Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terrier dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Small but sturdy in built the Lakeland Terrier is highly distinguishable for its overall physique. In the earlier years, it was bred in Northern England’s Lake District because of its significant role in hunting foxes that were predators of sheep during the lambing season. Armed with a deep and slender body, it is physically capable of squeezing into rocky dens, making it a tough and powerful hunter.

Aside from its unique frame, the Lakeland Terrier is also distinct for its powerful jaws, rectangular head and wiry coating. Although it is vigilant in killing predators, it also has characteristics ideal for companionship. Just like many dog breeds, it is loyal to its human companions. It is friendly, warm and confidently beautiful inside and out. Plus, it has a strong desire to guard and protect its human companions, making it the perfect household pet.

It may walk like a real princess, but it can also be agile once it senses danger lurking around the household. If you are looking for a pet companion that can protect you and your home while providing you warmth and affection, this dog breed is perfect for you.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
GroomingBelow Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Terrier Dogs
Height:About 1 foot, 1 inch to 1 foot, 2-inch tall at the shoulder
Weight: Around 15 to 17 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years on an average

Originally bred to protect farms against predators, the Lakeland Terrier played a vital role in the lives of early farmers. It first graced Northern England’s mountainous Lake District, and since then, it became popular for hunting foxes and other animals that preyed on sheep and lamb. It may look small on the outside, but its unique and sturdy frame enables it to squeeze into the rockiest and most difficult terrains and dens. Not to mention, it is clothed by two layers of coatings—a top coat that serves to protect it from thorns and sharp rock formations and an undercoat that shields it from extreme weather conditions.

Physically, this dog breed is square and robust in built. Aside from its narrow and deep body, it is also distinct for its long legs which are ideal for walking on rocky roads. At first glance, it looks like it is standing on tipped toes, but, in reality, its graceful stride can be attributed to its lengthy legs. In addition to this, one can determine a the Lakeland Terrier by its long neck, high tail set, powerful jaws, rectangular head, V-shaped ears and wiry top coating.

Characterized by its unwavering determination to protect its human companions and their property, the Lakies, as what locals from Lake District would call them, are also cheerful, friendly and affectionate pet companions. They are warm and gentle, yet they are firm and dedicated in protecting their humans. In addition to being courageous and alert, they are also high spirited in nature. Plus, it has a strong sense of humor, making it an ideal household pet for homeowners of all ages.

Generally, the Lakies can get along well not only with small children in the family, but with other household pets as well. Nonetheless, since they have the instinct to hunt, they have the tendency to chase after small, unfamiliar pets in the home the same way that the presence of strangers can make them alert and mistrustful. Hence, early socialization is important for this dog breed to become a well-rounded pet companion.

Moreover, training can be extremely challenging since the Lakeland Terrier is highly independent. Since they have their own ideologies of right and wrong, owners can have a difficult time establishing a solid foundation of proper behavior. However, the Lakies are intelligent dogs that are capable of learning new tricks.

As long as they are given proper and fair training that consist of a range of routines and positive reinforcements, they can readily cope with any environment. Simply put, as a trainer, you have to set boundaries between bad and good behavior by providing rewards for every accomplishment instead of resorting to violent punishments.

Lastly, the Lakies are frequent barkers, so they may not be ideal in an apartment setting unless they are provided with early training. Also, if you are considering this breed, be prepared to wait since this dog breed is very rare. As they all say, good things come to those who wait. It may be difficult to find this breed, but it is definitely more than worth it.

Main Highlights
  • If you are considering this dog breed, it is best that you find a reputable breeder since buying a Lakeland Terrier in pet stores may not guarantee you of a well-rounded dog with good temperament. By looking for a responsible breeder who can provide you with inputs on the puppy’s parents and lineage, you can have the peace of mind you need knowing that your pet companion won’t grow up with a ton of health problems coupled with a bad temperament later on.
  • It is an intelligent and independent dog that can take advantage of insecure owners. Once it senses that its owner is incapable of running the house, it has the tendency to become dominant. Hence, owners must be firm when training their puppy.
  • It has high barking tendencies unless it’s trained to be quiet and more subtle inside the house.
  • Since it can squeeze into the steepest and rockiest dens, the Lakeland Terrier can also escape from poorly secured fences, so owners must double their defense systems, especially when their dog is off leash.
  • It has high energy levels, so it necessitates regular exercise so it won’t demonstrate potentially destructive behavior.
  • Obedience training is highly recommended since this breed can be possessive and aggressive in nature.
Breed History

The Lakeland Terrier hailed from England’s stunning, but hilly and mountainous Lake District. Aside from its scenic mountain views, Lake District is also made up of harsh and rugged terrains. Its lamb and sheep farms are mostly located in the countryside, which is also home to viscous predators of farm animals, most specifically the Westmoreland fox. Since foxes were circling around flocks of sheep in the earlier years, the Lakeland Terrier rose in popularity because of its capability to efficiently hunt and kill predators.

In addition to hunting predators, they were also well-known companions of miners and other men in the working group who are fond of sports such as fox hunting, rabbiting and badger digging. Eventually, dog shows became rampant, with early owners showing off their pet companions. In the earlier years, the locals used colors to draw the line between a Lakeland Terrier and white terriers.

Popular for being amongst the oldest terrier classifications still bred today, the Lakeland Terrier bear a close association with the now extinct Tan Terrier, the Border Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Old English Black Terrier. It was only in the 1920’s when the Lakeland Terrier Association was founded in England. Then, over a decade after, the American Kennel Club registered it as the Lakeland Terrier, which then boosted the popularity of this breed in dog shows not only in England, but in the US as well. Today, this breed still continues shining not only in households but in competitions and dog ramps as well.


