Border Terrier

Group 2: Terriers
Height: 29-40cm (11″-16″)

Energy Level:  Moderate – high
Original Function: Hunting
Lifespan: 12 – 15 yrs

Recommended for: Active people & families.

Border Terrier

About This Breed

The Border Terrier first appeared in the 18th century and has changed little since. They were used as working terriers in the Scottish Borders hunting foxes which preyed on livestock. Their ancestry is not really known. Their appearance was never of great concern to their owners but their ability to go to ground after a fox was, so they were bred to have strong jaws, to be well boned but not heavy and to have a chest with sufficient capacity but narrow enough to allow them to get back out of any earth they entered. Their extra length of leg enabled them to follow a horse so that they were there when they were needed.

During their history they were known as the Reedwater Terriers and the Coquetdale Terriers but nowadays are referred to as Border Terriers. They are still working terriers in the countryside but in urban areas are mainly family companions. They respect their owners but any harsh treatment will wreck their trust forever. They are easily trained and reliable. They are brave, adaptable and good with people, especially with children. They are reliably easy going but have independent natures and like to make their own decisions.

They love to chase other animals but will live in harmony with other household pets. They are equally at home in town or country. Puppies may go through a shy phase and it is particularly important to ensure that they are adequately socialised with humans and other animals.

General Characteristics

Appearance: Small to medium sized. Otter shaped heads. Eyes dark. Ears hang down. Tail relatively short & thick. They have harsh, dense coats with close undercoats. They are primarily working dogs and look it. They are strong, active, keen of eye and all terrier.

Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Energetic

Characteristics: Capable of following a horse, combining activity with gameness

Colour: Red, wheaten, grizzle and tan or blue and tan.

Coat: Harsh and dense; with close undercoat. Skin must be thick.

Grooming: Their durable coat needs little care, mostly have quite long coats if left to grow naturally. The short coat is only maintained by weekly stripping (or ‘rolling’) which can be quite time consuming and there is a technique involved. A specialist groomer is required until this has been learnt. A puppy can be left unstripped until the coat is ‘blown’, usually at about 6 months of age, but it will then need a full hand strip. Clippers must not be used as they will ruin the coat. A full strip by hand can take 2/3 hours. Eyes, ears and teeth should be checked regularly.

Exercise: A very active dog, bred to follow the hunt and with keen hunting instincts. They need plenty of exercise on a daily basis and enjoy using their intellect as well as their bodies. They have lots of stamina and will keep going as long as their owners require them to do so.

They may chase any small creature that take their fancy regardless of life and limb. This can lead them into trouble but an owner who is aware of this and starts appropriate training at an early age should remain in command. Without good exercise they can become destructive and chew things.

Health: They can gain weight quickly and easily (even if exercised) if fed even a little too much and reducing their weight is a very long process.

Refer to breeders for quantity of diet required. They have few problems, but some can suffer from dislocating kneecaps.