A Beginners Guide to Breeding and Training Great Patterdale Terriers





Copyright ©2022 by ROUGHNECK KENNELS

All Rights Reserved.


Roughneck Kennels
Roughneck Kennels

30,000 years ago man left his mark in the cave drawings of France. From simple hand prints to elaborate art- he must have wanted to tell the world “I Was Here”.

Enjoying the latter years of my life I find myself wanting to contribute in a similar and simple fashion that may benefit others leaving my mark I WAS HERE!

Having owned, trained and bred hunting dogs for a lifetime, this book is my attempt to share with others, in understandable terms, much of what has taken me a lifetime to understand.

Some will agree, some will disagree with what is written here. Neither is the point of this work rather it’s a collection of personal observations in the field over a lifetime freely shared with other.

Before I can begin I have to give thanks to my wife and best friend of almost 20 years. Her uncanny observations working with terriers while carrying her own backpack and tools on nearly every dig, have provided me an insight that I would have suffered without as well as a companion that’s made my life seem worthwhile.. She truly understands these terriers better than any man I have ever met!

Thank you Randi!



Line Breeding


Puppy Peddlers

Hand Raising and Whelping

Tails and Dew Claws


Lead Breaking and Recall

Starting A Pup

Finishing A Terrier

Pitfalls and Tools

The Backpack

First Aid

Dog On Dog Aggression

Lost Dogs

PTCA Breed Standards


Genetics and the role they play in creating great working dogs are so important it seems the most logical place to begin

Every great Terrier begins with great genetics. Almost everything a terrier does well or does badly is a direct result of its breeding BUT genetics’ alone do not make a great working terrier!

People tend to make it complicated but it’s really not as complex as it sounds. I will explain it in a way that everyone can understand.

Let’s say you want to be a GREAT Carpenter or Builder so you buy a shop and fill that shop with the finest craftsman tools available. Now you have the tools to become a GREAT builder but just possessing great tools does not MAKE you a great builder- you have to have knowledge that comes from experience, learning through hard work.

To a terrier with great genetics it’s identical! He has the TOOLS but without the EXPERIENCE he will never stand out as a great terrier.

Experience comes from constantly working the terrier over and over. He has to develop knowledge and gain experience to hunt effectively. For you to make a great worker YOU have to be a great worker yourself!- No Exceptions. What you possess in any working terrier is a direct reflection- good or bad- of the work ethic of the handler combined with genetics.

Great terriers are not made on social media- they are made in the woods through blood, sweat and exhaustion. You take them out when you want to go and you take them out when you DON’T want to go. It’s just how elite terriers are made.

A terriers greatness is defined by a combination of his genetics and the hard work of the handler getting him out over and over gaining the knowledge and experience that comes with sweat equity.

A terrier from the greatest producing parents will never himself be a great terrier if you don’t put in the work. That does not mean he won’t produce great terriers

If he possesses great genetics from great producing parents. Then he will most likely pass those great genetics on to his offspring- even though he himself has not been proven to be a great hunter.

If you start with terriers of great genetics,- never hunt them– and produce pups- you can and likely will produce great pups even though the parents lack the knowledge and experience as hunters. It’s just the way genetics work.

With that said,- the greatest success as a breeder will come from proving the parents in the field- then proving the cross by hunting the offspring before breeding them. The greatest success will always come from breeding your proven best to your proven best in the field.

Roughneck’s Lil Bit

Here’s a sad fact

Every pup in every litter- even from the very best crosses and most dedicated breeders, do not always make a great terrier- that’s just the way it works.

Getting the greatest pups repeatedly in litter after litter involves line breeding which I will discuss soon.

Conversely, one subpar pup from a litter of great pups does not make the parents or the cross unsuccessful- they just don’t all make it. Not EVERY pup in a litter can be the best pup from the litter, even from the best crosses.

When you trash a breeder publicly for this all you are displaying is your lack of the most basic knowledge of breeding

Now that you understand my thoughts on the role of genetics in producing great workers its time you understand the role of genetics in creating subpar workers.

Genetics provide the tools- without the tools provided by genetics, a terrier will never be a great terrier- THE END.

Through centuries of selective breeding each working breed has developed specific characteristics that have become their hallmark.

Coonhounds were developed to run a track by scent in the right direction and then “tree” and stay hooked until you get there. Greyhounds, here at least- were developed for speed and to run by sight to catch game, overtaking them with their speed.

Patterdales- are bred to hunt and locate game in the ground accurately and then hold that game until you get to them.

Roughneck Kennels

Unless you spend a lifetime of selective breeding of Greyhounds to “go to ground” you are not going to have much success in getting a line of them to do it.

What makes a terrier go to ground is genetics. The instincts bred into him over the years are so strong they naturally come out through working him over and over. If going to ground is not strongly bred into the terrier you are unlikely to ever teach it to him.

The same goes for gameness. Bay dogs produce bay dogs. Game dogs produce game dogs IF the genetics are reproduced.

“Like Begets Like”.

This is a good time to mention that not all GREAT terriers are great producers.

Many a great terrier was a stand out in a litter of subpar terriers and in all likelihood much of what he reproduces will be the average of the litter he himself came from. Great crosses come from great terriers that are also great producers. Crossing a “flash in the pan” to another “flash in the pan” is very unlikely to reproduce great litters of pups.

Genetics play a vital role in every aspect of the way your terrier hunts or refuses to hunt

If an older terrier stays at your feet and refuses to hunt- you are unlikely to have much success in changing that. It’s acceptable but discouraging in a pup as he develops and learns, but in a two year old dog that’s had ample opportunity and displays this trait, you are unlikely to reverse it.

A young pup with little experience can often display this trait, usually just needing a few encounters with game to trigger his genetic instincts to hunt- An older dog that displays this trait after many encounters with game is unlikely to change.

The strong instinct to hunt has just not been passed on in his particular genetics. He may be fierce on game and work well with other dogs- but if he possesses this negative trait he is not a candidate for breeding as he will likely reproduce this trait in his offspring.

With this being said- there ARE exceptions.

An ill-tempered handler can ruin a well-bred young prospect in seconds so this behavior may or may not be genetic. It seems the most intelligent of the young terriers are the easiest to ruin through bad handling. To me- they are much less forgiving of bad handling practices.

Roughneck’s Lil Bit

You can’t kick and scold a young dog that constantly walks in front of your feet in an attempt to get him to hunt.

All you will succeed in doing is getting the young dog to walk behind you!

Patience is ALWAYS the key in working your pup!

You CANNOT take your personal frustration out on the dog or he will be ruined in minutes.

When you experience this you have two or three options that are effective.

  1. Get down on your knees and work with the pup, tearing apart brush piles and such encouraging him to use his nose and “Hunt
  2. Take a nap!

I know that sounds crazy but when they won’t leave your feet- they are waiting for YOU to locate the game. If you will find a spot up off the ground where the pup can’t come sit in your lap and just take a 30 minute break paying the pup no attention- many times they will become bored and start ranging out and exploring- which leads to hunting. This happens slowly so be patient!

If you experience this over and over its a good sign the pup is just not ready to start yet. Some bloodlines start at just a few months-some wait until close to two years to start- again its genetics– just be patient. Knowing the bloodline characteristics in advance and when to expect them to start will help you with patience.

  1. This option involves having older finished dogs to start the pups with. Hopefully they will watch and learn from the parents. The older dogs used to start pups with should be your cleanest finished dogs. They should be “straight”, meaning they are broke off undesirable game like porcupines and skunks. In no way should they ever be dog aggressive. Older dogs used for this do not have to be your best barn burners- they just need to possess the fewest negative traits while hunting. If you don’t follow that rule your young terrier will quickly possess the same negative traits

If you are not committed to the above then you will never turn a pup with great genetics into a great terrier. SO MUCH in making a great terrier depends on great handling

Line Breeding

Line Bereding Pedigree

Line Breeding is a term used to describe a cross between genetically related individuals.

This could be a “father to daughter” or “brother to sister mating”. It could be the crossing of cousins or other related family members. Breeding related dogs together is referred to as “line breeding“.

The amount of line breeding ( how closely the ancestors of a pup are- related), is expressed as an “inbreeding coefficient” as a percentage. This calculation is known as “Wright’s Coefficient of Inbreeding“.

I confess I do not understand the math or formulas used in Wright’s calculations but videos and explanations on the internet are plenty. My personal breeding program calculates these inbreeding coefficients for me as a percentage- which to me- are more of a novelty than anything useful in breeding great terriers.

Breeding greatness is as much of an art as it is a science. Here is what you need to understand about Line Breeding to produce great terriers.

When you cross related pairs with the same traits- those traits will be AMPLIFIED/INCREASED in the offspring, IF the parents are also PRODUCERS.

Please read the above again as it’s the most important fact you need to remember whenline breeding breeding terriers!

Roughnecks Lil Bit with Pups

Sounds simple, but here is the issue.

There are no perfect terriers. Each terrier, like each person, has faults. None are perfect.

Despite how much you might love Old Roscoe, he has faults. Some are visible in his behavior. Some are hidden health issues. The faults exist in front of your eyes or under the surface.

When you line breed related pairs with similar qualities you are amplifying/increasing those traits in the offspring.

Problem arises with negative traits. Just as the traits that make Old Roscoe great, EVERY negative trait that Roscoe and his sister possess will be AMPLIFIED in their offspring. Please read that again!

A trait I see that’s not only amplified but seemly reproduced ON PURPOSE by many breeders is “dog on dog” aggression. Nothing ruins a hunt among friends faster than a dog fight! Dogs exhibiting this trait can only be hunted alone- period. I suspect those intentionally breeding for this behavior likely came here from the dog fighting sport. I will discuss this more in a chapter devoted to “Dog On Dog Aggression

If a dog is “game as all get out” but just won’t leave your feet and hunt while waiting for other terriers to locate- (as discussed in “Genetics”) that trait in all likely hood will be not only passed on but INCREASED in their offspring! You are going to have a litter of pups that just won’t hunt. Remember as I said earlier almost everything your terrier does well or does badly is genetics, provided he has been given ample opportunity in the field.

If your terrier spends way to much time in empty sets- that’s genetic. If your terrier is stupid- that’s genetic

The same holds true for hidden health issues. Closely related parents can each possess genes of genetic diseases as recessive genes.– They are not expressed in the offspring until combined with the recessive gene of another other related parent.

With the above understanding, I will say strongly, there is no other way to produce great terriers than through line breeding!

Conversely, there is no better way to produce subpar terriers than also with line breeding.

Here’s why.

The issue today is that FEW closely related dogs are quality candidates for line breeding because of genetic faults in behavior and/or health. Yet breeding them continues.

As a candidate for line breeding BOTH related parents MUST express the GREATEST number of strengths while exhibiting the FEWEST weaknesses or negative traits.

Few terriers are actually worthy of line breeding today because of these negatives -yet its commonplace.

Patterdale Terrier Puppies

To line breed great terriers successfully, YOU as the breeder must be able to honestly access the strengths and weaknesses of Old Roscoe. A difficult task when you love that dog so much!

If you cannot look at Roscoe, after years of hunting him and say ” if I could change two things about Old Roscoe these would be it” and name them- then you should not be line breeding.

In addition to the above- before line breeding, YOU MUST have hunted the dog many, many times in many situations studying his performance, both good and bad BEFORE using him for line breeding.

You must be able to identify the traits that him and his prospective mate exhibit that you feel are worthy of increasing in the offspring while identifying the negatives and weighing the tradeoff.

So with the above understanding that few terriers are candidates for line breeding, let’s say you have finally found them.

Genetic Testing Report

1-How closely related is best?

