Critter Culture
The Patterdale Terrier: Small and Mighty

The Patterdale Terrier: Small and Mighty

Critter Culture Staff



When it comes to the Patterdale terrier, looks can be deceiving. They're only about 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 11 and 13 pounds, but this dog is not a toy breed. Patterdale terriers are skilled, determine hunters that are as solid and tough as breeds twice their size. Those looking for an energetic, independent dog should consider the feisty Patterdale.


The Patterdale terrier is a true hunter

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Patterdale terriers are extremely independent. They were bred to function as ratters and hunting companions, and they're great at what they do. This breed is not for everyone. If you can't appreciate the terrier's feisty personality and need to hunt, run, and dig, this is a dog that might be a little overwhelming.


They're excellent at rooting out prey

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Patterdale terriers were born to dig and are ready to pursue any small animal that has escaped underground. They're quick on their feet, too, able to scramble along rocks, mines, and other difficult terrain and not afraid to do so. These traits make them excellent escape artists as they have no problem digging or climbing their way to freedom.


Patterdale terriers are best for experienced trainers

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Training Patterdale terriers is not for the faint of heart. They need constant mental and physical challenges and require an owner who is firm, consistent, and confident. This breed is not recommended for the average dog owner. If they sense their owner is not strong-minded, they will believe they are in charge, which leads to persistent behavioral problems.


It's not a good pack hound

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Patterdale terriers are independent hunters. They may do okay in a small pack with other Patterdales, but they are too robust to work well with most pack hounds. For example, a Patterdale terrier is more likely to chase after and kill a fox on its own instead of allowing a pack of foxhounds to pursue it.


Their grooming needs are simple

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Patterdale terriers may have a broken or smooth coat, each with a dense undercoat for keeping them warm when on the hunt. Those with broken coats may also have a little more hair around the face, including a beard and mustache. Colors vary and can be red, river, black, bronze, or tan. They can be solid or have white markings on the feet and chest.


Patterdale terriers are prone to developing small dog syndrome

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The combination of their size and personality makes Patterdale terriers prone to developing small dog syndrome if they are not trained properly. This stems from permitting small dogs to do things that large dogs would not be allowed to do, like jumping up on people's legs or growling at strangers. Small dog syndrome results in a lot of problems, including separation anxiety and destructive behaviors, all the more reason proper training is essential.


This breed cannot be kept in a home with other pets

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The Patterdale terrier likes to chase, run, and hunt, and it can be difficult to train; therefore, it's not surprising that it cannot be kept in a home with small pets. While it can be socialized properly with other dogs, other pets like cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters are seen as prey.


Patterdales need a lot of exercise

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Patterdale terriers were bred to hunt over all types of terrain for long periods, and they have the energy to prove it. This breed has high exercise needs and should have access to a safe, enclosed outdoor area where it can run around multiple times a day. If they don't get enough exercise, they're likely to pick fights with other dogs or engage in destructive behaviors.


They are a very healthy breed

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Patterdale terriers are an exceptionally healthy breed and aren't prone to any major health conditions. To make sure you get a puppy that's as healthy as possible, choose a reputable breeder and try to meet at least one of the parents, usually the mother. With proper care, a Patterdale terrier can live as long as 13 years.


They're a good match for energetic families

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As long as they get enough exercise, Patterdale terriers make excellent pets. They have the energy to match young children, but playtime should always be supervised because both the dog and the kids tend to get a little boisterous. Running around the yard, playing fetch, or engaging in vigorous play are all great ways to exercise a Patterdale terrier and get the kids involved in care.


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