The Lakeland Terrier is a rather small dog of short-backed, square proportion, with a sturdy, workmanlike build. The legs are fairly long, enabling the dog to run at good speed and traverse the rugged shale terrain of the native mountain countryside. The Lakeland’s gait is smooth and ground covering, with good reach and drive. The body is deep and narrow, allowing the dog to squeeze through small passages. The Lakeland Terrier’s expression reflects moods ranging from intense to gay or impish. The double coat consists of a soft undercoat and a hard, wiry outer coat.
The first Lakeland Terriers were kept by farmers who took them along with small packs of hounds in order to control foxes. Although the breed’s background is not documented, it shares common ancestors with the Border Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, and Fox Terrier. As fox hunting became seen as a sport, the terriers became more fashionable as a part of this pursuit. Dogs from the English Lake region were identified as Patterdale, Fell, and Elterwater Terriers, all of which came from the Lakeland region. Only in 1921 were they recognized as Lakeland Terriers, although Cumberland is considered the exact birthplace of the breed. The breed was accepted for AKC registration in 1934. Since then, the Lakeland Terrier has been a prominent contender in the show ring, combining dapper good looks with unsurpassed showmanship. The Lakeland Terrier’s popularity as a family pet has remained moderate.
The spunky Lakeland makes the most of every day, always busy investigating, playing, running, and chasing. Given daily exercise in a safe area, this breed settles down in the home and makes an entertaining and endearing house pet. The Lakeland is reserved with strangers and is often aggressive toward other dogs and small animals. Clever and independent, this dog can also be mischievous. The Lakeland Terrier is nonetheless sensitive and must be trained with patience as well as a sense of humor.
This is an active breed that needs daily entertainment or it will make it for itself. A moderate walk on leash or a hardy game in the yard can usually satisfy exercise needs. The Lakeland also enjoys the chance to explore off-leash in a safe area. The wire coat needs combing one or two times weekly, plus scissoring, shaping, and clipping, around four times yearly. Clipping softens the coat and lightens the color.
• Major concerns: none • Minor concerns: lens luxation, distichiasis • Occasionally seen: Legg–Perthes, vWD • Suggested tests: eye, (vWD) • Life span: 12–16 years