Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Lakeland Terrier

Nicole Cosgrove

June 4, 2021


The Lakeland Terrier is a small purebred from the United Kingdom, it name actually comes from the region in England called the Lake District where it originated. It is or was once also known as the Cumberland Terrier, Patterdale Terrier, Fell Terrier, Westmorland Terrier and the Colored Working Terrier, and it is nicknamed the Lakie. It was bred to hunt vermin and to defend sheep from predators such as fox, it was also used against otters and badgers.

The Lakeland Terrier at A Glance
Name Lakeland Terrier
Other names Cumberland Terrier, Colored Working Terrier
Nicknames Lakie
Origin United Kingdom
Average size Small
Average weight 15 to 18 pounds
Average height 13 to 15 inches
Life span 12 to 16 years
Coat type Wiry, thick
Hypoallergenic Yes
Color Black, blue, tan, brown, red
Popularity Not that popular – ranked 145th by the AKC
Intelligence Fair to average – may need 40 to 80 repetitions before understands new command
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle hot weather just not extreme
Tolerance to cold Very good – can handle cold weather just not extreme
Shedding Low – a good breed for people who do not want a lot of hair around the home
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Average – not especially prone to weight gain but can happen if over fed or under exercised
Grooming/brushing High maintenance – brush regularly
Barking Frequent – will need training to stop on command
Exercise needs Fairly active – will need a fair bit of exercise each day
Trainability Difficult – needs experienced handling
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Good but best with experienced owners
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Good but need socialization
Good with other pets Moderate to good, socialization needed
Good with strangers Good but needs socialization and supervision
Good apartment dog Very good from size and temperament point of view but its barking is likely to be a problem
Handles alone time well Moderate – does not like being left alone for long periods
Health issues Hardy breed of dog, no hereditary issues but other common dog concerns are ear infections, eye problems and Legg-Calve-Perthes
Medical expenses $435 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $75 a year for a good quality dry pet food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $195 a year for toys, license, training and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $705 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,200
Rescue organizations Several including Abandoned Terrier Rescue Association, United States Lakeland Terrier Club and Lakeland Terrier Rescue
Biting Statistics None reported

The Lakeland Terrier’s Beginnings

The Lakeland Terrier is one of the oldest terriers still around today. It was developed in the Lake District in England and dates back to the 1800s. It was bred using several breeds but which ones exactly is something that is debated. Suggestions include the Old English Wirehaired Terrier, the Welsh Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont and the Bedlington Terrier and it is thought it shares distant ancestors with the Border Terrier. While it was originally called a Patterdale Terrier it in fact is a completely different breed to the Patterdale that is around today. It was used to protect sheep (especially during lambing season), herds and crops from fox and vermin and was also used to hunt across various terrains den animals like otters and badgers.

As well as being used by farmers it was also common to find at least one or two as part of a foxhound pack that the nobles used when fox hunting. It was a prized dog and when hunters bred their dogs they kept the best ones for themselves and gave away other puppies to friends. When it went into the den of the animal it was hunting it would stay there for days to kill the prey. It was bred to be courageous, tenacious and have good endurance. Sometimes it would not be able to get back out and its owner would have to attempt a rescue and some did not survive.

In the late 1890s dog shows were becoming popular and agricultural shows were including dog shows with terrier classes. It was around this time that terriers were divided somewhat by color. For example white terriers were better at hunting otter as they could be seen easily and did not get mistaken for the otters. In 1912 a terrier breed club was started but with the start of world war I in 1914, which lasted 4 years, there was a disruption to the breeds progress. Then in the 1920s its name was officially changed to the Lakeland Terrier and an official breed standard was agreed on. In 1921 the Lakeland Terrier was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club (this date is disputed by the modern Lakeland Terrier Club who say that recognition happened around 1928).

