Lakeland Terrier

Eager to learn about the Lake District’s very own Terrier? We explain all the relevant details below! 

Lakeland Terrier Dog standing on Grass

Height: 13.5-15 inches
Weight: 7-8 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Check out the pros and cons of the Lakeland Terrier at a glance.

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic, ideal for allergy sufferers
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Suitable for apartment living
  • Low droolers

Cons:

  • High grooming maintenance
  • Requires lots of exercise
  • Not very dog or animal friendly
  • Strong prey drive

Overview

The Lakeland Terrier is a hunting breed originating from Northern England’s Lake District. They were bred to hunt foxes that would attack the livestock of farmers. Although small in size, the Lakie’s typical Terrier temperament meant they were fearless!

Just like the rest in the Terrier family, Lakies can be described as independent, stubborn, feisty, brave, and loyal. They are mischievous and love to dig holes whilst barking at anything and everything. Although Terriers are notorious for their difficult side, they can still make excellent family pets.

Lakeland dogs hardly shed their fur, making them an ideal choice for allergy sufferers. However, due to this, they require high grooming maintenance. Frequent brushing is needed to prevent any loose fur strands from becoming tangled. Terriers love messy play, so always keep a towel to hand!

Dog sitting on a rock in the mountains on the background of the sea

Lakies are highly energetic and need an active owner that can meet their exercise requirements. These canines are very playful but aren’t too friendly with other dogs. They also have a strong prey drive and will instantly start a chase. For this reason, a Lakie should only be allowed off-leash in an enclosed space.

This breed is small enough to live in an apartment. Provided they are regularly exercised a Lakeland can live happily in a flat. Whilst rural life is what they’re used to, Lakelands are adaptable and can also thrive in the city. They’re happiest with their owners and can’t be left for long periods of time as they could develop separation anxiety.

History

Lakeland Terriers date back to the early 1700s originating from the mountainous regions of the Lake District. In specific the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. Foxes would regularly attack the farmer’s sheep, especially during lambing season. The terrain made it difficult to hunt them, so an agile, fearless dog was needed for the job.

Lakies were expected to kill the foxes, unlike other breeds. Whilst they were mostly prized for their fox hunting, the breed would also kill vermin on the farms. The Red Lakeland Terrier is one of the older modern Terrier breeds. They’re descendants from the now extinct Old English Black and Tan Terrier and Fell Terriers.

Other breed inputs are thought to include the Fox Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Border Terrier, and possibly the Bedlington. The Lakeland Terrier Association was formed in 1921. They were then recognized by the Kennel Club in 1928, although this is disputed.

The breed was thriving until World War II, which saw the Lakeland Terriers’ numbers decline. These were able to get back on track by the 1950s participating frequently in dog shows. Unfortunately today, Lakies have been listed by the Kennel Club as a Vulnerable Native Breed.

Apart from human companionship and fox hunting, Lakeland terriers regularly compete in dog shows. They have twice won the ‘Best in Show’ title at Crufts and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The breed is also eligible to participate in the Earthdog Trials.

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Personality

Lakeland Terrier Temperament:

This pooch has the typical Terrier temperament, and they are most suited to experienced owners with a high level of patience. A Lakeland Terrier puppy will quickly find their voice and love of digging! Ensure they are taught boundaries so this behavior doesn’t become excessive.

Lakeland Terriers are deeply affectionate towards their family and need somebody by their side most of the time. Despite this, they are still independent and aren’t a very sociable breed. This dog will need plenty of socialization to guide them into the well-behaved Lakeland Terrier we know and love.

Are Lakeland Terriers Good With Strangers?

Lakeland Terriers will be wary and suspicious of strangers. They make excellent watchdogs and will immediately alert their owners to anybody approaching their territory. Lakies aren’t known to be aggressive towards people but will need socialization to prevent them from becoming fearful.

