Breed overview the Patterdale Terrier

by Amy Cooper
Patterdale Terrier

Are you considering getting a Patterdale Terrier? Or are you just interested in the breed? Well this is the perfect place to start! This post is a short summary of the Patterdale Terrier breed characteristics from their size to how much exercise they need.


Breed overview

Patterdale Terriers were originally bred to hunt foxes and vermin so are classed as a working breed. They are a small breed standing at 10”-15” to the withers, weighing between 5 and 6 Kg with a lifespan of 10-12 years. They have a short coat meaning that they need minimal grooming but will shed lots! However, some Patterdales have a slightly longer coat that needs hand stripping which takes a very long time. The main breed standard colours are chocolate, red, brindle, tan and white with a black tail and nose. However, there are many more colour combinations.


As I mentioned above Patterdale Terriers, with a short smooth coat, need very little grooming. So, will need the occasional brush (about once a week) and bath. But they do shed a LOT so it will be beneficial to brush them more during shedding season. However, Patterdales with rough coats have a longer coat that is likely to need hand stripping. Hand stripping can be done at home but is usually something that needs to be done at a groomer. Obviously, Patterdale Terriers will also need their nails trimmed and teeth cleaned regularly exactly the same as all other dogs. 


Patterdale cross sticking its head in stream
Photo taken by – Amy Cooper

As Patterdale Terriers are a working breed they need a reasonable amount of exercise, ideally a minimum of two decent walks per day. Not only do they need physical exercise like walking or playing chase but also mental stimulation. This can be done by training, which your Patterdale Terrier will love (even if they are a bit stubborn sometimes) or using puzzle toys. 


Generally, Patterdale Terriers are quite a robust breed. However, unfortunately like most purebred dogs they are prone to some health conditions. These include problems with weight, eye problems, joint problems, hypothyroidism and histiocytomas. Because in the UK Patterdale terriers aren’t recognised by the kennel club it might be difficult to find litters with parents who have been genetically, and health tested. However, if you do find a health tested litter it means that when you buy a puppy you know how likely it is that it will develop these problems are when its older. 


Despite their bad reputation Patterdale Terriers are actually a very good all-round family pet. As they are confident, sweet and loving. They are also very intelligent, but their strong willed and stubborn nature can make training a bit more challenging. So, keep training sessions short, fun and engaging! Patterdale Terriers also generally have a natural prey drive so will need good and consistent recall training. 

So, overall Patterdale Terriers are a small dog with a giant personality! They are hunting dogs so need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. But, as long as you exercise them sufficiently you will have a cuddly, characterful and loyal friend. 

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