Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated April 6, 2009)
Many varieties of Terriers were found in the northern countries of England in the early 1800's. Each took the name of the locality where the breed was found in greatest numbers. Many old names were lost when breeds gained recognition, and there were many cases where the same breed came through a variety of names before one was finally agreed upon by breeders.
The Lakeland Terrier did not get his present name until around 1925. Previous to that year, he had been known variously as the Patterdale Terrier, the Colored Working Terrier, and the local name of Fell Terrier.
Cumberland, in the northern Border country of England, was the birthplace of the Lakeland Terrier. Here, in the Lake districts of England, it was bred and raised and worked, with "working" qualities of premier importance. The ancestors of the Lakeland, way back, are closely related, if not merely the same, as the progenitors of the Border Terrier and hence also related to the Bedlington and Dandie Dinmont. He is a descendant of the Old English Black and Tan Terrier.
Farmers and sportsmen in the Lake districts kept these Terriers to hunt with Hounds. Not only was it sport, but it was dire necessity to hunt down and destroy the foxes that raided the flocks of sheep and other stock in this country. The main requisite of a dog was gameness, and the Lakeland Terrier used in hunts of the Fell districts was trained to attack the fox in his lair and not merely draw it. A dog in this kind of work had to be nimble and quick, the slim torso of the Lakeland allowed it to squeeze into the fastnesses of the rocks, and it had to have unbounded courage.
Every pack of Hounds in the Lake District had its accompanying game Terriers. Those that were outstanding in showing courage were used as breeding stock. Their puppies were given away among followers of the hunt, who in turn retained the best workers to keep the strain dominant in gameness.
A story is told of a native Lakeland Terrier, which, in 1871, crawled twenty-three feet under rock after an otter. After three days' work of blasting and digging, the dog was reached, none the worse for his experience. Still other stories are related of dogs locked underground for ten or twelve days that were taken out alive.
The general appearance is that of a smart and workmanlike dog. The weight of the Lakeland Terrier male should not exceed seventeen pounds and the females not exceeding sixteen pounds. The color would be blue and tan, blue, black, black and tan, red, mustard, wheaten grizzle.
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