The Quirky but Lovable Border Terrier


Border Terriers are a truly remarkable breed…

Providing their owners with years of loyalty and companionship.

These dogs will capture your heart and maybe even 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 the Border Terrier..

So let’s take a closer look.


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Border Terriers originate from the 18th century.

They hail from the English lands, mostly the Northern area near the borders of Scotland.

They were initially 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, making it extremely difficult for most animals they prey on to pierce their skin (foxes included).

It wasn’t until 1930 that the first Border Terrier arrived in the United States. His name was Netherbyers Ricky. Unfortunately not too much is known about Netherbyers.

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 relatively small breed. A good way to describe their size is “bigger than the smallest of small dogs but smaller than the largest of small dogs”.

They are somewhere in the middle.

One of their standout features is that they are extremely fit and active dogs. This is for the most part due to their high energy levels. Which leads us to…

Active Behaviors and Traits


Energy levels and intensity run high in these dogs. And they seem to have an equal love for both work and play. As such, many owners use them to take part in agility competitions while other owners can’t get enough of their playfulness.

Here are some key behavior traits to take note of.

The Chase

Border Terriers simply love to run around and chase things.

This comes from their desire to hunt that has been bred into them over the years. In order for Border Terriers to adapt to living in small places, it’s important that they get 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 for digging.

While many other dogs love to dig, Border Terriers take it to a whole new level. Again, this originates from their old hunting training. Their small size didn’t make them a good choice when it came to taking on bigger game but it made them great for chasing small animals.  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 find themselves in a threatening or dangerous situation, they will bravely defend themselves and their loved ones.

Escape Artists


These adorable dogs just love to explore and will do whatever they can to make that happen. They will scale walls, dig under fences, climb through wires, and just about everything else possible to satisfy their adventurous nature.

Passive Behaviors and Traits



You can expect an average amount of shedding from your Border Terrier compared with other breeds. But, if their hair is kept short, it becomes almost a non-issue. The key is to be consistent with grooming.

No Drooling Problem Here


One of the big pluses with Border Terriers is that they are not a drooling dog. In fact, they are one of the least likely breeds to present you and your home with a slobber problem. One website, Dog Time, rates their drooling potential at an almost non-existent 1 out of 5 stars.

Weight Gain


It’s important to note that Border Terriers are quite susceptible to gaining weight fairly quickly if they aren’t exposed to enough activity. They are meant to be active, as hunting dogs they crave running. So it’s important to make sure that they get plenty of exercise.

Adaptability To Environment and Life

Digital oil picture of a border terrier

Border Terriers are a surprisingly adaptable to various environments.  They tolerate both cold and hot weather moderately well; however, they tend to fair slightly better in colder environments.  This is quite unusual due to the fact that they often have short hair.

These wonderful dogs are an excellent choice as a first pet. They can even adapt easily to living in apartments, provided that they get a good amount of exercise outdoors.

Border Terriers take to both their owners and territory quickly.

In fact, they develop such strong feelings towards their owners that they really dislike being alone.

Interactions with Other Animals



As hunting dogs, Border Terriers will usually chase after cats and other small animals. But, if the cat was raised together with the Border Terrier, or if the cat Two border terriers togetherwas part of the household first, the Border Terrier will likely tolerate it.

If not, then it’s best to slowly integrate the two to make sure that they get along well.

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

Health and Diseases


Overall, Border Terriers are quite a healthy breed.

However, as is the case with most dogs, they do suffer from some common skin problems. But, as long as you care well for your Border Terrier they won’t be at risk of most diseases except for those that are hereditary.

It is important to note that Border Terriers have a very high tolerance for pain.  When they were bred they needed to be able to deal with any attacks from other animals, especially wild foxes.  So it may take extreme pain or sickness for them to show it.




“Spikes”, also known as Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome, is one of the hereditary disease that Border Terriers may suffer from.

This disease can cause confusion and seizures.

While the disease has just recently been recognized, it is being considered for classification under metabolic diseases, neurological diseases, and/or muscle disorders.

As long as there’s no history of Spikes in your terrier’s family line, there is a relatively good chance of him 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 very 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.

If you get your dog from a pet store or breeder, make sure that you get a certificate of health/health clearance.  You should also visit and inspect 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 sealed well. You wouldn’t want your Border Terrier to escape over or under the fence. Giving them their own little space to dig and play will assist in preventing escape attempts.

Border Terriers generally do well with children. Remember, they are full of energy, and not all kids can keep up. Children may also get hurt accidentally due to the playful nature of the dog.

Read our article on Border Terrier temperament and behavior.

A Breed Best Suited for


Border Terriers are great dogs for the following owners:

  • 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 love energetic dogs
  • 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 for some of the most loyal companions and will be by your side whenever you need them.

People who are active and love the outdoors will find the best match with them.

Treat your Border Terrier well and you will have a friend for life.

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