The Lakeland Terrier dog breed is a typical terrier type dog that is relatively small in stature. They are full of life and always stay busy doing something. These dogs make good family pets because of their devotion and affection for their human family. However, their friendliness does not extend to other animals or dogs in the household. They are reserved with strangers and protective of their territory too, which make them good watchdogs. These intelligent dogs are excellent choice for people with active lifestyles.
The Lakeland Terrier dog breed comes from the Lake District in England where these dogs were mainly used as vermin hunters. Their small size and narrow body made it easy for them to follow their prey underground. They were expected to not just flush out the prey with their barking and baying, but to actually make the kill in their lair.
Known to be around from the beginning of the 18th century, this breed is related to the other terrier breeds such as the Bedlington Terrier and the Fox Terrier. The farmers valued them for their role in keeping the farms free of unwanted mammalian pests, including foxes.
These dogs made their presence felt in the show circles and competitive sports too. They regularly competed in fox hunting expeditions that took place in the area where the uneven terrain prevented horseback hunting. They would tirelessly track the prey all through the day.
These sporting dogs were earlier referred to as Fell Terriers or Patterdale Terriers. But they got their present name in 1921. Lakeland Terrier dog breed was official recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934.
Smallest among the black and tan terriers, the Lakeland Terrier dog breed is compact, yet sturdy. It typically measures 13 to 15 inches at the withers and weighs 15 to 17 pounds. The head is relatively broad with small triangular ears that half fold to the front. If the tail is not docked as was the practice earlier, it is held upright.
These dogs have a double coat that grows thick and wiry. The typical colors are black, liver, red or grizzle in solid coats or in combination with tan. Wheaten coats too occur.
The Lakeland Terriers are bold little dogs, but they are neither too aggressive nor too shy. These dogs are friendly with the members of their household. These highly intelligent dogs are easy to train, and they learn the commands quickly. But, they have an independent nature and may choose to disobey the orders given, especially when they are after a scent. They love to hunt over land or under the ground. Even though smaller mammals are their main prey, these spunky little terriers can follow foxes into their lair and kill them.
This breed was originally used for hunting on foot in rough terrain, instead of on horseback; hence it is capable of working long hours without fatigue. Their days should be filled with games and activities to expend their high reserves of energy. Bored Lakeland Terriers may become destructive.
Grooming and exercise
The wiry coat of Lakeland Terriers needs a thorough brushing every other day. It does not shed much, but may need hand stripping or professional trimming once in 3-4 moths to maintain its good appearance.
Like all terriers, these dogs are very active and require quite a bit of activity to fill their days. Ever curious and ready to explore the surroundings, they should ideally have plenty of outdoor time, preferably in a protected yard where it can run free. Their exercise regimen should ideally consist of some training lessons too.
These dogs can tolerate both heat and cold to a great extent, but they should ideally spend the nights indoors with the family.
Common health issues of Lakeland Terrier dog breed
The Lakeland Terrier dog breed is a relatively healthy breed with very few medical problems, none of which are serious. They may occasionally have minor eye disorders such as lens luxation and distichiasis. Regular eye checkups would help identify these problems and get early treatment.
Most terriers are prone to Legg Calvé Perthes Disease that causes lameness in young dogs, but it is very occasionally seen in Lakeland Terriers. Another inherited blood-clotting disorder called Von Willebrand disease is also occasionally seen in this breed. Average life expectancy of these small-sized dogs is 12 to 16 years.