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Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier, is an English breed of dog descended from the Northern terrier breeds of the early 20th Century. The origins of the breed can be traced back to the Lake District. Specifically, to Ullswater hunt master Joe Bowman, an early border terrier breeder. The dogs were bred for the hunting and dispatch of the red fox in the rocky fells around the Lake District where a traditional digging dog was not always of great use. However, today this breed of dog excels worldwide not just at hunting a wide array of quarry, but in a number of canine sports, such as agility and terrier racing. This dog is an adaptable all rounder capable of doing any job assigned to him or her. Some notable older, British lines carry the names Buck, Breay, Nuttall, Gould, modern lines Stevens, Harcomb Mason, Powell, Jones ... among others.


Appearance There are a number of breed standards for the Patterdale Terrier, most notably, the United Kennel Club in the United States, since the United Kingdom Kennel Club does not currently recognise the Patterdale Terrier. The UKC standard states that dogs are between 10 and 15 inches tall, with a weight of 15 - 30 lbs. Though specifically mentioning that dogs should be in fit, working condition. To further quote the UKC breed standard:

An active little terrier that presents a compact, balanced image. As a working terrier, they have to be capable of squeezing through very small passages underground to follow quarry. This breed is worked far more than it is shown, and breeders are primarily concerned with the practicality of the breed. This terrier must have a strong neck, the fortitude to hold its quarry at bay, and the ability to squeeze into tight burrows. He must have great flexibility and endurance.

Coat & Colour

The coat may be "Smooth", "Broken" or "Rough". All types should be dense and coarse double coats, harsh to the touch, and weatherproof. Smooth: Short, glossy hair. Undercoat still usually present. Broken: Coarse. May be some longer whiskering on muzzle, and chin. Rough: Longer hair overall, including face, ears and muzzle. Very thick, protective double coat. Colours include black, red, bronze, black and tan, chocolate, liver, or even liver and tan, and occasionally brindle but never fully white. Any other colours, or larger patches of white away from the chest and toes are indicative of cross breeding, particularly with the jack russell terrier.


Patterdale Terrier puppies tend to be bold and confident beyond their capabilities, and responsible owners of working dogs will not over match their dogs or introduce them to formidable quarry before they are around a year and a half of age. Even as a yearling, the dog will not be fully capable. The Patterdale Terrier is better known as a working terrier. Terrier work requires a high-energy dog with a strong prey drive. As a result, Patterdale Terriers are very energetic dogs. The high prey drive of this breed of dog means that they require a lot of early socialisation as puppies to prevent them becoming a quarrelsome adult. Patterdale Terriers often make fantastic pets, however, due to the aforementioned energy levels, they are often left short changed when it comes to exercise. A terrier of any breed which is left with excess energy is going to be a nightmare. They will find an outlet for it, be it by becoming aggressive, barking all the time, destroying your home, or any number of behavioural problems. However, given an appropriate amount of exercise, the Patterdale Terrier will be highly content to lie in front of your fire, and will be a quiet, and amenable member of any household.

History These dogs were carefully linebred by Joe Bowman, an Ullswater Huntsman. 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. The Patterdale was developed in the harsh environment in the north of England, an area unsuitable for arable farming and too hilly (in the main) for cattle. Sheep farming is the predominant farming activity on these hills. Since the fox is perceived by farmers as being predatory on sheep and small farm animals, terriers are used for predator control. Unlike the dirt dens found in the hunt country of the south, the rocky dens found in the north do not allow much digging. As a consequence, the terrier needs to be able to bolt the fox from the rock crevice or dispatch it where it is found. The use of "hard" dogs to hunt foxes in this way was made illegal in England and Wales by the Hunting Act 2004, as it runs counter to the code of practice under the Act. In the United States, The Patterdale Terrier was recognised by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995; yet it remains unrecognized by the American Kennel Club.

Dog sports

In recent years Patterdale Terriers have now started to compete in a number of modern Dog sports including ones such as a Flyball & Dog agility. Terriers breeds, particular ones with working drive are prized in Flyball if they are trainable. Patterdale Terriers are ideal as both team height dogs and also as a distinct dog breed in the Multibreed version of this sport which requires 4 specific and different breeds in each team. Currently the highest ranked Patterdale Terrier in the UK is Chip a 5 year old Terrier who races with the "Tails, We Win" Flyball Club. He holds currently, 5 British Flyball Association titles and is only the second Patterdale Terrier ever to achieve his Platinum Flyball Milestone award. Chip was also part of a Flyball Team that won his Division at the 2012 European Flyball Championships and also the 2012 British Flyball Championships.