Many Colors of the Lakeland Terrier Dog Breed

Lakeland Terrier Colors - Black and Tan - Scout - side

 

Lakeland Terriers come in more colors than any other Terrier breed; ten of them! Solid color black, blue, liver, red, and wheaten. Saddle-marked black and tan, blue and tan, liver and tan, black grizzle and tan, and red grizzle (born black and tan, but at maturity the black has receded so much as to be barely or not at all present).

Lakeland Terrier Colors - Left: Grizzle and Tan, Right: Black
Lakeland Terrier Colors – Left: Grizzle and Tan, Right: Black

Each color is supposed to be valued equally according to the Standard, but like the song says, “Here in the real world…” Some of the colors are much harder to groom for the ring than others, and with blacks it is much harder to assess facial expression. Decades ago, I was attempting to finish the first black bitch ever in this country. Majors, like now, were scarce as hen’s teeth. With the bitch in top condition, I was hoping for the best when, whaddaya know, the lights went out in the show building and I thought, “No way.” But it was amazing. The handler was wearing a light pink suit, the other (saddle-marked grizzle and tan) dogs might have been wearing camouflage, and that black Lakeland was beautifully silhouetted in the gloom. The judge was a retired handler who was very knowledgeable in the breed, and the Lakeland finished that day.

Lakeland Terrier Colors
Lakeland Terrier Colors

It can also be difficult to win with liver and tan Lakelands, especially when they mature to a significant level of grizzle (the progressive infiltration of the saddle with tan hairs). They can then look very similar to red grizzle individuals, but they have a brown nose and eye rims, and generally gold or amber eye color instead of brown, which is quite correct for a liver or liver and tan.

Lakelands have the narrowest band of color of any of the wire-coated, long-legged Terrier breeds.

No treatise on Lakeland color would be complete without mention of the banded nature of the hair. All the wire-coated Terriers have pale gray hair roots. (This is the reason that clippered dogs of these breeds generally become progressively lighter in color.) Lakelands have the narrowest band of color of any of the wire-coated, long-legged Terrier breeds. This makes their coat more challenging to present for show if you attempt to roll the coat. There is a tendency for it to “open up” and reveal the lighter roots (hence the custom of grooming for the ring with colored chalk). The furnishings can particularly become quite “moth eaten” in appearance without the meticulous staging of the hair so that there is absolute gradation of the length of the hair, producing even coloration. Again, encouraging the use of the colored chalk. This is against AKC rules, but sadly, I attended a seminar put on by AKC where one of the presenters brought in an Airedale that had been colored on one side only to show the judges the difference. The AKC representative, when questioned about the no color rule, said, “It’s your ring, you can allow what you want.”

Lakeland Terrier Colors - Blue Bill Russell Raven with flowers

Blue and tan saddle-marked Lakelands are rarely seen. There are a few, but in the ring their saddle is most likely going to be chalked black. The dilute blue coat often (but not always) has texture better described as crisp rather than wiry, and with the banded nature of the leg furnishing hairs, achieving even color in a solid blue requires meticulous plucking—hair by hair. A properly put-down blue or blue and tan is a work of art!

Lakeland Terrier Colors

My closing thought is, “Doesn’t my breed at least deserve its own color chalk?” The Lakeland Standard calls for “wheaten or golden tan” head, throat, shoulders, and legs on saddle-marked individuals. Nowhere is there a mention of “Day-Glo” orange. Thankfully, fewer “Cheeto” -colored Lakelands are seen in the ring these days. It bears repeating: All allowed colors are equally acceptable. Nowhere in the Standard does it say “the best-groomed dog should win.” Conformation shows are intended to be just that: comparison of breeding stock to the written “standard of perfection.” Rarely are you going to see an entry in the classes where the individuals are so identical in conformation that perfection of grooming needs to be considered. All allowed colors are equally acceptable.

Lakeland Terrier Colors - Blue Lakeland Terrier

  • Pat Rock of Providence Forge, Virginia, breeds and shows AKC Lakeland Terriers. She is a member in good standing with the United States Lakeland Terrier Club and the American Working Terrier Association, and is an American Kennel Club licensed judge for Earthdog Tests. Pat has been recognized as a Breeder of Merit Platinum in the American Kennel Club’s Breeder of Merit Program for Lakeland Terriers. Pat has had a passion for genetics and animal breeding since she was a child. (How many other kids did their school science project on coat color genetics in puppies?) Growing up with Pointers and Setters, and always at least one Terrier that her dad kept as a squirrel dog, she bred her first litter in 1961, studying the performance records of potential stud dogs through the pages of The American Field weekly, and shipping that first English Setter bitch in a rented crate on a train via Railway Express to be bred. Getting involved with conformation showing was the fault of her husband. While they were still teens, he took her to her first dog show, knowing that she loved dogs and because it was a cheap date. After they were married and his job had them moving frequently, it just wasn’t possible to breed anything the size of Pointers. So, she turned to the Lakeland Terrier, having fallen in love with the look of them at that first dog show. Twenty twenty-one marks her 50th year showing Lakelands. Pat has bred over 100 show champions, five MACH Lakelands (one of them attaining MACH5), and a high percentage of all AKC Earthdog titles earned by Lakelands are Hollybriar owned or bred. Pat has been a member of the United States Lakeland Terrier Club since the early 1970s, has served terms on the Board, including President, has chaired the Health Committee, brought about the club’s first Breed Health Survey, has written columns for the AKC Gazette for many decades, and was instrumental in the enrollment of the breed in the UCDavis Canine Genetic Diversity Project, an ongoing endeavor to preserve as much genetic diversity in the gene pool as possible for the preservation of the breed into the future. Pat is active in Judge’s Education, has chaired the first and second Lakiepalooza events, and is looking forward to continuing to be active in promoting the breed she loves so much.

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