2-How often should you keep breeding back into related offspring?

3-When should you consider an outcross?

Breeders have struggled with these questions for years which I suspect may be the reasoning for developing Wrights Formula to begin with.

Many breeders have developed their own methods which include:

“Breed back in 3 times then go with an outcross (totally unrelated dog) to maintain hybrid vigor.

Others use different numbers and methods. This is the part that many consider “The Art” behind breeding.

Personally my feelings are ” you go back into until you see a reason not to

This can be once,- when you raise the pups and “start” them and see issues that force you to STOP, or it can go on for INDEFINITE generations as you observe the results of the crosses.

The closer to perfect the parents in behavior/health genetics- the more often you can breed back in. The greatest challenge in this comes from actually keeping and starting and observing a pup while hunting and training to adulthood.

This is a daunting task with one pup- not even factoring in a kennel full of prospects you have to train, hunt and observe.

Despite the work, this is totally necessary for a successful breeding program

Roughnecks Jett as a pup

To illustrate my point I will use a genetic eye condition common in terriers called “Primary Lens Luxation” or PLL – a genetic and painful condition involving the lens in the eyes common to Patterdale Terriers.

This condition is passed on through generations.

For a terrier to develop PLL he MUST have TWO genetic markers for the disease. If he just has a single marker he will NEVER develop PLL. A terrier with a single marker is known as ” a carrier”. If he has a PAIR of markers then in all likelihood he will develop the condition.

If you cross a parent with a single marker for PLL to another parent that has no marker ( PLL Clear) then although a percentage of the litter will also carry a single marker, NONE will develop PLL. Some in the litter will also be PLL “clear” (No Markers)



However, if you cross a parent with 1 marker to another parent with 1 marker- then a portion of the litter will likely contain 2 markers and develop the condition.

On the flip side- if you cross ANY two pups from the litter and neither have a single marker for PLL, you can breed back in as many times as you want and you will not get a marker in the offspring.

PLL is easily tested for. Many of the negative traits you have to watch for in line breeding are only identified through working the dog and observation. There are no tests other than using your own observations and reaching common sense conclusions.

The fewer the faults with the parents the safer it is to intensify the traits through line breeding.

I am told there are terrier registries that will not register a terrier with an inbreeding coefficient above 16%. I know the intentions behind this rule are good but to me it’s counterproductive to good breeding. ANY terrier possessing a large number of negative traits should never be used as a candidate for line breeding- not even up to 16%!

However great related parents with few negatives or health issues could easily go well beyond this 16% threshold while reproducing even greater offspring.

So my theory is and remains “you go in until you see a reason to stop


HOF Diggin Deep Boomer Pedigree

Simply put a pedigree is a list of ancestors of a particular terrier. If you record the parents of any creature, big or small then that creature has a pedigree.

It’s a pretty elementary thing to state but I do see some confusion in social media posts where owners often state ” Patterdales do not have pedigrees!” So I feel the need to clarify.

Some of this confusion comes from another common argument in social media

Purebred vs Type

Many people outside the USA feel that Patterdale Terriers are not a pure breed because they evolved – by crossing several different terrier breeds that include Bull Terriers, Border Terriers, Lakeland’s etc. And the practice still continues there in places today

Continually introducing other breeds would rightly make the product of these crosses a ” type” over a ” purebred”

However Patterdale Terriers as “Purebreds” do exist.

Hunting Patterdale Terriers

Every breed of dog or “purebred” dog on the planet is a descendant of the wolf.

Through selective breeding each breed has developed its own characteristics. None are even remotely similar to a wolf.

To me when the traits and appearance of the offspring are predictable then you have a breed.

Crossing the offspring from different dogs within the breed WITHOUT crossing out to a DIFFERENT breed develops a “purebred

Moreover the Patterdale Terrier Club of America was established over 28 years ago with a written “Breed Standard” for the Patterdale Terrier which is irrefutable evidence the Patterdale does exist as a breed.

If you are crossing generation after generation of Patterdale Terrier WITHOUT introducing a different breed- then you have a pure Patterdale Terrier as a breed.

Introduction of outside breeds to change what you have would render what you are producing as a “type

A pedigree is a roadmap showing how a certain pup/ prospect were produced. It can show what went “right” as well as what went “wrong“.

PTCA Pedigree

A pedigree has little value when purchasing a pup unless you have firsthand information on the parents and even grandparents on the pup you are considering.

To understand the strengths and weaknesses inherent in your puppy you have to be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the parents AND to know if they were PRODUCERS that passed these traits to their pups.

Without this knowledge a pedigree is of little purpose when researching the purchase of a pup.

More often than not, those in the market for a pup will chose a pup with a well-known breeder on the pedigree, hoping that this breeder was knowledgeable and serious breeder and produced every cross with that in mind.

Usually that’s not the case as many breeders turn out as many pups as possible without finishing out or in many cases, even hunting the parents! Often these are the most sought after pups! I understand everyone wants to own a pup direct from a reputable breeder- but this does not mean you are getting a great pup from a great cross.

Luckily in today’s world EVERYONE has a video camera in their pockets in the form of a cell phone. Anyone can take a video of their terriers hunting locating and even engaging game. Anyone selling you a pup from a hunting cross should have no problem showing you videos of dogs working. From these videos study the dogs

Reading A Pedigree

In the case of Patterdale Terriers registered with the PTCA,( Patterdale Terrier Club of America) a pedigree can honor the breeder of that pup as the breeders name is always included in front of the dog’s name, regardless of who may own or purchase the dog.

For Instance “Roughneck’s Lil Bit” would indicate both the breeders name (Roughneck Kennels) and the dog’s name ( Lil Bit). Some breeders will include their own name in the dog’s name. Let’s say I sold Lil Bit as a pup and the owner registered her with the PTCA and included his own name of “Smith“. On the PTCA pedigree she would be listed as “Roughneck’s Smith’s Lil Bit“. Roughneck’s name, being the breeder, will always be first.

A pedigree has little value when purchasing a pup unless you have firsthand information on the parents and even grandparents on the pup you are considering.

Puppy Peddlers

Weaning a litter

The term “Puppy Peddler” is a derogatory term often used in Patterdale Terriers – related social media posts to describe anyone that breeds and sell pups.

The term is usually brandished by individuals that want the work and expense of reputable breeders put into producing pups for free.

If they were using the term correctly then it would be used to describe “Puppy Mills” which are basically puppy farms designed to turn out a breed as quickly as possible solely for profit with no regards to genetics or ability.

Most usually when someone uses the term it demonstrates their own ignorance and laziness.

As described earlier in this book, reputable breeders put in huge amounts of work and expense in producing a specific litter. Often times, years of work and money go into planning to reach a specific breeding.

Roughnecks Brawler as a pup

When dealing with serious breeders like this, they are giving you an opportunity to “buy in” to where they are in their breeding program at that point in time. Even a price that seems like a great deal of money for a puppy is not even close to the money and work invested to get to this point in a serious breeding program.

Here is a email I received awhile back that pretty much describes 90% of Patterdale Terrier breeders


I’m looking for another Patterdale pup. I manage a ranch and I bought one to kill vermin (rats, mice, gophers, squirrels), the pup is still young but so far is really a good hunter and companion. I’m not going to call the breeder out where I got my first pup but I was not impressed with the condition of the adult dogs and the “kennels” that they lived in. I did not get the impression they hunted with the dogs, or worked them much at all. I took a pup from them regardless, but part of me wanted to cut my losses (traveling several hundred miles and a deposit). You could tell the pups were not socialized at all, had never been outside, seen a child, or anything – despite all the lack of proper puppyhood he is turning into a well-rounded little guy, and is very healthy.

Needless to say I don’t want to get another pup from the same breeder because I don’t support their operation. I do want another Patterdale because I think my original pup could use a team member for larger animals (gray fox, coon, opossum) when the time comes. I’ve seen the videos of your dogs working and I can see the benefits of multiple dogs. Color doesn’t matter to me, although a chocolate/brown would be nice to match my current dog. As long as it hunts hard all else doesn’t matter. Do you have any breeding’s in the making?


It’s up to YOU to do your research on the breeder, understanding what his goals are for each breeding as well as the success of what he is producing.

Many are in fact “puppy mills” trying to masquerade as serious breeders in efforts to extort customers out of their money.

A case in point would be a guy that imports large numbers totally unrelated terriers solely because they contain a popular breeders name on their pedigree- then crosses these unrelated dogs NOT EVEN KNOWING what desirable traits they want to reproduce or even undesirable traits they want to avoid!.

Usually these “Breeders” or “Puppy Mills” rely solely on PROMOTING PEDIGREES of the terriers he has purchased– never once even keeping, starting and finishing the pup from ANY cross!

Their goals are simple- to sell pups without putting in the work. There are many more “breeders” like this than there are honest and serious breeders with the knowledge to produce great prospects. Keep that in mind when shopping for a pup!

Selecting A Puppy

Roughnecks Crazy

People often ask what to look for when selecting a puppy from a litter.

Normally someone does not get to spend enough time observing a litter to make an informed decision. Puppies have off days just like people. A pup that seems docile or really laid back one day can often be a barn burner the next so it really takes time and observations to make the decision.

If you are dealing with a “hands on” breeder often its better you explain to him the purpose you have for the terrier and the traits you are looking for most in a terrier.

As a breeder I will share with you observations I see in particular pups that seem to endear me to them over some others


Starting Roughnecks Brawler on Rats

When pups are playing with toys , ropes or even a sock, a tug o war often ensues between two or more pups- as they pull sometimes one or more will stand out as they grip the toy in their mouths and shake it quickly back and forth during the pull

We all like to see this instinct strong in a young pup .As a terrier gets older and encounters game ,shaking his prey in this manner will not only inflict more damage to the quarry quicker but it will also limit the quarry’s ability to inflict damage on a terrier . Some feel it shows a strong prey drive in the terrier

Whatever your beliefs – this is a favorable trait among terrier breeders – not all pups display this.

However it’s not 100 percent at this age – any pup in the litter can and likely will display this trait later in life if the pup is bred well

Socializing Patterdale Terrier Puppies

Other than this, I look for and breed strongly for intelligence.

Intelligence determines if a terrier is a pleasure or a pain to work with. Intelligence determines if a terrier is worth the effort involved in training and finishing

When watching litters play there are always a few that demand my attention more than the others. They will often sit at my ankles and look up at me staring me in the eye .When I talk to them they will cock their heads to the side in amazement and perk their ears in attention. These pups are intelligent and will be the most eager to please you through the process provided they are handled correctly – it’s an early sign I always admire

I look for a pup that holds his tail high and keeps his nose to the ground

A pup with his tail held erect is full of confidence – one with the tail held horizontal is feeling a bit apprehensive while one with his tail tucked is in fear

All this can change for better or worse as the pup matures either through proper handling or poor handling

Roughnecks Melee and Roughnecks Brawler starting on rats

It’s just an idea of where that pup is in early development

A great terrier has to use his nose to hunt and locate and this requires him to have his nose to the ground

When working terriers together you often notice one that follows along allowing others to work to locate game so he can then engage

I feel a pup that instinctively has his nose to the ground locating scents is most apt to make a great hunter. Again this is not 100 percent, but rather an early sign like to see

When I narrow it down to all things being equal then I start to look at conformation and how well each pup appears to represent the breed standard

As a breeder that breeds for hunting ability – conformation has never been a big issue to me so I have not spent a great deal of time studying it.

