The Patterdale Terrier is the small dog with the big personality. Originally bred to chase small prey, these dogs are energetic and require a lot of time outside. They’re versatile and adaptable, as well as being smart and very loyal to their owners. Because of their high energy levels they are often best tailored to more experienced pet owners, who have acknowledge of training more stubborn dogs. Don’t let this put you off though — with their sweet nature, they make wonderful companions.
Read on below to get all the information you need about Patterdale Terriers and see whether you could be suited to their way of life.
History Of The Patterdale Terrier
The Patterdale Terrier was bred to protect livestock, mainly sheep, especially from animals such as foxes. The Patterdale Terrier also has the ability to compress it’s chest to squeeze into tight places, meaning that smaller prey wasn’t safe either.
Patterdale Terriers are originally from the Lake District area of Northern England. The landscape of the Lake District is very rocky and hilly, so tough and resilient dogs were needed to guard livestock in the area. Another name for Patterdale Terriers are Fell Terriers. Breeder Joe Bowman of Ullswater Hunt is credited with developing this breed of working dogs, although he is not the only one who is responsible for the characteristics of the Fell Terriers today.
It is hard to determine when the Patterdale Terrier first came to the United States, but it is estimated around the 1960s.
Patterdale Terriers are usually born in litter sizes of 2-5, although Patterdale Terrier mothers may produce one or two more per litter. The price of a Patterdale Terrier puppy averages between $500-$700 USD, and they are usually ready to go to their home from eight weeks. Patterdale puppies reach their adult size at around 10 months, and are normally fully mature between 14 months to 16 months.
Because the Patterdale Terrier is a small breed dog, their adult weight ranges between 11 to 13 lbs. They are muscular and strong and can squeeze into the smallest of spaces. Their head is wedge-shaped and they have moderate-sized floppy ears that face forwards and are triangular shaped. Their jaw is strong and powerful, too. Healthy Patterdale Terriers should have a straight back and a medium-length straight tail.
Patterdale Terrier dogs can be a range of different colors. The most common colors for these dogs are black, red, liver/chocolate, bronze and black/tan. Some dogs are the same color all over and others have white markings on their chest or feet.
There are two main types of Patterdale Terrier coats. They can be smooth or broken. Both of these coats have a short and dense undercoat that does not require much grooming, but regular brushing can help to control shedding. Patterdale Terriers have the dense undercoat to keep them warm and their coat is usually thick to help them combat the weather that they hunt in.
With a smooth coat, the outer coat is coarse and stiff and will fall back into place when picked up. A broken coat has longer guard hairs and looks more untidy, and is more of a rough coat. Patterdale Terriers with a broken coat also have facial furnishings such as a form of beard, eyebrows and mustache.
Patterdale Terriers are a very driven and focused dog. They have a high prey drive so you will need to walk them on a leash or in a secured garden. They are also confident and good at distinguishing between threatening and non-threatening behavior. Patterdale Terriers are not usually ones to exhibit guarding behavior, although they have been known to when other humans and dogs are around. When they are young puppies, you can train them to combat these issues. However, you will need to be patient — because of this strong willed Terrier temperament, training can be quite difficult.
Patterdale Terriers are also known to be less “yappy” than other Terriers. That being said, because of their hunting nature, they can make great watchdogs. They have big lungs for such a little dog so, again, you will need to train them from a young age to ensure that their barking doesn’t become an issue.
These dogs, as we mentioned above, have a lot of energy, so they love to play. Without the appropriate mental stimulation they can become bored, so you need to watch out for this. They are very affectionate with heir owners and love nothing more than for you to play with them, especially if it’s a hunting game like “fetch”. They have been known to show signs of digging behavior, so you need to be sure your garden is safe. This digging behavior can also take place in the house, so you will need to train them against this from an early age to protect your couch, bed, carpets and floors!
The average life expectancy of a Patterdale Terrier is 12 to 15 years. However, there are a few health issues that can arise in these small dogs that can shorten their lifespan. Read on below to see what they are.
Known Health Issues
Unfortunately, Patterdale Terriers, as with any small dog breed, are subject to some health issues. One is Primary Lens Luxation, where the fibers that support the lens of the eye disintegrate and cause the lens of the eye to fall out of it’s position. This can be genetically passed on and can be the cause of loss of sight.
