The Patterdale Terrier


Solid, smooth and jet black is the a typical patterdale terrier. Such a dark gladiator of a dog is a joy to see, but despite what some may tell us, the patterdale can be thrown in practically any colour. From certain lines, the litter can be multi-coloured from sandy ginger to black and practically every shade in between. In the UK at the moment it appears that the patterdale Terrier is the next “In thing” , but I hope this fad peters out for such publicity and popularity will, eventually, lead to the demise of the patterdales working ability.

Patterdale Terriers

For many decades patterdale terriers have been bred from worker to worker, with the dogs not up to scratch culled. This method of improvement had given us the patterdale of today as we know it, with many excellent strains that are game. Gameness and working ability is the number one priority for the genuine terrier owner.

The trouble when a breed/type becomes popular is that the prices asked for such animals are often hugely inflated and poor specimens are passed off as genuine workers thus allowing a sub-standard dog carry its genes into the next generation. To a true working terrier bloodlines are everything. But the money men care little for such pedigrees; in fact, they don’t even understand the relevance of such history. Indeed, it is well documented that false pedigrees are banded around in order to sell pups to the highest bidder. Could you ever imagine these money men ever culling a terrier because it is a coward and a non-worker? No Way! They would probably breed off it, sell the pups for £250 a shot and then sell the adult as an “Experienced” worker. In the end, it is the breed that looses out.

Patterdale Terrier

Breeding smaller and smaller to satisfy the overseas market is, again, at a detriment to the real working patterdale. A real terrier must be big enough to endure the rigours of a days hunting and working earths. It may need to use its strength to push its fox into a stop end. Some small, snipey headed terriers would be of little use to the true terrier man.

Those terrier owners that go out and dig to their dogs week in, week out often shun the shows/clubs/money side of things. They do not need a rosette to tell them what to keep in their kennel, their dogs are judged by their quarry. The value of a true patterdale cannot be realized by spanning or how it walks across a ring, but only by the amount of hours it puts in under the turf. Let us hope that the patterdale terrier’s popularity isn’t its undoing.

  • Lincolnimp

    If anyone has a patterdale that needs a good home I am after one but a tad skint. I run two lurchers but the bitch (collie/whippet) is feeling her age and not really up to working the hedges like she used to although she still courses well. I have been thinking of getting a pattie or a game JR for a few months now to do the hedge work. I am in mixed country, largely fen with a lot of cover – a willow plantation as well as open runs down the dykes. A mate of mine had a white Pattie called Brick -everyone took it for a JR – best ratter I ever knew.

  • Arthur n

    Just realised the dog I rescued from northern cyprus 2 years ago as a pup is definitely a patterdale terrier. Not sure to laugh or cry but I must say both him and the other rescue dog I brought back are priceless

  • pablo esc

    Good writeup . The two dog’s are identical to a pair of dogs that i seen in the nineties. A black nuttal dog and the choc bitch. Look the same, Good luck

  • JMDorset

    Great article & thank you. i have a Patterdale x Cocker spaniel and she is one of the brightest dogs I have ever come across. Although she doesn’t work in the proper sense I have trained her from a pup to hunt truffles and to flush ground for exercise. I must say her favourite sport is rats, she cannot get enough of them.

  • big al

    my patterdale bitch is in full season and will stand to a dog but every time he makes his move she will spin round and snap to the point of him losing interest this is the third time on three different dogs, so what do i do now ?

    • Dan

      Try using an experienced stud dog and possibly muzzle the bitch. Had this problem with the last bitch I put my dog to, the first time she was having none of it and just as he was about to lock she would snap back at him and squirm him off. Luckily, he’s a very persistent dog and when we tried again 2 days later it was a success! I’ve seen people restrain the bitch while the male mounts and locks, just watch she doesn’t lose her temper and you don’t get caught in the middle.

  • banyard

    My 2 year old red patterdale, rustys , like bruce lee , hes a nuttall wheeler strain which means smooth coated we a white bib ! Since buying him from a pup hes been full bore retrieving game birds of all types ,squirrel , when he reached 9 month he caught his first rabbit , now at two hes getting in to everthing ! Un stopable lol hard as nails he’d go out his way to get the job done no matter how big of a job and once some things in his head wtf hes mental , best hardest little dog ever a absolute nightmare but on thee other hand he die for me if id let him which I wouldnt becouse hes my best pal

  • steven

    nice dogs apart from mine who just killed my goshawk gutted

    • TerrierLoony

      Know the feeling, I have lost one ore two ferrets to my lakey bitch. she thinks they are rats!!

  • brambles 12345

    I have a 13 week old patterdale terrier same as the one in the picture above its now bolting rabbits and doing its work Great stuff

  • Dick McLoon

    My wife and I have an all black Pater Dale Terrier. I have owned many dogs over the years, but have never loved any other as our little “Rescue Dog”. I find it hard to believe that anyone would let her go to the streets. She is very smart (and sometimes devious) and seems to understand the English language better than some humans do. She is also very affectionate and protective. She can run like the wind, and she did very well {and seemed to love it} in the contests in which she had to deal with all kinds of obstacles, like ramps, tunnels, hurdles, etc. We should be so lucky!