I have a few friends that field trial terriers while breeding and showing strongly for conformation – so when I have questions I consult with them

Roughneck Kennels Puppies

I do like a pup with a strong head, wide across the jaws showing strength and a short muzzle – all this to help the mature terrier in encounters with game

I like a terrier pup that shows thick strong bones in the front legs as this makes me feel he will grow into a strongly built terrier

I like a finished terrier with a slender chest and longer legs – this is difficult to spot in a weeks old puppy – but if you look at the pups a breeder has produced in the past as they have matured you can often see the type they mature into

I see in many instances what’s being bred today have shorter legs and thick muscular bodies.

My motto has always been ” to each his own ” but for my purposes I need a terrier with longer legs as they navigate the steep creek banks here better and seem to have more leverage when pulling game from a den.

To me they are just all around a more agile terrier

Hand Raising and Whelping

Hand Raising Patterdale Terrier Puppies

Hand raised pups refer to raising pups in the home- with the mother present, so you can easily socialize them and monitor their behavior, making early corrections as necessary.

A well-bred Patterdale Terrier will not submit to the dominance of another Patterdale even when over powered or outnumbered he will fight to his/her death without hesitation or fear.

Strangely though- when an intelligent well-bred and hand raised they receive some sort of an imprint of being human, a Patterdale Terrier will submit to their owners and work diligently to please them when the bond between man and terrier is strong.

Hand raised Patterdales Terriers seem to proudly accept that their owners/handlers are the “Alpha” of the pack even though they refuse to accept this in other terriers’

This is a unique feature of the Patterdale Terrier that endears them to many

Creating this unique bond begins as soon as the puppy opens his eyes through constant handling.

Roughneck Kennels Stock

A young boy that bonds with his pup- sleeps with him and works him constantly will almost always have a better working terrier than those kenneled outdoors with little interaction with the handler.

All this is provided that the boy has an intelligent well-bred Patterdale.

There are some breeders that want a pup “feral” in that the pup is more wild animal than domesticated as they feel that somehow this will make the terrier a better hunter.

Raising a feral pup involves as little human interaction as possible. In my observations, nothing could be further from the truth. A terrier bonded and imprinted as a pup with human interaction will work to please his handler in every way that a feral pup wont.

A feral raised pup will resist all commands of its handler, doing everything driven by feral instincts, paying little attention or respect to its handler.

A hand raised pup will study the owner/handler each day trying to learn the ways of his human family.

If you observe intelligent terriers much you quickly realize that these terriers spend a great deal more time and effort in understanding us– than we do them!

They are constantly watching and learning from us! You won’t get this in a feral raised pup.

Pay attention and make your own observations.

Brawler Goosey and Melee on first Opossum

Imprinting begins with daily handling when the pup opens his eyes.

You will on occasion notice a shy pup in that it trembles when you pick it up while burying its nose in the crease of your elbow. I usually see this around 4 weeks of age with a few pups and have yet to see one continue in this manner when handled on a daily basis.




Roughnecks Boots

Every pup exhibiting this will be a fireball in your hands by 6 weeks as long as shyness is not being reproduced in its genetics.

This is only corrected through hand raising pups and socializing with them daily. Had this been allowed to continue without interaction the condition would likely increase in severity and be even more difficult to correct at 8 weeks, or 12 weeks or more.

Pups should never be sent out until at least 8 weeks of age. Even though they can be weaned slightly earlier, the socialization they get as a litter is very important. 8 weeks to me is the minimum, 12 weeks even better if you can find breeders willing to keep a pup and hand raise to 12 weeks.

Raising a litter in the home gives the pup several advantages provided the breeder uses the opportunity to condition the young pup. I personally feel much of the “dog on dog” aggression seen today in Patterdales Terriers could be corrected if breeders constantly worked with the pups.


Warrior Mantz Daisy with Pups

The first sign of aggression a pup will instinctively exhibit towards another pup is putting his/her foot on the back of another pup. You will see it from the moment a pup learns to walk and it should be discouraged in EVERY instance! No Exceptions– you might think it’s cute and even encouraging to watch a puppy fight but nothing could be worse in promoting dog on dog aggression.

When I say discouraged- I DO NOT mean to beat on the pup in ANY circumstance!

Keep a fly swatter handy or your ball cap and swat the pup lightly when it exhibits the behavior with a simple command “NO!” As the pup gets older you can increase the velocity of the fly swatter or ball cap while giving the “No!” command more forcefully.

This HAS TO BE DONE CONSISTENTLY the moment the behavior is exhibited EVERYTIME. If you let them get away with it on some occasions all you are doing is confusing the pup as to the meaning of the command and the behavior you wish to deter.

If you follow my advice on this and breed strongly for intelligence– I promise you will quickly be AMAZED at just how young a pup can understand the command!

Moore’s Mrs Molly with Pups

If doing this consistently throughout the pups life to a year or more and it has little or no effect then it’s likely that “dog on dog” aggression is so strongly bred into the terrier that it cannot be broke. Dog on dog aggression that cannot be conditioned from the dog, is a genetic trait

I will not use a dog like this for breeding- ever.

Hand raised pups in the home have other advantages.

If the new owner has plans to keep the terrier in the house, then a hand raised pup has a head start on potty training. A pup raised in a small indoor kennel on a blanket is naturally reluctant to defecate in his bedding area- usually only doing it as a last resort.

If you rise early in the morning and instantly upon opening the kennel, put the pups out the back door- before they can use the living room floor for this- they are much quicker to learn that OUTSIDE is the place we go when its time. This goes on throughout the day, taking them from the kennel and immediately putting them outside for 10 minutes or so. As they get older and make a mistake- you can swat them with the fly swatter or ball cap- tell them “No” and quickly snatch them up and take them outside to finish while you pet them up with encouragement, showing them how proud you are of them for doing it outside.

There is just no substitute for the early human interaction and socialization that a hand raised pup receives, this will make the pup a pleasure in the hands of its new owner to work with but as a breeder it takes a great deal of time and effort.

Expect to pay a premium for a pup that’s received this extra attention.

When hand raising pups in the home you have a daily idea on the health of each pup and with observations- you can quickly spot a pup who is not feeling well or has a health condition in decline. This is important as it allows you to take quick action to return the pup to health. In most at home situations are there are only two effective ways of helping an ailing young pup.

Heat and Hydration.

Roughnecks Rumble Pups

Warming the pup is the first step in treating a sick pup. This can be done over time by holding the pup to your chest under your housecoat as my wife does- or by heating towels and blankets in the clothes dryer and wrapping the puppy in them. The warmth should come slow and steady over and hour or more. Many breeders keep a heated plastic mat in the floor of the kennel when in cooler locations. After the puppy warms up, hydration is important. Keep a puppy formula in powdered form that can quickly be mixed with warm water. Often the pup will refuse the formula and if you force it, the pup will inhale the formula, drowning the pup! If the pup refuses the formula- just put the nipple to the side of his mouth- squeezing a few drops at a time into its mouth, watching his tongue as he laps up the fluid. It’s a slow process and takes time and effort. Once the pup feels better it’s time to put him on a tit and see if he takes it. If he does not have the strength to take a tit and suck then you have to repeat the above throughout the day until he does. Examination of the puppy’s stool is important, any mucus or blood in the stool indicates at least one of several serious issues! This is when you should consider taking the pup to your vet for a better examination.

From the moment a mother starts the birth process I keep a bowl of whole milk in front of her.

The available calcium in the whole milk is quickly metabolized and increases the contractions. I have had many a bitch struggling for quite a while birthing a particular pup, then give birth to that pup in minutes after holding a cold bowl of milk to her face and allowing her to lap it up.

I also keep milk in front of the mother throughout the time she raises the pups. What better way to help her have everything necessary to produce milk- then by letting her consume milk. The milk in front of her has to be kept fresh as milk will spoil and clabbor in just a few hours at room temp so I give her small amounts often while washing the milk bowl daily.

Hand Feeding Formula

Pups typically start to supplement the mother’s milk with drinking from a bowl at around 4-5 weeks.

I also keep fresh whole milk in front of them from 4 weeks on. Many breeders’ will tell you whole milk is too rich, can cause diarrhea and dehydrate the pup. I have not observed that to be the case here although it does create a loose stool compared to a normal one.

The only serious health issues I encounter in raising pups is that of impaction in the digestive tract. The pup soon stops feeding and turns to skin and bones while withering away from not eating. The pup is in obvious pain while trying to poop and often shows signs of discomfort when touching their bellies. This is usually the most common issue in pups that wither away with no obvious sickness or explanation and is often cured with bottle feeding-dribbling the formula slowly in the side of the mouth while administering several mild enemas to the pup with a 3 ml syringe.

I encountered this early on in breeding and raising pups but have yet to encounter it since I have been keeping whole milk in front of the pups each day. It seems to loosen the stool just enough to prevent the issue- my thoughts anyway.

If you see obvious signs of profuse diarrhea when feeding whole milk then I would advise stopping and maybe substituting with goats’ milk if you have an available source.

Again these are my personal observations made through years as a breeder. I did not find them on the internet nor were they supplied to me by a vet. Feel free to use them

Tails and Dew Claws

Why Do We Dock Tails And Remove Dew Claws?

(From the internet)

“Historically, tail docking was thought to prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase the animal’s speed, and prevent injuries when ratting, fighting, and baiting.

Tail docking is done in modern times either for prophylactic, therapeutic, cosmetic purposes, and/or to prevent injury.

For dogs that work in the field, such as some hunting dogs, herding dogs, or terrier dogs, tails can collect burrs and foxtails, causing pain and infection and, due to the tail’s wagging, may be subject to abrasion or other injury while moving through dense brush or thickets.

Bones in the tail can be broken by impact in the field, causing spinal injury to the tail, or terriers can become stuck underground, necessitating being pulled out by the tail, in which case the docked tail protects the dog from spinal injury or trauma.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (the largest veterinary professional organization in the United States), disputes these justifications, saying “These justifications for docking working dogs’ tails lack substantial scientific support.

In the largest study to date on tail injuries in dogs the incidence was 0.23% and it was calculated that approximately 500 dogs need to be docked to prevent one tail injury.” In many breeds — but certainly not all — the dew claw has traditionally been removed in the first few days of a dog’s life. In some breeds, the removal is thought to improve appearance for the show ring. In others, it’s done to prevent possible injuries, such as being damaged while a hunting dog works through brambles. (Some breeders remove declaws themselves, but this is a task more appropriately handled by a veterinarian.) If dewclaws aren’t removed in the days after birth, the next opportunity is typically at the same time as a spay or neuter.

If a puppy has torn or otherwise injured the dewclaws before that time, it’s certainly worth discussing their permanent removal to prevent re injury. “

My thoughts on Dew Claws, they have no real purpose but in adult dogs they constantly get hung on things while hunting and injured- often just hanging by a thread of skin. You wouldn’t think this would be THAT painful but I’ve seen it lame a dog for weeks and cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Some people leave them- we remove them for this reason alone.



Nothing is more important in producing healthy puppies than proper and regular vaccinations! As a breeder you have to take this very seriously as it’s the difference between life and death with the pups.

The most important place to start this discussion is WHERE to get your vaccines!

Never buy your vaccines from a farm store! Many times they are totally ineffective and worthless because they are not stored properly! The cause of this is employees lack the understanding and proper care of the vaccines from the moment they arrive! The vaccines arrive refrigerated and are unloaded at the store- it maybe hours before they are refrigerated. In many cases they just leave them unrefrigerated in the store room, then when the refrigerator in the store gets low on stock, they retrieve these now worthless vaccines and stock the refrigerator with them!

When purchasing vaccines get an idea of what you will need for the entire litter then order those and a few extras.,

Order online from a reputable vet supply and include OVERNIGHT shipping with cold packs at check out.

Make sure someone is there when they arrive and get them refrigerated as soon as possible.

