The Patterdale is not recognised as a breed by the UK Kennel Club and for that reason there is a quite a lot of variation within the type.
A small and fearless dog the Patterdale stands between 20 and 25cm at the shoulder and weighs around 5kg. His coat can be short and sleek but it can also be wiry with a slight curl. Colour variations include black, black/brown or red. His body is muscular and he has comparatively short legs, the tail is straight and stands up and it was once docked before it became illegal to do so. His head is small with a long muzzle, triangular ears folding over at the ends and small eyes set fairly far apart.
The Patterdale was bred to hunt badgers, rabbits and foxes as well as to control vermin such as rats and mice. He has a fantastic ability to fit into just about any small space, especially rabbit holes by flattening his legs out behind him. Patterdales do not tend to be yappy like other terriers and are very loving and confident characters.
Brave as lions they will take on anything that threatens them and they have an extremely well developed instinct to kill when confronted with small mammals such as rats. The Patterdale’s prey drive is possibly higher than that of any other terrier making him particularly popular with farmers and hunting types who see him very much as a working dog. However, despite this dog’s strong farming and country roots the Patterdale makes an excellent non-sporting pet as he is loyal and quite in the house, providing he gets enough daily exercise. A hardy breed the Patterdale has few, if any, hereditary health conditions and has a life span of up to 13 years.