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10 Things You Need To Know About The Patterdale Terrier Before You Buy One

The Patterdale terrier is a small dog of the terrier type that originated in the North of England, and is one of the many smaller terrier options that are popular as pets all across the UK. In fact, the Patterdale is the 45th most popular dog type in the UK overall, out of almost 250 different dog breeds and types – and so there is a lot to recommend the Patterdale to many different types of homes and owners.

However, as is the case for all dogs, picking the right choice for you is really important, and isn’t always easy. You will probably find you need to rule out a few breeds that initially catch your eye before you find the right fit, and this means doing plenty of research.

With this in mind, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the Patterdale terrier before you buy one, to get you started along the right lines. Read on to learn more.

The Patterdale terrier is not a pedigree dog breed

First of all, the Patterdale terrier is not recognised as a pedigree dog breed in the UK by the Kennel Club. This means that there is no formal breed standard in place for Patterdales, they’re not eligible for Kennel Club registration, and they can’t be entered into Kennel Club breed shows.

The Patterdale is recognised by some other less formally-viewed Kennel Club alternatives outside of the UK, like the United Kennel Club. If you see a Patterdale referred to as a pedigree, this will almost certainly be the breed registry in question – but this is not equivalent to UK Kennel Club pedigree status.

The Patterdale terrier is a working-type terrier

The Patterdale terrier was developed first and foremost as a working type terrier, rather than one that looks a certain way or that was bred to perform well in the show ring. This means that within the Patterdale dog type as a whole and among their breeders and most owners, working ability is prized much more highly than looks.

They’re related to Jack Russells

The Patterdale terrier has Jack Russell ancestry, and Patterdales are frequently outcrossed with other terrier types including Jack Russells to achieve specific traits their breeders are looking for. They may also have ancestry from various other small terrier breeds too, although which ones can be quite variable.

They have a very strong prey drive

All dogs have a relatively strong prey drive, and this is particularly true of terriers. The Patterdale is no exception, and dogs of this type were, as mentioned, bred for working ability, which often includes pest control like ratting. Patterdales will pursue smaller wildlife like rabbits, they may be very good at catching rats, and they will chase pets like cats if not properly controlled and managed, so any prospective Patterdale owner needs to understand this and accept the responsibility of keeping their dog controlled and keeping other people’s pets safe.


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…And very high energy levels

Patterdale terriers are also very high energy dogs, and despite their small size, they need a significant amount of daily exercise. They need plenty of brisk, lively on-lead walks, as well as access to a safely enclosed outside area where they can run freely in safety.

Patterdales might be a good pick for canine sports

Because of their working prowess and high energy levels, the Patterdale terrier might be a good choice of breed if you’re looking for a dog to get involved with canine sports of various forms, and these aren’t restricted to pedigree breeds only.

These high-energy dogs are quick witted and capable of thinking on their feet, and if you can channel this enthusiasm and keep the dog looking to you for direction, the Patterdale will often thrive in a range of different sports like agility and flyball.

Patterdales are inexpensive to buy and relatively low cost to keep

The average asking price of Patterdale terriers for sale in the UK (according to Pets4Homes statistics) at the moment is around £317 each, which is very economical but reflects the dog’s non-pedigree status, or essentially, the fact that they are ultimately mongrels of the terrier type on paper.

They’re also generally quite economical to keep too, because they’re small in size and tend to be fairly robust and healthy.

They can be found in three coat types

Like their Jack Russell relatives, Patterdale terriers can be found in any one of three coat types, and you might see all three types together on different puppies from within the same litter. 

These coat types are rough, smooth and broken respectively, with broken meaning a combination of rough and smooth within the same coat.

They are reputed to be long lived and very healthy

Because there’s no formal breed registry for Patterdale terriers, there’s no hard data available on their average lifespans; but their ancestor breeds are long lived, hardy, and not prone to suffering from a lot of health issues, which are traits inherited by the Patterdale type as a whole too.

Compounded with this, Patterdales, as a mixed breed or mongrel dog type, have the benefit of hybrid vigour, increasing their genetic diversity which in turn, tends to promote good hereditary health.

Patterdales need to be owned by someone familiar with terrier traits

Patterdales possess all of the core terrier traits that make them highly appealing and very rewarding for the right type of owners; they’re confident, plucky, tenacious, energetic, and not lapdogs. However, these same traits can also make Patterdales a handful, and can lead to dominance issues, a hard to manage prey drive, obsessive behaviours like digging, and other potential issues too.

Any prospective Patterdale terrier owner needs to ensure that they know what they’re getting into before choosing a dog of this type, and be sure that they can provide them with the appropriate lifestyle and management.


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