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Patterdale Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier, sometimes referred to as the Black Fell Terrier from which it descended, is a type of Fell Terrier that originated in the north of England. The breed is named after the village of Patterdale in Cumbria, where it was originally bred by shepherds and farmers to control fox populations, which were a threat to sheep herds. Patterdale Terriers were developed in the early 20th century, primarily through the efforts of a breeder named Joe Bowman, a Lake District huntsman. He focused on creating a terrier breed that was hardy, bold, and capable of surviving and working in the challenging and harsh landscapes of northern England. These dogs were used primarily for hunting and herding, and their small size allowed them to chase prey, such as foxes, into their dens. Despite being less well-known than other terrier breeds, Patterdale Terriers have gained popularity due to their tenacious nature, intelligence, and versatility.

Main Info
Northern England
Alternate Names
Black Fell Terrier
Life Expectancy
12-15 years
Average Male Height
10-15 inches
Average Female Height
10-15 inches
Average Male Weight
11-14 pounds
Average Female Weight
11-14 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Smooth, Broken, Rough
Coat Colors
Black, Red, Liver, Chocolate, Grizzle, Black & Tan, Bronze
Coat Pattern
White Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Patterdale Terriers are known to be generally healthy dogs, however they may suffer from cruciate ligament disease, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, intervertebral disk disease, and lens luxation. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: hyperuricosuria, degenerative myelopathy, primary lens luxation, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

Patterdale Terriers are known for their energetic, lively, and independent nature. They are brave and tenacious, reflecting their terrier origins, and are often described as "punching above their weight". They have a strong instinct to dig and chase, which makes them excellent hunters but can be a challenge in a domestic environment. This breed is also known for being relatively quiet for a terrier, although they will sound the alarm if strangers approach. Despite their tough exterior, they are affectionate with their families and get along well with children, although they may not do well with other pets due to their high prey drive.

Fun Facts

The Patterdale Terrier comes in two coat types: smooth and broken. The smooth coat is short and coarse, while the broken coat is slightly longer with a rough texture.

Patterdale Terriers are excellent swimmers. Their strong, flexible bodies and water-resistant coats make them naturals in the water.

Despite their small size, they are surprisingly strong and agile, able to scale tall fences and navigate difficult terrain with ease.

The breed is popular among outdoor enthusiasts and hikers due to their agility, endurance, and adaptability to various climates and terrains.