Another common health issue within Terrier breeds is knee problems. Patellar Luxation is where the kneecap slips out of place and your dog may need to undergo surgery if this keeps happening.
Alongside these two main issues, other health problems that occur are conjunctivitis, cataracts and cuts or scrapes related to hunting injuries.
Patterdale Terriers are energetic dogs who really benefit from being outside. If you spend a lot of your time outdoors or exercise a lot, a Patterdale Terrier might be for you.
Food And Diet
Patterdale Terriers have a straightforward diet. Like any dog, they need a well-balanced diet to stay in optimal shape and to keep their muscles strong and active. They require high quality dry kibble, being fed twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening. This is a good way to spread out their calorie intake, which on average should be around 600 calories a day for this breed.
A dog food that is formulated for small dog breeds will be best for Patterdale Terriers and you should always make sure that they food they are eating is appropriate for their age group — puppy, adult or senior.
As we have mentioned above, Patterdale Terriers are very energetic dogs. Because of their hunting instinct, they need a lot of exercise every day — both mental and physical exercise. Experts suggest 45 minutes of exercise a day for a Patterdale Terrier, as well as including them in your everyday life a much as possible. This will help keep them occupied and stop them from being bored and destructive.
We touched on this above, but Patterdale Terriers benefit from boundaries. They are very likely to chase prey when they see it, so having an extendable leash while you are out walking is going to be a great asset. This allows them to explore and have fun, but you still have control over them.
Patterdale Terriers are sweet-natured and loyal to their humans. As we said above, guarding behavior may occur but only if they aren’t trained from a young age. Because of their energetic and playful nature, they may be best suited to a household with older children who are willing to play with them, rather than very young children who could risk getting hurt in their boisterous playing or who may be scared of them.
Unless they have grown up in a household with other small animals, such as cats, it is not advised to introduce them to them. Other cats, especially cats in the neighborhood, are likely to get chased because of the Terrier’s hunting and preying nature. They are known to get on quite well with livestock, including poultry, though.
A Patterdale Terrier is a playful and loving dog, who, when trained and socialized properly, is an energetic and exciting family member to add to your household.
Patterdale Terriers are headstrong, so starting training from a young age will be a benefit to both you and them. Idealistically, you would train them from day one. For this reason, Patterdale Terriers may be best for those dog owners who have previous experience training a pup, because without knowing what you’re doing, a Patterdale Terrier can easily take over and you won’t ever be able to train them!
Patterdale Terriers respond well to positive reinforcement. You can use treats and fun games to help train them. The occasional use of negative reinforcement is also advised, especially to help reduce the occurrence of undesirable behaviors.
They should be well socialized in the first few months of their life to help them really understand how to behave around other humans and dogs. They also need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to stop them from getting too bored and destructive.
Patterdale Terriers have, in more recent years, been known to excel when trained in hunting, racing and when participating in a number of different dog sports. They also do very well at agility and obedience training, so this is something to think about!
The grooming your dog requires depends on the coat type that they have (smooth or broken) and a groomer will be able to tell you which one your dog has. You should be brushing your Patterdale Terrier at least once a week if they have a smooth coat. This should be done with a rubber mitt, or a slicker brush for shedding season, and helps to remove the loose undercoat from their thick double coat. Hand stripping is also required twice a year by a professional groomer and this will ensure their coats and weekly grooming done by you is easier to manage.
You should also clip their nails when they become too long to avoid any pain (both for them and for you when you give them a cuddle!). Teeth cleaning is optional with every dog breed, but it is also recommended. By cleaning your dog’s teeth you are helping remove the build-up of plaque and tartar than can lead to gum disease later on in life. You can use cleaning chews or dental chews to do this alongside their kibble diet.
A Patterdale Terrier is the perfect dog for more experienced owners who know how to train their pup. Energetic and fast, the Patterdale Terrier is a robust and sturdy dog that is still used for hunting and protecting livestock today. While they are sweet-natured and loyal to their owners, they benefit from an active lifestyle and would love to spend their days outside by your side. They aren’t a big fan of cats and are not recommended in households with very small children, although they love to play fetch and go exploring. With a stubborn and boisterous edge, they need to be trained from a young age to ensure there are no behavioral issues, but with the right guidance they can make the perfect companion for you.