New Lease on Life

The breed came to America in the 1930s when an English fancier, Thomas Hosking brought them over when he emigrated there. It was recognized by the AKC in 1934 but the United States Lakeland Terrier Club was not formed until 1954. Today it is kept as a companion but is also still used for hunting and then as a show dog and does well in tracking, and as a guard and watchdog. Its popularity is ranked at 145th by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

This is a small dog weighing 15 to 18 pounds and stands 13 to 15 inches tall. It is small but still sturdily built with a squared shaped body that is also deep and narrow. It has straight and strong front legs and it can appear sometimes that it is walking on its toes. Males tend to be more square than females and females are a little longer than they are tall. The Lakie is similar in appearance to the Welsh Terrier but is smaller and finer boned. Its tail is set high, and is docked in places where that it still allowed. The head has a rectangular appearance and sits on a long neck and it has a strong muzzle with a liver or black nose. Its eyes are small, oval and can be dark hazel, brown or black in color. Its ears fold over and are v-shaped.

It has a double coat, the outer is wiry and hard and the under is soft. Common colors are red, brown, blue, tan and black and it has saddle markings. Often it is cut so that the hair is longer around the legs and the muzzle. It is common for puppies to be born black and then change coat color as they grow up. The way the hair is on the legs can make them look cylindrical in shape. The hair around the sholders, behind the tail, and on the ears, chest and head is smooth and short. Facial hair tends to be trimmed to keep it out of the eyes.

The Inner Lakeland Terrier


Lakies make great watchdogs, they are alert and will bark to let you know if there is an intruder trying to get in. It is not thought to be an overly protective dog though so may not act to defend you or the home, and with its size it is not likely to scare off any one breaking in. This could be a good pet for new owners as long as you do your homework, but experienced ones would be better. This breed is intelligent, somewhat sensitive, independent and lively. It does bark frequently so a command to stop that is a good idea. It is a confident and affectionate dog but does have an independent side. It is cheerful, fearless and brave, it loves to be active and play even into adulthood.

This is a good family companion and around strangers it tends to be reserved until it gets used to them, but should not be aggressive. It enjoys being around people and is friendly and not as rebellious as a lot of terrier breeds. It works hard and has an inquisitive nature. It needs a home where owners are happy to be active with it and where owners do not over indulge it, as if it gets spoiled it will become difficult and less pleasant to be around.

Living with a Lakeland Terrier

What will training look like?

Training Lakies can be difficult which is partly why experience is a bonus. You will need to be patient, confident, consistent, firm and prepared to stay in control and stick to the rules you have set. Keep your training sessions short and interesting. If you make it fun for it it will pay more attention. If you allow it to develop small dog syndrome it can become willful, over protective of its food and toys, aggressive and hard to control. If you are too meek it will think it is in charge. While being confident you should still be positive. Offer it praise, encouragement and treats to motivate and reward it.

It is a good idea to take its training beyond basic either yourself or with a professional trainer as it is a good way to keep it mentally challenged. Avoid physical corrections, terriers tend to react defensively by growling or even snapping. House training is also challenging with this breed. It can take between 6 to 8 months of crate training sometimes even more. It will need you to be patient. It is often more a case of it having selective hearing and its own wilfulness that holds it back. Make sure that along with training you start socialization as early as you can. It is important to making it a more confident dog that you can trust to be able to deal appropriately with strangers, children, different locations, sounds and so on.

How active is the Lakeland Terrier?

The Lakeland Terrier is of a size that makes it great for apartment living and with enough outdoor time it can be fine without a yard. But it does bark frequently which may upset the neighbors and a yard is a bonus place for it to play, explore and dig. Make sure it is well fenced as these dogs are good at escaping, and if you do not want it digging anywhere, provide a place where it is okay. It is a fairly active dog so needs a good couple of brisk moderate length walks a day at least, along with some play opportunities both indoors and out. When walking keep it on a leash as it will run off after things. It would enjoy time at dog parks where it can play doggy games with you, run off leash and socialize. It has a lot of stamina so it can go for longer than you might think for a small dog. Try to vary its type of activity and make sure there is mental challenge too otherwise it can get bored.

