The Breed of Border Terriers


Border Terriers are a great dog breed that owners will enjoy for years.  These dogs will capture your heart and remove your desire to own any other breedBorder Terriers with their paws crossed. If you are searching for a loving canine companion,  You will definitely want to consider this adorable breed.. So let’s take a closer look.


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Border Terriers are a breed that originates from the 18th century.  They hail from the English lands, mostly the Northern area by the borders of Scotland.  The breed was bred by English farmers to combat the local problems with foxes.  Farmers wanted them fast enough to keep up with horses but nimble enough to chase foxes wherever they went.

While short, the Border Terrier coat holds up to the weather well.  Their skin is also very strong.  Most small animals that they would prey on, including foxes, would find it difficult to pierce their skin.

It wasn’t until 1930 that the first Border Terrier arrived in the United States.  No one knows much about the first Border Terrier of the US but its name was Netherbyers Ricky. You can click here to read more about Border Terriers and their history

Vital Border Terrier Statistics

Breed Grouping: Terrier Dogs

Average Height: Between 11 and 16 inches in height

Weight: Between 11 and 16 pounds

Lifespan: 15 or more years

Female Border Terriers tend to be a little bit smaller than the males.  They also weigh less.

Physical Size

Border Terriers are a small breed.  They don’t grow very big and are extremely fit and active dogs.  This is for the most part due to their energy levels.  A good classification for their size is bigger than the smallest of small dogs but smaller than the largest of small dogs.  They are somewhere in the middle.

Active Behaviors and Traits

Energy levels and intensity run high in these small little dogs.  They are dogs that love both work and play.  As such, many owners use them to take part in agility competitions while other owners enjoy their playfulness.

There are a few key behavior traits that you will find among Border Terriers.  One of those traits is their love of running around, chasing things.  This comes from the desire to hunt that has been bred into them over the years.  In order for Border Terriers to adapt to living in small places, they need to have a lot of outdoor time.Border Terriers have great agility

A behavior that some people might find odd at first is a Border Terrier’s love of digging.  While many dogs like to dig, Border Terriers love it.  This is again from their old hunting training.  Their small size did not make them a good dog for bigger game but it made them great for chasing small game.  Especially those that needed to be dug for.

You will find that Border Terriers are quick to define their territory and friends.  They aren’t much for barking but if they feel threatened or if someone they love is threatened they will be there quicker than a superhero.

Part of the breeding for these dogs is the ability to escape anywhere.  Although adorable, these dogs love to explore and will do whatever they can to make that happen.  They can climb fences and walls, dig under fences, climb through wires, and just about everything else that you wouldn’t expect.

Passive Behaviors and Traits

The total amount of shedding you can expect from your Border Terrier is about medium but if their hair is kept short, like it usually is, it doesn’t present much of an issue.  Overall, these dogs are somewhere in between in their ease of grooming.  It takes some work to get it done but not a large amount.

One of the great things about Border Terriers is that they are not a drooling dog.  They are one of the least likely breeds to present you and your home with a bunch of drool.  One website, Dog Time, rates the drooling potential of Border Terriers at a 1 out of 5 stars.

An important thing to note about Border Terriers is that they have a huge potential for weight gain.  They are meant to be active, as hunting dogs they crave running.

Adaptability To Environment and Life

Digital oil picture of a border terrierBorder Terriers are a surprisingly adaptable to their environments.  They tolerate both cold and hot weather moderately well; however, they do slightly better in colder environments than hotter ones.  This is slightly unusual due to the fact that they often have short hair.

These wonderful dogs are good as first dogs.  They often can adapt to living in apartments, but they do need their fair share of apartment living.  Border Terriers are also fairly sensitive and take to both their owners and territory.  In fact, they take so well to their owners and territory that they don’t like being alone.

Interactions with Other Animals

As hunting dogs, Border Terriers will go after cats and other small animals.  If the cat was raised with the Border Terrier or the cat Two border terriers togetherwas part of the household first, the Border Terrier will likely tolerate it.  It is always best to slowly integrate the two to make sure that they won’t go after each other.

As for interactions with other dogs, Border Terriers will be casual but they might not be the most buddy buddy with other dogs.  This is especially true when the other dog is not a very active species.

Health and Diseases

It should be noted first that overall Border Terriers are quite a healthy breed. As is the case with most dog breeds, they do suffer from some common skin problems. But, as long as you care well for your Border Terrier they won’t have any risk of disease except for those which are hereditary.

Something that you may also want to note is that Border Terriers have a very high tolerance for pain.  When they were bred they needed to be able to deal with any especially wild foxes.  It may take extreme pain or sickness for them to show it.

“Spikes”, also known as Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome, is a hereditary disease amongst Border Terriers.  This disease can cause confusion and seizures.  While the disease has just recently become recognized it is being considered for classification under metabolic diseases, neurological diseases, and/or muscle disorders.  As long as the dog’s family does not have a history of Spikes, the dog has a relatively good chance of never inheriting it.

Tips & Suggestions

Be ready to deal with a temperamental dog.  Terrier dogs are well known for being bossy, stubborn, and impulsive.  They are also feisty.  As long as you are willing to be the alpha, you will get along well with your Border Terrier.

You might want to think about getting your Border Terrier a selection of chew toys.  They love to chew and having enough chew toys that the Terrier likes, helps to prevent them from chewing on inappropriate items.

Do not get your Border Terrier from a puppy mill.  If you get your dog from a pet store or breeder, make sure that you get a certificate of health/health clearance.  You will also want to take a look at the facility.

Grooming your Border Terrier weekly will help to keep their coat healthy.  This also helps to maintain the regular Terrier coat appearance.

Make sure that your yard is well sealed.  You don’t want your Border Terrier to escape over or under the fence.  You will also help to prevent this by giving them a place to dig and play in your yard.  Their own little space.

Border Terriers will do okay with children.  You need to remember that Border Terriers have a lot of energy, though, and not all children can get along with it.  Children might also be accidentally injured by the playfulness of a Border Terrier.

Read our article on Border Terrier temperament and behavior.

Border Terriers are Great for:

Border Terriers are great dogs for the following people:

  • Those looking for a strong lapdog that will think bigger than its size
  • Those who want a dog with a rather natural looking appearance
  • Those who want a dog with an easy to clean coat that doesn’t shed much
  • Those who like a dog who loves being energetic
  • Those who want a friendly dog that doesn’t mind other dogs, but who does not posture

All in all, Border Terriers are great but quirky dogs.  They make some of the most loyal companions and will be by your side when you need them.  People who are active and love the outdoors will find the best match with them, even if they live in a small place.  Treat your Border Terrier well and they will do the same for you.

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