If the cold packs are no longer cold, DO NOT USE THEM. Keep them stored in your refrigerator making sure they also DO NOT FREEZE,

Ordering in this fashion OR having your local vet administer them are the ONLY SAFE ways to insure your pups receive the immunity you invested in!

If you raise pups you will lose several to these farm store bought vaccines. Sadly I know from early experience and have seen it over and over!

I administer a “6 way” at 6 weeks of age and then follow up with a “10 way” at about 8 weeks right before they leave. There are individual vaccines you can purchase and administer but the 6 way and 10 way are the most economical way to achieve immunity. One additional vaccine I often purchase is called “NeoPar” This is a concentrated PARVO vaccine that will improve immunity.

Parvo is DEADLY and the worse of all threats to a pup! It is also the most difficult to achieve immunity against! Even a 6 way and a 10 way will not guarantee immunity against Parvo. To be completely certain your puppy has immunity, he must be vaccinated for parvo every two weeks with the final vaccination at 18 weeks.

Parvo is tricky! When you give the litter the first vaccination at 6 weeks, ONLY a small percentage of the litter receives immunity! The second vaccination gives some of the additional pups some immunity. The issue arises because the pups receive some immunity against Parvo from the mother’s milk. This wanes over time. The maternal antibodies in the mother’s milk actually kill the Parvo vaccine you just gave in some of the pups. Some will receive immunity from the first and second dose of vaccine- BUT some won’t! You have no idea which pups are immune and which are still susceptible,

Some breeders will skip a couple weeks vaccinating at 6 weeks, then 8 weeks, then 12 and finally 16 weeks. You will not be 100% sure your puppy has immunity to Parvo until he receives his vaccination at 18 weeks.

It’s a good idea to vaccinate the Dam just prior to breeding to get the highest number of maternal antibodies into her “First Milk” or “Colostrum” This First Milk, given in the first 18 hours of life, provides the most antibodies the pup will receive from its mother. It’s VERY IMPORTANT they get this First Milk

With each round of vaccinations I give each pup 1-2 ml of Pyrantel as a de-wormer. This is a mild wormer administered in the mouth with a 3 ml syringe without the needle.

Additionally a Rabies vaccination is required at 6 months, which here in Oklahoma has to be administered by a licensed vet. Laws on this vary state to state

An additional vaccine to consider if you live in an area of Rattlesnakes, is a Rattlesnake vaccine, This vaccine could save your terriers life in the event he was bitten by a Rattlesnake, Without it, most Rattlesnake bites are deadly to small terriers.

The vaccine works by creating protective antibodies that help neutralize venom, so dogs experience less pain and swelling after a Rattlesnake bite. Dogs that are bitten may also require less antivenin, which can be fairly costly and may produce side effects.

The vaccine requires an initial dose followed by an additional dose in 30 days. This provides 6 months of protection and must be repeated. I don’t think this vaccine will stop your dog from the effects of the snake bite so much as it will keep him alive until you can get him to a vet.

I have NO TRAINING as a Veterinarian, what I have shared here is not meant to be professional advice. These are my thoughts as a breeder and the techniques I use in raising pups. You should ALWAYS contact a Veterinarian.

Lead Breaking and Recall

Annie learning Recall

Lead breaking is pretty straight forward and basically involves attaching a lead or leash to the pup’s firmly fitting collar then staking the lead out in the yard for a few hours. It’s important to have a tight fitting collar that the pup cannot slip- But not so tight that it chokes. It’s also important that this is done in a shady cool spot and the pup has water available.

Usually the pup is going to scream and cry and hit the end of the lead and pull until he is give completely out. The pup is going to get hot during this so it’s important this is done in a cool spot with water.

I usually just leave them an hour or so-checking back every 15 minutes to make sure he is doing ok. It’s pretty traumatic to the pup for the first few minutes but eventually he learns the leash is the master and settles down. Afterwards you can walk him on the lead a bit before putting him up away from distractions so he can process what he has learned.

If he pulls and hits the end of the lead after this- it will be time for another quicker session the following day done in the same manner.

Recall is a little more important as it can save your terriers life in the field and even at home. When your terrier is in danger you MUST be able to call him to you and away from the danger.

This is done with 100 ft. of clothesline rope, repeating the “HERE” command over and over while gently pulling the pup to you. Smart pups pick it up quickly but even after they understand the command “HEREthey are going to test you. This is when the rope is no longer attached and involves you walking to the dog for however long it takes repeating the command “HERE” over and over. Sometimes you can walk to the pup in just minutes- sometimes it takes a while, but if you want your dog to understand recall YOU MUST get him EVERYTIME he disobeys, otherwise you are just confusing him or only teaching him to obey “when he wants to”. You have to be patient– you MUST be consistent and you CANNOT use a heavy hand when working on this.

Starting A Pup

Starting a young terrier on game is often not done until 1-2 years of age with many handlers.

Leaving a terrier kenneled for the first 1-2 years with little interaction is a total waste of learning and developing opportunities that will make a great terrier later in life and a pleasure to handle.

I believe the earlier you can start working with a pup the better, provided that you keep it fun and bring the pup along slowly. This is a very impressionable age for the pup so it’s important you keep it fun with several short sessions preferred over a few longer sessions.

I begin at 7-8 weeks of age with Rats and a small round rolling cage. If you do not have a rolling cage I have found pet stores sell small round clear plastic balls with ventilation holes and a screw on lid that, although not as durable as a steel wire cage, they seem to work better because the pup’s teeth often get caught in the wire.

I am far from cities that have stores like PetSmart that supply rats so I turn to and join “snake breeder” groups in my area on Facebook. Those that raise snakes need mice and rats as a food source so there are always 1-2 in the group that breed and sell rats for this purpose. The Rats come in small medium and jumbo.

The younger the pup the smaller the rats to start with.

You will notice with pups this age that the scent of the rat is what drives the pup’s curiosity most. Often they will be inches away from a rat- looking directly “at” him but only interested in the scent, almost blind to the rats visual presence. This clearly demonstrates the importance of scent over sight in a young terrier’s world. Soon the pup will associate the scent of the rat with the actual visual of the rat, as curiosity passes, the terriers instincts will kick in as he goes into attack mode.

Starting Patterdale Terrier Puppies

I cannot express the importance of really getting down on your knees and petting and praising the pup when it finally engages the rat. The pup’s tail will go from erect to wagging like crazy usually as you pet and encourage him!

Always keep an eye on the pup’s tail when working him these early weeks of his life.

When you first introduce him to the rat just be quiet and let him discover the curiosity of scent. Never push the young pup at the rat as you can frighten the pup and set him back. Just be patient.

Remember if his tail is tucked he is frightened and it’s time to end the session.

A tail held horizontal shows he is curious but a bit apprehensive so just let him progress and discover on his own. A tail held high shows confidence and that the pup feels in command.

Again as he discovers the rat and associates the scent of the rat with site and begins to whine and playfully bark, this is the time to get down on your knees and really encourage him with lots of petting and words of encouragement! Right now, to the puppy, this is nothing more than a fun game with his prey as his genetic instincts develop

This progression is not at the same rate for all pups. Some quickly take to it while others don’t seem as turned on for weeks. Early signs that a pup quickly turns on are always promising and something we all like to see, but just because an 8 week old puppy shows little interest at this age is no reason for discouragement.

Each pup progresses at its own rate. You can encourage this but cannot force it! Any attempt to force the pup will be a set back

You will need to develop a word or phrase to use when encouraging a young pup when he encounters game. I use ‘CHECK IT!’ spoken quickly and in the same excited tone each time. This is important so use it often. The young puppy will quickly associate the words “Check It” with the presence of game then when you have him out in his first real hunting situations and you point at a set and say “check it” he will excitedly know exactly that you think there may be game present and look for it. Whatever phrase you use it’s important to keep it the same and use it often in the presence of game

After the initial introduction to rats it’s also important to quickly increase the level of difficulty in finding the rats.

Once a pup associates the scent of a rat with the sight of a rat and engages it, now is the time to force the puppy to use his nose to locate game.

A simple way to do this is a small plastic children’s swimming pool with 4-5 inches of wood chips. The rat cannot escape the sides of the pool but can scurry under the chips- hiding from the pup and forcing the pup to use his nose to locate the rat instead of using sight alone.

Later in life in hunting situations almost every locate will be done first by scent so it’s best to start bringing that instinct out now at the earliest possible age. You can progress to more elaborate set ups of ‘barn hunt” style stuff like hay bales and junk scattered around with old tires to even plastic tunnels.

Each day make it a little more challenging for the pup before rewarding him with the rat

Without an older dog to start pups with in the field, the process can be slow and requires a great deal of patience

If on the other hand you have an older dog it should be a dog with as few faults as possible as you do not want your new pup learning bad habits

Laziness -too much aggression and or running trash are all traits you do not want to teach your new pup – so if your older dog has these traits it’s generally better to start a pup slowly on its own

I like to begin with taking 12 week old pups to a nearby creek and walking them, allowing them to explore and navigate the creek banks and brush, maybe even crossing the creek and swimming

As far as locating game it’s not a productive time and requires patience on your part – just try to enjoy the time spent in nature!

When you come across some holes you can take your pup to them getting down on your knees and using your “check it “command you have been working on

After a few creek exploring trips I like to take young pups to abandoned farms with old buildings.

There’s always tin and sheet metal laying around and when you start flipping the sheets over there’s always mice and rats. Once the pup notices them it will learn where it’s first quarry is located, diving under each piece of tin as you flip it in anticipation of quarry



As your pup matures you can work drifts in creeks and brush piles. Normally with these sets you have to encourage the pup by pulling out sticks and brush by hand while again using the “check it” command Get in there with him and get the pup excited!

If you are lucky you will soon come across a pile that contains a possum or coon.

Once the pups associates the drift or brush pile with successfully locating game – it will understand these are favorable sites for game and gladly enter when you say “check it

Once a young Patterdale finds game in a certain place they ALWAYS seem to remember it and check it FIRST the next time out. The more type areas your pup hunts and locates game the better he will be for it- so hunt different types of terrain often.

Pups encountering game as formidable as a coon .should be much older and close to grown at least 6 months or more if age depending on the pup. Don’t rush it!

When starting pups with older dogs its ok for them to observe the older dogs work game and even taste a little fur when it’s over while petting and encouraging them

However it’s very important not to get a very young pup attacked and bit at this young age

Keep it fun for the pup. Try not to exhaust it day after day. Keep the hunts short with a day or so of rest in between When he has learned something new- put him somewhere away from distractions so he closes his eyes and thinks about all that’s just happened!

Finishing A Terrier

So now you have a young dog “started” on game. He is showing intelligence and drive and is eager to please you.

You have worked him in ALL different types of situations; he now knows that his quarry is most likely to be found in earths, in barns, brush pile and drifts as well as old abandoned houses and farms.

Hopefully he has encountered game in all these various locations and has them on his “Radar“.

You have raised the terrier with perfect recall. He completely understands the “No” command, which is one of the most important commands you can teach him.

Now the ground work has been laid and it’s time to gain EXPERIENCE

Finishing a terrier requires experience. “Repetition is the Mother of Learning” is a phrase that’s been wandering around in my head for a lifetime.

Doing the same thing over and over helps it become “second nature”.

It’s the same for a terrier; repetition combined with discipline is what finishes a terrier. It’s time to pour the hunts to the terrier as often as possible.

Nothing brings you greater pride as a handler than watching your hard work displayed in a finished great terrier!

This is why few great terriers are ever for sale. So much effort on the part of a handler goes into producing a great terrier that most are unwilling to part with it. It would be akin to selling your child!

BEWARE of ANY Breeder claiming to travel the globe buying up the very best in the world.

