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The Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier is a dog breed, one of many Terrier breeds, that originated in the Lake District of England as a descendant of the old English Black and Tan and Fell Terriers for the purpose of hunting vermin.
The Lakeland Terrier originated in the Lake District of Cumberland, England near the Scottish border in the 1800s. He is related to several terrier breeds and is one of the oldest working terrier breeds still in use today. His diverse ancestors include the now extinct Old English Black and Tan terrier, the early Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Bedlington Terrier and Border Terrier.
For generations, the Lakeland has been used in the Lake District for the purpose of exterminating the fell foxes which raid the farmer’s sheep fold during the lambing season. Whereas most terrier breeds have only to bolt their quarry, or to mark it by baying, the Lakeland must be able to kill the foxes in their lair. Despite his reputation for courage and tenacity, the Lakeland is a gentle and loving companion.
In 1925 the breed attained homogeneity following a cross-breeding with the Fox Terrier and the Airedale Terrier. The Lakeland Terrier is suitable for fox and rabbit hunting and for sheep predator control.
In the Lake District of the UK, the mountainous, rocky terrain is unsuitable for hunting fox on horseback and foxes were hunted on foot. It has been suggested that the lakeland terrier's great stamina derives from running all day with the hounds, unlike his close cousin, the fox terrier, who would have been carried in a saddle bag to be released only when the fox had gone to earth.
The working dog version of the Lakeland is often know as the Fell Terrier or Patterdale Terrier.
The Lakeland is similar to the Welsh Terrier and has thick, hard wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. The Lakeland comes in 10 colors which are black and tan, blue and tan, liver and tan, tan grizzle, red, red grizzle, wheaton, liver, blue, or black. They have an upright tail. Lakeland Terriers grow to between 33 and 38cm (13 to 15 inches) in height measured to the withers with a weight of between 7 and 8 kg (15 to 17 lbs). They are known for their minimal shedding of hair.
The eyes are small and dark colored. The nose and pads of the feet are black except in liver colored dogs where the nose and pad coloring will be liver colored.
The dogs are friendly, bold, and confident. Shyness is very atypical, as is aggressiveness. Intelligent and independent minded, especially when going after prey, they are quick to learn and easy to train, though Lakelands seem to exhibit 'selective deafness' when their interest level is aroused.
Most Lakelands are variants of the Black and Tan saddle pattern, ranging from mostly Black to almost all Light Tan. Those with a mixture of Black and Tan on the back are referred to as Grizzle. The other main colour is Solid Red, which is also very variable, ranging from quite dark to very light - the lighter ones are referred to as Wheaten. Very occasionally Liver (Chocolate) and Tan ones are produced. Solid Black was lost in Britain but preserved in Scandinavia.



Breed Clubs and Societies

This breed of dog is a 'Vulnerable Native Breed'.

History Of The Lakeland Terrier Club
By Ron Punter

Authors have often shied away from writing about the clubs history, on the 50th anniversary Biddy Morris (Kelda) simply gave up on it wrote something about the breed. “How could I write something about all that falling out and Catherine getting a KC ban etc” she said to me. The rich pageant of warring factions chronicled in the minutes is difficult to reconcile with the clubs outstanding success in promoting the Lakeland Terrier as a show dog. It was only when we reached the 60th anniversary that I felt that sufficient water had passed under the bridge and we could look back probably more with amusement than anything else and wrote an article for Terrier World. This latest review revisits the clubs minutes by kind permission of the committee.

Lakeland Terriers obtained championship status at the Kennel Club show Crystal Palace in Oct 1931 It’s about that time that it was decided to form the Lakeland Terrier Club. The first official meeting was held at Cheltenham show on the 4th May 1932 and Mrs Fleming (Out of the West) was appointed the first secretary. Five of the six dogs that qualified for the stud book at the KC show had travelled from Cumbria Nonie Fleming’s was the exception. The meeting was attended mostly by ladies many of whom, like Mrs Fleming, had Cairns as well as Lakelands. In some cases the word Lady applies literally –the first president was Lady Aukeret Jackson, the early meetings waited patiently for her expected attendance but it was only at the fourth that she actually turned up, the secretary then read through all the previous minutes for her benefit –she didn’t come again but once sent a letter suggesting that the Club amalgamate with the Association. That idea got short shift. The original club for the breed was the Lakeland Terrier Association (now long defunct) but it operated very locally – in 1933 there were 113 members but only 15 from outside Cumbria, the farthest south of the associations affiliated shows was Cartmell Agricultural. It’s easy to imagine why exhibitors from beyond, and indeed within

