Have you ever wondered about the Patterdale Terrier, a small but mighty dog breed known for its versatility and unique characteristics? In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the Patterdale Terrier’s history, traits, and qualities that make them an excellent choice for various lifestyles and even as skilled working dogs. Let’s embark on this fascinating journey to discover why Patterdale Terriers are capturing the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide.

Short Summary

  • The Patterdale Terrier is a small, loyal and energetic breed of English Terrier.
  • Training and socialization requires patience, firmness and positive reinforcement to foster strong bond between owner & pet.
  • Adopting a Patterdale should involve researching reputable rescue groups or breeders for health & temperament information.

The Patterdale Terrier: A Breed Overview

Hailing from Northern England, English Terrier breeds like the Patterdale Terriers originated as the Northumberland Pit Terrier, bred to be diligent hunters and fearless fox chasers in the rugged terrain. In fact, the Patterdale Terrier originated from this lineage, showcasing a sturdy, compact, and balanced appearance. These small dogs present an adaptable and hardworking nature that has earned them recognition from the United Kennel Club. Their distinctive wedge-shaped heads, strong muscular legs, and triangular ears folding tightly above the skull give them a unique look, setting them apart from other terrier breeds.

The Patterdale Terrier’s personality shines through as an energetic, intelligent breed that excels in various activities, including terrier racing, and displays an unwavering dedication to their work. With their rich history as farm dogs and hunters, Patterdale Terriers are suited for experienced dog owners who seek a loyal companion with impressive physical abilities and minimal grooming requirements. The Patterdale Terrier personality is truly remarkable and endearing to those who appreciate this breed’s unique qualities.

a dog lying on the floor

Coat Varieties and Colors

Patterdale Terriers come in three distinct coat types: smooth, broken, and rough. The smooth coat is short and dense, while the rough coat is coarse and of a longer overall length. The broken coat, sometimes referred to as a “broken coated dog,” is a mix of the two varieties. Each coat type offers its own unique charm, and regardless of the variety, Patterdale Terriers require minimal grooming to keep their coats healthy.

Their diverse coat colors range from black, red, chocolate, grizzle, black and tan, to bronze, adding to their visual appeal. Some Patterdale Terriers may also have white markings on their body, showcasing their individuality and making each dog truly one of a kind.

Personality Traits and Temperament

Bold, independent, and high-energy, Patterdale Terriers possess a unique personality that sets them apart from other breeds. As working dogs, they are highly intelligent and thrive when given tasks to fulfill and opportunities for mental stimulation. Early socialization is crucial for a well-rounded Patterdale Terrier puppy, ensuring that they develop into a confident, well-mannered adult dog.

Marissa Sunny, a canine behavior specialist, emphasizes the importance of keeping Patterdale Terriers active and engaged, as they take pleasure in learning and having tasks to complete. Their low sensitivity level and high energy make them resilient companions, well-suited for various activities, puzzle toys and sports, including being a working dog. Additionally, these dogs require very little grooming, making them even more appealing to busy owners.

When it comes to training, patience, firmness, and positive reinforcement are essential for Patterdale Terriers. They’re intelligent but can be stubborn learners, so it’s crucial to be consistent and persistent in your training methods. With proper guidance, Patterdale Terriers can excel in obedience training and develop a strong bond with their owners.

Ideal Living Conditions for Patterdale Terriers

Given their active nature, Patterdale Terriers require ample space and exercise, making them unsuitable for small apartments. Providing daily, vigorous exercise, such as long walks and interactive play sessions, is essential to keep these energetic dogs happy and healthy.

When it comes to living with other pets, Patterdale Terriers generally get along well with other dogs when properly socialized. However, their strong prey drive towards smaller animals makes them unsuitable for households with pets like birds, rabbits, or hamsters.

To accommodate a Patterdale Terrier’s active lifestyle, a home without small animals and access to a secure, enclosed outdoor space is ideal. This allows them to exercise and explore safely, channeling their energy and natural hunting instincts in a controlled environment. With proper care and attention to their needs, Patterdale Terriers can thrive as loyal, loving companions in the right home setting.

Training and Socialization

Training a Patterdale Terrier requires a combination of patience, firmness, and positive reinforcement, as these intelligent dogs can be stubborn learners. Early socialization plays a significant role in helping your Patterdale Terrier puppy develop into a well-adjusted adult dog, comfortable around a variety of people, children, and other dogs. Consistent training and reinforcement of desired behaviors will help establish a strong bond between you and your Patterdale Terrier, ensuring a harmonious relationship.

Activities such as agility training, dog sports, and tracking can provide both mental stimulation and physical exercise for Patterdale Terriers. These sports and activities not only help channel their energy, but also strengthen the bond between you and your dog by working together towards a common goal. Always ensure the chosen activities are suitable for your dog’s age and physical condition, and provide ample positive reinforcement and rewards to keep them motivated and engaged.

Nutritional Needs and Feeding Guidelines

a close up of a dog laying on a couch

When determining a Patterdale Terrier’s diet, factors such as weight, energy levels, and overall health should be taken into account. A high-quality diet with appropriate portioning is essential for their well-being, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients to support their active lifestyle and maintain a balanced Patterdale Terrier’s diet.

