Hailing from the difficult terrain of England's Lake District, the Patterdale Terrier derives its name from Patterdale in Cumbria, where it was once shown. One of the native Terrier breeds that is unrecognized by kennel clubs and not reduced by their standards, the Patterdale is rarely observed outside Great Britain where it has enjoyed considerable popularity in farming circles. Primarily bred as a fox, rabbit and vermin hunter, bolting and killing its quarry, the modern Patterdale is often utilised in guarding flocks from foxes and other predators, whilst being a versatile working dog about the farmstead. First developed by Brian Nuttall in the early 1960s, the Patterdale Terrier descends from various Northern Terrier breeds seen in the early 20th century.
A rustic-looking dog boasting short, straight legs, a defined and tapering muzzle, triangular 'drop' ears and a tail that is traditionally docked. The coat is typically smooth or rough, and commonly coloured black with white markings on the chest and feet. Other colours observed in the breed include grizzle, chocolate, black and tan, bronze, liver and red and tan. Retaining its strong hunt drive, the Patterdale is inclined to chase smaller animals, usually killing them in the process, so early training against this is imperative. The breed's compact and athletic build made it capable of maneuvering into tight spaces to delve out den quarry.
Highly energetic and intelligent, the breed requires both physical and mental stimulation in order to discourage destructive behaviours around the home. The Patterdale Terrier is characteristically less yappy than its cousins, making for a peaceful companion dog. It is not uncommon for a Patterdale Terrier to display signs of stubbornness or aggression so early socialisation and firm leadership is important. Otherwise, a Patterdale Terrier is typically cool, calm and collected, making a great addition to active family life. A healthy Patterdale Terrier will weigh 5-6 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when shown the appropriate love and care.
Eye disorders are prevalent in the breed, ranging from mild to more serious. These include conjunctivitis, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma, although the Patterdale is otherwise healthy and long-lived.