The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier comes from England, and it is also called the Black Fell Terrier. They were bred to hunt in the early twentieth century, and they bark less than other breeds of terriers. They are small, strong-willed, and energetic, and they can be a bit stubborn. They love to play, fetch, and run, and they have a strong chase instinct.

These dogs are great pets and loyal companions, as long as you have the time to give them the attention they need and an outlet for their energy.

They do well in obedience programs, and they are easier to train than some of the other terrier breeds. That said, they can still be a handful and a challenge. If you want to bring one of these dogs home, you should make sure that you have the time for them.

Summary of the Patterdale Terrier

Personality Confident, strong-willed, and lively
Size11-13 pounds
Life Expectancy12-15 years
Exercise RequirementsHeavy Exercise Needs- Multiple walks/runs needs
Grooming RequirementsMinor shedding. Regular daily grooming and stripping a few times a year.
Good With Children?Yes, mostly suited for older kids that can run and play
Health ChallengesNo major health issues. Some may develop hip dysplasia, PSS, allergies, Patellar Luxation, or Glaucoma.
Easy to TrainYes but needs a patient and experienced Trainer. Strong instincts to hunt animals

The Patterdale Terrier was bred to chase and hunt small animals, but they are now mostly companion pets. They are small and compact, and they can squeeze themselves through many different openings, which is characteristic of terriers that were bred to dig and chase out rodents and other small animals.

This ability makes them great escape artists, so you need to make sure that your yard is secure.

Patterdale Terriers are intelligent, loyal, and energetic. Although they are small, they have big personalities. They are strong willed and do best in families who have experience with terriers and other strong-willed breeds.

Because this type of dog was bred to hunt foxes and protect flocks of sheep, they have a strong chase and hunt instinct. They are tough and do not back down from a challenge. They are hardy and have a coat that could handle the harsh climate in northern England as well as a variety of predators.

The Patterdale Terrier is recognized in England by the United Kennel Club, but it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. They do have a breed club in the United States called the Patterdale Terrier Club of America.

Patterdale Terriers have a big bark, and they make great watchdogs. They can develop guarding behavior if they are not trained. They are smart and instinctively know the difference between an intruder and a guest.

This breed makes a great companion and is affectionate and loyal. They need attention, and if they are left alone for hours, they can become bored and destructive. They will chew up whatever they can under these circumstances.

They have a lot of energy and should be given plenty of opportunity to exercise outside. You should allow them at least thirty minutes of vigorous exercise every day.

In addition, you can take them on long walks. Do not leave them alone in the yard for too long or they will dig and find a way to escape.

When you are out, you need to have this dog on a leash. Their chase instinct is very strong, and they will chase small animals and cats. They are relentless, so it is very important to make sure that they are safe, as they will chase another animal into the street without a second thought.

If you socialize and train your Patterdale Terrier from a young age, they make wonderful family pets. They do well with older children, and younger children should be supervised as these dogs have a lot of energy.

Pet Highlights and Facts

Here are some highlights and facts about Patterdale Terriers:

  • Patterdale Terriers are also known as Black Fell Terriers, and they come from England.
  • Patterdale Terriers were bred to guard sheep and hunt foxes.
  • Patterdale Terriers have a strong chase and hunt instinct. They will chase cats and may go after small pets in the home.
  • Patterdale Terriers should always be on a leash when out for a walk because they will chase after loose animals. They may run into the street in pursuit of another animal.
  • Patterdale Terriers are loyal, intelligent, and energetic. They are best suited for experienced owners who are prepared to give them the time and attention that this breed needs.
  • Patterdale Terriers are still used for hunting, and they are a relatively young breed.
  • Your Patterdale Terrier will enjoy going for hikes, jogging, or taking long walks with you.
  • You need to provide stimulation for these dogs because they have a keen and intelligent mind and can become bored easily if left alone for too long.
  • These dogs need early socialization and training to help manage their spunky personalities.
  • Patterdale Terriers are small dogs, and they stand 10 to 16 inches high at the shoulder.
  • Patterdale Terriers reach a weight of 11 to 13 pounds when fully grown.
  • Patterdale Terriers have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Patterdale Terriers Are Great for Active People

Many have asked, “are Patterdale terriers good pets?” While we like to think all dogs can be good pets, the answer is yes, this terrier breed does well in families, and they make loyal and kind companions.

They will bark at noises and strange people, but as long as they have been socialized, they are friendly, even with strangers. If they are not socialized, guarding behavior can occur.