In addition to a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for Patterdale Terriers. Regular exercise and portion control can help prevent obesity and other weight-related health issues. Always consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations on your Patterdale Terrier’s diet and feeding guidelines to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Health Concerns and Preventative Care

Patterdale Terriers are generally a healthy breed, but they can be prone to certain health issues, such as obesity, eye problems, and joint issues like hip dysplasia. Regular veterinarian checkups and preventative care measures are crucial to maintaining their overall health and well-being. Monitoring your Patterdale Terrier’s weight and ensuring they receive regular exercise can help prevent obesity and its associated health risks. In addition, regular ear cleaning and dental care are essential for maintaining their oral health and preventing ear infections.

For more serious health concerns, such as hip dysplasia or intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), early detection and appropriate treatment are vital for managing these conditions and ensuring your Patterdale Terrier’s quality of life. Regular checkups and open communication with your veterinarian can help identify potential health issues early on, allowing for timely intervention and improved outcomes.

The History of the Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier has a rich history as a skilled hunting dog, developed in the challenging environment of Northern England. Originally bred as the black, smooth-coated Fell Terrier, they were employed by farmers to manage vermin that posed a threat to their sheep. Their fearless nature and unwavering dedication to the task made them invaluable working dogs in the rugged terrain, including their tan Fell Terriers counterparts.

Over time, the Patterdale Terrier has gained recognition not only as a capable hunting companion but also as a versatile and loyal pet. Officially united kennel club recognized in 1995, the breed continues to gain popularity for its unique characteristics, adaptable nature, and strong bond with its human family.

a black dog sitting on a tiled floor

Patterdale Terriers in Sports and Activities

Thanks to their high energy and intelligence, Patterdale Terriers excel in a variety of sports and activities, such as agility, competitive obedience, and tracking. These activities not only provide physical exercise, but also offer mental stimulation, helping to keep your Patterdale Terrier engaged and happy.

When introducing your Patterdale Terrier to sports and activities, ensure the chosen activity is suitable for their age and physical condition. Provide ample positive reinforcement and rewards to motivate them to participate and persevere in the activity. With proper guidance and encouragement, Patterdale Terriers can thrive in a range of sports and activities, showcasing their impressive abilities and strengthening the bond between owner and dog.

Interactions with Children and Other Pets

Patterdale Terriers are known to form strong bonds with all family members and can be good with children when properly socialized. However, it is essential to supervise playtime with young children, as Patterdale Terriers can become overly enthusiastic and may accidentally knock over smaller children. The Patterdale Terrier Club of America recommends not keeping the breed in households with children under 7 years old.

When it comes to other pets, Patterdale Terriers generally get along well with other dogs when properly socialized. However, their strong prey drive towards smaller animals may make them unsuitable for households with pets like birds, rabbits, or hamsters. Ensuring proper socialization and training can help minimize potential conflicts and create a harmonious environment for all family members, both human and furry.

a close up of a dog laying on a couch

Adopting a Patterdale Terrier: Rescue Groups and Tips

Adopting a Patterdale Terrier may be challenging due to their rarity, but it is not impossible. Checking local shelters, general dog rescues, and breed-specific rescue groups can increase the chances of finding a Patterdale Terrier in need of a loving home. Be prepared to be patient and persistent in your search, as it may take time to find the perfect Patterdale Terrier for your family.

When considering adopting a Patterdale Terrier, it is crucial to research the breed and be aware of the commitment involved in dog ownership. Seek a reputable breeder or rescue group, and inquire about the dog’s health and temperament before making a decision. With the right approach and dedication, adopting a Patterdale Terrier can be a rewarding experience and bring joy to your life for years to come.


In conclusion, the Patterdale Terrier is a unique and versatile breed that thrives in various environments, from skilled hunting to loyal companionship. With their distinct personality, adaptability, and minimal grooming requirements, Patterdale Terriers make exceptional pets for experienced dog owners who can meet their needs for exercise and mental stimulation. By understanding their history, traits, and requirements, you can ensure a fulfilling life for both you and your Patterdale Terrier, creating a bond that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What two dogs make a Patterdale Terrier?

The Patterdale Terrier is believed to be a cross between the Old English terrier, Northumberland Pit terrier (both now extinct), blue-black border terrier and black and tan Fell terriers.

Are Patterdale Terriers good pets?

Patterdale Terriers are excellent pets for an active family with older children, but their high energy levels may not be suitable for families with young kids.

Do Patterdale Terriers bark a lot?

Patterdale Terriers bark a lot and don’t suit owners who work away from home, making them unsuitable for those with close neighbours.

This means that they are not ideal for people who live in close proximity to their neighbours, as the barking can be disruptive.

Are Patterdale Terriers cuddly?

Patterdale Terriers are known for their feisty spirit and large personalities, but they also have a friendly, protective, and affectionate side. They enjoy playing and cuddling with their owners, making them an ideal companion for those who appreciate active yet cuddly dogs.

What are the coat types and colors of Patterdale Terriers?

Patterdale Terriers come in three coat types - smooth, broken, and rough - with a variety of colors, including black, red, chocolate, grizzle, black and tan, and bronze.