Patterdale Terrier temperament

A dog’s nature is such an important aspect – especially when it comes to Patterdales!

Understanding the Patterdale Terrier Temperament can help you decide whether it’s the right dog breed for you and your lifestyle.

In this article, I’ll be covering the temperament of Patterdale Terrier’s, answering your most frequently asked questions and exploring what this means for you as a prospective owner. 

What are Patterdale Terriers?

Patterdale Terriers are a working breed, which means they have high energy levels, requiring a lot of interaction to keep them stimulated. They are incredibly intelligent dogs, but they can sometimes be stubborn, making it challenging to train them. 

I’d suggest that Patterdale Terriers are not the right dogs for first-time owners. Instead, they are much more suited to solid and confident handlers who have experience with working dogs. 

If you’re looking for a lap dog to sit still and sleep all day, then the Patterdale is almost definitely not the right breed for you. 

However, if you do your research, learn about the breed and already lead an active lifestyle, who’s to say a Patterdale wouldn’t be your ideal pet?

Strong prey drive

Patterdale Terriers were initially bred as working dogs, hunting foxes, rabbits and badgers, so their prey drive is incredibly strong. 

This isn’t something you can simply train out of them. Instead, you’ll need to work around it. 

Firstly, it’s necessary to understand that while a high prey drive may sometimes look like aggression, they are not the same thing. Aggression is driven by emotions, usually fear, whereas prey drive is utterly instinctive.

Compared to aggression, prey drive is mostly harmless. So rather than trying to achieve the impossible, why not try providing an outlet for these instincts instead.

For example, engage in play sessions with your Patterdale, like a good old game of fetch with their favourite ball. Anything that involves chasing, catching and retrieving will stimulate their prey drive while also tiring them out – win-win!

Extremely loyal

One of the best things about Patterdales is just how loyal they are. Owning a Patterdale really does mean you will have a best friend for life. 

Despite their feisty, prey driven nature, they are loving creatures through and through, devotedly loyal to their owners. 

Even though they are high-energy dogs, Patterdales will still cuddle up to you on the sofa after a long day. They are loving and affectionate dogs; however, this may lead to some separation anxiety and attachment issues. 

Because of this, Patterdales are highly suited to having more than one owner, whether that’s you and your partner or a family household. 

High energy

Patterdale terriers have incredibly high energy levels linked to their high prey drive. 

To fulfil these energy levels, Patterdales require lots of exercise every day, whether this is physical exercise involving running around off lead or long walks around the park. Other forms of exercise include mental stimulation in the form of puzzles, games and chews. 

If you fail to keep these dogs well exercised, their pent up energy may come out in the form of destructive behaviour or aggression.

Are Patterdale Terriers good with other dogs?

Because of their high energy levels, independence and strong prey drive, Patterdales are not the best around other dogs. However, this can be improved by working on positive socialisation with other dogs from a young age. 

By introducing your Patterdale to dogs you know to be friendly from the start, your dog will feel much more comfortable around dogs in general. Teaching them to play nicely with other dogs is a vital skill they should learn.

Try to avoid mixing your Patterdale with tiny breeds, as their high prey drive may mean they confuse them with prey. Also, remember that their high intelligence levels and stubbornness can make them act rather dominant in social situations.

Are Patterdale Terriers good with other cats?

Cats, however, are a different story! The Patterdale Terrier Temperament means you should never leave them alone with cats unless they have been brought up together from a very young age.

If you’ve got your heart set on having both a Patterdale and a cat, then the best way is to introduce them to your home as a puppy and a kitten at the same time and allow them to grow up together.

Watch out for cats when you’re out and about on walks, as their high prey drives will kick in. 

What is the Patterdale Terrier Temperament with other animals?

Overall, Patterdales mixing with other animals is not the best idea. However, similar to their attitude with cats, they may be ok if brought up around them. 

This being said, we strongly advise against mixing your Patterdale with small pets, including rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, for example. 

Mixing these types of animals with Patterdales is simply asking for trouble. 

Are Patterdale Terriers good with humans?

As previously mentioned, the Patterdale Terrier Temperament makes them incredibly loyal and loving creatures; but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they prefer humans to other dogs.

That being said, the same rules apply to mixing your Patterdale with other animals – proper socialisation and introductions are needed for your dog to know the drill.

During training stages, try to socialise your dog with people who are used to dogs, particularly terrier breeds, if possible. This will help to avoid any potential problems or incidents along the way.

Are Patterdale Terriers good with children?

Patterdale Terriers can make the perfect family dog if trained correctly. However, just training the dog isn’t enough.

For your dog to feel comfortable around young children, you also need to ‘train’ the children! Explain to your little ones that Patterdales will chase anything that moves, so it’s essential to remain calm around them.

Some Patterdales may not be suitable for family homes. If you’re rescuing a Patterdale that hasn’t been appropriately trained or was maybe mistreated by children in their previous home, then they should not be mixed with kids. 

If this is the case, you can try to train this behaviour out of them by socialising them with children in small doses.

But please be aware of the risks involved!

Overall it’s clear to see that Patterdale Terriers make the perfect dog for active, experienced owners. However, they can also adapt to family homes and other dogs when trained correctly and socialised from a young age. 

Proper training, daily exercise and mental stimulation are the key components of living a happy life with your best friend.

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