Fell Terrier

Fell terrier refers to a regional type of long-legged working terrier, not a specific breed of dog.

Fell Terrier
Male dog Red Fell Terrier.jpg
Red Fell Terrier
Other namesRed Fell Terrier
Black Fell Terrier
Border Terrier
Lakeland Terrier
Patterdale Terrier
Welsh Terrier
coloured terrier
Breed statusNot recognized as a breed by any major kennel club.
NotesFell terrier is a type, not a breed.
Dog (domestic dog)

Description and purposeEdit

Fell terriers are types of small working terriers developed in the Fell (hilly) country of northern England and used as hunting dogs.[1] They may be crossbred or purebred.[2] Fell terrier types are typically small, usually 10- 15 lbs/6.5 kg, and with a narrow chest, so as to fit into the tunnels of the animals they hunt. Fell terriers are long-legged, with a rough textured coat, often red or black in colour. The tail traditionally is docked; in the United States the tail is not required to be docked. Crossbreeding with other hunting terriers in the beginning caused the appearance to vary.[citation needed]

Fell terriers are bred for hunting ability and gameness[3] rather than to a standard of appearance (breed type). They hunt in packs or alone.[4] The Fell terrier was originally developed by Ullswater Hunt Master Joe Bowman, an early Border Terrier breeder, where he used the best red Fell terriers available to him, so that he could continue his efforts to refine the Fell terrier even further to hunt the large Fell fox that was believed to cause serious losses for sheep stockmen. The dog needed long legs to follow hunters through heavy snow, and a narrow chest to follow the fox in a stony underground den.[5] In the hunt, a terrier follows the red fox underground into its den, where it either kills the fox, bolts it or holds it until the hunter (terrierman) digs the dog and fox up. Fell Terriers have been used in the United States for several generations hunting small game and for the most part remain unchanged by the hunter (terrierman) who keeps the standard.[citation needed]


Several named breeds have been developed from the Fell terrier type, such as the Border Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Patterdale Terrier, Scorrier Terrier, Welsh Terrier, and other locally developed breeds. All are sometimes called "Fell Terrier" interchangeably with their breed name. The "National Terriers Club LLC", The "American Fell Terrier International" has published a Fell Terrier standard.[6] In Germany, the Jagdterrier was developed out of Fell terrier stock in the 1920s. Fell terriers may be descended from a very old type of long-legged terrier referred to as the rough-coated Black and Tan, similar to today's Welsh Terrier.[7]


  1. ^ Cory Leed (2004). "Patterdale Terrier". Dogs of the World. Archived from the original on 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
  2. ^ P. Burns (2010-08-04). "A Question of Breed". Terrierman.com. Retrieved 2008-03-23. The red Fell Terrier is a type of non-pedigree Lakeland Terrier found in the north of England.
  3. ^ "Fell terriers have been bred for generations for work alone, and the only requisite points were their gameness." Captain Jocelyn Lucas in Hunt and Working Terriers, quoted by Patricia Adams Lent in Sport with Terriers, pp. 73-74, Arner Publications, Rome, NY 1973
  4. ^ " "All the fell packs are hunted on foot." Captain Jocelyn Lucas in Hunt and Working Terriers, quoted by Patricia Adams Lent in Sport with Terriers, p. 74, Arner Publications, Rome, NY 1973
  5. ^ Captain Jocelyn Lucas in Hunt and Working Terriers, quoted by Patricia Adams Lent in Sport with Terriers, p. 74, Arner Publications, Rome, NY 1973
  6. ^ National Terriers Club LLC. "FELL TERRIER". National Terriers Club LLC Terrier Registry. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
  7. ^ Lent, Patricia Adams (1973). "9". Sport With Terriers. Arner Publications, Rome, NY. p. 76. ISBN 0-914124-01-3.

Further readingEdit

  • Sport with Terriers, by Patricia Adams Lent, Arner Publications, Rome NY 1973
  • Hunt and Working Terriers, by Captain Jocelyn Lucas, Tideline Books 1995
  • The Fell Terrier, by David Brian Plummer, Tideline Books, North Wales 2006
  • American Working Terriers, by Patrick Burns, lulu.com publisher, 2005 ISBN 978-1-4116-6082-3

External linksEdit