Many people find the guarding behavior off putting and might even assume the Patterdales are aggressive in nature, but that is not the case unless he or she has been trained to do so. They are loyal and protective of their families and if trained properly, are excellent pets.

These dogs get along well with livestock and poultry, but they have a strong chase and hunt instinct that makes it hard to bring cats or other small animals into the home. If they are raised with a cat, they are usually fine, but they will chase strays or other cats in the neighborhood.

Patterdale Terriers like children, and they are best suited for older children. They will play with them and run or go for hikes. Young children under six should always be supervised because these dogs have a lot of energy and can knock them over by mistake.

These dogs are great pets, but you might want to avoid bringing small pets including rodents or cats into your home, as they are bred to hunt this kind of animal.

Origin and History of Patterdale Terriers

Patterdale Terriers were first bred in the Lake District in Northern England. This area has a harsh climate, and they needed a hardy terrier breed to protect sheep. These dogs were bred to chase foxes and other small animals and hunt them.

The Patterdale Terrier has a tough coat, and they are sturdy dogs. They developed in the early twentieth century, and they were first recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1995. They are not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club, but there is an official breed club in the United States called the Patterdale Terrier Club of America.

This breed is also recognized by the American Rare Breed Association, even though they are popular and have a following. People enjoy these small dogs as companions, and they are energetic and lively. They are still used as hunting dogs because they have great instincts, and they are tough and hardy in spite of their small size.

This breed is new compared to other terriers, but it is very popular, and many people have them as pets.

Breed Size

The Patterdale Terrier is a small dog, but it is sturdy and hardy. They stand between 10 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder, and they weigh between 11 and 13 pounds fully grown. They have a wedge-shaped head, and they are muscular and can squeeze into tight spaces.


Patterdale Terriers have personalities that are unique to this breed, although they do share characteristics with other terrier breeds. They are confident, lively, energetic, and strong-willed. They can be stubborn at times, which is typical of many terrier breeds.

They love to use their energy to fetch, play, and run. They will enjoy going on long hikes or going jogging. They need to exercise, but you should keep your Patterdale Terrier on a leash at all times because they have a very strong hunting instinct, and they will chase small animals. They will be so focused that they will run straight into the street, and they could be run over by a car.

If you do not provide enough opportunity for your Patterdale Terrier to exercise, they can become bored and destructive. They will chew your clothing, your furniture, and anything else that they can get to. This breed does not like to be left alone for hours on end, and it can become stressed out in these cases.

Patterdale Terriers have a stronger bark than other terriers, and they tend to be less “yappy.” They make good watchdogs, and they will let you know if there is an intruder or someone at the door. However, they are friendly. They are loyal and love their families.

You should socialize and train Patterdale Terriers from an early age, as they can develop guarding issues. They are very protective by nature, so make sure that they have plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with other people.

Patterdale Terriers have a lot of confidence, and they are tough and sturdy little dogs. They do not back down when they are challenged.

Patterdale Terriers can be challenging to train because they have lots of energy, have hunting instincts that are strong, and are stubborn and strong-willed. They tend to be more calm than a Yorkie or a Jack Russell, so they are easier to train. You should use positive reinforcement to train these dogs because they do not respond well to harsh discipline.

Health and Life Expectancy

Patterdale Terriers are generally healthy little dogs. They do not have a lot of genetic disorders. However, make sure that you buy from a responsible breeder who screens their dogs for health conditions.

Take a look at some of the conditions that can affect your Patterdale terrier:


This is also called pink eye, and the tissue in the front part of the eye can become inflamed as a result of allergies, a bacterial infection, or a virus. You can treat this with medication from your vet.


Allergies can be seasonal or year-round, and often appear as a skin condition called “atopy,” which will show up on their feet, belly folds, and inner ears. The dog might lick its feet or develop ear infections. Any of these allergies can be managed and treated with diet and medications.

Glaucoma or Cataracts:

Your Patterdale Terrier can develop Glaucoma or cataracts. You should look for the following symptoms:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Squinting
  • Bulging eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blue or white cornea color
  • Eye redness
  • Eye itching
  • Head shaking

Most dogs can live a normal life with a loss of vision. Your vet will help you determine an appropriate manner of handling either of these diseases.

Portosystemic Shunt:

This is also called PSS. It forms when the blood that is supposed to travel to the liver goes around it instead of into it. This leads to a decrease in the nutrients and oxygen in the liver, and the liver can lose function.

You can check for this condition through a blood test. It can be treated with medication and diet, and in some cases, your dog can have surgery.

