Is A Patterdale Terrier The Right Choice Of Dog For You?

The Patterdale terrier is a small terrier that hails from England, with origins going back to the Lake District area, where the breed was developed by a Master of Foxhounds named Joe Bowman as a working terrier breed. Designed to help with fox hunting and pursuing foxes into burrows and small spaces that foxhounds could not access, the Patterdale terrier is a lively, active and very versatile dog that today can be found in a wide variety of roles.

They are small dogs that stand between 10-15” tall, and weigh between 15-30lb. They should be muscular yet lithe, and strong for their size, as well as being plucky, fearless and very personable. Despite the long working history of the breed, today, the Patterdale terrier is most commonly kept as a domestic pet, although some dogs of the breed are still used within working roles in certain areas. They make for good domestic pets with the right ownership, and are also often a great pick for canine sports such as agility and flyball too.

If you are wondering if the Patterdale terrier is the right choice of dog for you, in this article, we will look at the temperament and some of the core traits of the breed in more detail. Read on to learn more.

What is the Patterdale terrier temperament?

The Patterdale terrier is a bold, plucky little dog that is confident and outgoing from a young age, which can on occasion mean that they are apt to getting themselves into hot water! They are lively, active dogs that like to have something to do, and that need plenty of toys, time spent playing, and interaction with people to keep them happy.

Due to their history as a working breed, they will soon become bored if they are left alone for long periods of time within the home, and can be prone to being destructive, digging holes and tearing at the furniture. They are fun loving, entertaining and personable, and love having a person to play with and run around with. They can also be independent and prone to stubbornness and dominance, meaning that they require a confident, experienced handler to keep their energies directed through the proper channels.

How much exercise do they need?

The Patterdale terrier is not a good match for people who are not particularly active, and the dog will not thrive with just a couple of short walks per day. They need plenty of walks both on the lead and off the lead, as well as interactive play and being able to stretch their legs and run around.

They are happiest when outside and having something to do, so for dogs that are not used within working roles, plenty of stimulation and possibly, participation in a canine sport such as obedience, agility or flyball can help to keep the dog occupied.

Are they easy to train?

The Patterdale is an intelligent dog that learns quickly, and that will soon become bored with slow, repetitive training. They do have something of a tendency to stubbornness and selective deafness, and require a confident and experienced handler who can manage these challenges, and that will not allow the dog to get the upper hand.

They can begin training from an early age, and benefit from short, varied sessions with lots of praise and positive reinforcement to keep them working, thinking and directing their energies into what is being asked of them.

Are they good with other animals?

As a terrier breed with a strong working history, the Patterdale terrier has a pronounced prey drive, meaning that they are highly likely to try to pursue small wildlife and potentially, cats when outside of the home. Excellent recall training is essential in order to manage this, as is taking care about what areas the dog is permitted to run off the lead in. Muzzling may be required if the dog’s prey drive poses a risk to other animals.

The Patterdale terrier requires lots of positive socialisation with other dogs from a young age to ensure that they are able to play nicely with others, and assuming that this is achieved, the breed is usually fine with other dogs, albeit they do have a tendency to be slightly dominant.

What sort of home do they need?

The Patterdale terrier needs an experienced owner that is familiar with both the good and bad traits of terrier dogs, and that is confident in handling and managing them. They need a home with plenty of access to the outdoors, and an active, lively family environment where they will receive plenty of walks and be able to run around and keep fit.

The breed can prove a challenge for the first time dog owner or the inexperienced trainer, but as a general rule, they make for good all round pets that fit well into all sorts of homes, and make for very rewarding companions.


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