Caring for the Lakeland Terrier

Grooming needs

This is a small dog but it does have a lot of needs in terms of grooming especially if it is being kept to show standards. Its coat needs to be stripped by a professional groomer a few times a year. If you clip it this will affect the texture of the coat and it is not accepted in show rings. It does not shed a great deal and could be good for people with allergies though if this is a priority always visit the dog first before buying. The hair in the pads of its feet and in the ears will need removing and trimming and the coat itself will need brushing tow to three times a week. If its coat is being looked after properly bathing will not be needed too often. Avoid giving baths too frequently as it damages the natural oils it has.

Other needs will include checking its ears weekly for wax build up, redness, irritation and any other signs of ear infection, and then giving them a clean by wiping with a warm damp cloth or use an ear cleanser. Do not insert anything though into its ears. The teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week and its nails will need trimming when they get too long. This can be given to a groomer or vet to do if you are not confident about it. There are blood vessels and nerves in their nails to be avoided or it will cause pain and bleeding.

Feeding Time

Lakies need around ½ to 1 cup of a good quality dry dog food, split into two meals at least. How much one Lakie needs to another can vary depending on its level of activity, metabolism, health, build and age.

How is the Lakeland Terrier with children and other animals?

This is a great dog with children when socialized and raised with them. It is playful and lively and makes a great play mate. It is also loving and affectionate towards them. It is best with older children though who know boundaries and recognize warning signs, it does not always deal well with young children when they take their toys, pull at them and so on. Make sure you teach the children how to touch and be kind to dogs. It can get along fine with other dogs with socialization but it would not back down if it was challenged. As it does like to chase small animals keep it on a leash when out walking, socialize it and either avoid having other pets in the home or supervise.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This breed has a life span of 12 to 16 years and is quite a healthy dog though there are a few issues which could come up including Legg-Calve-Perthes, eye problems and ear infections.

Biting Statistics

The chances of a Lakie being involved in any incident in the US or Canada is small since they are not widely known there. Therefore it is not surprising that when looking at reports of dog attacks against people that caused bodily harm in North America, there is no mention of the Lakeland Terrier. That being said all prospective owners need to understand that any dog, regardless of size and breed, can have a bad day, be startled or react aggressively for no apparent reason. All dogs have that potential. Ways to minimize the chances of something happening are to make sure your dog is trained, socialized, well exercised and stimulated, cared for and gets the kind of attention it needs.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Lakeland Terrier puppy will cost somewhere around $1200 for a pet quality dog from a decent breeder, or at least double that for one from a top breeder of show quality dogs. Being uncommon expect to be put on a waiting list by decent breeders and be prepared to wait anywhere from 6 months to a year, possibly more. It is tempting to look at alternative options at this stage, but some of these should be avoided. Do not use backyard breeders or puppy mill sourced options like pet stores. There are shelters and rescues but in North America it is unlikely you will find a purebred there. However many dogs of mixed breeds need loving homes and perhaps your new best friend is there waiting for you! Prices for adoption range from $50 to $400.

When you have settled on your puppy and it is coming home there are a couple of other initial costs to take care of. There are initial items it will need at home like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and so on. These will cost around $100 or so. As soon as the puppy is home you should arrange for a vet visit too. This is to have it checked over, have it vaccinated, dewormed, micro-chipped, spayed or neutered and take some blood tests. These will cost about $260.

Then there are ongoing costs to factor in like food, health care and other miscellaneous costs. Feeding a Lakie will cost about $75 a year for a good quality dry dog food and for dog treats. Basic health care like flea and tick prevention, vaccinations, physical check ups along with pet insurance will cost about $435 a year. Miscellaneous costs like license, toys, basic training, grooming and miscellaneous items come to around $195 a year. This gives a yearly starting figure cost of $705.


Looking for a Lakeland Terrier Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

The Lakeland Terrier is a dynamic, active, touch little dog. It is not a delicate lapdog so if that is the kind of small dog you want, find another breed! It needs plenty of mental challenge and physical activity, it loves to dig, chase things, play and explore. It is a loving and loyal dog and it does not shed much but it can be stubborn, its needs to be socialized and have at least basic training and part of that training needs to be a command to control its frequent barking. Make sure it knows you are the boss.

Featured Image Credit: Zelenskaya, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

Did you know: an average of 18 dog foods are recalled every year?

Get FREE Dog Food Recall Alerts by email whenever there's a recall.