Home / Dogs / Dog Breeds / Here

Patterdale Terrier Breed Profile

Dog Breeds, Dogs

Last Updated - May 31, 2023

Looking for a loving yet energetic canine pal to brighten up your life? The Patterdale terrier is a great choice for individuals or families with active lifestyles who need a tough, smart, and spunky dog companion to join in on the fun activities of everyday life.

As small dogs, Patterdale Terriers are easy to take along places, but with the stamina and energy to still be able to keep up. While not the best choice for first-time dog owners or individuals with dog allergies, these dogs make great pets for dog owners who have the time and patience to train these fun dogs and the space and time to play with them.

So is the Patterdale terrier the dog for you? Let's find out.


Apartment Living

How easily a dog deals with living in an apartment. Despite the dog's size, you should also consider energy level, calmness, and friendliness.

Being Alone

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to panic and separation anxiety when left alone. When left alone, they can become very destructive, bark, whine, chew and cause mayhem. These breeds do best in a home with a family member around during the day, can go to work with their owner, or recommend attending doggy day care if the owner is not home during the day.

Sensitivity Level

Low sensitivity dogs are easygoing, tolerant, and resilient. They can handle a noisy and chaotic household, a loud or assertive owner, and tolerate an inconsistent or variable routine.

Tolerate Cold Climate

Short coat and little to no coat breeds are vulnerable to cold climates. These breeds will have a low cold tolerance and need to live inside in a cool climate and should have a jacket or sweater on for chilly walks.

Tolerate Warm Climate

Breeds with a thick and double coat are vulnerable to overheating. Breeds with a short nose and flat face are also vulnerable as they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If these breeds of dog live in a warm and humid environment, you will need to be extra cautious about taking them outdoor in the heat.


Cat Friendly

Friendliness towards cats and humans is very different. Some breeds are gentle and accept cats readily as part of the family. Some breeds will chase, fight, or rough play with a cat and cause severe injury. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation.

Dog Friendly

Friendliness towards other dogs. Some dogs may try to dominate other dogs and attack and fight, while others would rather play. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation.

Family Friendly

How affectionate a breed is likely to be with family members or other people he knows well. Some breeds are independent, some breeds can be aloof with everyone but their owner, while others treat everyone they know like it's their best friend.
Breed, however, isn't the only factor affecting affection levels. Proper socialization and training can improve the situation.

Kid Friendly

Kid-friendly dogs should be gentle with children, be more tolerant of screaming and running children as well as other children's behavior.

Openness To Strangers

How welcoming a breed is likely to be towards strangers. Some dogs will greet a stranger with wagging tails, while others are shy, reserved, cautious, or aggressive. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation. 

Health And Grooming

Coat Grooming Frequency

Amount of bathing, brushing, trimming, and professional grooming needs. Consider how much time, patience, and budget you have for this type of care when looking at the grooming effort needed. All breeds require regular nail trimming.

Drooling Level

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm or wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine. But if you are a neat freak, dogs that are drool prone may not be the right choice for you.

General Health

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems. However, this doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases, and it just means that they're at an increased risk.
If you're adopting or rescuing a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.
If you are purchasing from a breeder, be sure to do your research. Purchase from a reputable breeder and ask for the parent's health records to understand what potential health issue your pup may have.

Shedding Level

Amount and frequency of dog hair shedding.

If you are getting a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. 


Easy To Train

Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt, an action, and a reward (such as treats, appraise, or toys). Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.


Dogs bred for jobs requiring decision-making, intelligence, and concentration, need to exercise their brains. Such as, dogs bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they can become destructive and exhibit behaviors such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Potential To Mouthiness

Common in most breeds during the puppy stage. Mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need the training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy squeaky toys, as well as a good chew on a toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Prey Drive

Dogs who were bred to hunt have an inborn desire to chase--and sometimes kill. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, or rabbits, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small animals. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase. But you'll probably have difficulty getting their attention when birds fly by.

