Every breed of dog has something different to offer, so it is worth taking the time to learn more about the pooch you are bringing into your life. In this blog post, we are going to look closer at the Patterdale Terrier – otherwise known as Fell Terrier. Originating from the north of England, Patterdale Terriers were originally used as hunting dogs because of their small size and sharp senses.
Nowadays, they still have a high level of popularity in the UK, which has spread to other parts of the world as well thanks to their unrivaled loyalty and friendliness. So, if you are looking for a new little doggy companion, a Patterdale Terrier may prove to be the ideal choice!
History of the Patterdale Terrier
Let’s start by taking a closer look at the history of Patterdale Terriers. They were first bred in the 1960s in the Lake District, one of the most beautiful national parks located in the north of England. Farmers needed a dog that was capable of looking after their flocks of sheep, as well as hunting foxes and other animals. Being small and agile enough to burrow down into fox dens as and when needed, Patterdale Terries became farmers’ ideal dog companions. Add to this a Petterdale’s naturally high levels of courage, and you get a fearsome opponent for any potential prey. Unlike other dogs of which we cannot know the exact origins, Patterdale Terriers’s history can be traced back precisely. Descended from the smooth-coated Fell Terrier, which was first created in the harsh climate of Northern England, the Patterdale is first and foremost a small working terrier. A breeder named Joe Bowman is credited with developing this hard-working and courageous breed; however, he is not the only one responsible for the modern Patterdale’s look and behavior. Bowman’s extraordinary work was later taken on by many different UK breeders which not only popularized the breed, but also helped standardize it.
The Patterdale Terrier was first brought into the U.S.A. in 1978. Despite living here for over four decades, the breed is not particularly popular; in fact, outside of the UK, the Patterdale is a rare breed. The good news is that its popularity is slowly but steadily growing, especially among folks who love working and guard dogs.
Quick Facts About the Fell Terrier
- Patterdale Terriers are a relatively small breed that generally only weigh between 11 and 13 pounds. However, there are some larger members of the species that weight upwards of 30 pounds!
- In terms of their physical appearance, they have small heads and short muzzles. And most of the time their coats are black. Some have white patterns around their feet and chest areas. There are 5% of Patterdales that are different colors, but their head should match the rest of their body regardless. Some have rough coats, while others are smoother. They also possess the perfect scissor bite.
- We mentioned earlier how Patterdale Terriers have clear origins, and they were in fact named after a village called Patterdale in the Lake District.
- While they are only a small dog, Patterdales have the kind of high stamina that allows them to keep up with horses.
- Like most terriers, the Patterdale is a confident and lively dog that requires an active lifestyle; they’re practically bursting with energy and therefore need lots of daily physical activity to remain calm and well-behaved.
- While very smart, this breed is not easiest to train due to its stubborn streak, which is why a Patterdale is not recommended for first-time owners.
Things You Should Know About Patterdale Dog
Now, we come onto the section that discusses any other information that you may need to know about Patterdales. There are plenty of positive characteristics that are worth pointing out in more detail. As well as being loyal and devoted, these dogs get on well with other pets. If you live an active outdoor life, they will be the ideal companion. There aren’t too many specific health concerns that you need to be worried about, and you don’t have to do too many grooming activities.
On the more negative side, they are not ideal for first-time owners. If you live a less active life, you may struggle to keep up with your pup. Their high prey drive may prove to be an annoyance and they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
One of the most important things to remember is that you need to teach your dog ground rules straight away. If they are not properly socialized and trained, there is every chance that their stubbornness and strong temperament will take over.
Before you adopt a Fell Terrier, you need to know more about their health and anything that could negatively impact it. On the plus side, there aren’t many specific issues that you need to concern yourself about. However, there are a couple of risks associated with their eyes including conjunctivitis, glaucoma cataracts. The first involves the inflammation and infection of the tissue sitting across the front of the eye. The latter two are problems that form over time. Watch out for signs including redness, squinting, watery eyes, itching or head shaking.
Another potential problem is allergies – both in the form of seasonal and skin allergies. So, you may find that dermatitis is a big problem. Speak to your veterinarian about treatment options when you get the chance.
Like most other Terriers, Patterdales can develop knee problems like patellar luxation that involves the kneecap slipping out of place. It may take some kicks before it shifts back into place once again. If the issue persists, you should speak to your vet as some dogs will require surgery to correct the problem.
Puppies have to be given their first shots before they are sold, but you need to be the one responsible for making sure that they have all their follow-ups on time. Discuss with your vet everything that you need to have done. When your dog reaches old age, they need special care due to increasing health risks. You may notice that their coat becomes coarser, reduced stamina, and a loss on muscle tone. You should feed them a good-quality diet that is packed with all the right nutrients. Also, they are more prone to putting on weight, so you need to keep a close eye on their waistline.
Unfortunately, Patterdales don’t rank amongst the easiest dogs to train in the world. They are strong-willed and stubborn creatures, which still possess the hunting instincts that they were originally bred for. However, compared to some other types of Terrier, they are much easier to train. Positive reinforcement is always an effective route to go down.
Socialization and training should start at the earliest possible opportunity. If you have a puppy, you should teach them the ground rules to give them boundaries and limits. And there are plenty of basic commands that can prove to be useful including ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘leave it’. The latter is especially important for dogs whose natural instincts are to hunt their prey.
Patterdales are both energetic and highly intelligent, so they need the right combination of physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. If you leave them alone too much, they are likely to get bored and find their own destructive ways of keeping themselves busy – or they could suffer from separation anxiety instead. You should walk them twice a day. A short walk in the morning is fine, but you will need to give them a longer one in the afternoon too. If you have a back yard, you can allow them to roam around freely. However, you need to make sure that your fencing is secure. Otherwise, they have every chance of burrowing themselves to freedom!