Lakeland Terrier dog in a trendy coat sits on a road in a field with a basket of pumpkins in autumn

Are Lakeland Terriers Good With Children?

Yes, this breed is great with children and makes a fantastic playmate. Lakies may be small but they’re robust and won’t injure during play. Ideally, older children are better suited for Terriers. The breed may be boisterous but could become overwhelmed by a smaller child’s behavior.

Are Lakeland Terriers Ok With Other Dogs?

Whilst the breed is known to be better with dogs than other Terriers, they are still known to show aggression. This canine won’t back down from a fight so socialization is highly important. Lakeland Terrier puppies can get used to living with other dogs but not once they reach adulthood. Avoid keeping cats and other small animals with this dog.

Exercise

The Lakeland dog will need up to one hour of exercise each day however, they can happily go out for longer. Due to their strong prey drive, this canine must be kept on a leash. Let them off in a large enclosed space where they can run freely.

Dog lying on the beach with a yellow ball

This pooch likes to dig and will need to be trained to prevent this from becoming excessive. The working Lakeland Terrier will need mental stimulation alongside their activity. They can become bored fairly quickly which will result in bad behavior.

Naturally playful, Lakies thoroughly enjoy interactive games. It’s a great chance to bond with your pet whilst also tiring them out!

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Health

These are some of the more common breed-related health conditions of the Lakeland Terrier.

  • Lens Luxation- An inherited condition causing the breakdown of the fibers holding the lens in position. As these break, the lens moves from its original position.
  • Cataracts- A change in the lens that causes an abnormal cloudiness in the eye. If this is small it won’t affect the vision. Any larger sight will become blurry and blindness will occur.
  • Microphthalmia- The eye fails to develop causing it to be smaller than it should. The disease isn’t common and is only seen in male dogs.
  • Leggs-Perthes Disease- As the hip joint deteriorates a dog will begin to limp until they are unable to place their weight in the affected area.

Intelligence

Some dispute the Lakeland Terriers intelligence. It is no doubt they excel highly in their working life however they do have a short attention span. This leads people to believe they may not be as smart as others think they are. However, they certainly have some form of intelligence that allows them to be trained into an efficient hunting dog.

Just like the other members of the Terrier family, respect training must begin first. If the Terrier doesn’t recognise your leadership it will be hard to gain their attention. House rules must be established and practiced on, then factor in some obedience lessons. Sessions should start immediately and can begin from 8 weeks of age.

Firm training will be needed to tackle the Lackies stubborn streak. Positive training methods are the best way to make this pooch feel content when learning. Offer food treats or affection as rewards at the precise point they perfect the command. Sessions should last around 10-15 minutes.

Lakies can be aggressive and will face serious behavioral issues if they haven’t been trained correctly. Group puppy classes are ideal for this pooch as it’s a great way for them to socialize, whilst learning commands. Don’t forget exercise also impacts a dogs behavior and goes hand in hand with training.

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Grooming

Lakeland Terriers don’t shed their fur making them ideal choices for allergy sufferers. Despite this ideal trait, they do have high grooming needs. Their double coat is dense and soft underneath, topped with a wiry, harsh upper layer. Brushing will be needed 2-3 times a week to remove any loose fur strands. Combs, slicker, and pin brushes work best.

The working Lakeland Terrier will also require hand stripping several times a year. Some owners seek professional help for this type of grooming. Stripping enhances the quality and texture of the dog’s coat. It is a common technique used with show dogs.

Terrier Dog walking through the tall grass in the field

As this pooch has a wire coat it will hold onto dirt. Due to this, they should be washed every 4-6 weeks. Terriers love playing in the mud and will need a quick hose or wipe down every so often. Brush through the coat first before wetting the fur. Tangles are incredibly difficult to remove once wet.

Ears will need to be cleansed from debris weekly. Nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks and teeth brushed 2-3 times a week. It is important to introduce your grooming methods to your pet as early as possible. Grooming is a fantastic way to bond with your canine.

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