Patterdale or Border Terrier, which is the quieter of the two breeds

Patterdale or Border Terrier, which is the quieter of the two breeds

Life As A Pet Parent

There are some lovely, energetic terrier breeds around and if you are the sort of person who enjoys the company of a fun-loving, lively, small canine companion on adventures in the great outdoors, two breeds worth taking a closer look at are the Patterdale and the Border terrier which are covered in this article.

Patterdale origins

Patterdale Terriers have been around for a long time which is around 100 years or so. They are often called Black Fell Terriers and first appeared on the scene in southern Scotland and northern England. With this said, the breed was also found in Yorkshire and the Lake District too. These little dogs have always been highly prized for their hunting abilities and the fact they are so hardy even when asked to work over very challenging terrains. Today, these little terriers are a popular choice as both companions and family pets thanks to their kind, albeit energetic natures. It is worth noting the breed is not recognised by the Kennel Club.

Border Terrier origins

Border Terriers as their name suggests were first developed on the borders of England and Scotland. They were originally known as the Redesdale Terrier or the Coquetdale Terrier, but their name was changed in the late 1800s. They are related to the Dinmont, Bedlington and Patterdale terriers and were bred to be tough, hardy little dogs that have always been highly prized for them courage, stamina and loyalty. The breed is one of the UK's oldest with records of Border Terriers going back to the 18th Century and today they are a popular choice both as family pets and companions.

Patterdale appearance

Patterdales are nicely balanced and nicely proportioned little dogs that stand at anything from 25 to 40 cm at the withers and weighing in at around 7 to 14 kg. They have an incredible ability to compress their chests which allows them to squeeze through the smallest of holes.

Border Terrier appearance

Border Terriers have always been thought of as being the perfect"" little terrier when it comes to build. Males tend to be a little heavier and taller than their female counterparts with males standing at anything from 33 to 40 cm at the withers and weighing 6 to 7 kg. They are sturdy looking, compact little dogs that have quite ""otter-like"" heads which adds to their endearing appearance.

Patterdale Temperament

Energetic, outgoing, independent yet loyal, the Patterdale has a very strong prey drive and for such small dogs, they have an unusually loud bark. They are clever with lots of stamina which means they need the right amount of daily exercise to be truly happy, well rounded dogs. They can compress their chests which allows them to crawl on their bellies close to the ground. They are known to be highly skilled ""diggers"" which can be a problem for anyone who is proud of their garden. With this said, they thrive in a home environment and love nothing more than to be with their owners, never liking to be left on their own for any length of time.

As such, they are better suited to people who work from home or in households where one person usually stays in the house when other people are out. They are not the best choice for novice dog owners because Patterdales need to be trained and handled by people who are familiar with their needs.

Border Terrier Temperament

Energetic, intelligent and loyal, the Border Terrier loves nothing more than to be outside doing something thanks to the fact they have retained a very strong hunting instinct, even in a home environment. As such, they are better suited to people who lead active outdoor lives rather than anyone who leads a more sedentary one. They learn things quickly with the downside to this being they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good.

They are known to be very good at escaping which is why gardens need to be very secure to keep a Border Terrier in. They are sensitive little dogs by nature and therefore they do not respond well to harsh treatment or heavy-handed correction which could result in a dog being a little shy and timid.

Patterdale Shedding

Patterdales are rated low shedders and they drop their coats steadily throughout the year only more so in the spring and the autumn.

Border Terrier Shedding

Border Terriers are also low shedders and like many other breeds they tend to shed steadily throughout the year only more when their summer and winter coats grow through.

Patterdale Training

Being so intelligent, Patterdales are quick to learn things and because they love to please, in the right environment and hands, they are a real pleasure to train. With this said, their education must begin early and boundaries need to be established from the word go so that a Patterdale understands the rules and what an owner expects of them. They also need to be taught the ""recall"" command from a young age and even then, there is never a guarantee a Patterdale would listen if they spot something more interesting in the distance.

Border Terrier Training

Border Terriers are very intelligent dogs and they like to please which means when given the right sort of direction from a young enough age, they are a joy to have around. They are quite independent thinkers by nature which should be factored into their training. In short, they need to handled firmly yet fairly and gently so they understand what is expected of them. Like other terriers, they need to be well socialised from a young enough age for them to be truly well-rounded, well behaved dogs.

Patterdale Exercise

Patterdales are active, energetic little dogs and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with as much mental stimulation as possible for them to be well-rounded dogs. They need a minimum of 60 minutes exercise a day with lots of ""off the lead"" time so they can really express themselves.

Border Terrier Exercise

Border Terriers too need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be truly well-rounded dogs. As such, they should be given at least 60 minutes daily exercise with a ton of mental stimulation too. They excel at all sorts of canine sporting activities which includes things like Flyball and agility which they thoroughly enjoy.

Patterdale Children and Pets

Patterdales are better suited to households with older children and love playing games with them. They also get on with a family cat they have grown up with, but care should be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets they don't already know thanks to the ""terrier"" in them.

Border Terrier Children and Pets

Border Terriers too are known to be good around children although they too are better suited to households with older children rather than toddlers. Providing they have grown up with a cat in a home, they generally tolerate being around them and form strong ties with them. However, care should be taken when a Border Terrier meets any other smaller animals and pets thanks to their high prey drive.

Patterdale Coat

Patterdales can have a smooth, rough or what is called a ""broken"" coat, but all of them have thick undercoats. Smooth coated dogs have dense, coarse hair, whereas dogs with broken coats have guard hairs that are that much longer and coarser to the touch. Rough coated dogs have a slight wave in their coats and they have beards, moustaches and charming eyebrows.

Patterdale Coat colours

Patterdales come in a variety of colours includes the following:

  • Black - with or without lighter hairs in their coat
  • Red - all variations
  • Liver/chocolate - very dark chestnut to a much lighter brown
  • Grizzle
  • Black and tan
  • Bronze

Dogs can have solid coats or they can have some white on their feet and chests.

Border Terrier Coat

Border Terriers have dense, coarse coats with a close undercoat and dogs usually have very thick skin.

Border Terrier Coat colours

Border Terriers come in fewer colours than the Patterdale which are as follows:

  • Red
  • Wheaten
  • Grizzle and tan
  • Blue and tan

Patterdale health

The Patterdale is known to suffer few health issues with the main ones being as follows:

  • Eye issues - mainly conjunctivitis

Border Terrier health

Border Terriers suffer from more hereditary health concerns which includes the following:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Perthes disease
  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS)
  • Seizures
  • Various heart diseases

Patterdale life expectancy

The average life span of a Patterdale Terrier is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Border Terrier life expectancy

The average life span of a Border Terrier is between 12 to 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality, well-balanced diet to suit their ages.


When it comes to which is the more energetic of the two breeds, both the Patterdale and the Border Terrier are high-energy little dogs and both need a minimum of 60 minutes daily exercise with as much off the lead time as possible so these little dogs can really express themselves.




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