Breed Group: Terrier
The typical Lakeland Terrier is alert, bright, confident and never overly aggressive or fearful. Even though he is courageous and tenacious, he has a quiet, pleasant disposition. He can be an intense, determined workman as well as a bold, impish companion who enjoys his independence. He is among the most active dogs both inside and out and loves to play with older children he has been socialized with. But he is likely to growl or snap when faced with the natural clumsiness of young children. His exercise needs are no more than the average dog and easy to meet given his activity level. He is polite to strangers but is a keen watchdog who will sound the alarm at any noise or intrusion. However, he can not be counted on for protection. He has a strong chase instinct so cats, rabbits, hamsters, and gerbils probably will not be safe around him. Not quite as boisterous or aggressive as a number of other terriers, he gets along better with dogs than many in his breed group. He can be stubborn and, like most terriers, loves to dig and can be possessive of his food and toys.
Lakeland Terriers are squarely built dogs about 14 1/2 inches tall and weighing between 14 and 17 pounds. With his straight legs and alert stance, he gives the impression he is standing on his toes. They have a hard, wiry outer coat in a variety of solid and saddle marked colors. Solid colors include red, wheaten (golden tan), liver, black or blue. Saddle markings may be black and tan, grizzle and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan or red grizzle. Grizzle is a solid color mixed with black, blue or liver. Their grooming needs are modest; brush him once a week to prevent mats and comb his beard daily to keep it clean. With appropriate grooming, shedding is virtually non-existent. They thrive in a temperate climate.
Lakeland Terriers may be difficult to housebreak but otherwise are quick learners. But highly distractable, they will likely try a trainer’s patience. They need a daily challenge including hunting, running, chasing and exploring off lead in a safe area. They can never be trusted off lead in an open area as they will certainly pursue anything that moves ignoring any attempts to stop them. They excel in lure coursing. They are clever and independent but also sensitive so only positive training methods should be used. Terriers, including the Lakeland Terrier, are not a good choice for a first-time dog owner.
Lakeland Terriers are generally healthy dogs with no serious hereditary diseases. Problems that are sometimes seen include Distichiasis and Lens Luxation. They can be expected to live 12-16 years.
The Lakeland Terrier is ranked 127th in popularity by the American Kennel Club. About 200 dogs registered in a typical year so be prepared to search for a breeder and wait for a puppy.
The Lakeland Terrier is one of the oldest working Terrier breeds in existence today. Farmers in the rugged shale mountains of the Lake Region in northern England kept small packs of these dogs to kill foxes that preyed on their lambs and sheep. This Terrier hunted in water and uneven terrain and was expected to chase and kill fox, otter, and other vermin. His deep and relatively narrow body and small size were ideal for squeezing into rocky dens and traversing rough ground. Known by a variety of names, such as Patterdale, Westmoreland, Cumberland, or Fell Terriers, it is believed that the exact origin of the Lakeland Terrier is Cumberland, an especially beautiful county, richly studded with lakes. The name Lakeland Terrier was chosen at a meeting of nine fanciers in 1921 at Whitehaven in Cumberland. The Lakeland Terrier was fully recognized by the AKC in 1934.
Sometimes people choose the small Lakeland Terrier under the misconception they are less excitable and less of a training challenge than the larger Terriers. However, the larger terriers were bred to work more closely with people than the smaller terriers, who were originally bred to work independently underground. Abraham Lincoln was a Lakeland Terrier owner. The National (US) Breed Club is the United States Lakeland Terrier Club.