Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier is a small dog breed that was developed as a working terrier. Affectionate and energetic, there is nothing typical about this breed. Nicknamed Lakies these dogs need experienced dog parents and thrive with lots of physical activity. 


Born in Cumberland County in England, the Lakeland Terrier is related to breeds like the Old English Black, the extinct Tan Terrier, Dandie Dinmont, Bedlington Terrier and Border Terrier

Sheep farmers kept this terrier breed to chase and kill aggressive foxes that would often attack their flocks. Miners and others used the terriers for sport hunting badgers and rabbits. 

The Lakeland Terrier Association was formed in England in 1921 and were first exhibited under names like the Fell and Patterdale Terrier. In 1934, the breed was registered by the American Kennel Club.

Physical Characteristics

The Lakie has a small, compact and athletic body. His head is rectangular and he has folded v-shaped ears. With a sometimes intense and impish facial expression, this beautiful dog has a docked tail that is carried up.

Sturdy in structure, this dog has a deep narrow body that allows him to get into rocky dens to flush out prey. The Laky often looks like he is standing on his tiptoes. 

This dog breed has a double coat. The topcoat is thick and hard, to protect the Lakie from sharp objects like thorns. The dense undercoat keeps him warm in cold climates. Lakie puppies are born dark and mature into coat colors including:

  • Blue
  • Black
  • Reddish-brown (liver)
  • Red
  • Pale yellow or fawn (wheaten)
  • Blue and tan
  • Black and tan
  • Live and tan
  • Red grizzle
  • Grizzle and tan


An adult Lakeland measures 13 to 14 inches (33 to 36cm) tall at the shoulder with a weight of 15 to 17

pounds (6 to 8kg). 

Character & abilities

This small dog is bold and cheerful with a charming sense of humor. He is affectionate, brave and confident but often wilful and determined. 

As a terrier, the Lakie is curious and wants to get into everything. He is alert and makes a good watchdog. 

Even though he is reserved among strangers, he loves his family and enjoys playing with children who can match his energy level. 

The Lakeland Terrier will generally get along with other pets, especially when brought up together. Proper introductions should be made with strange dogs. He won’t be aggressive but he will not back down either.

As is common with other terriers, this dog will chase after small animals like cats and squirrels. Living in a home with small pets like hamsters might not be best for this breed.

The Lakie likes to dig, bark and guard his belongings. He has a mind of his own and needs fair correction. Any harsh or undeserved correction will cause the dog to rebel. 

Trainability & Intelligence

Independent in nature, the intelligent Lakeland Terrier can be difficult to train and requires loads of patience and a sense of humor. Training sessions should be short and entertaining using food rewards and words of praise. 

Lakies are successful in the dog show circuit around the world. The first champion won Best in Show in 1963. In the 1990s, a Lakie attained a remarkable record winning more than 100 All-Breed Bests-in-Show. 

Housebreaking the Lakie requires a firm and consistent hand with lots of patience. Crate training will help and the best times to take the dog out for potty breaks outdoors are:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After every meal
  • After naps 
  • After playtime
  • Before bedtime 

Exercise Needs & Nutrition

The Lakie has high energy and exercise needs. He requires plenty of physical activity. This dog can be active indoors but needs one or two 30 minute walks a day, on the leash. 

If the home has a securely fenced-in yard, this dog will enjoy playing and running around without a leash. He can be allocated a specific place in the yard to cater for his love of digging.

The Lakeland Terrier’s diet depends on his size, age, body build, metabolism and level of activity. An adult Lakie requires one cup of high-quality dog food that is divided into two meals.

When in doubt about the amount and quality of dog food, consult with the dog’s veterinarian. 


The Lakie has a thick hard topcoat and a soft undercoat. Hand stripping or using a stripping dog grooming tool can keep his coat neat and reduce shedding. 

Brushing and combing the coat regularly can loosen and remove dead hair. Baths can be given when the Lakie is stinky but a towel rubdown can remove dirt and excess body oils.

This small dog should be introduced to grooming processes as early as possible to make the experience more pleasant and less stressful. This will include trimming the nails once a month and brushing the teeth every day to remove bacteria and tartar.

Living Conditions & Adaptability

The Lakie is tolerant of cold weather because of his dense undercoat. Walking him in the hail, sleet, snow or rain will not affect him adversely. But this doesn’t mean that he should live outdoors.

This dog is small and will comfortably adapt to living in an apartment. He will however require training to stop him from barking at every noise he hears to avoid nuisance barking and upsetting the neighbors.


The Lakeland Terrier is a hardy dog having been developed in a rugged and mountainous environment. He may be genetically predisposed to developing health concerns like:

  • Lens luxation
  • Distichiasis
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

The lifespan of a Lakie is 12 to 15 years.


The Lakeland Terrier is one of the oldest working terrier breeds today. Excitable and full of pep, this enchanting small dog is loving, friendly and bold. He responds well with experienced dog parents however with all his fine qualities, this dog is still not commonly found. 

Here at All The Small Dog Breeds, we provide detailed small dog breed descriptions to offer a clear understanding of what goes into adopting one of these furry friends. We recommend adopting a healthy dog from a reputable breeder or local animal shelter.


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