  • anthony

    hi could anybody give me advise on off the lead training I a 3 month old patterdale hes so0 inelegant and listen in the house but out on the lead he tends to be his own person especial at the park with other dogs around am pretty sure he would run on and not listen to command help please

    • Lee

      Be patient and carry loads of treats. Mines just turned a year and has just started to get it. Be brave, don’t hide the dog away to avoid your own embarrassment when it doesn’t come back.
      Ours has had a couple of scrapes, but is so game she thinks the other dogs are playing. You gotta trust them and they’ll trust you back.
      I practised calling mine and taking her on and off the lead and giving her a treat when she went back on. That way she does;t think the funs over.

      Hope this helps, they drive you crazy !!!

    • bruce bolduc

      I don’t know if you can trust a patterdale off-leash. They seem to be very intelligent but have ADD.
      In the house and in structured training sessions, Elly (our rescue patterdale) will be a well mannered dog and and responds to training and treats.
      Outside, there are so many distractions that I haven’t been successful about training out.
      Also, Elly goes “terrier” when she sees prey (cat/squirrel/chipmunk/rabbit/fox/deer) and would pursue that no matter what treat I have. Other terrier owners tell me that she has a very strong prey drive and when a terrier owner says that, well, you have something special

  • linz

    I have a bundle patterdale like the brown one in the pic. He is 7 now and we walk and he chases squirrels rabbits and birds everyday. Never catches them though! I truly believe that this is what keeps him the great, balanced and a brilliant dog to have in our lives

  • Mr. B

    My Nuttall patty is going on 14 years old. He’s retired from hunting, aside from chasing the occassional groundhog, squirrel, or rabbit…but has been one of the best dogs I’ve ever owned.

  • brownyb9

    Im looking for a patterdale pup in south wales area if anybody knows of any.

  • RichieRich23

    Got a Choc Pat 3 Months old great article

  • Tommy

    my bruiser is a patterdale cross an its a beast

  • Liam

    I’m parting way with my beloved 1 yr old patterdale Loki tomorrow. Unfortunately, totally out of character he but my next door neighbour. Were keeping him at a friends for a couple of days and from there he’s going on to be a working dog. I’m heartbroken but in reality, this is what he’s meant for.

  • tomcritch

    nice dog

  • Hi i have a dog like the brown one above but i dont know the bread.plaes help!send me the bread

  • foxyloxy

    good strong dog are the patterdale but manerally also

  • bill

    i have just rescued a patterdale and she has a badly damaged lower jaw which we where told was caused by badger/fox baiting she never barked for at least 1 month and after 3 months she is a different dog she has watched, learned and played with my beagle also a rescue and they love chasing birds and squirrels, so if working a patterdale causes such injuries i am glad i do not work mine, she is now a happy dog but still as brave and stubborn as ever.

  • Malcolm Phillips

    I have the ultimate killing machine a Patterdale cross with Bedlington but what a lovely temperament

  • rabbitstew

    Much prefer the more ”old-school” Lakeland type patterdale to the ”Bully” smooth coat type but i suppose as long as they work,who cares ?

  • Oscarthepatt

    Great article, totally agree about the ridiculous prices… Seen some advertised recently at £400!!

  • Paul morco

    there the last of the real working terriers

  • Bigpat

    Good article & I agree & hope the breed does not get spoiled, I love my Patterdales & am not supprised by their increased popularity, mine are red & choc color, Nuttal – Wheelers, yes attractive dogs but workers!

    • banyard

      Nutall wheelers r best pal thee like bruce lee of dogs that red un looks like mine is it a dog or bitch ?

  • derry85

    hi all,iv just joined tonight so starting my browse on site lol looks great so much to chose.
    love the the dogs,iv got a rough coat pure white lurcher,jack russel and fell terrier from brightmore lines which iv just lined.derry

  • duffers176

    I love the breed

  • shanelee

    nice dog

  • Lewis

    Love patties

    • pigeon21

      me too boss dogs

  • bd hunter

    Not a lover of the black dog but money men and rosette hunters spoil the breed a rosette dont bite back

  • chelsea

    have a few friends with patterdales good article

  • Love the patterdales terriers. I think my one is a patterdales don’t seem to see many like her though. Fern is all black and very curly coated. Always trying to hunt got quite large paws but small and stocky. I would like to know f she is a patterdales. She is I suppose a sort of rescue dog. Her owner could no longer keep her as her husband died in drowning accident. Long story.

  • misty1

    Good afternoon, I have just joined this forum and am keen on all wildlife sports, but my passion is goose shooting, hope to hear off members to swap stories

  • Richie b

    Well done class article. Really fits the patterdale love them dogs