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Get to Know the Lakeland Terrier: The Jaunty Juggernaut

The Lakeland is one of the oldest working terrier breeds -- he's also an accomplished show dog.

Caroline Coile  |  Feb 8th 2016

Dapper and debonaire, the Lakeland Terrier appears the ideal English gentleman’s dog — except that he’s the first to get down and dirty at every excuse! But he comes by his dirt-dog ways honestly. After all, “terrier” does mean “earth.”


Lakeland Terrier by Shutterstock.

More interesting things about the Lakeland Terrier

  • Lakeland Terriers were kept by farmers to protect sheep from foxes. They could run with small packs of foxhounds. Their job was to kill the fox once they caught up to it. They also hunted otter.
  • It is one of the oldest working terrier breeds still known today. The Lakeland is related to the Border, Bedlington, and Fox Terriers.
  • Originally called Patterdale, Fell, and Elterwater Terriers, they were recognized as Lakeland Terriers by the AKC in 1934.
  • The Lakeland Terrier is a smallish terrier with a long head, a beard, ears folded forward, a medium-length erect tail, and a medium-length wiry, wavy coat — and a very cocky attitude.
  • The Lakeland Terrier may be confused with the Irish Terrier, but the Lakeland is smaller with more coat. It may also be confused with the Welsh Terrier, but the Lakeland is slightly smaller and finer boned and can also come in solid colors.
  • The Lakeland comes in solid tan or red; less commonly, it can come in black, gray, or liver, or tan with a dark saddle.

Lakeland Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • They should stand from 13.5 to 14.5 inches at the withers, and weigh about 17 pounds.
  • They get their name from the English Lake region, where they’re from.
  • The Lakeland is the 143rd most popular AKC breed, slightly down from 138th five years ago.
  • A Lakeland named Stingray was the first dog of any breed to win Best in Show at both Crufts (the world’s largest dog show, in England) and Westminster.
  • Lakelands have competed at the Westminster dog show since 1935, and have twice won Best in Show there. Ch Stingray of Derryabah won in 1968, and Ch Jo Ni’s Red Baron of Crofton won in 1976. Lakelands have won the group there four times.

Lakeland Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • Besides being accomplished show dogs, Lakelands are very competitive in Earthdog and Barn Hunt competitions, where they find caged rats. Some are also used for rat control in cities and on farms.
  • The mascot of Nickelodeon Magazine is a Lakeland Terrier named Zelda Van Gutters, who appeared throughout the magazine with sarcastic quips, and also starred in its photo comic strip Ruffing It.
  • Owners include designer Cath Kidston and musician Neil Tennant.

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About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier