Patterdale Terrier Overview

Dog Breed:
Patterdale Terrier
Breed Group:
Working Terriers
Energetic, intelligent, confident, protective, curious
10–15 inches
11–13 lb.
Life Span:
12–15 years
Coat Colors:
Black, red, brown or mix, with white marks being common
Area of Origin:
The Lake District, United Kingdom
Best For:
Active, young dog owners, with a fair amount of patience, looking for a loyal companion and a pup perfect for a range of activities

Patterdale Terrier Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Patterdale Terrier

  • Small, working dogs

  • Extremely energetic and playful

  • They like to be mentally stimulated

Patterdale Terriers are small, working dogs, with inquisitive minds and courageous attitudes. Given their breeding, they are extremely energetic and enjoy playful challenges (like finding hidden toys), and they’re very well suited to activities and playtime that tests their mental aptitude.

Patterdale Terriers, though protective of their families, are generally friendly dogs and get along well with adults and children alike. However, they can be little attention hogs, so depending on a particular dog’s history, it may do better or worse with small children and other dogs around.

This breed is very active, so they need a household where they’ll have plenty of room. An outdoor space isn’t entirely necessary, but, if not available, ample indoor space should be provided, as these dogs love to run and chase their toys. As such, someone in the family should similarly like playing with them, as they’ll want someone to engage with.

In general, Patterdale Terriers are good-natured, but, again, depending on their history, a dog may be more or less prone to guarding behaviors. Consistent socialization during the dog’s puppy and adolescent years can minimize these guarding behaviors.

Because of their abundant energy, Patterdale Terriers are not keen on confinement and won’t do well with staying cooped up in a kennel for long periods of time.

Patterdale Terrier Breed History

  • Trace their history to England’s Lake District

  • Historically used for hunting badger, groundhog, raccoons and even nutria

  • Connected directly to a Lake District hunt master named Joe Bowman

Patterdale Terriers trace their history to England’s Lake District.

The breed can be connected directly to a Lake District hunt master named Joe Bowman, who was a Border Terrier breeder. He combined several mixes of English working terriers to result in the Patterdale, which was specifically used for hunting and dispatching red foxes. When it came to this role, Patterdale Terriers had an edge over their competition, given their agility, size and speed that made them perfect for the Lake District’s rocky terrain.

In addition to hunting and dispatching foxes, the breed has also been historically used for hunting badger, groundhog, raccoons and even nutria.

For a long period of history, the Patterdale Terrier was confined to the Lake District and surrounding region, preferred by the locals, but the breed eventually made its way to the United States.

Today, Patterdale Terriers are primarily pets, but still perform well in dog sports, including agility competitions and racing.

Patterdale Terrier Size & Weight

  • Small breed

  • Weighs 11–13 lb.

  • Height generally doesn’t exceed 15 inches


Patterdale Terriers are on the smaller size. Though typically the breed’s weight hovers around 11–13 lb., Patterdale Terriers have been reported reaching sizes of 30 lb., though it’s not common at all. The breed’s height generally doesn’t exceed 15 inches.

Because of all their energy, Patterdale Terriers are not prone to obesity.

Their small size makes them suitable for lap sitting and cuddles, but this small size also means that the breed is difficult to track if they happen to slip outside. Off-the-leash walking is not advised for this breed, due to both its size and curious, confident temperament.

Patterdale Terrier Personality & Temperament

  • Very friendly toward their families

  • Can be over-protective

  • Needs a fair amount of attention and interaction


Patterdale Terriers are very friendly toward their families. Sometimes this affinity for their owners can bleed into over-protectiveness, though this can be remedied through proper and regular socialization.

Extremely intelligent and energetic, Patterdale Terriers love to play, especially games that engage their brains as well as their bodies. Because of this, potential owners should be interested in a dog that needs a fair amount of attention and interaction.

The breed can easily get along with other pets and children, if the individual dog is still given the proper care and attention (not doing so can lead to destructive habits). This need for attention also relates to its inability to be left alone for long stretches of time, as the breed can get bored and/or lonely, leading to more of those undesirable habits.

Roomy living spaces are preferable, though outdoor spaces aren’t necessarily a must. If the breed has enough room to run and play easily indoors, they’ll do fine.

Their short hair does mean that they’ll be chilly in very cold climates and they may be averse to snow.

Patterdale Terrier Health & Grooming

  • Seasonal allergies are common

  • Glaucoma and cataracts are a possibility in old age

  • Patterdale Terriers can develop knee problems


In general, Patterdale Terriers are healthy dogs with long lifespans. There are a few health conditions to watch out for, though.

Seasonal allergies are common and may present themselves as skin rashes, pink eye or excessive sneezing and wheezing. A veterinarian can provide advice as to how to best deal with these allergies.

Glaucoma and cataracts are a possibility in old age.

In more rare cases, Patterdale Terriers can develop knee problems or a disorder known as “PSS.” PSS is a blood and liver condition that’s not nearly as serious as it sounds; it can be easily treated with medication.

Thanks to the breed’s high energy levels, obesity is rare. Drooling is also very minimal.

Proper grooming can limit shedding to barely noticeable amounts. Patterdale Terrier hair requires regular bathing, or else it becomes oily, dirty, smelly and sometimes matted. As with all dogs, regular nail trims and teeth cleaning is advised.

Patterdale Terrier Training

  • Strong-willed and requires a firm hand

  • Breed is apt to chew on furniture and household items

  • Patterdale Terriers have relatively small bladders

As is the case with most terriers, Patterdale Terriers require some patience when it comes to training. Though intelligent, the breed is strong-willed and requires a firm hand. However, Patterdale Terriers are known to be a little easier to train than some of the other terrier breeds, such as Jack Russell.

Unless properly trained and given the right level of attention, the breed is apt to chew on furniture and household items (especially during the puppy days), bark or howl when lonely and wander off when something catches their eye. The latter can continue despite training, which is why off-the-leash walking is not recommended for this breed.

Also keep in mind that Patterdale Terriers have relatively small bladders and house training can be a lengthy journey.

Patterdale Terrier Exercise Requirements

  • Strong-willed and requires a firm hand

  • Breed is apt to chew on furniture and household items

  • Patterdale Terriers have relatively small bladders


Patterdale Terriers have a high energy level and require regular play and exercise.

Some can seemingly go on and on without stopping, and vigorous play and play fighting is not out of the ordinary. Failing to provide this breed with the proper amount of exercise can lead to bad habits, as the breed becomes bored and restless.

Patterdale Terrier Diet & Feeding

  • Keep a close eye on puppy requirements as they grow

  • After your pup’s first birthday, one meal daily will do

  • Be careful not to overfeed, as this can lead to slight weight gain.

Speak with your veterinarian regarding your dog’s specific needs.

In general, though, puppies under three months old require four, small servings of food each day; puppies up to six months old require three meals each day; and puppies up to one year require two meals each day. After your pup’s first birthday, one meal daily will do, though some owners do like to split that one meal into two smaller portions. Be careful not to overfeed, as this can lead to slight weight gain.

Patterdale Terrier Rescue Groups

Patterdale Terriers are still relatively rare breeds in the United States, so you may have to search for a while to find a Patterdale up for adoption near you. Check out the search functions provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as, to start.