Lakeland Terrier

This breed goes back for centuries, but its present style was fixed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although its V-shaped drop ears are cute, this is a confident, fearless dog.


Closely related to the Border and Bedling-ton terriers, the Lakeland terrier comes from the Lake District, where it has been modified over a long time. Unlike other terriers, it was used to hunt foxes and other wild animals preying on livestock.

The Lakeland's brave behavior brought it fame as a dog of indomitable spirit. Early this century, a club was founded by its admirers to promote this breed.

Others believe that it was made by crossing a few various terriers, but these authorities vary in their opinion as to which precise breeds were involved. Whatever the truth might be, the result was an animal looking very much like a mini Airedale. Its principal duty on the hunt was that it should be able to keep up with the hounds — hence its rather long legs — and that it should be eager to crawl into rocky crevices and brave enough to bolt or attack hiding foxes. Because they must be able to squirm and slither though small gaps in the rocks, the Lakeland has been bred with a deep, narrow chest. It is claimed that, if it can get its head through a crevice, its body can follow.

A breed club was formed in 1912, and by 1928 the Lakeland Terrier had become a show dog, appearing for the first time at Crufts. It proved extremely popular in the ring and one of its champions holds the distinction of being the only dog ever to have achieved a ‘double crown’ — a Lakeland called Stingray. A special trophy commemorating this unique double is kept at the Kennel Club in London.


Small and squarely built, resembling the wire fox terrier, the Lakeland terrier has a small, short head; dark eyes; and short, erect button ears. Coloring includes blue, black, black and tan, blue and tan, red, grizzle, grizzle and tan, and wheaten.


Active, cheerful, and extremely energetic, the Lakeland Terrier loves to exercise with its master, hence it suits young people. Friendly with all, the Lakeland is intelligent and alert. Because it has a habit of barking frequently, it makes a good watchdog. Male dogs should be kept apart to prevent fighting.

It is smart, sensitive, lively, tireless and courageous. But it has also been called ‘rascally’ because of its terrier tendencies. If you possess an immaculate garden and do not wish to see holes dug in your neatly mown lawn, choose another breed.


The Lakeland Terrier is normally long lived with relatively few health problems. In some parts of the world Legg Perthes Disease, a disorder of the femoral head has been documented.

Care and Exercise

Lakelands require grooming regularly, and twice yearly the old coat should be removed by hand-stripping. This is preferable to clipping, which eventually destroys the natural color and texture of the coat. Hand-stripping requires the minimum of equipment and can be mastered by terrier owners, but it requires great patience and tolerance. Occasional bathing will prevent the coat from becoming too dry.

This dog needs long periods of exercise on a lead, or without a lead in a securely fenced area. It must be watched as it will fight with other dogs.

Puppies and Training

There are three to five puppies in a litter. Newborns have soft, curly hair that falls out and is replaced with adult hair. The coat color changes from dark to light, then to limpid. This change of color begins around the saddle, and continues until the puppy is fully mature.

Gallery of Lakeland Terrier