About Patterdale Terriers

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Tess Head
To us the true value of the Patterdale Terrier is their temperament. They contain the best traits of a companion dog and working hunter without compromise. Patterdale Terriers bond strongly with their owners, are intelligent, eager to please, easy to train, loyal, affectionate and naturally become part of the family if allowed. Early socialization to people, dogs and livestock is key to bringing out the best in these dogs. Patterdale Terriers are considered by many to be the “elite” of the go-to-ground hunting terrier breeds. They are rare in the U.S. but have a history that dates back over 80 years in the Lake Regions of Northern England were they are used to go-to-ground to bolt or kill ground dwelling vermin like fox. In the USA Patterdale Terriers have also been used to hunt wild boar, raccoon and rock chucks in addition to fox, rabbit and rats. Some Patterdale Terriers will also climb trees after game and  hold prey they can’t bolt until you pull them off hours latter. There just is not any quit to these little terriers.

The Patterdale Terrier is a working dog and needs to be treated as such. Some people have started keeping them strictly as companions dogs because they are quite in the house and stay with you as you go through your daily routines. Patterdale Terriers love living as part of the family and are good with children but they should be supervised around small children as with all dogs. If given a choice they will leave the vicinity of a overly enthusiastic child but if backed in a corner they may nip. The Patterdale Terrier is not a yappie house dog and makes an excellent watchdog. PatterdaleTerriers are known to live peaceably with family cats if they are trained young and the relationship is enforced by the owner, but because they are natural hunters they should not be trusted with pets that could be mistaken for prey. If it runs and is furry  instinct says it's game.  We don't recommend Patterdale Terriers for apartment living because of there need for  exercise and activities that will engage their brains. Lack of activity and exercise are the number one reason for behavior problems with this breed.

Things we have learned about Patterdale
  1. One Patterdale Terriers is never enough.
  2. Patterdale Terriers can use tools.
  3. Thank God they don't have opposable thumbs.
  4. Don't leave the keys in the ignition of the truck.

Patterdale Terrier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Patterdale Terrier is a Dog breed of native to the Lake District of Cumbria in Northwest England. The name Patterdale refers to a village a little south of Ullswater and a few miles east of Helvellyn.
Lonkey's Toby


According to breed standards, this terrier stands between 25,5 cm (10 inches) and 38 cm (15 inches) at the withers and weighs between 4,5 kg (10 pounds) and 11 kg (24 pounds). The preferred size depends on the quarry. In Great Britain, all sizes are in use, depending on the terrain and the quarry. Quarry here is mostly fox. In the eastern United States, smaller is preferred and 30 cm (12 inches) tall and 5.5 kg (12 pounds) is considered the maximum usable size for groundhogs (aka woodchucks). However, larger (9 - 12 kg) is preferred when hunting raccoons in excess of 13 kg (29 pounds).

95% of the breed is black, but bronze (black that shines brown in sunlight), grizzle, chocolate, red, liver (with red nose)and black-and-tan are also acceptable. White feet and white chest markings appear in all coat colours. Coats are smooth, rough, or broken-coated. However, this breed is rarely shown and breeders are more concerned with the practicality of the breed than with outward appearances. Practicality means strong neck, jaws, and teeth; staying power at bay; ability to squeeze into tight burrows; durability and endurance; and peaceful with humans, livestock, and other dogs.

2 pups


Most Patterdale puppies are bold and confident beyond their capabilities, and therefore are never, or briefly, entered to rats as they soon lose all caution when confronted with quarry of any size. Many a bold pup has lost his life in a raccoon den while on a casual walk-in-the-woods in the States. They have great stamina and can work quarry all day, or play all day with the kids. Yet, indoors they are relaxed and quiet. They have been exported abroad notably to the States where they appear to be used primarily as hunting dogs.

An excellent book about the origin of the breed and fell terriers in general is The Fell Terrier by D. Brian Plummer from The Boydell Press. Plummer goes into depth describing the land and the people that shaped the big dog in the small package currently called the Patterdale Terrier.

John China coon


The Patterdale Terrier of modern times refers to the mainly black smooth coated fell terrier first popularized by Cyril Breay from Kirkby Lonsdale and Frank Buck from Leyburn in Yorkshire during the early part of the 1950s. At that time, any "typey" fell terrier being shown in the Lake District was called a Lakeland Terrier, or simply called a coloured terrier, whether or not they were from Ullswater county. In the early 1960s, Brian Nuttall of Holmes Chapel began breeding dogs that he acquired from his grandfather and from Breay and Buck blood lines. These dogs were carefully linebred. Nuttall blood lines are still considered to be of the highest quality and adds a bit to the price of a puppy. The modern Patterdale Terrier is to fell terriers, what the Jack Russell Terrier is to hunt terriers—the indisputable leader in numbers and performance as a breed.

They were developed in the harsh environment in the north of England that is unable to sustain agriculture and too hilly in the main for cattle. Sheep farming is the dominant farming activity on these hills. Foxes being perceived by farmers to be predatory on sheep and small farm animals, terriers are used for predator control. Unlike the hunt terriers to the south, typified by the Jack Russell terriers of today, which are bred to bolt a fox to continue the chase, or to bay the fox until the fox can be dug to, these fell terriers were bred to bolt the fox or dispatch it, if it chooses to fight. Where much of the "earths" in south of England are an easy dig, much of the north of England includes "earths" too rocky and/or too deep to dig. The fell terriers that survived to pass on their genes, have created a truly "tough as nails" dog.

Some puppies are allowed to chase rabbits, but most tire of chasing any quarry that won't turn and fight.

GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Patterdale Terrier".