How to Train a Lakeland Terrier

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

Square and sturdy Lakelands, standing less than 15 inches at the shoulder and weighing about 17 pounds, are small dogs. But don’t tell them that. With their cock-of-the-walk swagger, Lakelands personify the old dog-lover’s cliché “a big dog in a small package.” They come in several colors; some have a sporty saddle mark on the back. With folded V-shaped ears, a straight front, a rectangular head, and a mischievous twinkle in their eye, Lakelands are the blueprint of a long-legged British terrier.


Lakelands are among the oldest of Britain’s terriers. The name derives from the beautiful Lake District in northern England, where once upon a time farmers used small packs of dogs to rid their property of foxes that raided sheepfolds. This, of course, was a very different kind of English foxhunt than the glamorous affairs on grand country estates, with dozens of red-coated equestrians and huge packs of bawling hounds. The Lakeland was first and foremost workingman’s working terrier.

Quick Facts

Temperament: Confident / Friendly / Bold

Height: 14.5 to 15 inches 

Weight: 17 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Terrier Group


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

Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
  • No recommended health tests


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


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



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