The Fell Terriers: A Comprehensive Guide

The Fell Terrier is a type of Terrier dog that originated in the United Kingdom. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about these dogs, including their history, appearance, size, color and coat type, lifespan, temperament, grooming requirement, diet, exercise requirement, training, and health problems.

What is a Fell Terrier?

Fell Terrier is not a specific breed of dog but a type of terrier used for hunting in the Fell regions of Northern England. These dogs were bred to be tough and working, with a coat that protected them from the harsh environment they worked in. 

Fell Terriers were used for hunting foxes, badgers, and other small animals. Ullswater Hunt Master Joe Bowman originally developed fell Terriers.

Also, they are a regional type of long-legged working terriers. Fell terriers were used for fox hunting in the mountainous regions of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Today, since fox hunting as a sport is considered illegal in the United Kingdom, they are still used to keep away vermin, as ratters, and being shown in conformation shows and competing in earthdog trials.

As earlier said, Fell Terriers are a specific group of working dogs that were bred for hunting in Great Britain. They are also called Border Terrier, Scorrier Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Red Fell Terrier, Patterdale Terrier, and other locally developed breeds.

This type of dog is yet to be recognised as a breed by any Kennel Club but is a very popular terrier type in the United Kingdom. Fell Terriers come in many different shapes and sizes.

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The appearance of Fell Terriers

The appearance of Fell Terriers can vary depending on the type. However, they are typically small dogs. They weigh around 10 to 15 pounds and have a height of 11 to 20 inches. 

They have narrow chests that fit into tunnels of animals they are hunting. They have long legs with tails traditionally docked; however, in the United States, the tail is not required to be docked. These dogs are also known to have droopy ears.

Colour and Coat type

The coat of the Fell Terrier is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the breed.

The coat is rough and coarse and comes in various colours, including black and tan, black, red, white, chocolate, and bronze.


The lifespan of a Fell Terrier is around 11-15 years. However, this can vary depending on the individual dog’s health and genetics.


The temperament of the Fell Terrier is one of the most important things to consider before bringing home one of these dogs. They are not recommended for first-time dog owners or those looking for a low-maintenance pet. Fell Terriers are independent, stubborn, and tenacious.

They were bred to hunt independently, so they do not always take well to being told what to do. Fell Terriers need a lot of physical and mental stimulation, or they can become bored and destructive. They are also known for being escape artists, so a secure garden is essential.

Nowadays, Fell Terriers have been modified and bred to make great family pets provided they get enough mental stimulation and exercise. In general, they are Affectionate, stubborn, intelligent, energetic, friendly, loyal, independent, playful, Alert, and territorial.

Grooming Requirement

Grooming depends on the type of coat your Fell Terrier has. If your Fell Terrier has a smooth coat, then grooming is relatively easy and only requires an occasional brushing. 

However, grooming will be more difficult and time-consuming if your Fell Terrier has a wire or longer-haired coarse coat. Wire coats need to be brushed daily or weekly, and they also require special attention when it comes to trimming and clipping.

Overall, Fell Terriers are relatively easy to groom, but it is essential to be aware of the type of coat your dog has to take care of it properly.

Dietary Requirements

The diet needs of a Fell Terrier are not particularly different from any other dog. They require a high-quality, balanced diet appropriate for their age, activity level, and overall health. 

Fell Terriers are relatively active dogs, so they may require slightly more calories than a less active dog.

As with all dogs, it is vital to avoid giving your Fell Terrier table scraps or food that is high in fat, sugar, or salt. Doing so can lead to obesity and other health problems.

It is also important to make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.

Fell Terriers are relatively easy to feed, but it is still essential to be aware of their dietary needs. You can also supplement their diet with healthy treats like fruits and vegetables.

Exercise Requirements

Fell Terriers are relatively active dogs, so they require moderate exercise. A daily walk or play session is usually sufficient, but Fell Terriers enjoy being active and playing games.

A good rule of thumb is to give them at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This can be in walks, runs, or playtime in the yard. They also enjoy playing fetch and other games.

Fell Terriers can live in apartments or small spaces as long as they get enough exercise. If you live in a small space, you may need to be more creative with your dog’s exercise routine.

Training Needs

Training your Fell Terrier can be a challenge, but starting early at the puppy age is essential. Fell Terriers are intelligent dogs, and they learn quickly. 

However, they can also be willful and stubborn at times. The key to training your Fell Terrier is patience and consistency.

Here are some tips for training your Fell Terrier:

1. Start with basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and down.

2. Fell Terriers are easily bored, so keep training sessions short and exciting.

3. Use positive reinforcement such as treats or praise to reward your dog for good behavior.

4. Be consistent with your commands and rewards, and never give up. You can train your dog to be a well-behaved dog with patience and persistence.

Health Problems

Generally, these types of dogs are healthy. However, like all breeds, they’re susceptible to certain health conditions. Some of the most common problems seen in Fell Terriers include:

1. Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint. It’s caused by a malformation of the hip socket, leading to pain and lameness. Fell Terriers are especially prone to this condition, so it’s important to regularly have them checked by a vet.

Treatment for hip dysplasia typically involves surgery to correct the problem.

2. Eye problems

Eye problems are another common health issue in these types of dogs. Some of the most common problems include cataracts and glaucoma.

Cataract surgery is typically recommended to correct this problem.

Glaucoma can be treated with medication, but it’s crucial to catch it early to prevent permanent damage to the eye.

If you notice any changes in your Fell Terrier’s eyes, be sure to take them to the vet right away.

3. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. This can lead to various problems, including weight gain, hair loss, and lethargy.

Treatment for hypothyroidism typically involves medication to correct the hormone levels.

4. Obesity

Obesity is a common problem in Fell Terriers. It’s important to keep them healthy to prevent joint problems and other health issues.

The best way to prevent obesity is to feed them a balanced diet and give them plenty of exercises. If your dog is overweight, talk to your vet about the best way to help them lose weight.


So there you have it, the Fell Terrier in all its glory. A comprehensive guide to these lovable dogs that are quickly gaining popularity across the globe. 

These types of dogs are full of personality and charm and will make an excellent addition to any family with a little bit of training. 

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