Border Terrier

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This characterful and determined little terrier was originally bred to hunt and kill foxes and vermin and retains it lively, scrappy personality to this day. Full of beans, this is a dog which will need a considerable amount of exercise given its active, outdoor roots. The Border Terrier, as the name suggests, originated in the Scottish Borders.


Originating in the rugged Scottish Border and the far north of England, these little terriers were bred to have limitless energy for the active, outdoor lives they were meant to lead. The Border Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds in the UK with its history dating back as far as the 18th century. The word 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word terra, meaning 'earth'. As terrier, they were used to hunt and kill foxes vermin, as well as digging them out when required as farmers realised that without adequate vermin control, the livestock they relied on for their livelihoods could be affected through a lack of food, disease and being killed by animals such as foxes.

The Border Terrier shares its ancestry with that of the Bedlington Terrier and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and has changed very little physically since then. Very patient, as well as having a super nose used for tracking, they were very successful at what they were bred to do. The first Border Terrier was formally registered to the Kennel Club in 1920 after a turbulent ride getting recognition as a breed.


Average height to withers: 13-16 inches for males and females around 11-15 inches.

Average weight: Males from 6-7kg with females between 5-7kg

Sturdy and practically built, the Border Terrier is simply made to live an active, outdoor life. For a small dog, the Border Terrier has rather long legs for its body which are used to negotiate rough ground effectively and move quickly. The head of this dog is almost always described as 'otter like' and have a broad skull shape, with a well defined strong snout. The ears are small, v shaped and fall at the sides of the head towards the cheek and the eyes dark with an alert look about them.

The coat is made to repel adverse weather conditions and is a wiry, double coat consisting of a short, dense, soft undercoat and harsher close fitting outer coat with no curl or wave. The coat colours are red, wheaten, grizzle and tan and blue and tan. The tail of the dog is short, thick and tapers away at the end.


Life will never be dull with a Border Terrier in it! Suited to an active life, this dog has the stamina most other dogs can only dream about and will literally go all day. Not a dog that likes to be left for prolonged periods, this breed is best suited to a person or family who can devote time to it otherwise it will develop destructive behaviours such as chewing and is notorious for its digging activities. Its courage, energy and intelligence are legendary, with a determination and patience bordering on stubbornness in some situations, especially if it catches a scent of something more interesting than you! It's cases like this that make it imperative to have good recall in place as this terrier will patiently wait for hours outside foxes dens and be impervious to the desperate calls of its owner. If the recall is not reliable, it is probably best to keep this dog on a lead in the countryside, especially near woods and such like. That said, its intelligence makes it a dog which is receptive to training so long as it is firm and consistent. If socialised well at an early age, they are able to live with children very well and smaller pets such as cats and other dogs, however, care should always be taken around small furries such as Guinea Pigs, Rabbits and Hamster as the strong prey-hunt drive may rear its head.

The naturally high temperament of the Border makes it a good candidate for agility and canine sports such as flyball.


A happy little dog, this is a breed which will live between 12-14 years who is generally extremely healthy and has a strong constitution. Trips to the vets from illnesses are rare. It has a low incidence of genetic conditions compared to other breeds and has no known breed specific anomalies.


You will not be able to exercise an adult Border Terrier enough! If you are not a fan of an active outdoor life, then this is probably not the dog for you. Apart from that, it is a very low maintenance but one which will benefit from its coat being hand pulled to minimise shedding

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