Bark Or Howl Tendencies

Some breeds are more vocal than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. While some breeds will bark at every passing bird, some may use other sounds to express themselves.

Physical And Mental Needs

Energy Level

The amount of physical and mental stimulation a breed needs. High-energy breeds are ready to go and eager for their next adventure. Low-energy breeds are like couch potatoes - they're happy to lay around and sleep.

Exercise Needs

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Mental Stimulation

How much mental stimulation a breed needs to stay happy and healthy. Purpose-bred dogs can have jobs that require decision-making, problem-solving, concentration, or other qualities. Without the brain exercise they need, they can be destructive and have unwanted behavior issues.


A dog's inclination to be protective of his family members, home, yard, or even car.

Watchdog Ability

A breed's tendency to alert you that strangers are around. These breeds are more likely to react to any potential threat, whether it's the mailman or a squirrel outside the window.

Origin of Patterdale Terriers

The Patterdale Terrier originated in northern England, where it was developed as a working terrier breed to hunt predators on sheep farms. 

Patterdale terriers originated from black smooth-coated Fell terriers, the Northumberland pit terrier, and possibly other northern terrier breeds, with bodies small enough to fit inside burrows so that they could flush pests out. They were bred to hunt rabbits, foxes, and rats and are named after a village in the north of England. 

Patterdale terriers are now considered purebred dogs by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and recognized by the Dog Registry of America and the Continental Kennel Club. United kennel club recognized the breed in 1995.


Height: 10-15"

Weight: 11-13 lbs


Height: 10-15"

Weight: 11-13 lbs

Life Span: 11-14

Breed Group: Terrier


Patterdale Terriers are small-breed dogs, usually topping out at about 10-15 inches high and 11-13 pounds in weight full grown. As there can be some variation in size, some individual dogs may grow to be larger or smaller, however. These sturdy little dogs have compact bodies, strong necks, and powerful jaws. 


Patterdale terriers used to be popular for their work ethic, but they have become more popular for their winning personalities. These dogs love to please and are affectionate and gentle. They are also courageous, active, spunky, playful, and tough. They are the best of both worlds. These energetic dogs enjoy busy, active lives but know how to cuddle up and rest at the end of the day.

Patterdale Terrier on the field

Source: Free Images


As working terriers to hunt foxes, Patterdale terrier was bred for their strength and stamina. This also means there can be a significant variation in their appearance.

Patterdale terriers are typically small dogs that come in various colors, including pied, black, red, and brown. They can be solid or have white markings on the chest and paw area. They can have a smooth, rough, or broken coat (mixed), but they are usually always dense and coarse. 

What makes them unique is this breed of dog has a wedge- or trapezoidal-shaped head, triangular ears that fold tightly just above the skull, and wide-set eyes.

Patterdale Terrier Temperament

Patterdales have many similarities to other types of terriers. They are confident, strong-willed, and lively. Some will even say they can be stubborn at times, making them more challenging to train.

As affectionate and loyal dogs, Patterdale terriers form strong bonds with their people making them great family dogs. They also love attention and activity, making them ideal for larger families and active families.

However, Patterdale terriers are not suitable for individuals who may have dog allergies as they are not hypoallergenic. In fact, they have a thick double coat and shed moderately.

Patterdale terrier will also need to be supervised around small children. They usually do get along with children if they were socialized properly at a young age. Otherwise, they can get jealous, or they may not like the quick movement and high-pitched noises kids make and may bark at them.

Unless your Patterdale Terrier is socialized or has grown up in a household with other small animals, it is not advised to introduce them to the household. Patterdale terriers will most likely chase them, as terriers have a hunting and preying nature.

Diet/Nutritional Needs

Patterdale terriers should be fed dog food that is specially formulated for small and active breeds. This dog breed is prone to weight gain, so meals should be measured and regular, and dog treats should be kept to the minimum.

If you are unsure how much to feed your dog, you can always consult with your vet, who will be able to recommend food quantity based on your dog's age, health, activity level, and size. 

