The Patterdale Terrier is a small, short haired dog breed. They are usually black but can also be brown or red coated. They are energetic, active and have a high prey drive. This working companion can make a good lap dog or apartment pet, but only if they are able to be a part of your busy, outdoor lifestyle during the day. Today we look at the pros and cons of raising Patterdale Terrier puppies as pets. We’ll look at adopting, caring for and training your adult Patterdale Terrier, and help you to decide whether this breed’s traits, personality, behaviors and characteristics are a good match for your family and children.
- Patterdale Terrier history
- How big are Patterdale Terriers?
- Patterdale Terrier characteristics
- Are Patterdale Terriers good family pets?
- Patterdale Terrier puppies, breeders and rescue
If you have been looking for the perfect furry companion, then you may already know that science has a lot to say about canines. In fact, researchers have known for over 30 years that the mere act of petting a dog can lower the blood pressure, slow the heart rate, calm the breathing and relax the muscles. If you are ready to start embracing the calm that a dog can bring to your life as well as the lowering of stress hormones, then you may find yourself hemming and hawing over the exact breed. If smaller dogs are more your speed, then a Patterdale Terrier may be just what your heart desires.
What Is A Patterdale Terrier?
The Patterdale Terrier or the Black Fell Terrier, is an English dog breed. These dogs originated in England, along with other terriers including the Airedale Terrier, Lucas Terrier, and the Smooth Fox Terrier.
Where Do Patterdale Terriers Come From?
These dogs are small and the word terrier comes from “tere,” which means earth. Earth refers to the original function of the dogs and how they were used to catch vermin. Specifically, the terriers were used to hunt down foxes and force them out of their dens. Their small and wiry nature made them useful and much more agile than larger hunting dogs.
The Patterdale Terrier was bred almost exclusively for its ability to hunt. The dogs are descendants of several other Northern terrier breeds, and their origins can be traced back to the early 20th century to an early breeder named Joe Bowman. Unlike other terriers, the origins are quite clear and attributed to a single individual.
Patterdale Terriers are a newer breed of dog and they are quite popular. These dogs are working dogs who focus on hunting, but they are far less “yappy” than other terriers.
What Do Patterdale Terriers Look Like?
Patterdale Terriers have smaller heads with short muzzles, and their coats are black about 95% of the time. However, potential Patterdale Terrier colors include a bronze, red, liver, grizzle, or chocolate coat.
Some white patches may be seen on the feet and chest as well, and this creates a unique color pattern that is quite desirable.
The coats of the terriers are typically rough, broken, or smooth. A smooth coat is short and lies close to the body, while a broken coat is one with longer hair around the head, legs, body, or a combination of these areas. A rough coat is one with longer hair that is a bit more coarse and harsh.
Patterdale Terrier Weight
The Patterdale Terrier is quite small in size, thought sturdily built. Adult Patterdale Terriers weigh between about 11 and 13 pounds, on average. While this is generally true, due to a large variation the dogs can weigh upwards of 30 pounds!
While your veterinarian may have something to say about the heavier weight, the UKC does accept them as standard show dogs up to 30 pounds. These cute dogs are typically about 12 inches in height, but can stand up to about 15 inches if you have a taller pup.
Patterdale Terrier Temperament
Patterdales have unique personalities that are both similar to and different from other types of terriers. Like other terriers, the dogs are confident, strong-willed, and lively. In some ways they are stubborn, but they can also be very biddable.
These jolly pups have a lot of energy and enjoy playing, running, and fetching. Since they are a working breed, they are good at chasing and searching out toys, balls, and other objects. Most terriers are sweet dogs and Patterdales are no exception.
However, you do need to make sure that the abundance of energy is exerted in a positive manner. Otherwise, your pup can become bored and destructive, which is very bad for your furniture and wardrobe.
Although normally gentle, Patterdale Terriers can occasionally show guarding behaviors so it’s important to pick a puppy from friendly parents, and to socialize him thoroughly.
Patterdale Terrier Hunting
Since Patterdale Terriers were bred as working and hunting dogs, they have strong instincts when it comes to hunting animals. The dogs were often used to locate foxes and rats, but they are highly adept at finding other animals as well, including raccoons.
In fact, some terrier owners use their dogs to hunt raccoons. However, even if you are not the hunting type, your dog’s instincts can kick in if there is a raccoon nearby. Raccoons can and will attack dogs, and often with disastrous results.
According to Dr. Eric Barchas from the San Mateo animal clinic, raccoons will sometimes attempt to drown dogs. They can also scratch the face and bite the abdomen, creating any number of serious injuries.
You can prevent incidents fairly easily, since raccoons almost always attack at night, so keep your dog on a leash at all times when he potties in the evening, even if you live in an urban area.
