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    Nov 30, Border Terriers: How Much Do You Know About This Clever Breed

    Border Terriers   by Janice Jones  |Last Updated 11-30-2022

    Oh, those adorable Border Terriers?  What’s not to love when you meet that cute face, friendly
    nature, and playful disposition of a Border Terrier puppy. 

    Being highly photogenic, it often seems they
    are performing for the camera.  But don’t
    let that puppy dog look fool you. 

    are terrier through and through and will need exercise, training and
    socialization if you are planning to get one for your apartment.

    A border terrier is walking along a empty beach.

    They are fast learners, but as far as
    training is concerned, they can be rather suborn, and if there is something
    else that looks more appealing, such as a rabbit bouncing through the grass, or
    scent of your neighbor’s cat, you are likely to lose their attention.

    perfect owner is one who is willing to keep their Border mentally and
    physically challenged. 

    As they say, an “Untrained
    dog is a danger to himself as well as others.”

    Border Terrier Mom and BabiesBorder Terrier with Three Puppies

    Some of their inborn traits include the
    tendency to jump, chase, chew, and dig. 
    For this reason, Border Terriers should not be allowed outdoors unattended.  Even in a securely fenced yard, they have
    been known to dig their way to freedom or jump the fence. 

    They have a strong prey drive which makes
    chasing small animals irresistible to the average Border Terrier. 

    Since they seem to have little fear or attention to cars, many are killed running into an oncoming car.

    Border Terriers also love to chew as all dogs do, but because of their breeding, Borders never seem to outgrow their need to chew, whether its rugs, chair legs or anything that is within reach. 

    Sturdy chew toys are a must for this breed’s strong jaws and teeth.

    Quick Facts About Border Terriers

    Other Names Used

    AKC:  Terrier, KC:  Terrier,  CKC:  Terrier

    10 inches (25cm)


         Males:  13 to 15 ½ pounds
    (6-7 kg)

         Females:  11 ½ to 14
    pounds (5-6 kg)

    Coat Type: Double-coated: harsh and dense outer
    coat with a close, soft undercoat

    Colors:  Red, wheaten, grizzle, and tan, or combinations

    Country of Origin:  Great

    Activity Level: 
    Moderately Active

    Life Expectancy: Up
    to 16 years

    Good with Children:  Yes if supervised

    Good with other pets:  OK with other dogs or cats if socialized early,
    not small pets


    Border Terrier puppies are alert, playful and affectionate.Border Terrier puppies are alert, playful and affectionate.

    The history of the breed dates back to the 19th century when these dogs were known as the Reedwater or the Coquetdale Terrier, after the places where these dogs were first used.

    It is thought that the Border, Bedlington, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers all arose from the same ancestor. 

    Now the breed is called the Border terrier because this is an area on either side of the Cheviot Hills, known as the Border country or the area between England and Scotland.  There farmers relied on their sheep and wild game for their food sources and the two major problems to their subsistence was foxes and vermin.

    The terriers of the day were purely working dogs trained to flush out foxes after a pack of foxhounds chased the fox underground and keep the vermin population under control. 

    Never bred for looks, but only performance ability, Border Terriers were perfectly suited for the job, physically strong and rigorous with a wiry weather resistant coat, able to withstand the elements.

    There was never any attempt to breed for color, size, leg length or coat type. Since these dogs had longer legs than some of the shorter leg Scottish breeds, it made them ideal for following a horse and dog pack and scrambling down a fox hole. 

    Their real value to the early farmers was their ability to catch fox and control vermin. 

    It was to this end that they were bred.

    Farmers were not likely to feed them, so they had to be excellent hunters to survive. 

    Today,  they are first and foremost companion dogs. 

    But we use them today for most anything from competition to therapy. 

    Their versatility allows them to participate in a wide variety of these sports:  earth dog, obedience, rally, agility, flyball and tracking.

    It was first recognized in the UK by the Kennel Club in 1920.  Only after this recognition did the Border terrier become better known. 

    Previously, for the most part, the breed was known only in agricultural settings in the Border country. 

    In 1930, they were recognized by the AKC and continue to remain extremely popular in England today. 

    Personality of Border Terriers

    Border Terrier PuppyBorder Terrier Puppy

    First and foremost, Border Terriers are terriers through and through.  They are friendly, even tempered and rarely aggressive.

    Even though they were bred to be a working dog, they love people and make excellent pets if their owners provide the exercise and stimulation that they require. 