First-Great terriers ARE NOT for sale. If you fool yourself into believing his you are well on your way to getting DUPED by a PUPPY PEDDLER! Please read that AGAIN

Secondly- Crossing a bunch of different bloodlines to produce pups is NO MORE than throwing darts at a dartboard and wishing for a bullseye This type of breeder has no idea or knowledge of what he is doing showing little experience and/or common sense in his breeding program.! He is only in love with papers and pedigrees and is using that to try and dupe you out of your money! I CANNOT emphasize this enough! If you are looking for a pup and ready to get started in Patterdale Terriers and Only take away ONE THING rom this book- It needs to be what’s written above! Consistently producing great Patterdale Terriers is done through line breeding related individuals with the greatest strengths and the fewest weaknesses using PROVEN PRODUCERS! If you buy a puppy from breeders that travel around the country buying his stock instead of producing it- you might as well get a pup from PetSmart!

Next is breaking the terrier off of trash, as described in the next chapter, Skunks and Porcupines can be deadly. Chasing a deer can get your terrier run over. Chasing livestock can get him shot; Chasing a Coyote can get him eaten!

Breaking a Patterdale Terrier off of trash can be difficult. Often it seems impossible if you have not spent the time as a pup reprimanding with the “No” command and teaching recall. This is a MUST!

Starting your terrier with older broke dogs makes it much easier. When starting a pup without the benefit of older broke terriers, here is a situation you encounter

As a young terrier, you are walking with him to holes in the ground- you are getting down on your knees and encouraging him to enter- you can tell he smells something! Excited you pet him up and encourage him. He gets excited and works harder and harder, THEN you smell it! It’s a SKUNK! Immediately you start shouting the NO command and get the dog out of the hole!

Here is what just happened, you just encouraged and praised your terrier when unknown to you- he was smelling a skunk, You praised him over and over until YOU smelled the skunk- then you started reprimanding and shouting the NO command!

All you have done now is TOTALLY CONFUSE the terrier! First you were telling him to “get” whatever is in there- then you are scolding him for i!

I use the older broken dogs with pups when checking sets. If a pup hits on a hole that Daisy, Boomer or the others show no interest in– I Immediately start using the NO command shouted loudly until I get the pup out.

I don’t need to SEE the trash to know it’s there. If the old dogs don’t want it- it’s TRASH. This young dogs not going to show them up.! Get the young terrier off it.

Finished terriers are broke off trash. How difficult your terrier is to break off trash depends on its intelligence and the time YOU SPENT with it as a small pup teaching both RECALL and the NO command,

Many new to terriers get a pup and are burning to hunt but they have many months to wait so the pup sits idle. This is the MOST valuable time to spend with your young prospect, bonding him and teaching him commands! What you do NOW will determine how difficult that terrier will be to work with at an older age. This time is INVALUABLE!

The following question came to me in YouTube comments followed by my answer. This illustrates the importance of puppy training

“ I have a fantastic 1 year old patterdale hunts well comes back 96 % of the time but I can not get him to come back when he gets on a deer have you any tips on training it out of him lost him for 5 hours yesterday chasing deer”

Training starts with recall and understanding the NO command- without that then it will be difficult! If that proves to be the case you will need a training collar used correctly- quickest way would be to turn out somewhere that you saw the deer cross the road- Quietly let him pick up the scent on his own without encouragement- when he shows interest shout the NO command loudly several times-if he ignores it hit him with the shock collar and shout NO again. Scold him some when he gets back but don’t beat on him- repeat as necessary- an intelligent Patterdale will pick this up quickly

Breaking off most undesirable game is done in this manner.. If you don’t put in the work as a puppy you will find the task more difficult later on.

So now you are finishing a terrier- working him solo, making him do his own work locating game and he enters an earth. Now is not the time to start encouraging and hissing him on. He is started;-he has encountered game in sets like this so he knows where to look. Now you quietly let the young terrier work without all the encouragement. If it’s the game you are after he will be turned on by it and be fine- but the moment you smell skunk or see a few quills in his muzzle you can start shouting the NO command and retrieving the terrier.

This way you didn’t just encourage him on trash THEN reprimand him for it! This is REALLY important in a nicely finished terrier, Some people walk their terriers to a set on leads, then get down on THEIR knees and smell the hole for skunk BEFORE allowing their terriers to enter, To each his own, but to me personally, this is not a finished terrier

There are few naturals. Nearly EVERY pup has to be broke. If you follow my advice on raising and handling pups you will find this process,- although difficult, it’s not impossible. Rarely does a terrier understand its trash during the first encounter. This usually has to be repeated over and over to break a terrier. Remember what I said earlier: Repetition Is the Mother of Learning!

Work continues with finishing the terrier, how “well finished” he is depends on YOU. If you just pleasure hunt a few weeks a year you may never actually FINISH out a great terrier. You will still have a terrier to be proud of, but to reach its FULL potential, it takes hunting over and over. In the end it’s a matter of what you want out of your terrier and the amount of work you are able to dedicate to it.

I know there are many days when working dogs is the last thing on my mind, but knowing what my objective is, I gather my gear and load my terriers and head to the woods. It becomes WORK some days.

Pitfalls and Tools

Unfortunately working Patterdale Terriers in the field is inherently dangerous .Patterdales have little to no regard for their own safety when in pursuit of game which can often lead to their deaths .Sadly its always your best terriers that pay this price . There are areas to avoid in the field when possible. There’s also an array of tools to keep on hand that will aid you in recovering your terrier.


Any time a terrier enters under a concrete slab or even construction dumps where broken chunks concrete exist, the dangers increase greatly for the terrier. Unfortunately these areas of concrete are favorite den areas of some game

Reaching a trapped terrier can be challenging at best and often even impossible.

Sometimes a shovel is nearly useless.

. If you hunt in an area like this you will need to keep a number of different tools in the truck. When a terrier is trapped there’s no time to go to town and gather tools.

A shovel and sledge hammer are the most basic. You can dig under concrete with the shovel creating a weak spot below then you can swung the hammer and slowly break the concrete away. Undermining like this is labor intensive and time consuming so be prepared for a workout! Other tools to consider are a few heavy and lengthy nylon ratchet straps to fasten to a nearby tree and overturn large chunks of concrete

I keep two long logging chains in my 4×4 truck and many times have had to pull the truck as close to a bad set as possible then with the chains and 4×4 I have overturned old cars – removed large fallen trees and even moved large rocks and slabs!

When you can’t reach the set with the truck it’s a good idea to keep a come-a-long with the chains and nylon straps so you can carry them to the location

A steel rock bar and even a number of different jacks will always be useful. If you had a cordless hammer drill and a few masonry bits with concrete anchors you could quickly attach anchors to slabs creating a place to hook chains and ratchet them away.

When you see these danger when hunting always ask yourself what your plan would be to recover your terrier should it become trapped – then keep those tools in the truck

Abandoned Wells

Dangers for terriers are everywhere and they always seem to find them

I once had a great terrier fall 20 feet in a dry cistern – I found him unharmed at the bottom playing with a frog!

I had to drive back to town and get a long extension ladder to rescue him

In another instance I had a dog enter under a concrete slab of a well house after a badger. While listening at the hole I could hear the dog fall with a loud splash then I could hear dog paddling! It quickly occurred to me that this well house pad was poured over an old cistern full of water that even the homeowner didn’t know about!

Digging from the outside would have taken hours and the terrier would have drowned. My young boys ran to a nearby barn looking for a big hammer and came back with an ax. I was able to bust through the concrete over the cistern making a hole big enough to see in with a flashlight. I could see the terrier still dog paddling in place while out of strength and going under at times! With no rope available we found a long extension cord hanging on the well house wall – fashioned a loop in the end and lowered it down to the terrier lassoing his head and chest.

I was able to pull him up from the water and hold him until we could dig to him from the outside and rescue him. Improvise when you have to!

This is just an example of hidden dangers you are sure to encounter if you work terriers long so it’s best to be prepared with every tool possible!

Steep Banks

Holes at the base of steep banks also present challenges and dangers. Usually I encounter these on the creeks that I hunt.

These sets usually enter down at the water line with an over burden above of 15 feet or more!

As a terrier enters a set like this and moves further and further back, digging to him from above can become impossible with so many feet of tree roots and compacted hard dirt above him! Usually the only way to reach him is to tunnel to him from the opening of the set, cutting tree roots and undermining the over burden above then caving it in- clearing the dirt and repeating.

Luckily for me these sets usually just go back 6-8 feet and I can dig to the terriers from the opening.

Tree roots are ALWAYS present in these sets and many times I have had a terrier pinned in a set by its collar getting hung on a tree root., trapping it while stopping its ability to fight game. My advice is if you hunt in an area with short earths like this then never put a collar on your terriers – not even a locating collar.

You know when he enters the set will just go back 5-6 feet ,you know exactly his location easily without the locating collar and you already know that because of the overburden of the high creek bank that You will be digging from the opening!

ANY collar in this situation is just a danger, still fine terrier men insist on running the collars just to look and feel cool and professional – nothing could be further from the truth! Had one once tell me I was nit a “real” terrier man because I didn’t run locating collars! I quietly laughed at his ignorance as I thought about how the legends of the breed, Cyril Breay and Frank Buck, had never even heard of a locator collar! I would be honored to be in their class.

Also keep a small hand saw in your pack specific for cutting tree roots and keep an even larger set of cutters in the truck!

It’s important to know the area you are working and what to expect to encounter. What I hunt is unique to me. Know YOUR area!

Because of our large Coyote population we do not have fox to hunt. Fox sets seem to be the sites for having long deep series of tunnels that make a locating collar indispensable – if you’re lucky enough to have a good fox population in your area then I would never turn out without locating collars – they will save you a great deal of digging and can save your terriers life!

Just use good judgement as to when to use collars and when not to


Skunks kill terriers. Many of you might be surprised to hear that but many a good terrier here has been lost to a skunk in the ground

A skunk’s spray is toxic to dogs and when trapped in a confined space, breathing the scent long enough produces a toxin in the terrier’s blood eventually killing him. Unfortunately terriers often refuse to leave a skunk until they become weak and it’s too late .For this reason it’s important to “break” your terrier from skunks as soon as possible!

I have yet to have an intelligent terrier that I could not break provided I raised him from a pup constantly working him on the “No” command. Without this work as a pup they are often impossible to break. The old saying seems to hold true “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick“-maybe you can but it’s sure difficult

Start them early as I’ve shown in this book and teach them they work FOR YOU– once that’s established they will be easier to break

Once a dog enters with a skunk it’s of utmost importance to reach the terrier and get him into fresh air. This often involves frantic digging now that you understand the dangers. If you can reach the terrier, first get him on a leadwhen they are disoriented with the toxins they instinctively wander off and hide refusing to come in no matter how well trained they are in recall

Next it’s important to rinse the terriers mouth with fresh water as much as you can to wash away as much of the scent as possible. Then you quickly wash his face

If you don’t have water available I’ve used mud and water from the creek to quickly scrub them

Usually the terrier is disoriented and vomiting profusely by now – getting his head eyes and mouth rinsed out are of the greatest importance

My experience has been if the sick terrier can still stand and walk – then with rinsing and cleaning and fresh air it will recover in its own in a few hours

If the terrier cannot walk and is falling over it’s time for an emergency trip as fast as possible to a vet where he will receive lifesaving IV for shock as well as aid in removing the toxins from its blood

Many hunts are on weekends when Vets are closed and few these days answer the phone so it’s important you have a vet that will see you and keep his number in your phone in cases of emergency

When you get home you can mix up a solution of Dawn dish soap – Sodium Bicarbonate or “baking soda” and 3 % Hydrogen Peroxide. The ratio isn’t critical, just squirt a generous amount of Dawn dish soap in a large bowl then add a box of baking soda then pour in enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick blue paste the consistency of pancake batter

Before applying this – wet the terrier down and scrub him thoroughly with just Dawn dish soap then rinse him good – this in itself will remove much of the oil. Now with your hands work the mixture you just made – by the handful – into the terriers coat with special attention to the head while being careful to keep it out of the eyes

Be generous with the paste and leave it on the terrier at least 10 minutes while scrubbing him – then rinse

This method has worked so well for me over the years I can actually let the terrier sleep in my bed that night and never smell it!

