breed.
History of the Breed
The Patterdale Terrier was developed in the rugged environment of the Lake District in Northern England. A descendant of the Fell Terrier, the Patterdale was bred to hunt fox and small vermin. Their ability to keep up on foot for sometimes 20 miles during a hunt, has made them known as one of the toughest terrier breeds.
Though the Fell Terrier is known as far back as the 1700s, the Patterdale did not develop as a breed until the 1960s. Many people mistakenly believe, because of their name, that this terrier came out of Patterdale, England. However, as the story goes, one of the terriers was brought to a dog show in Patterdale, England and was named on the spot that day.
Though recognized only as a “type” in the UK, the Patterdale Terrier was accepted as a breed in the United States by The United Kennel Club (UKC) on January 1, 1995. Even after being accepted by the UKC, the breed is still better known for its utility than its show standards.
Patterdales as Family Dogs
Many websites that provide information about Patterdale Terriers try to “warn” people about their high energy levels, elevated prey drive, and their need for increased exercise. This warning often comes with “no apartments”, “no kids under 7”, and “absolutely no cats” guidelines. However, many Patterdale households have BOTH small children and cats living together in apartments or small flats.
Patterdales, like many other breeds, have general characteristics that come with the breed, but every dog has their own personality and their behavior will depend on their owner’s dedication to training, proper exercise and an understanding of the breed, as well as the individual dog.
While the Patterdale is frequently compared to other terriers that are known for hyperactivity and terrorizing indoor antics, they tend to be very calm in the house and are quite fine with spending all day under the covers binge watching the latest Netflix series. A quick Instagram search can confirm this is true. Patterdales under covers should be a hashtag!
Another great thing about this little dog, is that it can be described as a big dog in a small dog’s body. People looking for an athletic companion that can run, hike, or swim all day and still want to play ball when they return home, but don’t have the room for a larger breed, find that the Patterdale is the perfect solution.
They are also commonly successful with more structured activities such as agility training, dock diving and Go-To-Ground (GTG) trial events.
Tenacious and friendly, this breed makes a wonderful addition to any family that is active and doesn’t mind a wet nose under the covers at the end of the day.
Health and Maintenance
The Patterdale Terrier is typically 12-15 inches in height and usually weigh between 11 – 20 pounds. Their coats can be smooth, broken, or rough, and their colors include black, bronze, red/tan, liver (with a red nose), grizzle, chocolate, and black and tan.
White feet and chest can be seen in all colors of the breed. However, with all these color possibilities, 95% of Patterdales are black. Perfect for busy families, maintenance of their coat and shedding is minimal.
Their life expectancy is usually quoted between 11-13 years. Ultimately, they are known as a very hearty breed and have very few health issues. Conjunctivitis of the eyes, allergies and cataracts have been mentioned as the only identified breed health issues. Overall, if well-cared for, these dogs can live a very long life with their families.
This is a special breed. Their loyalty is only matched by that of their owners. If asked, owners of Patterdales (yes, many do have more than one) typically tell you that they will always have at least one.
About the Author:
A passionate lover of the breed, Cami Miranda acquired her first Patterdale Terrier, Bailey, through a rescue opportunity in 2009. Since then, Cami has adopted Kiko, and she and her sister Emily have 4 Patterdales between them. If they are not traveling with the dogs and their families, they are throwing Patterdale Pool Parties on the weekends.
Inspired by her love of the breed, Cami started an Instragram account in 2015, to educate people on the family-friendly breed. Find them @patterdaletales.
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