Lakeland Terriers are intelligent, alert, energetic, sometimes clownish and usually friendly. They are known for their hunting ability including a keen sense of smell which allows them to participate in earthdog trials. Lakeland Terriers also enjoy dog sports such as retrieving, agility, tracking, flyball, musical freestyle, and both rally and standard obedience as sport that can provide physical and mental stimulation while promoting bonding with their families. Lakeland Terriers can also be good hiking companions, although they usually need to be on a leash to prevent their chasing wildlife. Some Lakeland Terriers like to swim, and they also seem to like to retrieve, carry, and sometimes guard items, but combining retrieving with food rewards for dropping items can help teach them to give up items that are not dog toys.
Once known as the Patterdale, Fell and Elterwater Terrier, the Lakeland Terrier originated in the Lake District region of northern England in the early twentieth century. The breed was used for the hunting of foxes, otters and badgers, and the build and agility of the Lakeland terrier enabled it to pursue prey deep into tunnels. It is one of the oldest surviving working terrier breeds. World War I prevented any further serious interest until 1921. It was then that the name Lakeland Terrier was chosen and the standard set. American Kennel Club recognition of the Lakeland Terrier took place in 1934.