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ADBA Patterdale Terrier Conformation Show Standard

By May 16, 2016October 22nd, 2016Conformation Standards

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Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier is a breed of dog PT Standardnative to the Lake District of Cumbria in Northwest England. The name Patterdale refers to a village a little south of Ullswater and a few miles east of Helvellyn. Here the tall, bare and beautiful hills are called Fells. The fells are steep, rocky and filled with foxes. Here, the weather is cold, wet and windy.

Patterdale Terriers were developed in the harsh environment in the north of England that is unable to sustain agriculture and too hilly (in the main) for cattle. Sheep farming is the dominant farming activity on these hills. Since fox are predatory on sheep and small farm animals, terriers are used for predator control. Unlike the dirt dens found in the hunt country of the south, the rocky dens found in the north do not allow much digging. As a consequence, a Patterdale Terrier needs to be able to bolt the fox from the rock crevice or dispatch it where it is found. Because of the difficulty in digging in the north, northern dogs such as the Patterdale aka Fell Terrier, have to be “tough as nails”.

Farmers of the 20th century depend on organized fox-hound hunts to diminish the numbers of foxes that prey on their sheep, and the fox-hounds depend on Fell Terriers to extricate foxes from the crevices in the rocky fells.

The Fells are so rough that horses can not be used for hunting, so the Hunter (the huntsman); his assistants, the hounds and terriers may cover miles of walking on a mountainside in a single day. The Huntsman and the Whipper-in (someone who assists the huntsman during a hunt for foxes and other quarry) keep a pair of terriers at their side to be instantly available when the fox goes to ground. Only the toughest of terriers can keep up all day, then go to earth and rout out a hill-fox under the worst of conditions. The Patterdale is that type of terrier.

The Patterdale Terrier of modern times refers to the mainly black smooth coated Fell Terriers, first popularized by Cyril Breay from Kirby Lonsdale and Frank Buck from Leyburn in Yorkshire during the early part of the 1950’s. At that time, any “typey” fell terrier being shown in the Lake District was called a Lakeland terrier, or simply called a Colored Terrier, whether or not they were from Ullswater County. In the early 1960’s, Brian Nuttall of Holmes Chapel began breeding dogs that he acquired from his grandfather from Breay and Buck bloodlines. These dogs were carefully linebred. Nuttall bloodlines are still considered to be of the highest quality. The modern Patterdale Terrier is to Fell Terriers, what the Jack Russell Terrier is to Hunt Terriers; the indisputable leader in numbers and performance as a breed.

True Patterdales are of working terrier lineage and have a definite stamp of type. People who admire these terriers do so because of their working talents. The Patterdale is the confronting type of hunting dog, the truest of all Earth Terriers!
The Patterdale Terrier, sometimes called the ‘Black Fell Terrier’, or ‘Fell Terrier’, is not as high energy as some other terriers, but don’t be fooled, he is still a lively fellow. This dog was originally bred for hunting or ratting so he still possesses those instincts, which may not be a good fit for the average family.

The Patterdale Terrier is a hunting companion and therefore has a strong prey drive after vermin. As a working terrier it is essential that the dog exhibit staying power at bay, also known as gameness.

The Patterdale is an extremely courageous working terrier. Willing to please, loyal, and intelligent, the Patterdale Terrier has a strong hunting instinct that directs his attention. This breed should always be kept on a lead or a fenced in area, as he can be difficult to catch when he gets going.

Very independent, yet loving, they have great stamina and can work quarry all day, or play all day with the kids. They seem to enjoy swimming and boisterously playing in the water. Yet indoors they can be relaxed and quiet. They get along well with humans, livestock and other dogs.

Due to their compact size, friendly, inquisitive nature and intelligence, Patterdales are attractive as pets, but prospective buyers should be aware that while these dogs may enjoy sitting in a lap, they are not “lap dogs” – they are dogs that require training with regular and consistent exercise to maintain their temperament and to occupy their minds.

Smooth coated dogs within the breed have such a short coat that minimal grooming is needed to keep the dogs in tiptop shape. Brushing with a firm bristle or rubber brush will remove excess hair. Dogs with the broken and rough coats will require hand striping on the withers and back. Furnishings should be left on the face.

Although the Patterdale Terrier is easy to train they are very active and have a shorter attention span than some other breeds demanding the need for consistency in training and socializing. The main requirement is being well stimulated, both mentally and physically. With this in mind, the Patterdale is a happy, wonderful pet and active companion.

The Patterdale Terrier requires regular exercise, and should not remain outside without a fenced yard. If left in the yard unsupervised, he can dig underneath the fence. The fence should be firm in the ground, and high enough so he cannot jump it to find game.

If you are looking for a Patterdale terrier for sale from reputable breeders make sure you understand as much about the dog breed as you can. Those seeking working dogs are advised to focus on size and to make sure they are acquiring their dogs from true working homes. For those who enjoy an active dog and have the yard and time to enjoy a dog with real terrier temperament a Patterdale is for you.

American Dog Breeders Association Inc. Copyright 2008

American Dog Breeders Association Inc. (ADBA) Patterdale TerrierStandard Disclaimer


This breed standard is not a breed identifier. It may only be used to judge the standards of quality of the Patterdale Terrier, as set forth. It’s purpose is for use by American Dog Breeders Association Inc. breeders, or American Dog Breeders Association Inc. sanctioned judges, in determining the quality of each animal being judged at an American Dog Breeders Association Inc. sanctioned show,  or event and for awarding ADBSI points based upon individual quality as reflected by the breed standard of excellence.

It may also be used to evaluate the quality of breeding stock by breeders.

Download: Conformation Standard