Several breed standards mention that the mood of a dog of their respective breeds can be detected by different indicators, but only one terrier standard specifically mentions the word, “mood,” and that is the Lakeland Terrier. This breed’s expression “depends on the dog’s mood of the moment,” according to the standard’s section on the head. It adds, “….although typically alert, it may be intense and determined, or gay and even impish.”
“Expression” is so important in a terrier that the word, “expression” is mentioned twenty-eight times in the standards of twenty-four terrier breeds, some standards repeating the word several times (i.e., the Australian Terrier). Only the Lakeland standard, however, ties the dog’s mood with its expression, and much of that mood is revealed by the dog’s eyes: From the standard: A Lakeland Terrier’s eyes should be full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence.
In a 2019 article appearing in Canine Chronicle, writer, Nikki Riggsbee, reported the results of a survey of fourteen Lakeland Terrier breeder-judges and mentors who had returned completed surveys regarding their priorities in their breed. The experts (each having an average of 38 years of experience) listed “unique mischievous expression” among their primary concerns when evaluating a Lakie. Indeed, head and expression are critical to Lakeland breed type.
Mind you, seeing expression in a show dog whose full “fall” of hair can filter the eyes – and even soften the dog’s expression – can challenging when viewed from above, but there is no mistaking that mischievous glint when looking at the tabled dog “eye to eye.” Bright and alert without meanness or fear, the eyes of a Lakeland are slightly larger than that of a Welsh Terrier or Wire Haired Terrier, which, we think, gives the breed its characteristic “what’s next??” inquisitive look.
Happy or intense, playful, cocky, or highly irritated, it’s all there in those eyes.
Top photo found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information