Breeds Directory Dogs

Patterdale Terrier: The Spirited Little Hunter by Your Side

Patterdale Terrier

If you’re intrigued by the idea of sharing your life with a Patterdale Terrier, it’s important to understand this dynamic breed. These feisty terriers embody big personalities within their small frames. Are you an active individual looking for a canine adventure buddy? A Patterdale Terrier puppy could be just the companion you need. Before making such a commitment, it’s vital to learn about the Patterdale Terrier temperament to ensure they align with your lifestyle.

Patterdale Terrier Quick Fact Information

Patterdale Terrier
  • Origin: Lake District, England
  • Size: 10-13 inches tall, 11-13 pounds
  • Breed Group: Not officially recognized by the AKC, but considered a terrier
  • Life span: 10-12 years
  • Coat: Smooth, rough, or broken
  • Temperament: Energetic, bold, intelligent, affectionate
  • Exercise Needs: High – at least an hour of vigorous exercise daily
  • Training: Requires consistent, positive reinforcement
  • Health: Generally healthy, but prone to some eye and joint issues
  • Popularity: Moderately popular, especially among active dog enthusiasts

“If you want a dog who will love you more than he loves himself, get a Patterdale.”

History and Origin

The Patterdale Terrier’s roots lie in the rugged terrain of Northern England’s Lake District. These tenacious dogs were originally bred by farmers and hunters to assist with vermin control and fox hunting. Their compact build and unwavering determination were invaluable as their quarry would often seek refuge in underground burrows. Patterdales were prized for their ability to fearlessly enter tight spaces and pursue their targets.


Though small, the Patterdale Terrier is a robust and well-built dog. They sport dense, wiry coats which come in three varieties: smooth, rough, or broken. You’ll commonly find them in colors such as black, tan, red, and grizzle. A strong head equipped with a keen, alert expression reflects their spirited and inquisitive nature.


At their core, Patterdale Terriers are true terriers – bold, energetic, and always ready for their next adventure. Their intelligence is remarkable, and they thrive on both mental and physical challenges. While deeply loyal and affectionate towards their families, Patterdales can be reserved around strangers. Early socialization is crucial to prevent them from becoming overly suspicious or reactive. Due to their strong prey drive, cohabitation with cats or other small animals might prove challenging, requiring careful introduction and management.

Living with a Patterdale Terrier

If you’re seeking a laid-back lapdog, the Patterdale Terrier is not the right fit. They require substantial amounts of exercise to keep them physically and mentally content. Long hikes, energetic runs, or participation in dog sports like agility are fantastic ways to channel their seemingly boundless energy. Obedience training is a must, as Patterdales possess an independent streak and need firm but positive guidance. Socialization from a young age lays the foundation for appropriate interactions with other dogs and reduces potential social anxieties.

Is a Patterdale Terrier Right for You?

The ideal home for a Patterdale Terrier is one that embraces an active lifestyle. If outdoor adventures are part of your regular routine, and you appreciate a dog with a vibrant personality, this breed might be a perfect match. They require owners dedicated to consistent training, proper socialization, and providing substantial outlets for their energy. If you prefer a more relaxed or sedentary lifestyle, consider other, less demanding terrier breeds.

Patterdale Terrier Adoption Centers in the US

While they may not be readily available in every shelter, Patterdale Terriers and Patterdale mixes do find their way into rescue organizations. Here are resources to help in your search:

  • Petfinder:
  • Adopt-a-Pet: [invalid URL removed]
  • Local Animal Shelters: Check shelters for Patterdale mixes or working dog breeds.

Are Patterdale Terriers good with children?

With supervision and training, they can do well with respectful children, but caution is needed around toddlers due to their high energy.

How much exercise does a Patterdale Terrier need?

A minimum of one hour of vigorous, daily exercise.

Are Patterdale Terriers easy to train?

Their intelligence helps, but their independent nature requires a patient, consistent trainer.

Do Patterdale Terriers have any common health problems?

Consider reputable breeders who screen for eye issues and joint conditions like patellar luxation.


The Patterdale Terrier is a unique and vibrant hunting dog breed, ready to embrace an active lifestyle and become a loyal dog companion for the right owner. Their zest for life makes them endlessly entertaining, but they also demand a commitment to training, mental stimulation, and exercise. If you’ve carefully considered the demands of owning a Patterdale Terrier, the rewards of sharing your life with one of these spirited canines will be immeasurable.

Additional Considerations

Patterdale Terrier
  • Finding a Reputable Breeder: If you decide that a Patterdale Terrier puppy is for you, thorough research is crucial for finding a responsible breeder. Look for breeders dedicated to health testing and temperament screening to ensure healthy and well-adjusted dogs.
  • The Importance of Secure Fencing: Patterdale Terriers have a reputation for being escape artists! A securely fenced yard is vital, and they should always be walked on a leash to prevent them from giving in to their chase instincts.
  • Mental Enrichment: Besides physical exertion, providing a Patterdale Terrier with mental challenges is paramount. Puzzle toys, trick training, and scent work are great ways to keep them engaged and mentally sharp.

Remember, thorough research and commitment are always key when welcoming any dog into your life. Take the time to ensure the Patterdale Terrier’s needs and temperament align with your own, setting the stage for a long, happy, and fulfilling relationship with your canine companion.

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