The key seems to be first hard scrubbing with Dawn Only-THEN a through scrubbing with the paste allowing it to set for at least 10 minutes before rinsing


If you have Porcupines in your area they are always a concern! Patterdale Terriers are aggressive game dogs and most will not shy away from a porcupine even with a face full of quills!.

Some bloodlines are easier to break off Porcupines and other trash; some are more difficult and apparently even impossible.

The greatest drawback to working many pups at once when starting them is the porcupine. Each pup will get covered in quills and if you do not have a method to sedate the terrier it will have to go to a vet to remove a large quantity. Pictured to the left is HOF Diggin Deep Boomer, He is totally broke off skunk and porcupine but that did not come easily!

The biggest worry with quills is getting them in the eyes and in the chest cavity. While you are trying to get your terrier to the vet, he will paw at the quills over and over, breaking many off below the skin. It’s important to act fast when a dog is covered in quills- the quicker you can sedate the better!

Those broke off below the skin will usually do one of two things.

They will abscess in a week or so and protrude just enough that you can reach them OR they will actually continue through the terrier eventually coming out the other side!

Sadly this presents the greatest danger to the terrier as they are often lost when the quills work their way into internal organs causing their deaths.

Quills do not show up on x-rays so it’s important to remove as many as possible intact.

Some people say to cut the ends of the quills off before pulling them- that the quill has an air pressure in it and cutting the end off will relax the barb on the end. I have pulled thousands of quills and honestly cannot tell a difference. To me it seems to weaken the structure of the quill allowing it to break off more easily.

Those in the body are easily pulled compared to other areas. Body parts of cartilage are the most difficult, often breaking off below the skin. This is especially true of the mouth and nose!

NEVER use a hard quick pull when pulling from the nose and lips- half the quills will snap off below the surface.

The trick here is using a good pair of needle nosed pliers, grasp the quill near the skin and use a VERY SLOW but firm pull, usually 10 seconds or so and the quill will slowly release, have patience and repeat on remaining quills.

If a terrier has them in the roof of his mouth and you cannot sedate him, you will need a helper with a stick, placing it horizontal inside his mouth to the base of his jaw. You need the stick long enough you can safely hold the terrier and the stick with both hands. This will give you access to access difficult to reach quills without getting bit. It’s a challenge!.

Deep Water

When your quarry is a species that lives near or in deep water there is always a danger of your terrier getting drowned. This is especially true of the Raccoon.

When a raccoon is near water it will take to the water instinctively to defend itself against the terrier often trying to drown the terrier.

When a terrier bails in the creek or water after a coon and has to swim-its swimming is greatly hampered by trying to just tread water while fighting the raccoon. Even a strong swimming terrier is in danger here!

I lost a great terrier once to this. Her name was Roughneck’s Jett and like her mother Mrs. Molly, Jett could put her nose to the breeze and smell a raccoon and then follow her nose until she located. It’s an awesome trait to watch and on this winter morning I saw her across the creek with her nose held high to a breeze following the scent back towards the creek. In 50 yards I heard her open as she located a den full of coon at the waterline of the creek in the base of a hollow cottonwood.

All the raccoon bailed into the creek with 3 terriers following, diving into the near freezing water, all trying to tread water and fight the game at the same time. Just a few feet from the bank and the water chest deep to me, I wasn’t really concerned as I had seen them battle raccoon in the creek many times before without issue.

As Jett reached out to latch onto one- the raccoon instinctively put both front paws on her head and pushed her head under water. I waited 3-4 seconds for her to surface as she always had in the past but it never happened. In a flash I jumped into the creek fully dressed to try and grab her and bring her to the surface!

Sadly the moment her lungs filed with water she instantly sank straight to the bottom like a lead weight. With my feet and with a stick I frantically probed the bottom for her in her in hopes that with the water being near freezing, I could possibly revive her. Even with me jumping in almost right on top of the spot where she went under, it still took me a good 30 minutes to feel her lifeless body on the bottom and bring her out. I tried to revive her without success while my wife ran down the creek bank trying to get the other terriers to leave the raccoons, as each of them had their heads pushed under water in the same fashion. Luckily all the other terriers managed to surface and we eventually got them on leads.

The point of the story is- you may never see an issue with quarry in the water, but when it happens, drowning and sinking to the bottom happens instantly so always prepare yourself to jump in and help the terrier in a seconds notice. We brought Jett home and in tears, buried her in our spot we have for fallen terriers, she was a great one and sorely missed to this day

Abandoned Vehicles and Houses

The danger presented when the terrier finds its quarry in or under and abandoned structures or vehicles, although not as great as the dangers mentioned above, these locations can make freeing the terrier a challenge at times.

This challenge can be met usually quickly and fairly easily if you have the proper tools in the truck

Many sets are under old vehicles that sit directly on the ground without tires or wheels. Game will often work their way under these vehicles and then dig a burrow, once the dogs reach the burrow and enter, the vehicle can make it difficult or impossible to dig to the terrier.

This pitfall is quickly solved with a high-lift jack I keep in the back of the truck, jacking the vehicle as high up off the ground as possible and shoring it up with anything nearby for safety before you go under to dig. I have even used the log chains I keep in my truck to attach to the far side of a vehicle and using 4 x 4 in reverse, slowly roll the car over while my wife watches for terriers and signals to me. If one were to become trapped in metal piping you would need to go to town and have access to a metal cut off saw to save your terrier.

Only thing that’s certain is ‘you will never know everything you are about to encounter!‘- Be prepared- stock your truck and tool boxes with every tool you can carry for these difficult occasions.

Many times the terriers locate game under old abandoned farm houses and buildings.

Sometimes still standing or often collapsed into a heap. Recovering a terrier under an old building with little crawl space or one that’s in a heap can be challenging.

You will find the high lift jack, the rock bar for prying and a good chainsaw invaluable! Sometimes you can jack or pry old floor joists up just enough to reach the terriers. Other times a good chainsaw with a few sharp chains, bar oil and a can of mixed gas is important as you can quickly cut and remove small sections to recover your terrier. I ALWAYS keep a chainsaw in the truck, although seldom used, when it’s needed it’s irreplaceable. When you get terriers stuck up inside huge hollow cottonwood trees, a chainsaw with carefully planned cuts are the only way to retrieve the terrier.

New Places

As exciting as it is to travel far and meet up with new people to hunt new spots and different game, you have to always remember you are far from home in unfamiliar terrain and if you lose a terrier it may require staying up to a week or more, each day trying to find your valued terrier.

Any or ALL of the above dangers could exist UNKNOWN to you until you encounter them.

Every turnout is a risk greater than you would be taking at home and in unfamiliar terrain you would ALWAYS want to run locating collars and even a tracking collar if your terrier ranges out quite a ways.

You would also need a pocket full of money and a pickup full of tools to spend a week trying to recover your terrier. It’s an ever present danger you should keep in mind when traveling afar to show off your finest terriers.

In this situation I would only travel to hunt with the most experienced and dedicated terrier men who have a good knowledge of the terrain and the pride of staying with you– no matter how long, to help you recover your terrier.

Few terrier men these days have this sort of resolve. If you lose your terrier you will likely find yourself in a strange place, alone and lost as to where to look. One should keep this in mind when traveling afar to hunt with strangers

Brush Piles

Personally I do not run collars on terriers when working in brush piles or tree roots.

This photo shows Annie getting her collar hung on a tree root while engaging a big coon. The collar not only hinders her ability to fight in the ground, it also provides a place for a coon to attach and hold on to. During a battle a terrier can shake his prey to break it loose from its hold on the terrier.

This becomes more difficult when the quarry has something solid like a collar to fasten itself to. Lastly a terrier with a collar hung on a tree root 6 feet underground will have to be dug to in order to free it.

Other than what I just mentioned, brush piles normally do not present any increased danger but they can make it a time consuming and labor intensive chore to reach your terrier. Keep the chainsaw sharp with fresh fuel and bar oil for this moment. It will save you hours of toil.

Another method to move the brush involves using your nylon ratchet straps or chains and pickup truck or come-a- long to dismantle the tangled mess of logs and brush

More dangers exist than listed above, so look around your shop at your tools and ask yourself ‘could this tool be used to help free a terrier?’

If your answer is “yes”, then add it in the truck to your equipment. You never know what are going to be useful until you examine the situation then go to your truck looking over your equipment. A plan usually follows

The Backpack

With so many items needed to work terriers, you will want to carry a roomy backpack in addition to your shovel. Pick one that’s large and comfortable with padded adjustable shoulder straps. Those with individual zippered pockets are the best to keep various items sorted

The most basic items to add to the backpack are dog leads and bottled water, A couple flashlights and a scaled down version of your basic first aid kit. I carry various knives and a snipping tool for tree roots. A small handsaw to cut limbs and roots is a MUST. These items are just the basics; you will need room for snacks if it’s a long walk. A zippered pocket for cell phone and possibly a battery pack for your phone in case you get low.

If you are using tracking and locating collars you will need an individual compartment for this equipment. A smaller collapsible shovel is handy to work tight areas. As you hunt and encounter different situations, what you stock your backpack with will change in time. It’s easy to get it so loaded that it’s difficult to hike a day with. Better to keep it as light as possible with just the most important essentials, leaving the larger, heavier tools in the truck and hiking back when you need them.

First Aid

A discussion on First Aid needs to begin with every handler understanding that he or she will need to have a good relationship with a Veterinarian.

In today’s times many Vets are against hunting and doctoring a working terrier with hunting injuries could be an issue. You will need to find a vet as close as possible to your location that has no problem with this.

When you found one to do business with you will need to see how he/she feels about after hours calls and weekends.

Most handlers have the greatest opportunity to work their terriers on weekends, then when there’s an issue that requires immediate care, – you get a voice mail telling you to take your animal to some animal hospital 150 miles away!

Get an after hours phone number for the vet and keep it on a card with you! Expect to pay more for after hours visits; it’s just an expense that comes with working terriers.

After you have done this, you will need to put together a first aid kit to doctor your injured terrier in the field when necessary. Some of these items are common place and some more difficult or even impossible to get without a prescription. It depends on your state.

You will need chlorohexidine as an antiseptic for wounds. You will need gauze and bandages and a sterile solution to wash wounds with. Antibiotics specific to dogs for different conditions is preferable but if not available you can always purchase Penicillin from your local farm store. 3ml syringes are a must with a small gauge needle. As a pain medicine I use “Vetprofen” from my vet as a pain killer and anti-inflammatory. You will need a non-steroidal eye drop for eye injuries as they are common in Patterdales. My vet has warned me to NEVER use a steroidal eye drop on an eye injury as it will cause blindness. I cannot give you medical advice on any of this so I would urge you to talk to YOUR veterinarian

Pictured above is a wound closing kit available on Ebay for $21, 99 and would be a great starter to a field first aid kit

You will need a stapler to close larger wounds and a stop bleed powder or Silver Nitrate sticks for smaller wounds. Much of these items can be found on the internet like Ebay. Information on how to staple or even suture a wound can be found on YouTube.