    They do have a stubborn streak which is common in many small breeds and can be strong willed at times.

    Maintaining many of the traits bred into them, they are intelligent, independent by nature and easily trainable.  They have excelled in agility and even do well as therapy dogs.

    Did you know…?

    ‘Terrier’ comes from the Latin word terra, meaning ‘earth’.

    Given its strong hunting instinct, they
    do not always do well with small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs or

    If raised with cats, they do
    fine, but if a new cat is introduced into the family when the Border is full
    grown, beware.  Most Borders do fine
    around other dogs, assuming they have been properly socialized and trained at
    an early age. 

    They make good family pets and do fine
    around children providing the children have been taught how to respect and
    treat the dog.

    Above all else, they want to be part of their owner’s life and
    are not happy being left alone for long periods of time. 

    When reuniting with their beloved human at
    the end of the day, they are likely to put on a show of jumps, kisses, and barks,
    so effusive that it is hard to contain.   

    While not considered to be a yappy
    breed, they will bark to warn you if someone is at the door, making them a good
    watch dog, but not a guard dog.

    Dog Breed Ratings Got You a Little Confused?
    Here’s a little help in understanding them

    • Playfulness:   Most Playful = 5    Least Playful = 1
    • Affection:  Most Affectionate = 5   Least Affectionate = 1
    • Friendliness Towards Strangers: Most Friendly = 5  Least = 1
    • Good With Children:  Great= 5    Not Good with Children = 1
    • Good With Dogs:  Great = 5   Not Good Around Dogs = 1
    • Good With First Time Owners:  Fine=5  Not Appropriate = 1
    • Exercise Required:  Extensive Daily Exercise = 1  Minimal = 1
    • Ease of Training:  Very Easy = 5     Difficult = 1
    • Watch Dog:  Excellent Watch Dog = 5  Minimal = 1
    • Grooming:  Time Consuming = 5   Minimal = 1
    • Shedding:  Heavy Shedder = 5     Minimal = 1
    • Cold Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5   Poor Tolerance = 1
    • Heat Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5  Poor Tolerance = 1


    Border TerrierBorder Terrier

    Border Terriers, like many terrier breeds, need to be ‘stripped’
    twice a year to keep their coats looking great. 

    It is recommended that they not be clipped  or scissored. 
    They are a shedding breed and will shed hair continually throughout the

    An all-over brushing once a day
    will keep loose hair from finding its way to all corners of your home. 

    Their harsh coat tends to repel dirt, so
    frequently bathing is not necessary.  A bath,
    every 3 to 4 weeks, is recommended, and nails will need to be clipped about
    that often, as well. 

    Teeth should be
    brushed daily if possible and anal glands checked periodically and expressed if

    Other than that, the breed is
    relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming them.

    Health Concerns of Border Terriers

    Grizzle Border TerrierThis Border Terrier has been stripped and could be a show dog.

    This is a relatively healthy breed, but as all small dogs,
    they are prone to some genetic disorders. 

    Good veterinary preventative care keeps Borders free of diseases.  Like all small breed dogs, there are some Genetic
    problems that occasionally show up. 

    Among those found in Borders include the following disorders:

    Hip Dysplasia

    Heart defects

    PRA (Progressive retinal atrophy)

    Juvenile Cataracts (forms of blindness)



    Bite malocclusion

    These problems have not become widespread in the breed
    because of careful, selective breeding. 

    Border Terriers are very fond of eating and can become overweight easily
    if their diet is not monitored.


    • Great all
      round family dog
    • Intelligent and
      quick to learn
    • Loyal and
    • Good Watch
    • Can adjust to
      a variety of lifestyles
    • Medium
      maintenance when it comes to grooming


    • Stubborn
    • Independent
      nature may pose problems during training
    • Requires
      training and socialization
    • Doesn’t do
      well around other small family pets (hamsters, gerbils)
    • Fierce chase
      instinct means he must be contained within a fence or leashed
    The Border Terrier Breed Profile at Small Dog Place

    For More Information on the Border Terrier

    Border Terrier Club of America

    If you are considering adopting or purchasing a Border Terrier, I highly recommend that you do some further reading.  These books sold by Amazon can be purchased directly from this site and I do get a small commission each time a sale is made.  I appreciate your help in keeping this site up and growing.

    You May Want to Check Out these Other Similar Small Breed Dogs…

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