Traits, Personality and Behavior
The Lakeland Terrier is a bit smaller than the very similar Welsh Terrier, and comes in a wider variety of coat colors: Black and tan, red and tan, solid red, blue (a steely gray) and tan, red grizzle, wheaten, liver and tan, grizzle and tan, and solid liver.
But don't let his smaller size fool you: He's mischievous, bold and eager to dig, bark and chase furry creatures. He's a bit on the stubborn side and a bored Lakeland Terrier will find his own fun, which probably won't be anything that improves the look of your backyard or the health and welfare of the neighborhood squirrels and cats. It will also involve a great deal of barking.
All that can be prevented with plenty of daily exercise, living indoors as a member of the family and consistent training to channel his eager body and active mind into activities that don't involve noise or destructiveness. The American Kennel Club's Earthdog events offer one such possibility; obedience, agility or other active sports are others.
Lakeland Terriers don't tend to get along with other dogs, especially if they're both males, doubly true if they're both terriers. They're sometimes a little tough to house-train, especially with regards to marking territory. They're generally quite fond of people, and do best with owners who have a sense of humor and a willingness to be amused rather than angered when the Lakeland takes his commands for something more like suggestions.
If you want your Lakeland to have the distinctive grooming of the breed, you're going to have to learn to do it yourself or find a groomer who is familiar with the task -- which can be something of a challenge. The show coat is even more difficult to achieve. Most pet owners simply comb their dogs a couple of times a week and clip them every couple of months.
Health Issues Common to Lakeland Terriers
Lakeland Terriers are a very healthy breed, although they can have some genetic problems. Your puppy's breeder should have written documentation from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) that her breeding dogs have had their eyes tested within the last year as well as clearance for a genetic bleeding disorder known as Von Willebrand's disease (VWD).
Many small dog breeds, including the Lakeland Terrier, suffer from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD), a bone disorder that requires surgery. The dogs also sometimes have a condition called distichiasis, where eyelashes grow out of the glands at the corner of the dog's eyes. Symptoms can be mild and easily manageable or severe and require surgery.
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7 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Lakeland Terrier Puppy
Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questions asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you'll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
If you've made the decision to purchase a Lakeland Terrier, start your search for a good breeder on the website of the United States Lakeland Terrier Club which maintains a referral list for breeders; choose one who has agreed to be bound by the club's Code of Ethics, which prohibits its members from selling puppies to pet stores and outlines the responsibilities of its member breeders to the dogs they produce and the people who buy them.
Ask your breeder to go over the health histories of your puppy's parents and their close relatives, and discuss how prevalent particular health concerns are in his lines.
Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing, and any breeder who says her lines are free of all these problems or that they're not a concern is either lying or knows almost nothing about Lakeland Terriers. Look for your puppy elsewhere.
Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health and behavior problems in Lakeland Terriers aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Lakeland Terrier can live to be 12 years of age or older, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.
Puppy or adult, take your Lakeland Terrier to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues and in particular, to check his eyes for signs of distichiasis.
Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Pet Insurance for Lakeland Terriers
Pet insurance for Lakeland Terriers costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Lakeland Terriers are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Lakeland Terriers are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Lakeland Terrier is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.