Lakeland Terrier

Temperament: Friendly, Confident, Bold

  • Height: 14-15 inches (male), slightly smaller (female)
  • Weight: 17 pounds (male), slightly smaller (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group 

A bold, zesty “big dog in a small package,” the Lakeland Terrier, named for the Lake District of his native England, was once a farmer’s dog bred to work in packs on sheep-stealing foxes. The Lakeland's coat is hard, wiry, and low-shedding.


The Lakeland Terrier is a small, workmanlike dog of square, sturdy build. His body is deep and relatively narrow, which allows him to squeeze into rocky dens. He has sufficient length of leg under him to cover rough ground easily. His neck is long, leading smoothly into high withers and a short top-line ending in a high tail set. His attitude is gay, friendly, and self-confident, but not overly aggressive. He is alert and ready to go. His movement is lithe and graceful, with a straight-ahead, free stride of good length. His head is rectangular, jaws are powerful, and ears are V-shaped. A dense, wiry coat is finished off with longer furnishings on muzzle and legs.

About the Lakeland Terrier

Square and sturdy Lakelands, standing less than 15 inches at the shoulder and weighing about 17 pounds, are small dogs. But don’t tell them that. With their cock-of-the-walk swagger, Lakelands personify the old dog-lover’s cliché “a big dog in a small package.” They come in several colors; some have a sporty saddle mark on the back.

With folded V-shaped ears, straight front, rectangular head, and a mischievous twinkle in their eye, Lakelands are the blueprint of a long-legged British terrier.

NUTRITION The Lakeland Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING Lakelands have a beautiful, harsh double coat when maintained properly by hand plucking. Finding someone who can pluck (or “strip”) a coat is difficult, however. Clippering the coat will also suffice, but with this the color and texture of the coat will fade. Once clipped the coat becomes soft, with loose curls. The hairs tend to not drop out, instead staying caught up in the coat, so the Lakeland is considered a non-shedding breed suitable for people who can’t tolerate lots of dander. Brushing weekly will help to remove the loose hairs and prevent mats.

EXERCISE When raised properly, Lakelands are not a hyperactive breed. A good, long walk or brisk jog daily along with frequent opportunities to run in a securely fenced area should keep them fit both physically and mentally. One longtime breeder notes: “Physically, Lakelands can get enough exercise if they live in a two-story house. Mentally, they need to get a lot of exercise to grow up sane. Walks on short leads don’t cut it. All-out running on a 20- or 30-foot line regularly seems necessary.”

TRAINING The Lakeland needs early socialisation, following up with a good basic puppy training class—with the class and trainer chosen carefully. A longtime breeder notes: “Avoid training classes taught by people who do not understand the terrier mind. Lakelands are wicked smart; they learn quickly, and get bored quickly. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult, and reward good choices.” They learn fast but don’t thrive on repetitive training—they are simply too smart to perform the same task over and over again.

HEALTH There are very few breed health conditions specific to the Lakeland Terrier, and none that have been reported at more than a very low incidence. As with all breeds, a Lakeland’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

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