What is a Fell Terrier?

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Patterdale terriers are often referred to as fell terriers. Maybe people mistake the term ‘fell terrier’ for a breed, which it’s not. The term fell terrier really refers to a specific group of dog breeds that come from Great Britain that are long legged working terriers. This could include the patterdale terrier, Lakeland terrier and the Scorrier terrier. Therefore fell terriers are a type rather than breed of dog.

Fell Terrier Characteristics

Characteristics of fell terriers include small is size (like a Jack Russell) but with longer legs, drop ears and a strong hunting drive. Most of them are tan in colour, but their colours and coats can vary, They may be brown, red or copper. Their coats could be coarse or smooth.

Working Dogs or Pets?

Fell terriers are working dogs that love to live on farms and go out to hunt – they hunt rats, badgers, rabbits and foxes. Their original job was to run into the den and flush out the prey so that it could be hunted above ground. Laws now mean that fox hunting as a sport in England is illegal. But many terriers are still used as ratters or to keep away vermin in the countryside. However, these days they are also great pets, provided that they get enough exercise and mental stimulation.

What Dog Breeds are Classed as Fell Terriers?

The breeds that are classed as Fell terriers are usually bred in England and the names of the terriers reflect their breeding ground. For example, Patterdale terriers were bred in the village of Patterdale and Lakeland terriers were bred in Lakeland in the Lake District (Cumbria).

Patterdale Terriers are smooth or coarse haired terriers that are similar to Jack Russel terrier but with longer legs and usually all one colour. Lakeland terriers have squarer muzzles and longer coats. Scorrier Terriers were bred by the Williams family in Scorrier and are another breed that would be classed as fell terriers.

So there you have it – the fell terrier – a type of dog, but not a breed!

You might also like to read 10 things you should know before you own a Patterdale terrier and terrier toys your dog will love.

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