Cumberland, thought the need for a club to bring the breed to national prominence.
Within a year the club was split apart when Mrs Fleming and some of her compatriots tried to ban professional handlers. Records don’t show which dogs were handled but we do know that two prominent founder members used handlers: the first bitch CC’s winner Mrs Spence’s Ch Egton Lady of the Lake was handled by Arthur King (Bowes.) Even at the local shows the Mokerkin dogs were handled by Tom Meagean’s close associate Alf Johnston (Oregill –Alan’s grandfather) and the stud book sometimes gives Mr Meageen’s address as 6 Central Avenue Egremont which was Alf’s abode and a later entry gives it as c/o George Barr (mostly remembered for Scottish Terriers.) It’s difficult to imagine how a ban on professional handlers could be implemented, especially as it was couched round with various exceptions, and the move failed. Nonie Fleming resigned and wanted her “Christening Mug” trophies back, this proved a long running saga even referred to the KC but the club doesn’t have the mugs so perhaps the Committee christen Mrs Fleming with them! At an EGM, chaired by Alice Graham Spence, at National Terrier the club was reformed with Tom Meagean as secretary and Bobby Gibbons (Kinniside) as treasurer who had also just become secretary of the LTA. Of all the pre war Lakeland exhibiters Mr Gibbons lived longest into the modern era and some people will remember his accountancy business in Maryport auditing the books for local dog societies: His Ch Zip (breed by Mrs Spence) was the fourth Lakeland to make up. Tom Meagean, was the most successful pre war exhibiter and the manager of the Cumberland bus company –the buses had his name on the side. He owned eight champions; a quarter of the total made up before the war, and had his affix on another one.
The club didn’t have an official position of chairman in the constitution until the 1980’s but following the EGM Capt Hudson of the Braybyns Wolfhounds was “elected” as chairman and became a steady guiding hand and represented the breed at the KC.
Despite all the problems within the committee the club did fulfil its objects of building its membership and supporting classes for Lakelands all over the country. Independent club shows were not the norm, the clubs Championship show was held in conjunction with a general one choosing the judge and on one occasion paying his third class rail fare - to Blackpool. My father used to tell me that “a third class ride is better than a first class walk” but the seats were hard and it does seams a bit mean - dread to think what his overnight accommodation was like still there’s no record of any other judge asking for expenses. Open shows were also implanted into general Championship shows “guaranteeing” an entry, until Challenge Certificates for the breed were allocated to that show (generally the following year.) Moving round the country in this way the club brought Lakeland’s to prominence on the national scene. The clubs many lovely cups were allocated to various shows over the year.
In 1937 Claris Edwards (Kildale) took over as secretary/treasure and continued to nominally hold office whilst the club was in abeyance over the war years. The most evocative minute ever written must be: “Owing to the outbreak of war the Lakeland Terrier Club became dormant from 1940 until June 1945.” Alice Graham Spence was the club president; she often attended meetings by “proxy” sending Mr Dermot Spence who is perhaps her son. She wrote her very interesting reminiscences in Dog World breed notes during the war years these I compiled into a booklet which is still available from the club. Although there were no shows during the war breeding continued, the lines narrowed down to a more improved type. Pre war membership peaked at 50. Post war the membership grew rapidly and by 25 March 1946 had reached 81.
Catherine Fisher (Whinlatter) took over and set of at a whirlwind pace organising shows - two independent club championship shows in 1946. Unfortunately she was never a democrat and many of her actions are challenged such as engaging the then editor of Dog World Leo Wilson to judge, an all rounder rather than a breed specialist. Just imagine what those old Cambrian Lakeland breeders would think of a judge that gave a broadcast commentary on his placing via a microphone and battery back pack. Mrs Fisher mostly got her own way - until she took on Eddie Johnston (Blackwell.) Catherine was the colonel’s wife and used to getting her own way, Eddie was a free spirit not to be dictated to. From his grand advertisements in the annuals you would never guess that Eddie’s “Kennels” consisted merely of a 10”x8” shed in a council house garden. Catherine persuaded the club committee to engage solicitors to investigate the charge made by “a member” that Mr Johnston had coloured the feet of the bitch Ch Blackwell Minute Marvel she seems to have overlooked that Eddie had the perfect defence - he had published photographs of the bitch with the white on her feet clearly visible. Later it was Catherine that got banned for a year and although the issue is not clear it looks as thought it was Eddie that reported her, the Fishers companion Muriel Vaughan nominally took over, during the period of suspension, though the hand of the minutes doesn’t change. Perversely the club expelled Eddie for getting Catherine banned, the KC instructed that an EGM be held to reinstate him. The irony is that the bitch in question produced Ch Blackwell Ravelsaye Recruit, sire of 16 champions and the dog from which all modern day show Lakelands descend in the direct male line. In 1947 General Championship shows resumed and the club reverted to the implanted system. Even when the system of hosted club shows was proving difficult the club carried on with that for a while as it: “had no wish to fight against the Lakeland Terrier Society” for CC’s. The Society had been founded by enthusiasts in the Manchester area in 1950 then latter moved to Yorkshire. Catherine Fisher continued in office until her death in 1961 and Muriel Vaughan carried on for a time as secretary, she married the widowed colonel but he died within a year and then she married their handler Ernie May; that’s how the famous Whinlatter affix came into the May family. Miss Johns (St Bega) became secretary in 1962 and her first duty was to commission the wonderful trophy Lakeland statue to commemorate Catherine and Col Fisher. This is now featured on the cover of a souvenir catalogue of the cups and trophies, produced by the assistant secretary, Carol Ockwell, and published by the club. In addition to photographs of the cups which are now quite historic in themselves, most date pre war, it includes many pictures of early show Lakelands, most previously unpublished, and notes about the donors.
The clubs annual championship show was for a long time held at National Terrier along with the clubs AGM, A number of Terrier breed clubs did this until National Terrier, secure in its CC status, decided it wanted to be independent.
Karen & Cyril Johnson (Cragfell) took over in 1978 the same year that this author started venturing out of the north and joined the club. The last show to be held in conjunction with a championship show was at Windsor –It rained heavily and we were all huddled round the benches when the judge Joe Blackburn (Culverdale) came round and shook everyone’s hand which seemed a strange thing for a judge to do but of course it was in his capacity as LTC chairman. By that time the hosting of Club shows by the general ones had more or less finished and didn’t amount to much more than submitting the names of three judges for the show committee to choose from so In 1979 the first independent championship show since 1946 was held at Hailey near Whitney that was the venue for many years and brings us into modern times when the shows moved to Watlington and Wendy Bower became Secretary followed by Kirsty Peak. Just eight secretary’s in 75 years!

Ron Punter

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Lakeland Breed Standard