Patterdale Terrier

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Patterdale Terrier
14 week old Patterdale pup called Fudge 2014-07-13 16-06.jpg
14-week-old tan Patterdale puppy
Country of origin England
Notes The Patterdale Terrier is recognized by the American Rare Breed Association
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

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. Today, the highly adaptable Patterdale Terrier excels worldwide not just at hunting a wide array of quarry, but in a number of canine sports, such as dog agility and terrier racing.

Some notable older British lines carry the names Buck, Breay, Nuttall, and Gould; modern lines include Stevens, Harcomb, Mason, Powell, and Jones.



There are a number of breed standards for the Patterdale Terrier. The most notable is that of the United Kennel Club ("UKC") 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 25 and 40 centimetres tall, with a weight of 7 to 14 kilograms, length between 9 and 14 centimetres and specifies that dogs should be in fit, working condition. The UKC standard further specifies:

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 and Colour[edit]

Three-year-old smooth black Patterdale Terrier
Five-year-old male Patterdale Terrier with brown, "broken" coat
The main variations in coat colour/type

The coat may be "smooth," "broken," or "rough." All types should have dense and coarse double coats that are 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.


Three-year-old Patterdale Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier mix

Patterdale Terrier puppies tend to be bold and confident beyond their capabilities The Patterdale Terrier is known as a working terrier, rather than a show dog. Typical of terriers, whose work requires high energy and a strong drive to pursue prey, Patterdale Terriers are very energetic and can be difficult to socialise. Though also kept as pets, due to being bred for high-intensity work, they may tend towards being too energetic for a sedentary household life.


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 mostly too hilly for cattle. Sheep farming is the predominant farming activity on these hills. Since the fox is perceived by farmers as being predatory with respect to 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[1] under the Act.

In the United States, the Patterdale Terrier was recognised by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995, and remains unrecognized by the American Kennel Club.

Dog sports[edit]

Chip, a Patterdale Terrier, "box turning" during a flyball race

In recent years Patterdale Terriers have begun to compete in a number of modern dog sports including ones such as flyball and dog agility. Trainable terriers with working drive are prized in flyball, and Patterdale Terriers are ideal competitors in multiple disciplines of the sport. Currently the highest-ranked Patterdale Terrier in flyball competition in the United Kingdom is Chip, a five-year-old who races with the Tails, We Win Flyball Club. Chip, a competitor on division-winning teams from the 2012 European and British flyball championships, holds five British Flyball Association titles and is only the second Patterdale Terrier to receive the Platinum Flyball Milestone award.


  1. ^ BASC Terrier Code

External links[edit]