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So, you’re thinking about getting a Patterdale terrier? It’s a brave decision! Don’t get me wrong, I adore high energy breeds such as the Patterdale terrier and Jack Russell Terrier. But there’s a lot you should know about the patterdale terrier temperament before you commit to owning a dog of this breed.

Strong Prey Drive

Patterdale terriers were originally bred for hunting foxes and badgers on farmland in Cumbria. This prey drive is kind of in their genes and difficult to get rid of. You will need to bear in mind that recall can be a challenge when squirrels, rabbits, rats or cats are around and you may need to keep them on lead in areas when small animals and badger sets or fox dens can be found (unless they are trained working dogs of course). Due to their strong prey drive Patterdales ideally shouldn’t be mixed with other small pets or rodents such as rabbits, guinea pigs or hamsters – this can be a recipe for disaster! They can be ok with cats if they are bought up as puppy and kitten together, but bringing a rescue patterdale into a household with cats is more of a challenge.

working patterdale terrier hunting rats

High Energy!

Patterdale terriers are very high energy dogs. They need a great deal of exercise both on and off lead. This, combined with their strong prey drive may mean that recall training is more challenging than with other dogs. If you don’t exercise your patterdale terrier then his energy may turn negative and your dog could express it through destruction or barking and nipping or aggression (you may want to read are patterdales aggressive?)

A Patterdale will need at least two 30 minute walks daily and also this should be combined with extended walks on weekends and holidays. Patterdale terriers enjoy fields and countryside terrain and so if you live in the city you can drive to local country parks. Patterdales love extended hikes and there are some fantastic places to go to in the UK with your patterdale such as the Lake District, Peak District and Snowdonia. If you would like more ideas on where to walk your patterdale you can visit our Walkies section on the website.

perfect fit harness review

Loving and Loyal

Now for the positives about these fiesty little terriers – they are extremely loving and loyal to their owners. A patterdale terrier will be well suited to an active couple or family where there are several members of the household to look after the dog. This is because they are very attached to their humans and often suffer from separation anxiety. Despite being a high energy dog in the day time, they love to sit with you at home and cuddle up to watch TV after their hard day of excitement and activity. They can be very nice companion dogs as they love to site right next to you – mine rarely leaves my side of an evening and often sits on my legs! Most patterdales are very loving and affectionate towards their owner.

patterdale terrier behaviour problems


A Patterdale has another positive – intelligence. If you are the kind of dog owner who wants a cute calm lapdog then then a patterdale may not be for you. But if you enjoy playing games with dogs and teaching them new trick then you would love to be a patterdale owner. They need intellectual stimulation as well as physical exercise. Patterdale terriers will embrace dog agility, dog puzzles and performing tricks as they are food motivated and always aim to please.

If you enjoyed this blog about patterdale terrier temperament then you might also like to read about patterdale terrier behaviour problems and what to know before you own a patterdale terrier.

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