Patterdale Terrier Training
The strong will, stubbornness, energy, and hunting instincts of the Patterdale Terrier can make this dog a bit difficult to train. If you have ever had a terrier as a pet, then this might seem like quite the understatement.
However, since Patterdales are a bit calmer and more low key than a Jack Russell or a Yorkshire, they are easier to train than these dogs. Training with positive reinforcement is advisable, and scientific research shows that this type of training results in fewer behavior problems down the road.
Patterdale Terrier Health Problems
If you are still deciding on the best dog for you, then you may want to know a little bit about the potential health problems associated with the Patterdale breed.
This type of knowledge is important so you can assess the possible costs of owning your pet and so you can also examine your dog for potential problems.
The good news is that the terriers have few health problems linked to their specific breed. Conjunctivitis and the formation of cataracts are two issues to watch out for though.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an eye condition that involves the conjunctiva or the tissue that sits across the front part of the eye. This tissue can become inflamed and infected. Pink eye has several different causes including allergies, bacterial infections, and viruses.
Patterdales will often develop allergies, so this is commonly the cause of the pink eye issue. Not only are seasonal allergies a concern, but skin allergies can develop too. If your pup has allergies, you may see some dermatitis developing across the body. The genetic predisposition to allergies and an overactive autoimmune system is sometimes called atopy, so speak to your veterinarian about this.
Patterdales can develop glaucoma and cataracts as well, so make sure to make an appointment with your animal doctor if you see any of the following issues:
- Milky eye appearance
- Watery eyes
- Blue or white cornea
- Eye itching or head shaking
Some Patterdales can also develop a disorder called portosystemic shunt or PSS. PSS forms when the blood meant to travel to the liver moves around the organ instead. This causes a lack of blood and a decrease in the nutrients and oxygen needed to function properly.
PSS can be diagnosed through a blood test, so make sure that a liver panel is conducted during your canine’s yearly veterinary well visit. If a problem is detected, it can be treated with medication and diet. In some cases, surgery may be performed, but this is rare.
Patterdale Terrier Knee Problems
Patterdales can develop knee issues, like most other terriers. The problem is called patellar luxation where the knee cap slips out of place. While the condition sounds awfully painful, it really is not. If the knee cap slips out of place, you may see your terrier kicking the leg to the side of the body.
The patella will then shift back into position and you dog will walk normally again. While the issue may come and go, it should be addressed with your veterinarian. Some dogs need surgery to realign the knee cap so it stops slipping out of place.
Patterdale Terrier Breeders
Patterdale terriers are a rare breed, especially since it is a relatively new one compared to other terriers. For example, the Jack Russell Terrier breed is well over 200 years old. Also, breeders are not as abundant in the United States as they are overseas.
If you truly want a purebred Patterdale terrier, then breeders can be found in the United States. You should be prepared to travel some distance and to pay several thousand dollars for the pup though.
Patterdale Terrier Rescue
If your budget does not allow for a purebred dog, then a rescue Patterdale may be a great choice for you. There are many terrier rescue groups throughout the country.
To find a respectable organization, make sure the rescue is affiliated with the Patterdale Terrier Club of America (PTCA). Rescues often have older terriers for adoption. If you want a puppy, then you may need to adopt a mixed breed puppy.
Patterdale Terrier Mix
While Patterdales are excellent dogs for families, they can be a lot to handle in terms of their energy. Purebred terriers are ideal for homes with younger children who have just as much energy and enjoy small pets that the dog might well be a bit too keen on.
If you are a single individual or if you have a quiet home with older kids, then a mixed terrier breed may be a much better choice. If you think this is a good idea, then look for terriers mixed with a calmer dog breed like a Spaniel, Bulldog, or Chin.
Patterdale Terrier Puppies
Don’t be tempted to buy a Patterdale Terrier puppy, or any other puppy, from a pet store. Go to a breeder, who has an interest in the welfare of the mother.
Make sure you meet the mother and if possible the father too. They should be in good condition, friendly and have an obvious bond with their owner.
Remember, cheaper puppies often come from breeders who have cut corners. Choose your pup based upon their quality rather than their cost .l
Are Patterdale Terriers Good Pets?
Patterdale terriers are wonderful, attractive, and energetic dogs that share a lot of the same traits as other types of terriers. However, the dogs have fewer health problems overall and are a bit on the calmer side, making them good pets for active families.
Do you have a Patterdale of your own and want to share some stories about your rambunctious pup? Let us know in the comments below!
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References and Further Reading
- Alan M Beck, Aaron Katcher (1996) Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship, Purdue University Press.
- Allen, Karen PhD; Blascovich, Jim PhD, and; Mendes, Wendy B. MS, Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Psychosomatic Medicine: September/October 2002.
- Emily J.Blackwell, The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 2008.