It’s best to get familiar with the techniques BEFORE you need to perform them

It’s a good idea to keep a small muzzle in your backpack or kit so you can muzzle the terrier when administering First Aid.

You will need an antibacterial salve or ointment to dress wounds. There are a number of products on the market specific for dogs. When in a bind I use Neosporin.

Wash and clean the wound applying Chlorohexidine or similar, then apply the antibiotic ointment and staple if necessary. Bandage if possible, then clean and reapply the ointment daily while inspecting for infection. This would be the time to administer an antibiotic injection intramuscularly. You would need to consult a vet or the manufacture label for proper dosing. When finished I give mine Vetprofen (Vetprofen or carprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). This comes in the form of a tablet

When giving a terrier something orally, I push it with my finger as far back on his tongue as I can then with my hand I gently hold his muzzle closed while stroking his neck downward in a swallowing motion. You will know when he has swallowed the pill when you see him stick his tongue outside the muzzle a few times

Continue to hold his muzzle closed until he has swallowed

When your terrier has been in the ground ALWAYS flush its eyes out with preferably a sterile saline solution or Distilled Water you keep in the truck. If none of this is available and as a last resort use a garden hose. It’s very important to take the time to flush their eyes good before putting them up

Dog On Dog Aggression

Nothing RUINS a hunt or a friendship faster than a dog fight! Unfortunately in the Patterdale Terrier breed today the MOST undesirable genetic trait I see is “dog on dog aggression”. Genetic dog on dog aggression is somewhat difficult to explain. Here is why:

Some believe the gameness of Patterdale Terriers comes from some of its roots belonging to the Northumberland Pit Terrier and Old English Terrier.

Regardless, by nature he is a courageous and fierce little terrier. Every Patterdale worth his keep will have this in his breeding and nature. Your Patterdale is an Alpha and will refuse to submit to the dominance of another.

If raised properly from a pup and disciplined at every instance of dog on dog aggression, your Patterdale can usually be conditioned to work well with other terriers.

You will notice instances of aggression from the moment they can walk and see it progress through “play fighting”. It gets more serious at around 8 weeks old when one pup will put its front foot on the back of another terrier. This is a telltale sign every time that this pup is attempting to exert dominance over the other pup. A fight soon follows as neither will submit to the dominance of another. If you do not understand what this means, you will just think it’s cute.

You have to spot this and react quickly the moment it happens so there is no confusion with the pup what the correction is for!

With a very young pup just push him off the back of the other while saying “NO”. Keep repeating it when it happens.

When they reach 7-8 weeks you can swat them with a ball cap and repeating “No” Sometimes it takes several swats to get him to stop. The swats with the ball cap are not meant to be painful– but ONLY to get his attention. As he gets older and repeats the display you can increase the velocity of the swat and repeat the “No” command a little louder.

This behavior is usually exhibited during play and at the feed pan. Monitor the feeding pups when you are weaning and be prepared to give them a swat with a flyswatter or ball cap.

Never strike the terrier with your hand! Always use something like a flyswatter or ball cap! A smart terrier will quickly associate a strike of the hand with everyday situations and be fearful. He will however quickly associate discipline with whatever is in your hand, often just the sight of the item in your hand will stop the behavior. If you continue to strike with your hand, every time you try to pet/praise the terrier he will be in fear of your hand.

This is a good place to mention something important but getting off topic a bit.


What I mean by this is that you need to be constantly getting excited and encouraging your pup EVERYTIME he does something well! If you are quiet and unexcited during these moment, If your only interaction with him is when you are unhappy and disciplining him, you will develop a shy dog. Make the majority of your interactions with him as PRAISE so he can draw simple contrast between good and bad behavior.

When you raise your pup as outlined above, provided dog on dog aggression is not bred in him through genetics, you should easily be able to condition him to work with all other NON AGGRESSIVE terriers,

When you do ALL of the above and the terrier still persists on fighting other dogs during a turnout then it’s most likely this dog on dog aggression is a genetic trait and cannot be cured. The terrier SHOULD NEVER be used for breeding as he will likely pass this trait on in his offspring.

Unfortunately this aggressive trait seems welcomed and even desired by many of today’s breeder and handlers, So many have come to Patterdale Terriers from APBT’s they seem intent on turning Patterdales into Pit Bulls.

In social media posts ALL these breeder and handlers will “say” never breed the dog, have him neutered so he can never be bred- or put him down!

All great words to write, BUT from what I have seen, most every one of them will sell the dog intact to someone who breeds him, realizes the problem, then sells him again, passing the problem and the genetics on to the next guy. Avoid dealing with KNOWN people like this.

With a terrier like this you have to cut your losses- never breed him and just enjoy hunting him alone if you can. It’s sad as some of these dog on dog aggressive dogs CAN at times be some impressive workers in other ways.

Lost Dogs

If you work terriers long enough you are going to experience losing one. It’s just a sad fact and a risk you take every turn out.

I have read archived newspaper accounts from the UK (where the Patterdale Terrier originated) during the times of Cyril Breay, Frank Buck and other unnamed founders of the breed, describing how entire communities of terrier men turned out to help free trapped terriers in the rocky fells of the UK,

The local newspapers actually reported daily accounts of progress freeing the trapped terriers! Men would show up with rock bars and ropes and shovels- even dynamite to help a man recover his terriers. Work would go on for days or even a week until all hope was lost!

Men of this resolve and character rarely exist in the terrier world today!

I would have loved to “share a pint” with these unsung founders of the breed.

Usually today if you lose a terrier, you are on your own, counting on your own resolve to recover your terrier.

I have discussed freeing a trapped terrier earlier from various circumstances, but what if you just don’t know WHERE he is at?

This is where a “tracking collar” using GPS can locate the terrier on the surface. If you know where he last entered then a “locating collar” would be indispensable in pinpointing the terrier’s location underground.

If you suspect the terrier is in the ground, a surface locating collar is likely of little use. If you don’t know the location of the earth he is in then a locator collar is useless.

Having lost terriers for hours and even days I can tell you that panic tends to set in fairly quickly. Every possible scenario is played out in your head. I have learned through experience not to panic-if your terrier is not stuck he will eventually return to the exact spot where you turned out.

When darkness falls and you have lost hope for the night many men will lay a jacket or something with his scent on the ground at the spot and return at daylight to find the terrier sleeping on the jacket and super excited to be reunited with its handler.

My greatest concern here after dark are Coyotes. As tough as your little terrier is, a pack of coyotes can and will make a meal out of him in minutes!

I once lost Brawler as a pup on a heavily wooded creek early one morning He just seemed to vanish into thin air. I would walk one side of the creek slowly for a mile- stopping every 100 yards and listening to see if I could hear him in the ground. Then I would cross over the creek and walk back the other way in the same fashion, stopping and listening along the way. When I reached the starting point- I would move another 100 yards away from the creek and repeat the walk- listening over and over for a faint sound of him in the ground. I repeated this for maybe 10 miles total of walking and exhausted I had all but given up hope! Exhausted and unable to walk the brush further- I returned to the truck, threw an old blanket on the ground- then started driving the county roads for miles looking for him trying to find his way back home. This went on all day until darkness fell. At this point I knew if he spent the night out here Coyotes would surely get him. So I parked the truck in the spot where I had lost him and called out to him until midnight, hoping at least the commotion would keep the Coyotes at bay from the area.

I returned home in the early AM hours without him and could not sleep a wink lying in bed wondering what my next course of action should be. At 4 am I had enough of just lying there and worried about the Coyotes, I grabbed a flashlight and drove back to the creek in total darkness I parked the truck maybe 10 feet from where I had left the blanket. A rustle in the brush sent chills down my spine so I turned quickly shining the flashlight towards the commotion and there 5 feet from me was Brawler! It’s funny He made me nearly have a heart attack as I figured in the darkness it was a Sasquatch!

The point in sharing this is twofold. Never give up and most importantly remember that if the terrier can get free and is alive and well, he will MOST ALWAYS return to the spot where you lost him! I have seen this so many times through the years with dogs of different breeds that I’m confident in sharing it. If you have to leave for work, leave some food and water near the jacket or blanket for the terrier. You could even leave the open dog box chained to a tree if you had too.

Just DON’T PANIC! Thoughts of your terriers demise are going to creep into your head- just push them out and remember its likely he will either return to the spot where you lost him or will be found trotting along the road in a few miles, trying to find his way home!

I’ve explained earlier that I don’t like to hunt my terriers with collars in my areas because of the way collars get hung on roots. This is a sad trade off when you have a lost terrier and you wish he had a collar and a name tag and phone number with a reward offer. Keep that in mind and weigh the trade between benefit and risks.

This is an instance illustrating the importance of teaching your terrier RECALL at an early age,

It’s also a good place to mention microchipping your terrier. For $25 my vet will insert a tiny microchip under the terriers’ skin using a syringe. The microchip is programmed with information on the terrier and its owner. And can be scanned and read by a Vet or any facility with a scanner.

As microchips have increased in popularity more and more people are taking lost dogs to a facility to be scanned. It’s becoming common place for lost dogs to be reunited with their owners through microchipping. $25 is no guarantee you will find your terrier but it does provide some hope in recovering him. I think its well worth the investment


In the above section on Lost Dogs I related with you several old archived newspaper accounts “back in the days of the terrier legends”. In these accounts a few things are noticeable that seem to contradict what many USA handlers seem convinced of today

In most of these accounts it’s seldom a single terrier that’s trapped; it’s usually 2 or more!

This contradicts accounts repeated today that terrier men have ALWAYS said “Only 1 terrier per earth” Folks today will try their best to shame you over hunting more than a single terrier, as if it’s some sort of sacrilege on the past. According to the accounts I have read it was common practice.

There is ALWAYS a danger of getting too many terriers in the ground so that none can escape or maneuver.

In a set like this it’s best to start tying dogs back and just let 1-2 work the burrow, depending on the space that’s available- PROVIDED the terriers can work together without fighting!

If they are working above ground in drifts or brush piles then you can work as many as you are comfortable with.

Another subject not mentioned in ANY of these old newspaper accounts is “Gameness” Many handlers today feel that a terrier must be proven GAME before breeding him, I do agree with this somewhat but not entirely. To them, it seems EVERY HUNT needs to be a terrier fighting ferocious game “One On One” in a death match that will ALWAYS leave your terrier injured or lame.

Once your terrier has proven himself GAME, there is no reasonable explanation of putting him in “One On One” matches to the death! The ONLY reason for this would be for the handler’s entertainment! This shows NO RESPECT for the Terrier or the PREY

From the accounts I read over and over in Social Media made by these egocentric handlers, it’s apparent that GAMENESS must be something difficult to achieve and maintain in THEIR breeding programs!

. In MY breeding program GAMENESS seems “Baked In,” with most the offspring I produce. Others must lack it in their lines.

For my bloodline, I won’t breed to a bay dog (one that barks when he can reach the game) and I refuse to breed to a terrier that will choose the tail end over the head when given a choice.

Others intentionally produce bay dogs because they take less damage and hold the game in place until you can reach them. To me this is solely the choice of the breeder and his/her preferences. There are no rights and wrongs.

This is actually the original purpose of the Patterdale Terrier. This 15 lb terrier was not bred to kill Bear and Mountain Lion- there are bigger and better suited breeds for that. Patterdale Terriers were bred to enter Earths and hold the prey until you can dig to them. I am convinced this “dead game” and “fight to the death” stuff is a carryover from the APBT world. Many of these men have migrated over to Patterdale Terriers and carry their ideas and attitudes with them

This is sure to ruffle some feathers and those who know me know I have never shied away from feather ruffling and have no intention of doing so now. I refuse to have my terriers write checks in their blood and pain for the entertainment of handlers who think we are hiding something concerning GAMENESS

This brings me to another controversial issue I encounter often on my Roughneck Kennels YouTube Channel

Working SEVERAL terriers at once on game.

