Patterdale Terrier - Complete Breed Profile

Patterdale Terrier - Complete Breed Profile

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 15 2023


There are many unregistered but pureblooded dog breeds globally, and the Patterdale Terrier is one of them. These feisty little dogs are relatively popular across the UK, which is not a huge surprise since that is the place of their origin. Patterdale Terriers are fascinating small dogs, but they have a long road ahead of them if they want to achieve full international recognition.

These dogs enjoyed relatively high popularity in the UK’s farming circles, and even today, these dogs love being employed as versatile working dogs. They are your typical terriers - active, friendly, and inquisitive. Here is what you need to know about the awesome Patterdale Terrier.



12 - 15 in



11 - 13 lb




 Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

10 -12 years

Where do Patterdale Terriers come from?

Patterdale Terriers came to life in the 18th century and are closely related to the Fell Terrier of Northern England. These dogs were named after the village they originated from, and farmers used these active dogs for various tasks. Their main occupation was hunting and ratting.

patterdale terrier swimming

Patterdale Terriers specialized in hunting rats and mice in English farms, and hunters began using them for fox hunting. They are compact and strong, which meant they could dive into fox dens and drive the animal out where hunters had a clear shot. Hunting is not a necessity these days, so Patterdales rebranded themselves into lively family companions.

Check out this interesting list of famous terrier breeds - World's Best Terrier Breeds.

Patterdale Terrier characteristics

Any relevant cynology association does not internationally recognize Patterdale Terriers, and while they do have a standard, individual dogs can be very different. The lack of internationally recognized standards might be an obstacle to recognition, but that didn’t stop these dogs from being the UK's 25th most popular dog breed.

Most Patterdale Terriers are between 12 and 15 inches tall and can weigh 11 - 13 pounds. They have a dense, coarse, double coat that protects them from weather and thick wooden growth. One of these dogs’ characteristics is that their coat can come in three varieties; rough, smooth, or broken. These dogs also come in various colors, and the most common ones are black with small white patches. Other colors that can be often seen are chocolate, grizzle, black and tan, red and tan, liver, and bronze.


They have a typical terrier temperament, which makes them very fun to be around. They are hard-working dogs that seem to have endless amounts of energy. Patterdales are big dogs trapped in a small dog’s body. They have a huge personalities. Their antics will make you laugh and provide endless entertainment.

These dogs are primarily a working breed, even though they are mostly kept as companions. They are the happiest when they have a job to do. They don’t care how big or small the job is. Their high prey drive remains to this day, so getting a Patterdale with other smaller pets is not the best idea. Animals like rabbits, ferrets, or gerbils are not very safe around them.

patterdale terrier barking

Like other terriers, the Patterdale Terrier needs early socialization. They are prone to behavioral problems and obsessive barking if they are not properly socialized and trained. These dogs can be strong-willed, so you will need to arm yourself with patience and persistence. Luckily, these dogs are pretty food-motivated, so you should get some nice training treats that will ease the training process.

Patterdale Terriers are considered intelligent and a bit mellower than other terriers. If they are properly trained and socialized, they can make a great addition to active families.

Patterdale Terriers were used to create a famous designer dog breed called Pocket Pitbull. Check out this article - Pocket Pitbull - Designer Breed Or An Experiment?

Patterdale Terrier health

Like any other dog breed, the Patterdale Terrier is prone to specific health issues. This is usually the case with unrecognized breeds; they haven’t been studied enough. One of the most significant advantages when it comes to recognized breeds is their pedigree. Pedigree doesn’t mean you have to go to dog shows; it means that the dog was bred with care and that their parents are healthy and tested.

The common health issues found in this breed are:

These are only what vets and reported cases can tell us.

patterdale terrier portrait

Caring for a Patterdale

When it comes to caring about any dog breed, there are some things they all share; physical activity and proper diet. Those are two of the most important things, and all dog owners need to provide them. Grooming might be important, but working terriers often don’t need so much grooming, especially if they spend a lot of their time outside working.

The most important thing for Patterdale Terrier is plenty of physical activity. They are incredibly active, and they need to have a lot of playtime to be truly happy. They are the most comfortable when they are working.

Patterdale Terrier is an interesting breed that would be more than a great addition to active families.

World Dog Finder team

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