The Patterdale Terrier is an athletic Terrier and size wise they are generally anywhere between around 25 – 38cm or 10 – 15 inches. The old standard of 12” x 12” x 12” is still relevant today inasmuch as the Patterdale Terrier should be in proportion. See the explanation for the 12x12x12 on the Patterdale Terrier weight page. Therefore the height of your Patterdale will determine its weight. The height of a Patterdale, however is determined by a range of factors.
The Patterdale was originally developed as a working, hunting breed and initially that was solely what they were bred for. Breeders would choose their breeding stock based on its athleticism and its hunting instinct and ability.
Fortunately, because Patterdales are not a breed that is accepted by the kennel club and that is no bad thing, there are ‘guardians’ of the breed who breed good athletic true to type Patterdales. However, what it does mean is that the casual observer or pet owner does not have an easily accessible set standard to work too when considering a Patterdale or when deciding whether or not to breed from their terrier.
However, although showing Patterdale Terriers is not something that happens at the kennel club shows, there have for as long as there have been dogs as companions to humans been shows at gatherings and so forth. This has developed into more formal terrier shows and terrier racing, especially among those who work their terriers. Therefore, the hunting folk created the standard for the Patterdale to be similar to that of the (then) Jack Russell Terrier. Rather than adopting the standard for the Fell and Lakeland terriers that the Patterdale is more closely related to. What this did was give some form of guidance to the breeders and a target based on type to aim to for those who were breeding for type and temperament rather than purely for hunting. Indeed, although terrier shows originated mainly with the working terrier people, increasingly they have been about correctness of confirmation, type and appearance. Meaning that those terriers with working battle scars increasingly were being marked down and the judging being about factors unrelated to the actual “working” ability of the terrier.
Whilst the Lakeland is taller and bulkier and the Fell often a little smaller and chunkier, the Patterdale has emerged as the athletic and finer looking of these three particular terrier breeds. The smooth coated especially has a very sleek appearance and that should also be apparent in the rough coated version. The size of an individual Patterdale will depend on the breed line that it has come from.
A terrier breed (and there are a couple of exceptions) should by definition be capable of going underground to flush out ground dwelling prey such as foxes and rabbits. Therefore they need to be small enough to do so.
Because the height of the terrier was for so long less important than its working ability and stamina the height of the Patterdale has not been a determining factor in recognising the breed. Basically, they are “terrier sized”.
What about crosses? There are a lot of Patterdale crossbreeds; even before the modern love of crossing breeds to create a new breed the Patterdale was a terrier breed that would be crossed with other terrier breeds, often as a way of increasing or decreasing size, frequently the Patterdale was introduced to another breed’s line to increase pray drive. Therefore, when those crosses where bred back to the Patterdale the size would sometimes increase or decrease accordingly.
The modern crosses, many of which can be explored here: Patterdale cross dogs will of course also vary in size, depending on the breed size that they are crossed with and the genealogy of both parents. The development of the crossbreeds as recognised and named crosses is an interesting development that we will happily follow.
In conclusion, as long as you love your Patterdale his or her size is unimportant because there is no set official sizing guidelines. As mentioned above this is not a bad thing. Once a breed is restricted by narrow parameters, it does not always tend to be a good thing for the breed. There are enough Patterdale fans and experts to ensure that the breed remains in good order. If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may like to visit our similar article on the Patterdale terrier weight and Patterdale terrier temperament.