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There is a big debate that seems to be going on in every Patterdale terrier Facebook group that I visit lately – are Patterdale terriers working dogs or pets? Many people who work their dogs are against Patterdales as pets. But, the true answer is that they can be both, as long as they get what they need.

Working Patterdales

Those who ‘work their Patts’ often take them hunting, which mainly including bushing for rats as fox hunting is banned in England these days. The Patterdales do love it – it’s what they are bred for, and this is what working owners feel that they are deprived of as pets. Many farmers have patterdale terriers to keep their farm free of rats and vermin.

When they are working Patterdales, they get a great deal of exercise and their hunting instinct is satisfied. It takes a lot of training to ensure that they are safe off lead for recall. However, many of them have been reared from puppies which is easier than training an adult rescue dog.

The down side to working Patterdales is that they are illegally used for fox hunting or killing badgers. Not everyone is a responsible owner.

People who don’t work their Patterdales often get concerned about working Patterdales having docked tails. But there is a reason for this – working Patterdales can have tail injuries when they are working, and docking prevents this. It is important that a Patterdale is docked by a vet before 5 days old and he should have a certificate to prove that it was a legal docking.

If you are offered a pup that hasn’t got this certificate, the docking could be illegal and personally I would avoid that breeder. i would also avoid breeders who dock the tails of Patterdales who are to be sold as pets – there is no need for this.

Pet Patterdales

Patterdale terriers make excellent loving and loyal pets. They enjoy human contact and will often find a place on your lap. They will need socialisation and training of course. If you need help with that, read this article on Patterdale terrier training.

Of course, it’s fine to have a pet Patterdale terrier, but if they are not a ‘working dog’ you will need to ensure that they get the same exercise as one who is working. That means at least two walks a day plus off lead time.

They will also need mental stimulation such as sniffing games, training and puzzles. I’d recommend that you get your Patterdale a snuffle mat and some Nina Ottosson dog puzzles. You pet Patterdale will also enjoy training and learning new tricks.

So – Are Patterdale Terriers working dogs or Pets?

The bottom line is that they can be both, but if you work your Patt be aware of the hunting laws in the country that you operate in, and if you have a Pet Patt make sure that he/she gets as much exercise as a worker! All Patterdale terriers need a great deal of time and energy spent on them – so manke sure that you can provide him or her with this before you get one.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Working Terrier Guide

3 thoughts on “Are Patterdale Terriers working dogs or Pets?”

  1. Breeders cannot always be sure if their dog is going to be a working dog and/or a pet and as tail docking has to be done so early in dog’s lives, you cannot ‘pick and choose’ which pup’s tail is been docked and which not…the litter is done as whole. That doesn’t make breeder ‘bad’ or docking ‘unnessary’. Pups from working parents do not always end up being good enough workers but are destined and end up being good pets….

  2. Hi…. I have adopted an 8 year old sir haired terrier (never told the terrier type), and dachshund mix. She is a match for picture under Patterdale Terrier, however, I’m still not sure, what she is, but she looks exactly like the one in the picture listed Patterdale. She is loving, fast, loves to hunt squirrels (try’s to climb the tree) I have to work at getting her to move on. Tail, hair, chest (a little white), has some very short wit hair on fave, neck, a few places as if grey was coming in. I was told he had that for quite awhile. Well trained. Just want to be with me all the time. Lives people. Very cuddly, love attemtion. Great around people and most dogs.
    I wish I could send you a picture. She has brown eyebrows that stick up. Hair off her mouth, brown eyes. Short legs like a dachshund, hair is soft, wavy, but near back by tail, is courser. How can I send you the picture next to yours??? Thank you!


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