The Patterdale Terrier is a small, rough coated terrier that was developed in England.
The Patterdale Terrier History
The unique area between the border country of northern England and southern Scotland is characterized by a rugged terrain, harsh weather and tough people. Life is primarily on remote farms with sheep being the main farm commodity, and for centuries, they have been protected from fox predation by aggressive hound and terrier work. Dogs suited to this inhospitable climate have weatherproof coats and may be larger than their southern cousins. This unique area has given birth to several breeds of earth working terriers.
The Patterdale Terrier is a breed of dog 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. Here the tall, bare and beautiful hills are called Fells. The fells are steep, rocky and filled with foxes. Here, the weather is cold, wet and windy.
Patterdale Terriers 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. Since fox are 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 no allow much digging. As a consequence, a Patterdale Terrier needs to be able to bolt the fox from the rock crevice or dispatch it where it is found. Because of the difficulty in digging in the north, northern dogs such as the Patterdale and Fell Terrier tend to be "tough as nails." 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.
Even 20th century farmers depend on organized fox-hound hunts to diminish the numbers of foxes that prey on their sheep, and the fox-hounds depend on Fell Terriers to extricate foxes from the deep crevices in the rocky fells.
The Fells are so rough that horses can not be used for hunting, so the Hunter (the huntsman), his assistants, the hounds and terriers may cover miles of walking on a mountainside in a single day. The Huntsman and the Whipper keep a pair of terriers at their side to be instantly available when the fox goes to ground. Only the toughest of terriers can keep up all day, then go to earth and rout out a hill-fox under the worst of conditions. The Patterdale is that type of terrier (aka Fell Terrier).
A Patterdale is a type of Fell Terrier, which is the modern name for what used to be called a Black and Tan Terrier. The Black and Tan Terrier was "improved" and brought into the Kennel Club as the Welsh Terrier, after a brief naming struggle in which the name "Old English Broken-coated Terrier" was attempted before being rejected by the Kennel Club hierarchy. The "Old English Broken Coated Terrier" is sometimes called the "Old English Terrier".
The Patterdale Terrier of modern times refers to the mainly black smooth coated Fell Terriers, 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.
True Patterdales are all of working terrier lineage and have a definite stamp of type.
People who admire these terriers do so because of their working talents. The Patterdale is the confronting type of hunting dog, the truest of all Earth Terriers!
Patterdale Terrier Appearance
Body: a compact go-to-ground terrier type body. A sturdy, tough, little terrier that presents a compact, balanced image. As a working terrier, it has to be capable of squeezing through very small passages underground to follow its quarry.
Head: the head is strong and powerful, in balance with the size of the dog. It is wedge or trapezoidal shaped when viewed from the front. The length of the skull and the muzzle are equal, or with the muzzle slightly shorter than the skull. Jowl and muzzle have good substance. The muzzle should be strong, never appearing snipy or weak.
Height at Withers: according to breed standards, this working terrier stands between 25.5 cm (10 inches) and 38 cm (15 inches) at the withers. The preferred size depends on the quarry. In Great Britain, all sizes are in use, depending on the terrain and the quarry. Quarry in the UK is mostly fox. In the eastern United States, smaller dogs are preferred and 30 cm (12 inches) tall and 5.5 kg (12 pounds) is the preferred size for groundhogs (aka woodchucks). However, somewhat larger dogs can be used in the American West when ground barn hunting larger raccoons and badgers.
Weight: weighs between 4.5 kg (10 pounds) and 11 kg (24 pounds).
Coat: coats are smooth, rough, or broken-coated. If a black terrier is rough coated, rather than smooth, it may be called a Patterdale Terrier, but it is more commonly called a "Fell Terrier" while a rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier may be called a "Fell Terrier," a "Patterdale Terrier," a "working Lakeland Terrier", or a "Black and Tan Terrier". In the world of non-Kennel Club working terriers, the only real proctor is the quarry itself, or in other words: the capacity to work the task given defines the working breed that is the Patterdale Terrier.
Colors: the term "Patterdale terrier" generally refers to a smooth coated (short haired) black terrier, but bronze (black that shines brown in sunlight), grizzle, red sable (red base color with black hairs mixed through out, often with a black mask on the muzzle), liver (with red nose), and Blue, any of these colors can also be tan pointed (e.g. as with Dobermann)) or saddled patterned (e.g. as with Airedale Terrier). White feet and white chest markings appear in all coat colors.
Patterdale Terrier Temperament
Character: they are quiet indoors or out and are not usually dominant with people.
Social Build: a Patterdale Terrier is a working terrier, and terrier work requires a high-energy dog with a strong prey drive and a loud voice. As a result, Patterdales are very energetic dogs, and can be quite vocal. It is not uncommon for a Patterdale to be cat-aggressive, and homes with other small fur-bearing animals in them (pet hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.) would do well to think through the possible ramifications of bringing a working terrier into the house.
Patterdale Terrier Socially
Care: Patterdale puppies tend to be bold and confident beyond their capabilities, and responsible owners of working dogs will not overmatch their dogs or enter them to formidable quarry before they are around one year of age.
Education: Patterdales which are not trained on a consistent basis, or are not exercised regularly, may exhibit unmanageable behaviour, including excessive barking, escaping from the yard, or digging in unwanted places inside and outside the house. Prospective Patterdale Terrier owners are advised to do their homework, and those seeking working dogs are advised to focus on size and to make sure they are acquiring their dogs from true working homes.
Activity: Fell and Patterdale Terriers are well known as hard-biting terriers, eager to work at any place, at any time. As experienced working terriers, Patterdales may find den trials and artificial earths a bore and refuse to enter. However, they always crave for the real work in the field!
Usability: they are loyal companions, but are rarely kept strictly as pets (there is work to be done)! Due to their compact size, friendly and inquisitive nature, and intelligence, Patterdales are attractive as pets, but prospective buyers should be aware that while these dogs may enjoy sitting in a lap, they are not "lap dogs" - they are dogs that require training and regular and consistent exercise to maintain their temperament and to occupy their minds.
Patterdale Terrier Quotes / Trivia