Maintaining Good Patterdale Terrier Health

As a proud owner of a Patterdale Terrier, you will no doubt be aware that they are an excitable and energetic breed prone to getting up to mischief. Like the Jack Russell was bred for ratting, the Patterdale Terrier was bred for hunting foxes and badgers on farmland. They come from a village in the Lake District called Patterdale where farming is big business. Farmers needed a small and energetic breed to keep out foxes and badgers. Due to this breeding Patterdale Terriers have a high prey drive. Today’s blog is all about maintain Patterdale terrier health.

Patterdale Terrier Heath

Common Patterdale Terrier Health Problems

They are also susceptible to certain health problems, most commonly with their eyes and joints. They are also at risk of developing Hystiocytomas, small lumps usually found around their armpits or down their legs. Generally, these lumps are not harmful and eventually heal themselves, however, it is important to get a vet’s opinion to rule out other causes. Patterdale Terriers are also at risk of a condition called Hypothyroidism. This is where the body does not produce enough of a hormone called Thyroxine, which controls metabolism. A decrease in this hormone causes weight gain along with flaky or itchy skin, ear and eye infections and lethargy. It is, however, easily diagnosed and treatable with medication.

Eye problems in Patterdale Terriers

Keep a close watch on your Patterdale’s eye condition. As a smaller breed they are at risk of developing glaucoma, conjunctivitis or lens luxation. If your Patterdale is a working dog it is vital that you also keep watch for corneal ulcers. Speak to your vet for advice on which signs to look out for and organise regular check-ups.

This patterdale terrier lost his right eye due to a health condition that affected it

Vaccinations and Boosters

It is also important to ensure your Patterdale gets his yearly inoculations against Leptospirosis, an infectious disease that can be caught from water or warm, wet soil. Every three years, your dog’s booster vaccinations will also cover distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis.

Patterdale Terrier Diet

The best way to reduce the risks of such ailments is with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. As with humans, the quality of dog food can have a direct effect on health. Most branded pet foods will bulk out their recipes with cheap fillers such as grain. Unfortunately, grain has no health benefits, so these foods are not going to be much good for your dog. The best foods are those where the meat content is at least 15%, the recipe is grain-free, and the majority of the ingredients are natural. Brands such as Lily’s Kitchen and Pooch&Mutt create bespoke recipes designed to target certain conditions such as sensitive stomachs, delicate skin or joint problems.

Exercise for your Patterdale Terrier

Thanks to their origins and breeding, Patterdale Terriers have a high exercise need. Like other working breeds they need at least an hour of hard running every day to burn through their energy and work their muscles. Not getting enough energy release can cause health issues such as vomiting and anxiety.

Patterdales love agility and flyball. These pursuits are high intensity and also lots of fun, while also providing them with plenty of mental stimulation. They also love hiking and hill-walking, but it is important to keep away from areas where foxes and badgers live so your Patty isn’t tempted to explore the tunnels.


Depending on the coat type of your Patterdale Terrier, you will need to ensure his coat is kept in good condition. Smooth coats need little attention, but a quick brush with a wire brush once a week will help get rid of any loose hairs.

Broken Coated Patterdales need a little more attention since their coat is slightly longer and bristly. They generally require only a quick tidy up but leaving it too long can cause matting or clumps.

Rough Coated Patterdales have longer and thicker hair that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Both Broken and Rough coats are best combed through using a slicker brush. There are brushes available with various bristles thickness depending on the coat type your dog has and there are also easy-clean options with retractable bristles to make removing hair quick and simple. Your dog may also need a monthly trim. This can either be done at home or by a quick visit to the groomer.

You might find this article on Patterdale terrier grooming helpful.

Fleas and Worming

As with any dog breed, Patterdales can catch fleas and worms. Preventing flea and tick infestations are an important part of patterdale health, because they love to run through long grass and hedges, where it is easy to pick up fleas, ticks and worms especially in the summer.

There are several types of preventative treatment for fleas. The most common is a spot-on treatment such as beaphar that is absorbed into the bloodstream. Most flea spot on flea treatments will also work against ticks. We use frontline for small dogs on Blake, our rescue Patterdale.

Due to dogs’ love of snooting about in the dirt, worms are relatively easy to pick up. The most common are tapeworms and roundworms. These parasites can cause lots of health issues including weight loss, diarrhoea and vomiting. Luckily, preventative treatment is easy, given in the form of a small tablet every 3 months such as Johnson’s.

The best way to ensure you have a healthy Patterdale is to make sure they are happy! Make sure to provide plenty of exercise, play-time and opportunities to work their minds, alongside a good quality diet and regular grooming. Patterdale Terriers are a low maintenance breed with a few limited health risks and many of these can be prevented or quickly treated if your dog is healthy and happy.

Originally published at on May 23, 2020.

Hi I’m Amy — travel blogger, dog lover, digital marketer. I write mainly about Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Getting into drones!

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