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But there is a balance to be struck. You need to be wary of over exercising your young Patterdale puppies as they still have growing bones and joints that could become too pressurized over time. Try to prevent them from jumping up and down off furniture if you can. The same goes for stairs as well.
A reputable breeder should give you a proper guide to feeding your puppy, and you should stick to the same routine each and every day. Their meals should be spread evenly throughout the day, and you should get into a routine of feeding three or four times per day. When you are changing their diet, you should do so with a gradual approach that takes into account how easily they can suffer from gastrointestinal problems. If any issues occur, you are better reverting to the original diet and discussing with your vet if you want to change anything.
As for older dogs, it is best to get them onto a twice a day feeding routine with high-quality food that properly matches all nutritional requirements. While Patterdale Terriers are not known to be too fussy, they still need to be fed properly to keep their systems in good working order. Even if you are sticking to a fixed diet in terms of calories, you still need to ensure that your pooch gets plenty of exercise to stop them from gaining too much weight. Obesity is one of the most common health concerns for dogs these days, so watch their waistline. But Patterdales are so small and active that this doesn’t tend to present a major concern. If you choose to get your dog spayed or neutered, this is when they are more likely to pile on the pounds.
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Grooming your Patterdale Terrier shouldn’t present as big a problem as it would for other long-haired breeds. Not only are their coats short, but they are tight as well. This means that you should only need to brush them around once a week to remove dead hair and shedding skin. You should also get your dog hand stripped twice a year by a professional groomer. It is a good idea to get into a habit of checking your dog’s ears on a regular basis, cleaning them as needed. Otherwise, it is very common for wax to build up, which can result in painful infections. As the old saying goes, prevention is far better than the cure. You should also get into the habit of brushing
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As we mentioned earlier, dermatitis can be a problem in Patterdale Terriers, so grooming presents the perfect opportunity for you to check up on their skin health too. There are several triggers that you should be wary of including pollen, grasses, household cleaning products, tick and flea bites, dust mites, and mold.
While Patterdales can be characterized as similar to other Terriers, there are also some obvious differences as well. Stubbornness and confidence are two of the personality traits that are often observed. And they are also lively with plenty of energy. So, make sure that you spend plenty of time playing with your dog. This will help to direct all this energy in a positive direction. You will be able to enjoy all sorts of different games together. Otherwise, they can become overly destructive, which can take itself out on your furniture or your clothes! And if you leave them to their own devices outdoors for too long, you may find that your back yard gets dug up!
In many ways, Patterdales Terriers can present something of a contrast. While they like their independence, they also crave companionship and can become very upset if they are left alone for a long time.
Generally, Patterdales have a gentle nature, but they will sometimes show guarding behaviors that come from their past life as hunting and protective dogs. If you can meet the parents of your puppy, this often helps. But putting them through a proper socialization routine can also go a long way too. For such a small dog, they certainly have a loud bark too! This can be trained out of them as it is likely to become quite annoying if not.
When it comes to hunting animals, Patterdales tend to have strong instincts as this is what they were originally bred for. Some owners use them for these instincts, but even if you don’t, you may find that they kick in anyway. Keep your dog on a leash when they are around potential prey to stop them from running off as they are going to be very difficult to catch again!
Patterdales love being in a family environment, and they should get on well with kids of all ages. They can also be taught to socialize well with other dogs. But if you are a first-time dog owner, you may find yourself with greater challenges as they need proper training and handling. If you have owned a Terrier before, you will already be well-aware what it takes. Also, if you don’t have enough time to offer plenty of exercise opportunities or keep them mentally engaged, you may be better adopting a different breed of dog.
There are also rescue centers available if you would prefer to go down this route. Check out the Patterdale Terrier Club of America (PTCA). Bear in mind that it is often older Patterdales who are up for adoption. Alternatively, you could adopt a mixed breed puppy. This may be the better choice if you are looking for a quieter and calmer dog.
Patterdales are best in households with big backyards where they can roam around. They may not be best as an indoor dog kept in an apartment all day long. Since they develop such strong bonds with their owners, it is better that they aren’t left alone for an extended period of time. They can also act as good watchdogs as they are protective of their environment and the people in their lives. However, due to their frequent barking, you may struggle to know when there is a real threat and when it is absolutely nothing!
If you have read through all this and you think that a Patterdale Terrier is the dog for you, there are still a few things that are worth considering beforehand. First, you should choose a reputable breeder. Be aware that there are plenty of online scams out there looking to part you with your money. You should never transfer any money without meeting the seller in person – even if the pictures do look too good to be true. Be especially wary of anyone offering a Patterdale puppy at a price that seems too good to be true. There is every chance that there is some sort of scam going on here.
Even though there aren’t too many health concerns to speak of, you should still check out your dog on a regular basis and do all the appropriate grooming work including brushing their teeth and clipping their nails. Also, you should feed them high-quality dog food that works for their energetic lives.
Finally, it is just worth reiterating once again that Patterdales are very high-energy and more work than other breeds of dog. There aren’t too many health problems that you need to concern yourself with, but you are going to have to exercise your dog on a regular basis, as well as keeping them mentally stimulated. If this doesn’t sound like it’s for you, think again. But if you are ready to give a Patterdale a home, you are likely to find yourself with a highly loyal and fun companion for years to come.
- The Patterdale Terrier Dog Breed – Animal Corner