Patterdale Terrier – All about the Breed

The Patterdale Terrier is a tough and energetic breed that originated in the Patterdale Valley, which is situated in Cumbria County. Those who are searching for a dog with strength, endurance, and intelligence will be very pleased to learn about this often-overlooked canine species.

Patterdale Terriers

What were Patterdale terriers bred for?

The Patterdale terrier was originally bred to be an aggressive hunter that could kill foxes, rodents, and other vermin that threatened farmer’s livelihood and livestock. This was a job that required strength, stamina, intelligence, courage, and speed and these dogs definitely had it! In fact, when they were on the hunt, Patterdales were known to run down their prey at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

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Are they Kennel Club Recognized?

However, Patterdales are not very well known today because they were bred for hunting and not show. These dogs were first recognized by the Kennel Club in 1879 when it already had over 1000 members.

Patterdale Terriers Appearance

The Patterdale Terriers appearance is very similar to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. They are small dogs with sturdy bodies, and they weigh between ten to fifteen pounds. Their coat can be smooth or rough, including various patterns and colors such as red, black, brown, tan, grey, white and brindle. The Patterdale Terrier’s coat is usually wavy and harsh. They can have a long curly tail with long hair that can be straight or slightly curved.

Patterdale Terriers Temperament & Character

The Patterdale Terriers temperament is described as being “game, boldness, shyness and affection.” Their gait is described as being agile and spirited. They have a high sense of smell, which they use to track quarry. These dogs are also great hunters, and they can follow a scent up to one week after it has been left.

Do Patterdale terriers make good pets?

Today, Patterdale terriers are known as pets rather than working canines. The ones that are working dogs are usually ratters on farms. That’s because fox and badger hunting is now illegal in England. However, they can be used for ‘bushing’ and ‘flushing out prey. 

Those who own this breed of dog now keep them to enjoy their intelligence, love of play and friendly nature. They are not the type of canine to bark constantly or jump all over guests, but they will alert their owner when there is a guest at the door with a deep and resonant bark. 

These dogs make great companions to those who have just moved into new territory because they will happily track down any critter that comes into their territory, and they may also prevent other wild animals from moving in if they feel as though their owner is threatened. They are great little watchdogs!

What is the coat of a Patterdale terrier-like?

Patterdale terriers can have either short or long coats, but the amount of maintenance required will be the same for both types. The fur on a Patterdale’s body is short and smooth, while the fur on the head and legs is longer. Therefore, this breed of dog has a double coat comprised of a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs. The color combinations that are most common for Patterdale Terriers are black and brown, while some markings include light or dark patches on the cheeks, chest and feet. However, it must be understood that the color of a dog’s coat is not always an indicator of its quality or temperament.

Do they shed?

Patterdale Terriers do not shed as much as other breeds, but they will shed twice per year. The hair that is lost will need to be collected with a lint roller and disposed of in order for the home to remain clean. These dogs are known for having a musky smell, but it is not because their fur stinks – it is simply because their coat produces very little oil.

Grooming Patterdale terriers

Dog breeds that have hair that grows quickly will need to be brushed every week or so, but Patterdale terriers only require this type of maintenance once every few months. Once every three months or so, a professional groomer will need to cut the hair over their eyes to make sure that it does not become tangled and matted. Some owners enjoy this type of maintenance, but Patterdale terriers are often fine with just being clipped by a pro once per year for those who find it difficult to handle.

They love to play!

It must be understood that Patterdale terrier owners may need to purchase toys throughout the year because their breeds love to play and have a good time. It is not uncommon for these dogs to make their own toys out of small sticks and balls, but they will always appreciate new things that are stuffed with treats.

How much exercise do they need?

Patterdale terriers may be kept in an apartment, but these dogs are diggers, and they may use this skill whenever the mood strikes them. It is recommended that this breed of dog stays in a home with at least a medium-sized yard to run around in. Owners who live in apartments or houses should take the time to walk their canine companions for at least 20 minutes twice per day.

Extended weekend walks and hikes should enhance this daily exercise regime. A Patterdale will have no problem hiking up a hill or mountain with you for 3 hours!

Keeping your Patterdale Healthy

Patterdale Terriers are susceptible to hip dysplasia, eye problems such as juvenile cataracts, and subaortic stenosis. They also have a chance of getting heart problems. As with all dogs, they will need regular worming, flea treatment and vet checkups. In addition, they will need the usual vaccinations to protect them against dog diseases such as Canine Distemper and Parvovirus regarding vaccinations. 


As Patterdale terriers are feisty, stubborn and very prey driven, it is important to socialize them and train them from a pup. Socialize them with other puppies as soon as they have had their injections. If you adopt an adult Patterdale terrier, you can train them with positive reinforcement training methods such as clicker training – they respond very well to this.

Do you have a Patterdale? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Please feel free to leave a comment on our blog!

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