Patellar Luxation:

This condition causes the kneecap to slide out of place, and you may see your dog kicking its leg out to the side for a few steps when it is running. It may shift back into position and seem to be fine. Your vet may want to check the dog because this condition can worsen and lead to arthritis and other issues.

Hip Dysplasia:

This condition is a possibility for the Patterdale Terrier. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and when dogs develop this condition, the ball, which is at the end of the femur, doesn’t fit into the socket, or the hip, properly. Instead of sliding back and forth smoothly, the ball and the socket rub against each other, which can lead to arthritis and loss of function of this joint.

Hip dysplasia is hereditary, and certain types of exercise and obesity can make it worse. You should make sure that your dog eats a balanced diet and gets exercise every day.

If your dog develops arthritis, glucosamine can help to reduce inflammation. You can get it from your vet or buy treats with glucosamine or chondroitin in them.

Dogs often begin to present symptoms of hip dysplasia early on, but it can appear later in life as well. The important thing is to know what to look for so you can detect it at any age. Symptoms include the following:

  • Decrease in activity
  • Decrease in range of motion in hind legs
  • Difficulty standing, jumping, climbing stairs, or running
  • Hind leg lameness
  • Bunny hop-like gait
  • Loss of thigh muscle mass
  • Excessive shoulder muscles to make up for hind end lack of function
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Stiffness


Your Patterdale Terrier should eat a diet of high-quality dog food that is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. You should not feed the dog human food, and you should watch the amount of treats you give. Obesity can lead to other health problems.


This condition occurs in the thyroid gland. It can lead to other conditions such as hair loss, obesity, epilepsy, lethargy, and other skin-related afflictions. It can be treated with diet and medication.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD):

With this condition, one or more of the discs that lie between the vertebrae bulge into the vertebral canal and press the spinal cord. This can be quite painful. It can be treated with medication, but it may require surgery.

Life Expectancy:

Patterdale Terriers have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Patterdale Terrier Care

The Patterdale Terrier is a small, sturdy dog, but it has a tremendous amount of energy. It is necessary to provide this dog with plenty of opportunities to burn off their energy through activities such as hiking, running, playing, and more. You need to provide at least thirty minutes of vigorous exercise for your Patterdale Terrier every day and take it out for walks.

Patterdale Terriers love their families, and they will enjoy spending time with family members. They have so much energy that they can keep up with older children playing in the yard, but children under the age of six should be supervised. Their energy can be too much for very young children.

You need to socialize and train your Patterdale Terrier from a young age because they can be strong-willed and stubborn. The younger you start, the better with this breed. These dogs are very smart, and training will provide mental stimulation. They love to show off their new tricks, so you will enjoy this breed if you take the time to train it.

You should not leave Patterdale Terriers alone for long periods of time because they can become destructive and stressed out. They will chew your furniture and clothing, as well as anything else within their reach if they don’t get enough attention.

You need to use positive reinforcement and rewards to train these dogs. They do not respond well to harsh discipline, and it can actually make them aggressive. They do well with rewards of praise, treats, or extra play time.

Patterdale Terriers are bred to hunt and dig, and they can flatten their bodies to get through many different openings. You should not leave them alone in the yard because they will find a way out. They will also chase small animals and cats, so make sure that they are always on a leash when out for a walk.

You will need to do some grooming, although this breed is lower maintenance than others. You can brush it once or twice a week. You should not give it too many baths or its outer coat will lose some of its protective abilities. You will need to strip the coat twice a year because they have an undercoat as well.

It can be useful to have a crate for training purposes when you get your Patterdale Terrier. It will provide a safe environment for the dog and a place that belongs to it. You can leave some chew toys inside with your dog when you are away, and this will prevent it from becoming bored.

The crate will also help with house training, and your dog will learn quickly. When your dog is older, leave the door to the crate open, and your dog will probably use it as a place to unwind. Dogs like to have a space where they can rest while you are away, and this is a nice safe space that your dog can call its own.

These dogs are bred to hunt and they have a strong hunting and chase instinct. This is a very important characteristic to consider if you are thinking of getting this breed. If you have a variety of animals in your home, this may not be the best dog for you. It will be nearly impossible to teach this dog not to go after smaller pets.


Patterdale Terriers need two cups of high-quality dog food every day. It is best if you split it over two meals. Make sure that the food you provide is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The exact amount you feed your dog will vary depending on your dog’s age, activity level, size, and energy level. If your dog is more active, it will need more food.

When you feed a high-quality dog food, your dog actually doesn’t need as much. You should not leave food out for your dog to eat whenever it feels like it, as you will not be able to control exactly how much your dog is eating. It is important to keep track of this because often the only sign that a dog is sick is that it slows down eating.