Activity/Exercise Needs

The Patterdale terrier is a very active breed with high activity, exercise, and mental stimulation needs. They should get between 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily, either in a brisk walk, jog, or extended play sessions. They also excel in dog sports like tracking, agility, hunting, and obedience training. Because of their high prey drive, they must always be on a leash except when they have a securely fenced-in yard to play in. Otherwise, they may be prone to taking off after something that piques their curiosity. This can be dangerous for your dog, making it difficult to get them back.

Grooming Needs

Patterdale are very easy to care for when it comes to grooming needs, and there are three coat types:

  • Smooth coat- short, lies close to the body, and shiny with a dense undercoat.

  • Broken coat- A mixture of both smooth and rough coats. They usually have coarse, wiry, and longer guard hairs than the smooth coat type. This coat may also have long hair around the facial area that forms a beard, mustache, and eyebrows.

  • Rough coat- long hair with a thick and double coat

Regardless, very little grooming is needed. The ones with coarse, dense coats only need to be brushed weekly to keep shedding in check and should only be bathed once every few months or as needed.

The double coat is waterproof, so it is important not to over-bathe since there are necessary body oils that can be disrupted by too much bathing. 

You should regularly check and examine a Patterdale terrier's ears for irritation or infection. Trim nails as needed and brush teeth a couple of times weekly to maintain good dental health. Dental disease is one of the most common health issues among adult dogs. To help reduce dental risks, establish a good dental regimen for your dog. If needed, consult with your veterinarian.


As a hearty and sturdy dog breed, Patterdale terriers are very adaptable when it comes to thriving in even harsh climates. They get along well with most people, animals, and other dogs, provided they are trained and socialized thoroughly as puppies. However, Patterdale terriers do not do well left alone and will become destructive. They are also not dogs that thrive in low-energy homes and are not suitable for apartment living. It should also be noted that Patterdale terriers may not be able to be trusted with small pets like rabbits or birds due to their high prey drive.

Patterdale Terrier on the field green grass

Source: Flickr

The trainability of Patterdale Terrier Puppies

Patterdale terriers will need to be trained and socialized early and properly to ensure that they grow to be well-mannered adults. To ensure they get along with children and other animals, proper training and early socialization are absolutely necessary and critical.

Patterdale terriers are a very smart and sensitive dog breed, and training them will require patience. For this reason, they are not ideal for novice dog owners. A Patterdale terrier puppy can be quite stubborn and will need positive reinforcement and consistency to learn to obey. Keep training sessions short and the energy levels high and positive. 

Life Expectancy

A Patterdale terrier has a life expectancy of 11-14 years. 

Potential Health Concerns And Issues

Patterdale terriers are overall a healthy and hearty breed and are not overly prone to health issues. Many of the potential issues for this breed are related to genetics or are hereditary and can be caught early with sufficient testing.


Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can be quite common for this dog breed. It is not a serious condition in and of itself, but if left untreated, it can lead to several eye issues, including blindness. 


Another eye condition Patterdale Terrier is prone to cataracts. They are most commonly due to inherited disease, though they can also form due to eye injuries, and they result in the clouding over of the eye and slow vision loss. 

Patellar Luxation

Very common in small dog breeds, patellar luxation is when the knee joint is prone to popping out of its socket on its own when the knee is flexed. Over time this can lead to hindlimb lameness and early osteoarthritis. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is the malformation of a dog's joints, often during puppyhood. There is no cure for hip dysplasia, which is generally hereditary and this is unpreventable. However, physical therapy, exercise, and medications can help control pain throughout the dog's life.


Hypothyroidism is a condition of the thyroid gland that reduces a dog's metabolic state. This can result in several other health issues, including weight gain, thinning hair, lethargy, and intolerance to cold.

The Pet Staff is proud & humbled to be reader-supported. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

About the Author

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

Get expert advice on products & services for a happy & healthy home for your pets.