Border Terrier Temperament and Behaviour


When considering a dog, many people look towards the border terrier because they are fun, playful, relatively easy to maintain, small, and stay healthy for a number of years. However, there are always considerations that need to be made with every breed of dog. Although border terriers do behave themselves very well, there are some sticking points with their behaviour which we will discuss today.

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Despite popular belief, there are key similarities that draw all the terrier breeds together and make them surprisingly similar. For example, there are certain terms that one would use to describe a border terrier and they can be used across the board for other terrier breeds too; terms like intense, impulsive, lively, bossy, feisty, stubborn, and quick to bark can all be used.


With border terriers, both physical exercise and mental stimulation are essential. In truth, terriers were never supposed to be pets for the household because they are go-getters and they love to roam the outdoors. If you own a border terrier, they need to have opportunities to release all the energy stored whilst sitting at home and their minds need to be stimulated doing interesting things. If they aren’t allowed this, behaviour problems can arise but purely out of frustration and excess energy.


Other Animals

On the whole, border terriers get along very well with other dogs and are typically less scrappy than many other breeds. With this being said, they aren’t one to back down once they decide or get challenged to a tussle. On a basic instinctual level, terriers chase small creatures so this can cause problems if you have a cat. If you own a rabbit or even a hamster, this problem is somewhat magnified. For both this and the previous point, obedience classes are recommended.



Once a border terrier gets used to its surroundings and the people in a home, they are normally well behaved when it comes to barking. However, new sights and sounds can present a bit of a problem and this quickens your reaction time as you act to stop them. If you are out of the house for extended hours and have close neighbours, border terriers may not be the best option because they need attention. If you leave a border terrier alone in the yard, you will soon hear about it too.



There are two sides to a border terrier’s stubbornness which can present an issue for owners. Firstly, you have to show them that you absolutely mean what you say otherwise their stubbornness will get the better of you. For many border terriers, ‘respect’ training is necessary because you need to show them that you are the boss.

Secondly, their stubbornness can also make them a nightmare for children. Through the eyes of a terrier, they are number one which means that they have little patience for children. When teased, terriers can be quick to react and they will also protect toys and food with their life!