You should not let your dog become overweight because this can lead to obesity and a whole range of health problems. You can feel your dog’s ribs, and you should be able to feel them but not see them.

When you select a dog food, pay attention to the stage of life of your dog. Most quality foods are classified into puppy, adult, and senior. Each of these contains the nutrition that your dog needs in that stage of life.

Coat and Grooming

Patterdale Terriers can have a smooth or a wiry coat. It is almost always dense and protects their bodies from predators and harsh climate conditions. The smooth coat will be coarse, dense, and stiff, while the wiry coat will have longer hairs that stick up. The wiry coat is a less tidy look.

In addition, Patterdale Terriers have a soft, furry undercoat, which helps them regulate their body temperature. In addition, wiry coat Patterdale Terriers have eyebrows, a beard, and a moustache.

The majority of Patterdale Terriers are black, but they can come in other colors, including rec, liver or chocolate, grizzle, and black and tan. They are usually a solid color, but they can have white markings on their chest and feet.

You need to brush your Patterdale Terrier once or twice a week. In addition, their coat needs stripping a few times a year to help shed the undercoat. You can do this yourself or take your dog to a professional groomer.

You should clip your Patterdale Terrier’s nails once or twice a month. If you hear their nails on the floor, you will know that it is time to clip them. In addition, you should brush your dog’s teeth two or three times each week. This will help to reduce the plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth and gums, which can lead to infections and gum disease.

It is a good idea to begin grooming your dog as young as possible. If you start early, your dog will become accustomed to it, and it will be a much simpler process. Proper grooming is necessary to keep your dog healthy and comfortable, so start as soon as you bring them home with you.

Children and Other Pets

The Patterdale Terrier is good with children, and it does especially well with older children who can run and play with it in the yard. You need to supervise young children under six years old with your dog because the dog is very energetic and can be rowdy.

You should always teach your children how to interact appropriately with your dog. They should not pull its tail or ears or hit it. In addition, they should not surprise the dog when it is sleeping or eating. As long as you teach your children how to interact correctly with the dog, you should have no trouble.

In addition, you should socialize your dog from a young age. You want to make sure that it is used to having different people around. If you wait until it is older, it could be more guarded and less friendly.

If you have other pets when you bring a puppy home, the puppy is likely to grow up and leave them alone. However, these dogs are bred to hunt, and they will go after smaller pets. They will also chase cats, and if you let a couple of dogs get together, they can gang up on a cat and hurt it. You need to be careful if you have other animals in the home.

This breed does very well when it is the only animal in the house. You should also note that they will go after wild animals, including raccoons, and they are so brave that they can get hurt. They do not back down from a challenge, and raccoons are fierce little creatures. Make sure that you keep your dog on a leash outdoors to counter these instincts.

Patterdale Terrier Rescue Groups

Patterdale Terriers make wonderful companion pets, but they are a typical terrier breed and they have a lot of energy. They are strong-willed and stubborn, and they can be difficult if they are not trained or socialized.

Unfortunately, people often get a dog without realizing how much work it is. If you don’t want the dog to be a member of the family, you probably shouldn’t get it. These dogs often end up needing homes because owners give them up, abandon them, neglect them, and abuse them.

Luckily, there are rescue organizations that are dedicated to making sure that these dogs find a forever home. They offer wonderful resources to educate people and help these dogs while they wait for their new home.

In addition, purebred dogs can be expensive, and you might want to consider rescuing a Patterdale Terrier rather than buying a new puppy. If you have the time and the energy, these dogs often need homes, and they are wonderful pets.

The Patterdale Terrier Club of America:

This club is the official club for this breed, and they help find homes for dogs in need. They will post Patterdale Terriers in need on their website. They require that the dogs be spayed or neutered.

There are many small rescue groups all over the country as well, so you can contact a person or group near you if you would like a rescue dog. If you have the time, providing a forever home for a rescue dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

If you know of a Patterdale Terrier in need, you can contact this club for help. There are many people who are committed to helping these dogs find their forever homes.

There are also rescue groups that do not focus on one particular breed, and they often have Patterdale Terriers as well. These dogs can be a handful to someone who doesn’t have time to spend with them, so owners sometimes give them to rescue groups to find them new homes.

Patterdale Terriers are wonderful little dogs, and they make great companions. They are eager and energetic while being loyal and good natured, and they are always up for a good time.

If you like to go for long walks or hikes and you have time to devote to a dog, this breed is fun and rewarding to have. As long as you socialize and train this type of dog from the beginning, you will enjoy having them in your family.



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