The AKC describes the Lakeland Terrier's attitude as "cock-of-the-walk." These petite terriers, who stand only about a foot tall and don't weigh more than 17 or 18 pounds, are confident and spunky. Lakeland Terriers are pluck, self-assured companions who will need to be taught that they are not the dominant dog in their household. They require a significant amount of grooming and exercise, but they are amusing, smart little dogs who will quickly learn to please their owners.
The Lakeland is a practical working terrier, but despite their small size, their tenacity should be respected. Unlike other terriers, who were bred to track down and locate their small prey, Lakeland Terriers were trained to hunt down and kill foxes who threatened their owner's flocks. They are determined, courageous dogs who walk with a jaunty gait that makes them look as if they are standing on their tip toes. Lakelands are curious and friendly — they will want to know when visitors come to the house. Outdoors, they are incredibly active and fast-moving, so they do best with a large, fenced-in yard where they can explore. They need quite a bit of exercise to stay happy and avoid resorting to mischievous habits. Lakeland Terriers like to bark and must be taught to do so only on command.
Lakeland Terriers have some characteristic terrier aggression. They are reserved around strangers and can be dominant and aggressive toward other dogs and small animals. To train the Lakeland, owners must be patient and establish themselves as a dominant force in order to earn their terrier's trust and respect. Training will also require a sense of humor, because Lakelands march to the beat of their own drums. They can "selectively hear" their owners' commands.
Although he is sometimes mistaken for a Welsh Terrier, the Lakeland Terrier's coat comes in a wider variety of colors. Only some — not all — of these little dogs have the black saddle pattern that is associated with Welsh and Airedale Terriers. Their coats are seen in black, blue, tan, wheaten, liver, red and grizzle. Lakeland Terriers also have a more rectangular head and cylindrical legs that hint to their ancestry. The double coat is thick and hard on top, with either straight or slightly wavy hair. The undercoat is dense and warm to help this small terrier keep warm while working outdoors.
Lakeland Terriers are a non-shedding breed. Their coat needs to be brushed for about 15 to 30 minutes a week, depending on their activity level. If they are very active outdoors, they will also need to be rubbed down and washed gently with a wet towel. Brush your Lakeland Terrier with a slicker brush and a metal comb, paying special attention to the longer furnishings on the face and around the legs.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.
The Lakeland Terrier's coat should be kept short, about an inch long throughout the body and slightly longer on the legs and face. Hair around the ears and foot pads should be trimmed or clipped to help the dog stay comfortable. If you plan to show your Lakeland Terrier, you won't be able to clip his coat, but you should hand strip it about three times a year. If Lakelands are not combed with a shedding comb and trimmed or hand-stripped every 3-4 months, they will start to shed.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.