Again some terrier handlers are convinced it’s some sort of sin, trying to shame you when you show working a group of young prospects with older terriers

If you decide to breed and train Patterdale Terriers in a serious fashion, you have to WORK the pups from the crosses to insure they are carrying on the traits you are breeding for,

IF you are just raising a couple terriers then it’s fine to work them one at a time. However if you plan to raise many terriers and kennel a large number of pups at a time- all of which need starting, then if you have any common sense you will do it in groups.

Raccoons are among the most formidable prey I have that’s common in my area.. Still they are rarely found denning in the earth or even on the ground! 98% of ALL raccoons here den in trees, away from the dangers of predators on the ground. Consistently finding a Raccoon on the ground here in daylight is difficult. It takes a great deal of hunting usually to locate one– and that’s with GREAT terriers.

If you can run several YOUNG terriers you are starting with some older finished terriers, EACH terrier will come along faster and be better for the experience provided they don’t carry the traits of dog on dog aggression.

It takes several hunts to locate a single Raccoon in the earth here and there is NO WAY POSSIBLE you could do this with a kennel full of young pups to start!

EVERY Raccoon you encounter naturally in the woods is INVALUABLE in training young dogs. EACH young dog will gain from the experience! Had you only had 1 pup present then the encounter would be totally wasted on the 11 pups you left kenneled!

SERIOUS trainers UNDERSTAND this. Egotistical idiots do not. Just learn to let their insults run off you like “water on a Ducks backThey lack the most basic common sense required in breeding and training terriers. You are out to train terriers not beginner handlers.

Starting young dogs together with a group of older dogs, providing they don’t distract each other playing, is the fastest way to get a pup started and on the right track. The only down side to this is you will at times have a young dog that wants the others to locate the game for him. If you see this- it’s time to kennel that particular pup and spend more time with him alone working on his own.

When a Patterdale Terrier puppy locates his first game- even a mouse in a wood pile in the back yard, each time you turn him out he is going to go check that same wood pile! It’s amazing the memory they have over paces where they locate game.

This progresses over time with experience. He may show little interest in brush pile after brush pile UNTIL he stumbles on game in a brush pile THEN he will be conditioned to check brush pile after brush pile naturally. They just remember!

The same holds true for earths or barn hunts etc. Once your terrier pups HAS SUCCESS with game in a certain location- those locations become part of his RADAR in the future! Finished terriers can show all these young dogs the places most likely to hold game and your pups will progress faster for it.

Conversely, if you just have a single pup to start, the process will be slower, showing him howto check many different type sets until he locates game in each. Then he will remember.

A single pup started in this fashion is slower to progress and requires patience on the part of the handler, but often in the end, you produce a better terrier as he has the confidence and knowledge of doing it all on his own.


Living a fairly reclusive life here in rural Oklahoma and seldom having the opportunity to hunt with terriers of others and/or their breeders so I make it my firm policy NEVER to offer advice on what others are breeding or hunting. I can honestly only speak of firsthand knowledge of my own. The experiences and observation’s I share in this book are solely that without exception. There are a few individuals I believe are producing great terriers, unfortunately they do not have websites to link to here

What I share below are long time breeders with websites I can link to for your study. Although I have not met them personally in most instances I can proudly share their work here

These are currently active sites of well-known breeders of Patterdale Terriers. I am sure there are many more that can be found with a Google search.

MQH Patterdales

David Mason Patterdale/ Fell Terrier

Dead Game Patterdale Terriers

Lost Lake Farm Patterdale Terriers

Schwab’s Patterdale Terriers

Wochele’s Patterdale Terriers

Srdcove Eso Patterdale Terriers

Chestnut Hill Kennel

About The PTCA

Founded in 1993,the PTCA is a registry devoted uniquely to the Patterdale Terrier

The Patterdale Terrier Club of America is a Registry and Pedigree Service, featuring Registrations on over 3,400 Patterdales and Pedigrees on approximately 13,000 Patterdales.

A courageous, active “earth working” canine, the Patterdale Terrier was originally named for the area around the village of Patterdale in the Lake District of England, is considered by many the “Elite of Working Terriers” and is said that fear is never a consideration while this breed works. The Patterdale’s coat is either Smooth in texture; wiry in the Broken coat; and Rough-coated in cooler climes.

Our members are dedicated to the responsible breeding and ownership of the Patterdale Terrier. The PTCA advances and protects the interests of the breed through education, registration and supporting events.

The Members of The Patterdale Terrier Club (PTCA) recognize:

PTCA Breed Standards

(Photos courtesy Tom Angus JMA/ Matthews Patterdales)


The Patterdale Terrier is a tough, active terrier and should give a compact, well balanced image. Height should be between 10″ to 15″ measured at the shoulders. Weight should be proportionate, presenting neither a “weedy” or “clunky” image.





As a working terrier, the Patterdale must be able to follow its quarry through small tunnels.

If the chest is too big, the terrier will not be able to complete its job efficiently.

As a general rule, you should be able to “hand span” the terrier’s chest with the fingers of both hands touching.






The back should be strong and level, with length in proportion to the dogs’ height.

If the back is too short the terrier may not be flexible enough to move around underground.







The legs should be straight, with good bone. The feet turning neither in nor out.

The rear should have good angulation, with the hocks turning neither in nor out.







The head should give the impression of strength and be in proportion to the rest of the body. The muzzle should not appear snippy or too blocky.








Eye color should be brown/chestnut and in chocolates can be any shade of amber.









The teeth should meet in a scissors bite, however a level bite is acceptable.

Undershot or overshot is a fault, and should be considered in the working context. Teeth lost or broken while working will not be penalized.







Button ear, with tight fold, and tips of ears meeting the skull at the corner of the eye.








The neck should be muscular and proportionate to the head and body.








The tail should be set high on rump. It should not be carried over the back. If you choose to dock, no more than 1/4 should be removed. As an adult, approximately a “palm’s width” is preferable, should provide a good hand hold.


The coat may be “Smooth”, “Broken” or “Rough”. All types should be dense and coarse.

Smooth: Coarse, overall very short, smooth

Broken: Coarse, longer hair on body except for head and ears which is smooth. May be some longer whiskering on muzzle and chin.

Rough: Coarse, longer hair overall, including face and ears


Colors include: Black, Red, Chocolate, or Black and Tan

(There may be some variations in the primary colors. For instance, blacks may have some lighter hairs, red may range from tan to deep rust and some black around muzzle is not uncommon, chocolates may be a very dark chestnut, or lighter brown/chocolate (a true chocolate will have a brown/red nose) and black and tans may have more or less of these colors on each individual dog, but the only registerable colors are those listed above) Chocolate-colored dogs will have a brown nose. (Officially called a “red” nose)

Some white on chest and feet is acceptable.


Height may range from 10 to 15 inches.

Weight should be proportionate to the terrier’s height. Twelve to twenty pounds would be average. A very muscular dog will weigh more than it looks.

You should be able to feel the ribs, but not see them.


(1) Cryptorchid

(2) Shyness or viciousness

Terriers with these disqualifications should not be bred.

Closing Thoughts

It’s my hope that sharing my personal observations over years of working terriers will give every new handler a place to start that saves headaches, heartaches and work.

Most everything written here, to me, is just “Common Sense” as it’s all become second nature to me when breeding and working terriers. I realized after years of answering questions that much of what I take for granted that everyone understands, needs to be written. Hopefully this knowledge gets each of you off to a good start!

A summary of what to keep in mind would be to remember the most intelligent terrier has the learning capacity of a 3 year old child. When you try to teach your terriers, do so in a way as if you were teaching a small child.

Start young and keep it fun for them then do It often. The earlier you start the learning process with a pup the better the pup will be for it and the easier and more effective the process will be when he matures. Do not neglect the early months of a pups life- this is the most important time to make an impact on how the terrier matures. Teach the “RECALL” command and “No” over and over and over,

A terrier raised in this fashion with a close bond with its handler will actually get its feelings hurt when he displeases you. That’s the kind of terrier that is a pleasure to work with!

Your terrier will mature with a great deal of pride knowing that he works FOR you and PLEASES you! It REALLY makes all the difference in the world!

REMEMBER that when discipline your terrier NEVER strike him with your hand. ALWAYS use the LEAST amount of this required to show your displeasure.

NEVER take your personal frustrations out on the terrier. Learning patience can be the greatest attribute you personally take away from working with terriers.

Repetition is the Mother of Learning! Repeat the learning process over and over with the terrier. The more he repeats it the more it will be all second nature to him. Remember, he is TRYING to understand a different species (You) and gets as confused as you do in the process. Make the goals simple for him to understand and lavish him with praise EVERYTIME he does well! It’s SO IMPORTANT that you PRAISE your terrier MANY MORE times than you discipline hm. This way he can easily draw a distinction between acceptable and undesirable behavior!

REMEMBER your terrier was not bred to fight Game to the death! It’s OK to let one or more terriers work game for a minute or so as their reward for their work but a prolonged struggle in a fight to the death with prey that’s evenly matched is not only just wrong but your terrier will be less for it..

Spend this minute constantly encouraging your terrier but have a bit of reverence and respect for the quarry. Dispatch it quickly as a fight of one terrier with a big raccoon can go on for a half hour or more, inflicting pain and damage to your terrier and needless suffering on the quarry.

When it’s time to step in you will quickly realize you cannot dispatch the quarry with a rifle shot without endangering the terriers. I wear a thick hunting boot, putting pressure on the animals chest cavity and quickly suffocate it. With the animal pinned, the terrier takes less damage and a quick stick to the vitals with a hunting knife dispatches the quarry.

Working terriers provides you with a front row seat to the savage fury of Mother Nature. I NEVER take pleasure in the death of the quarry and only encourage and protect my terriers here at the finish.

Raising and training terriers is not a numbers game EVERY encounter with game is a valuable learning opportunity so DON’T KILL EVERYTHING you come across. If you encounter 7 Raccoons- take ONE. Let the others live for future opportunities. The only exception I can think of to this would be those using terriers for varmint control where they need to be eradicated. Rats would be a good example of this.,

Remember every encounter with hard to find quarry is valuable and if you are starting several pups- each can learn from the encounter, Wasting this on a single pup when you have others to work is just counterproductive and ignorant.

When breeding Patterdale Terriers the most important points to remember and sometimes the toughest to identify are both DESIRABLE and UNDESIRABLE traits. You will ALWAYS get the greatest number of GREAT terriers by line breeding related terriers. Outcrosses are a shot in the dark.

When line breeding you have to accept that your terrier has FAULTS and remember that those faults if genetic, will be EVEN STRONGER in the offspring. ALWAYS pick related terriers with the GREATEST STRENGTHS and the FEWEST WEAKNESSES! If you do not remember this, you will be very unhappy with what you produce, Never breed terriers that have the genetic trait of “dog on dog” aggression. The pups will be even worse.

Pay LITTLE attention to what’s written in social media groups- MOST of it is WRONG. Make your OWN observations and quit trying to be accepted by these folks, most of them are fools living in a make believe world of denial, where they are an authority on EVERYTHING. Be humble,take pride in standing on your OWN experience and observations instead of repeating everything everyone else says like a trained parrot. Just because a parrot can speak don’t make him smart.

These are just some of the bullet points I hope you take away from what I have shared here. I hope you find it useful and will share it with others while representing the breed well both in the field and on the internet!

Safe Hunting!