On an average, this dog breed is 13.5 to 14.5 inches in stature and 15 to 17 pounds in weight.

Personality and Character

Popular for being an exemplary watchdog, the Lakeland Terrier is reserved when surrounded by strangers. Even though it has a very low tendency to start up a fight with other dogs, it won’t surrender once taunted. Also, as protective as it is to its human companions, this dog breed is high-spirited, affectionate, warm and friendly in nature. It is an ideal pet companion even for small children since it is an intelligent and curious dog that has an intense desire to play with kids and other members of the family.

Furthermore, it is characterized by its graceful stride, making it a top contender in dog shows. Despite its unique and posh appearance, it is agile and alert. Its temperament, on the other hand, is affected by factors like socialization, genetics and training. Therefore, it is ideal for buyers to trace the puppy’s lineage and meet at least one of its parents before deciding to bring home the puppy so they would get an idea on the puppy’s temperament. Also, early socialization and training is a must to ensure that the puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

Health and Potential Problems

As aforementioned, the Lakeland Terrier is a rare breed. While it may be prone to medical conditions once it is raised in an unhealthy environment, it has no known genetic disorder. As a bonus pointer for all aspiring owners, it is best to buy a puppy from breeders that follow the standards set by the US Lakeland Terrier Club.

Care Features

Aspiring owners who live in an apartment don’t need to worry about providing this breed a safe and conducive environment to live in since it does not necessitate a wide, open space. However, they need to train their Lakie at an early age to minimize its barking tendencies. In addition to that, it should be kept indoors since it craves for the love, care and affection of its human companions. As long as it is given time to exercise on a regular basis, it has a very minimal tendency to break things inside the house.

In terms of keeping if off leash, owners need to make sure that their fences are well-guarded since it is notorious for its capability to dig and escape through tiny holes. When outside a confined area, on the other hand, it is most advisable for owners to keep their Lakie on a leash since it has the tendency to chase after small animals, which can eventually lead to unwanted accidents.

Since the Lakeland Terrier is an independent dog, it is best for owners to train their dogs at an early age. A Lakie as a puppy, just like any other dog breeds, can be destructive inside the home, especially if its owners neglect the importance of training. Aside from home training, puppies can be kept in a crane for limited hours so they can get used to confinement once they need to be hospitalized. Nonetheless, they shouldn’t be kept in a crane all day. While crane training is essential for its growth and development, it is also crucial for owners to provide their puppy freedom.

When training this breed, owners must provide firm supervision and guidance since this dog breed has the tendency to take over the household once it senses that its owner lacks self-esteem. Also, owners need to be patient since the Lakeland Terrier is highly independent in nature. Instead of resorting to harsh punishments, owners should incorporate dog treats and praises as rewards for good behavior.

Feeding Schedule

Just like other dog breeds, the recommended amount of daily serving depends on the Lakeland Terrier’s size and level of activity. On an average, experts advise homeowners to divide 1 cup of high quality dog food into two equal servings per day.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Lakeland Terrier has two coatings—one is a hard topcoat that protects its body from harsh outdoor elements, and the other is a soft undercoating that shields the body against extreme weather conditions. The coating on the body is typically 1-inch short, and it can either be straight or moderately wavy.

Many owners tend to trim down their pet companion’s coating on the head, tail, chest and ears, especially if it is scheduled to grace the ramp of a dog show. Also, emphasis on the rectangular shape of the head can be done by trimming the facial hair, and leaving the hair over the eyes a bit lengthier.

In terms of color, the Lakie comes in a wide array of hues including pale yellow, blue, red, black, liver or red grizzle. Sometimes, they are two-colored, which can be a result of the fusion of the colors of its parents. These colors typically include grizzle and tan; black and tan; and blue and tan.

When it comes to grooming, breeders usually instruct new pet owners on how to strip the coating. Stripping is a technique especially used to remove dead hair. When done properly and regularly, the Lakeland Terrier has a very low tendency to shed, making it an ideal indoor companion. If the breeder did not guide you on how to properly pull of the stripping technique, it is best that you ask advice from a professional groomer who can. Just remember that stripping is an art that not all professional groomers are accustomed to, so it is important for you to ask if the groomer is skilled in this technique before signing up for a grooming service.

The Lakeland Terrier does not need frequent bathing if it is provided with regular care. To get rid of unwanted dirt, owners are advised to comb their Lakie on a weekly basis. Aside from this, it is also ideal for owners to rub its body with the use of a clean towel.

Lastly, oral and ear care is best done on a weekly basis. Owners must never overlook the importance of trimming their Lakie’s nails regularly. If you are inexperienced in nail cutting, you can always seek advice from professional groomers.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The Lakeland Terrier’s high energy levels make it a perfect companion for kids who love playing indoors and outdoors. However, just like in any other dog breed, it is always recommended for owners to teach their kids on how to properly interact with their pet companions. Although it may have a high tolerance level, bad habits like tail pulling are not advised when interacting with dogs. Hence, adult supervision is still needed in every pet-child interaction no matter how friendly the dog may seem.

As regards to pet interaction, on the other hand, it can get along well with other household pets, especially if they have been introduced at an early age. Nonetheless, they have the tendency to chase small animals such as cats, mice and squirrels. Therefore, it is best for owners to keep close supervision when their Lakie is interacting with smaller animals.

The Lakeland Terrier may be widely known for its posh and one-of-a-kind physical attributes, but there is more to this breed than being the star of dog shows. Bred with an instinct to guard and protect the household, it is absolutely the perfect breed for every family. It may be tough and agile on the outside, but it can definitely keep your love tank full as it offers limitless love and affection to its human companions.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.